Wednesday, December 8, 2010

R5 for sale in Brooklyn


A friend of recently wrote in to let us know he is selling his R5. It's currently listed on craigslist and eBay classifieds. See below for a detailed listing:

1972 Yamaha R5C 350 (NewR5B paint-$900 IN NEW PARTS)

For sale is a very good condition 1972 Yamaha R5C 350 with a 1971 R5B Orange/White new paint job on tank.

All OEM except: handlebar, spokes, tires and mirrors + many new and NOS parts.
Oil injected, 2 cylinder, 2 stroke bike, non reed valve
Matching frame and engine VIN.
Clear NY transferable registration.


12855 original miles (May have a little more as I am riding it a few days a week)

$3000 - Cash only, local pick up in person


- Looks AMAZING, super clean engine, new paint job and shine.
- Had full-tune up by reputable mechanic (Speed Motorcycles in NYC - SEE BELOW NOTES)
- Starts with one or two kicks. Not an electric start bike.
- Engine is good order
- Gears work
- Brakes work
- Oil Injection works great
- All lights and switches are fully functional (except front brake lever stop light switch for brake light).
- Frame was repainted very clean no rust
- Gas tank is good order, no rust inside un-sealed


All OEM except air pods. Previous owner completed the following restoration work:

- New headlight
- Rebuilt Carburators
- New ignition switch
- Repainted frame
- Repainted tank and side panels with high quality auto paint (no rattle cans)
- Cylinder heads re-powder coated shiny black
(Original look can be achieved by removing the outer most coating on the fins. But the gloss black looks brand new and hot!) Always get complements on how clean the engine is.)
- New wheel spokes and nipples front and back
- Fixed oil pump
- New clutch and side cover YAMAHA logo decals
- New YAMAHA tank badges
- New chain
- New NGK spark plug connectors

By Speed Motorcycles in NYC - receipts available

- Clean points and check ignition timing
- Check charging system
- Clean carburetors
- Fix oil leak, new crank case gasket
- Install new shocks
- Install new throttle cable
- New battery

NEW or NOS PARTS INSTALLED FALL 2010: Most parts bought from 2-Stroke specialist store HVCCYCLE.COM
$600 VALUE - Copies of receipts available.

- New Yuasa 12V battery
- New Battlax B45 tires 90/90/18 and 110/90/18 purchased September 2010
- New European handlebar with bar snake
- New front brake lever
- Brand new reproduction Throttle cable from HVC Cycle ( ) -
- New Crank Case Engine Gasket - resealed (NO LEAKS!)
- New drain plug seal (HVC Cycle reproduction)
- New left front foot peg rubber
- New chrome mirrors, reproductions
- NOS Red Wing high performance shocks from the '70s - never used before I bought
- NOS right front signal light flasher stay
- New brass swing arm bushing (HVC Cycle reproduction)
- New center stand rubber bumper


- NOS Steering fork lock with key (never used in package)
- NOS Front foot peg cover
- NOS front foot peg
- NOS left front flasher stay
- NOS Beston style Throttle grips
- NOS Front brake lever holder
- New Brake shoes
- Spare/new light bulbs for ALL lights, signals, headlight, displays
- New pet cock seal kit
- New Chain guard rubber damper (HVC Cycle reproduction in package)
- New Exhaust mount dampers (HVC Cycle reproduction in package)
- New oil tank level view glass (HVC Cycle reproduction in package)
- New Petcock Seals (HVC Cycle reproduction in package)
- New Allen head bolt set polished stainless steel (35 pieces for oil pump cover, right and left crankcase cover, clutch adjuster cover, generator cover, reed valve, exhaust)
- Gasket set: 8 pieces: Cynlinder head x 2, cylinder base x 2, valve seat x 2, exhaust pipe x 2
- 3 x 1 Liter bottles of MOTUL 710 2 STROKE High performance oil
- 2 x 1 Liter bottles of MOTUL TRANSOIL Gear box oil 10W30
- 3 sets of keys
- Original Combined Yamaha R5C, RD250, RD350 Service Manual published 1971
- Reproduction Yamaha Parts list catalog

BLEMISHES: Mostly cosmetic

- Some paint chips on headlight bracket
- Usual 40 year old chrome pitting and scuffs, not perfect, but overall chrome is very nice and shines up great, no major rust.
- Several dings on front and rear fenders, same way I got it. See pics.
- Right throttle grip has a small tear on bar end. I have new replacement with sale.
- Seat has small tear on right side and long tear on top across middle width. Sealed with pro Tear-Aid brand vinyl repair tape so it is sealed nicely. Unless you want to recover for restoration it works perfectly fine.
- Rear brake light switch attached to front brake lever not working. Foot pedal for brake light works fine.
- Left front foot peg slants down, I got it like this. Not a problem at all, just disclosing
- Could use new fork seals and front fork new springs to make like new.

Definitely check it out, and get in touch if you are interested... a deal like that won't last too long...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Beautiful Cafe RDs at Vanguard Cycles

While doing some research on exhausts, I stumbled across Vanguard Cycles. They have some nice RDs that they've given the cafe treatment. See here for more images of the bikes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Questions from Bangalore

RK from India writes in with this question:


Amongst 5 bikes that I own [a Honda CB400SF Version S, RD250 G Daytona look alike, a RD350 LC non YPVS, a RD 350 Indian Version and a R1-Z], I am on the verge of buying a Yamaha DS7. This bike has a 6 speed tranny, cylinders, Heads and CB points electrical system - all from an Indian RD. FYI, the Indian RD is a scaled down version of the US's RD350B - it has a 30 BHP cylinders + matching Heads + front drum brakes of a DS7/R5. The owner also has DS7's 5 speed GB + the original 250 CC cylinders [no heads, unfortunately] with him as spares and is willing to part it along with the bike.

What is your advice? Do I continue to run it as it is OR should I plonk in the original 5 speed GB and 250cc piston ported cylinders OR should I plonk in the original 5 speed GB and 350cc piston ported cylinders of a R5? The present owner says that the original 250 piston ported cylinders + its 5 speed GB is best suited to its exhaust but could not fit these as he had misplaced the heads and has only the choke side carb.

I heard that piston ported cylinders are bad at low speeds, guzzle lots of fuel, is prone to plug fowling etc but has raw power which we can feel in our hands when compared to reed valve cylinders. And hence, there is a cult/fan following for these machines. Is it true?

Please let me know. Basis which, I will decide to purchase the DS7.


RK Menon
Bangalore, India

Anyone have suggestions? I agree with the seller in that the 250 items are probably best suited for the 250 exhaust, but the increase in power could be helpful, if RK would be willing to go aftermarket with the exhaust and fiddle with the jetting...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Reader Mail

Hi, my name is Rob from Minnesota. I just wanted to tell you how excellent the web site is for these bikes from the past. Most people have forgot them and info has been very hard to find 'til now. Good job on this and great info.

Thanks so much, Rob!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Duplicate Keys?

Laura from Fishtown writes in:

Have you ever gone about getting an extra key made by anyone?

Good question... No I have not. Has anyone else had to go through the process?

I've been able to locate NOS keys cut to match the code listed on the original key (if you still have one) or from the ignition or steering lock:

- - sells NOS and blanks
- looking on Ebay finds bunch of people selling precut keys (for example)

Hope that helps. Anyone out there have any information or experience to share?

UPDATE: Andrew wrote in with this good suggestion:

Just stumbled across the site and saw your most recent post about lost keys, i think i may be able to help. A few months ago i ended up losing both the keys to my 75' xs650b which led me to frantically start searching for replacements or what i hoped wouldn't be the only option, a new ignition. I ended up coming across which is run by John Blakenship out of California. Send him a copy of your title, license, and the 4 digit code, which will typically be stamped right on top of the lock (very common on bikes of this vintage) and he'll send out as many copies as you want. I ordered two keys and had them shipped priority, total bill was $35, not bad and they work perfectly. He's an easy guy to deal with and very honest, a great example of the type of mom and pop approach thats rapidly disappearing.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Philip wrote in with this eBay link...


Just wanted to let everyone know that I've set up a new official URL for the site: YAMAHAR5.COM.

I'm sorry if you experienced some downtime this afternoon while everything was changing over. Old links should redirect here, but please note the new address and update your bookmarks accordingly.

This is the first step of a major site overhaul, so keep your eyes peeled for future updates!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


That's right, kids. It's a sad day, but I'm moving and losing the garage space I've enjoyed these past couple of years... so it's time to let someone else enjoy the old stinker.

You can go back through the archives on this site to see the progress and effort put into getting this bike up to snuff... but here's a short recap of the highlights:

3,000 original miles when purchased. 4,480 miles currently. The bike was found in storage where it was parked for 25 years. It has a small dent on the gas tank which happened at some point in storage, otherwise it is in excellent condition. Serviced by licensed HD-approved motorcycle mechanic. The color is metallic orange and black. The bike comes with the original owner's manual and complete original toolkit, as well as period shop manual. Everything in great shape - no exterior rust, no dry rot, no cut wires, 99% original.

What's been modified:
- Clubman bars
- Raask drilled aluminum rearsets
- bent kickstart lever (to clear rearsets)
- NOS dental mirrors, both sides

All original parts retained. Many extras, such as Napoleon bar-end mirrors, period sissybar, oil tank, sidecover, etc. Matching frame/engine numbers. About $1000 put into restoration. Needs new battery (which is on order).

See more photos along the right-hand side of this site.

I'm located in the Fishtown area of Philadelphia, and as the bike isn't running currently (working on getting a battery) I'd prefer to show locally, but I'm open to offers and suggestions...

Feel free to email me with any questions, and please forward this on to anyone you know who might be interested.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Follow @YamahaR5 on Twitter!

Finally got around to putting together a Twitter account for the blog. Here I'd like to post items of interest that might not warrant a full post, or just keep you guys updated in a more timely fashion.

Just head on over to, follow @YamahaR5 and drop a note to say hello!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Paul's Netherlands Cafe Racer

Paul writes in to share his creations:

Hi, I'm Paul van Vessem and I live in the Netherlands, Europe.
I have restored an Yamaha R5 of 1970. It took me 3 years, because there are no nos-parts available. When I was finished I had a lot of parts left.

So I decided to build a caferacer.

Engine,case/gearbox RD six speed. Cilinders R5, modified. KN filter, DG pipes etc.

It only needs to be painted. It runs great.

Wish you lots of succes with your site.

Thanks, Paul. Great job on both of them!

Friday, September 17, 2010

R5C Service Manual For Sale

Ward from Burbank California wrote in offering an original Yamaha R5C workshop manual for sale. He's looking for $20. Interested parties, please contact him here.

Jesse's R5 Project - Tips and Questions


Jesse in Pittsburg writes in to show us his progress, share a few things, and ask some questions:

Hi Lawrence,

After a long hiatus, I'm back to working on my R5C project. I've got the bike stripped down to the frame, as you can see here:

I've made a list of items that are going for powder coating and painting (see attached). I wonder if anyone can add to the list? Did I forget anything? If you want, post this list on your site. It might be helpful for others doing a frame-up restoration. You may also want to post the PDF copy of the parts catalog that I found (also attached).

Please also ask whether anyone has advice for removing the steering lock from the frame. I've drilled out the rivet but the lock still won't slide out (see photos at the link above). Is there some trick to getting it out? I'm hoping it won't be necessary to drill the lock to pieces to get it out!

Thanks Jesse! I'm sure some folks will find this useful:
R5_powder_paint.xlsx (40k Excel doc)
R5_R5B_R5C_Parts_Catalog.pdf (484k PDF)

As for the fork lock, I'm not sure how that's held in... It's not very well illustrated in any of the diagrams I have (see links at right). Anyone?

RD 6-speed swap

Received an interesting question from Cale out of Amarillo, Texas:


I've been enjoying your R5 blog... Good stuff, man.

I keep hearing about upgrading the R5 transmission to a 6-speed out of an RD. I'm due for a transmission rebuild on my R5C, and I'm wondering if I just need RD internals, or a complete RD case for the upgrade. Maybe you can shed some light on this. I can't seem to find any information on the subject other than that it's a wise swap.

Thanks for all the good reading and pictures.

As far as I've heard, it's pretty much plug and play. I don't have any experience with the conversion... can anyone shed more light on the subject?

Chris "Rooster" Reagan Update

Hello again, Chris "Rooster" Reagan here from Nashville tn. I'm writing to update on my r5 project(I had wrote in last year about the then pending project, I had soon there after broken my wrist whilst test riding a cb cafe bike then forgot to get back to you) here is a pick of final mock up, my complements the reading chair quite nice I think. The tank is one from a 76 xs500, the seat is my old Harley sportster tank hacked in twine by my buddy. Nut and bolt resto, everything blasted sanded painted powdered or shined. Medium port job, Pretty standard running gear otherwise. She's gonna b a beaut can't wait to retire the Harley for the rest of the season and shake down my yamahama mama. Finished picks will follow if I can decide on a color scheme, thinking reverse 70's Robert's livery (black with yellow checkers). I'd really appreciate any input. Thanks for the site, your fellow R fanatic, Rooster Reagan

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

1972 R5C AMA Homologation Special?

Bob writes in with a rather intriguing story:

i have a 1972 R5-C that was delivered new from Yamaha with a six speed transmission instead of the standard 5 speed. the dealer told me Yamaha made 200 of these with a six speed to qualify for AMA racing rules at the time. i have tried for years to get some kind of info or documentation about these 200 bikes but have not had any luck. I have been told by some that Yamaha never such a bike and the dealer probably just installed a TR3 six speed transmission in the bike at his shop. I suppose that is possible but i was there when he unloaded the bike new still in the crate from Yamaha and he told me then about the six speed transmission. He owned the bike for a short time then sold it to my best friend and I eventually ended up with the bike and have had it in my possession ever since. I was just wondering if you have ever heard of these 200 bikes with a six speed or know where i might be able to get some info on them... serial number is R5-111013 manufactured 12/71.

Very interesting. When asked about any distinguishing features, Bob sent the following:

i will get some pics but it looks identical to a standard RB-C except for the rubber rings around tach and speedo... here are photos of the tach rubber on the standard bike and the "six speed" bike. notice the tall front on the rubber on the "six speed" bike [above] compared to the standard bike [below]. Maybe some other Yamaha model has that shaped rubber? Oddly enough there is absolutely no difference in the rest of the bike.

I've seen other bikes that have been homologation specials of this era, and it does seem that 200 is the magic number in order to qualify for AMA racing. Anyone have any ideas, leads, or information about this particular run of homologated specials?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fork Lock on a 1970 R5?

Laura writes in to say hello and ask this question about fork locks:

For one your web site is awesome!! I'm trying to figure out if all 70's have a steering lock key.. I keep looking but do not see one on my bike. And I guess I'm trying to find some shows to go to or put my bike in. 1970 yr5 1200 original miles immaculate condition.

I have an R5C, which is the 1972 model year, and unfortunately all of my manuals are 1972 or later (see links at right), so I'm not sure about the lock on the 1970 year. If your manual says you have one, then you just might... try looking here, on the fork under the left-hand end of the handlebar:

This comes from my original R5C rider's manual - download the whole thing here (26MB PDF). The instructions are confusing. Gotta love the typos, too...

Anyone know if these locks are found on 1970 models?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Questions about Bars, Mirrors, and Leaky Pipes

Alex wrote is with some questions:

Awesome R5 you got! Where did you get your cafe racer handlebars and mirrors? Also, does your bike seep oil from it's pipes? If so, any tips on how to correct that?

Alex -

Thanks! I replaced the stock bars for lower, somewhat uncomfortable (until I added rearsets) but much better looking cafe bars. The bars are clubman-style, non-adjustable, similar to this. You can find them just about everywhere, in a few different styles and finishes. Just make sure you get the right diameter for the Yamaha.

Note: In order to get the clutch lever off the stock bar, I had to cut off the stock hand grip. I tried not to, but the sucker wouldn't budge. Once the one was cut, well, I went ahead and replaced them both with ProGrip 699 Superbike grips. They have a good vintage look to them, and are pretty cushy to soften vibrations. I simply took an Xacto to the grip ends and trimmed myself a hole on both sides to make way for the mirrors.

Now about those bar-end mirrors... while looking great, no matter how much tightening and adjusting, they just never stayed put. The one thing I could count on was a good view of the ground behind me or my armpit - not good when you actually need to check your background for a quick lane change. They may have just been the brand I ordered (Napoleon), so your mileage may vary.

Anyways, I decided to remove the bar-ends, replace the stock endcaps in their stead, and remount the original stock dental mirror. I managed, after quite some searching, to find a NOS right-side mirror. It didn't quite fit, but with a little Loctite and some swearing I made it work.

The stock left mirror that came with my bike is convex, so it gives me a greater viewing area on my passing side, while the right mirror is flat and just gives me a direct view of what's behind me. The way they're mounted (into the threads on each lever) they are high enough to be useful but not look like antennae, in keeping with the whole cafe racer aesthetic.

As for oil seeping from pipes, I do get a drip or two now and again, same from the case bottom. Nothing too serious. If you're having more than that, I would look into it... anyone here have any suggestions?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rollin "Molly" Sanders - The Guy Behind Yamaha's Stripes

I, as probably most of you, didn't know who came up with the iconic yellow and black/white stripe on Yamaha factory racers of the early 1970s. Turns out it was Rollin "Molly" Sanders, of (now defunct) Molly Designs, was responsible for this and a great deal more motorcycling and automotive brand icons.

Above is Kenny Roberts on a machine featuring the famous livery

What other projects was Molly responsible for? The Lexus logo. Kawasaki's green racing color. Toyota's racing liveries. The Buick Grand National logo and concept car. To name a few.

Molly died this past April. And although Yamaha no longer uses the yellow and black dashed livery, plenty of memorabilia is still produced in this colorway, proving just how impactful it was.

Info via USA Today and Hooniverse.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hi from India

Dominic writes in from India to show us his bike and tell us a little about himself:

Hi Lawrence, was really a treat to chance upon your site - been going through it and am enjoying reading it (just gone through some of it till now).

I have been crazy over the RD (the R5 as you refer to it) since the time i was a kid. have been a huge fan of twin cylndered bikes for a long time now. Recently i finished putting together my Jawa350 twin (have attached some pics - do let me know what you think of the same)

it has been my dream to put together an rd (r5) the way i feel it should be.

been drooling and dehydrating over pics of your r5 - she sure is a beaut, been baby sitting a pals and now having a tough time giving her back :)

being in India, parts is a huge hassel, when i was getting the Jawa done - i was in touch with the local clubs in the checzh republic and the blokes there helped me a great deal.

was wondering if you could help me, I have been looking for a set of b spec barrels (cylinder kits - standard size) and exhaust pipes (b spec - similar to the ones you have on your r5) would you be able to help me with this? also - if i had chanced on your site a couple of days ago would have been lucky with the DG performace heads!!! missed them! would it be possible for you to let me know if i could find a set?

looking forward to hearing from you - and once again - brilliant job on your R5, got a pic of it as a screensaver now :)

So how about it... anyone know of a place to get some "B" spec parts in India?

Wow... my bike as a screensaver! Now that's something!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

DG Performance Heads

A few posts ago I talked about a custom RD350 cafe racer called "Project Goldhead" due to the rare (and ultra-slick) gold DG cylinder heads. Very sharp.

Then a gentleman named Domenic wrote in to ask some questions, since he was listing an engine with these heads on Ebay and thought I would have some information on them.

I must admit I didn't know a whole lot about these heads other than that they are very trick, very rare, haven't been made since the 1970's, and when they come up for auction they command a pretty good price. From what I could gather online, the heads are domed, which raises the baseline compression ratio, which in turn yields greater overall power and throttle response. Plus their oversized radial cooling fins and gold tone are pretty slick-looking.

If you take a look at the hot rod scene, any sort of original and period-correct non-reproduction speed parts are desirable, and the rarer the better. So naturally it makes sense that the same scenario would exist for period performance parts for the R5s and RDs.

You can contact DG Performance in Anaheim, California at (866) 653-1647 or (714) 577-7499 for more information. Unfortunately, their website ( seems to be geared more towards modern dirtbike and ATV stuff these days - nothing vintage.

Here are a couple of current Ebay auctions for these heads:
- RD 350 YAMAHA ENGINE Complete 1971 R5 B (Domenic's listing)

Would love to snatch up Domenic's spare engine with the heads, especially at that price. Unfortunately I don't have the extra scratch, so I'm passing both of these opportunities on to you guys!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

R5 on House Industries "Show and Tell"

Creative powerhouse House Industries was recently visited by a friend with a pretty sweet 1971 R5B, and the guys broke out the cameras to snap pics (and capture some video) for a post about it on their blog Show and Tell. Check out this quote from Rich Roat:

If the elements of the fuel-delivery system could talk to each other, the conversation might go something like this: “Carbs, this is the throttle.” “Yeah, howyoudoin’?” “Good. Listen, the dude just gave me a twist.” “Really?” “Yep.” “Okay, we’re gonna dump some of this gas/oil mixture into the cylinders.” “Yeah? Then what?” “Well, then some of it will blow up, then it’ll suck in a bunch of air then braaAAAAAAAAAAAAAHPOPPOP POp Pop..pop….pop…….pop.” “Jeeezus, what happened?”

The bike is a real nice example. See more at the post entitled "Two Smoker".

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Live Free Ride Alive

The "Live Free Ride Alive" project is a collection of stories from riders, their families and friends about motorcycling as a celebration of freedom. And it's also a sobering look at what happens when that freedom is gone.

You can see the film here, see some shared stories from riders, or peruse some arresting facts and figures here. The whole site is incredibly well done. It may be Pennsylvania-centric, but the material is valuable to riders everywhere.

Please take a look at Just a reminder to everyone, now that the season is upon us, to ride smart and stay safe.

Kevin Gray Photography

Kevin writes in to say hello:

Thank you for posting all of the useful information. I just blew my R5 and was not able to complete the SoCal TT this year. I think an engine rebuild is in my near future... Your site will be of great use. Thanks again.

Kevin Gray is a photographer, and his work can be viewed online at I've included his image of a 1970 R5 from the homepage of his site. Be sure to take a look through his portfolios - good stuff!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

1972 R5 for sale in Philly 'burbs

The description doesn't say very much, but the images look promising and, at this price, this R5 probably won't last long:

I am selling my Yamaha. Its a prestine 72 R5. This bike is the predecessor of the RD350. I have title and it runs and drives great. I need to sell due to new bike in the garage. Call me if you would like to check it out. 1200 is the lowest i can go.

See the Craigslist ad here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Interesting Yamahas

There have been a few interesting Yamahas featured on BikeEXIF the past few weeks:

Project Goldhead

This custom RD350 cafe racer is the work of Twinline Motorcycles. It's called "Project Goldhead" due to the rare (and ultra-slick) gold DG cylinder heads. Very sharp.

A good quote from this writeup:
In the early 70s, the Yamaha RD350 set the motorcycling world on fire. It was light, rapid and unforgiving: in the right hands, it could comfortably see off a 750. In the wrong hands, it was a one-way ticket to the hospital.

Howard Lees' RD350B

Another highly modified custom Yamaha, this time a street racer built up by Howard Lees. Just about everything's been worked, all the way down to the frame. A great period looker with a very interesting history.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Carmen's Find

Carmen wrote in to let us know about his new toy:

Hey there! Im a first time R5 owner as of this year. I bought it from a buddy whose dad got it from a guy in PA that just had a few of them in a barn for 25 years. Your website has been super helpful. The bike has no problems running and is in the cleanest shape. Thanks a lot for making the website!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Rajdoot 350

Ajith wrote in to let me know about the existence of the Rajdoot 350, which was a licensed copy of the Yamaha RD350B, modified to suit Indian conditions. Even though production of two-stroke Yamahas ended in Japan in the mid 1970s due to emissions, these licensed copies were produced from 1983 - 1989.

Although the bike is basically a RD350B with a detuned engine and carburettors rejetted for fuel economy rather than performance, the front disc brake was replaced with a drum brake and the instruments were from the R5, making this strange cousin very similar to the bike which is the focus of this blog. The only Yamaha branding was on the sides of the engine - tank read "RAJDOOT". See below for an ad for the bike:

More information here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mandarin Orange Paint Code

Paul writes in with a frequently asked question:

Hi. I am restoring an R5 and came across your thread. You mentioned House of Kolor paint but in regards to mandarin orange I didn't read what orange from House of Kolor you used? Can you let me in on this color?

Good question! I've gotten a bunch of email from others looking for the orange metallic paint that's used on the R5... see these documents:

1971 R5B (656k PDF) - Mandarin Orange over white
1972 R5C (756k PDF) - Mandarin Orange over black

Well, after rooting around a little on the internet, I found a discussion about this very topic:

There are no codes! House of Kolor has paint that will get you there. Here is a link:

I have restored many early Yamahas and the orange you need is a candy shot over a silver base (fine grain). Black is black as long as all the black body parts are the same black. I've gotten a dead-on match to this color on my '71 R5 and I've matched the candy red on my '65 YDS3 and the candy blue on my '66 YM1 using these paints. The color varies depending on how soft or heavy you spray it on. That's how candies work, all the metalics are in the base coat and the color coat is translucent so more = darker. I hope this helps. Ed

So there you have it... there is no easy one-step solution. And, I'm not sure which HoK orange best matches the Yamaha mandarin orange.

However, I have found an outfit that is offering paint kits for all hard-to-find vintage Japanese bike colors, called Marbles Motors:

I am offering paint kits for the early 70's Hondas, Kawasakis, Yamahas and Suzukis. Perfect matches for the non-existent Candy and Metallic Colors that make or break a restoration effort. These colors have been elusive as Candy paints are not that popular these days, but I've managed to get the most popular colors matched and I am offering them in a kit along with the proper base color and catalyst that creates the original look of the bikes. E-mail me for more information. The paint is Deltron PPG DBC. If you don't see your color listed below and have a good representative part, I can do the matching process and provide you with the paint. Please be aware that the only shipping option for paint is via FedEx ground. Unfortunately, that means no International shipping. You get all the necessary materials to use or give to your painter with the exception of the primer and reducer. I can also supply the black or white paint for stripes, as well as the reducer if requested.

Looks like he has a Mandarin Orange paint kit that matches a 1972 Yamaha JT-2 mini-enduro (see examples of his restorations here, here and here). Same year as the R5C, so it makes sense that the color would match up - looks like it could, looking at the photos from his restorations. Worth investigating!

Get in touch with Randy Marble via email here.

Hope that helps!

Parts of this article originally appeared earlier on this blog here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Giving up on R5 project

From Anthony, a reader of the blog:

The parts for sale are from a '72 Yamaha r5 350cc 2 stroke street bike. These were the precursor to the rd's. The main difference is that the r5's are 5 speed where the rd's are 6 speed and the r5's use piston port motors while the rd's use reed motors.

For sale is the frame, swingarm, center stand, footpegs and mounts as a package. I purchased this frame off of the previous owner with a lost title. He can furnish a bill of sale to myself. And I can furnish a bill of sale for the new buyer. Since this frame is older than '82 a paper trail is not needed when applying for a new title, but the bill of sale is always good to have. The vin stamping on the stem is clear and has never been tampered with. The frame is in excellent shape. Practically rust free. I am accepting all offers on the frame. Give me your best offer.

Also for sale is the engine. As stated earlier it is a 350cc, piston port, 5 speed, 2 stroke. The engine has been internally freshened rings etc. There is approx. 2 hours runtime since the freshen up. The engine will come with all accessories shown including:

- 2 right side covers, shifter lever, 1 partial side cover, airbox, wiring harness, both complete carbs, and charging system rectifier

Once again, I am accepting offers on the engine. Give me your best offer and we can make a deal.

See the Craigslist listing for more details.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Recreating Dad's Bike

Kynan recently wrote in and was asking about the R5 for an interesting project he had in mind for a project bike:

My father had a R5 in 1972. He has spoke of it as one of the motorcycles he misses the most. I believe it was one of his first bikes. I found two pictures of him and the bike in one of my grandmothers photo albums. If I send you the images perhaps you can tell me what year, color, and any info on bike? I am wanting to build him an exact replica as a surprise. If I know some details I can find a bike to buy and restore. It will be a fun project. I have restored many bikes myself. I just don’t know a ton about the R5. Thank you for your time, I really enjoyed your blog!

After looking at the photos (above) and referring to this information:

1970 R5(A) - Metallic Purple/white
1971 R5B - Mandarin Orange/white
1972 R5C - Mandarin Orange/black

... we can pretty much determine that IF the R5 was stock, at least in terms of body panels and paint, then it must have been a 1971... Coincides with the "1971" that's penned in under the photos. (Here's an earlier post from this blog about determining the year of a bike, as well as a complete spec list.)

Anyways, this is turning out to be a very interesting story. I've asked Kynan to keep us posted about the build and to send photos when he can. More to come!