Neil wrote in to share:
Just picked up my R5 yesterday. 4418 miles. Shined her up today & took a short test drive. All good. Might change the handle bars in the near future. Your site has a wealth of info... Thanks. Neil
First, thank you for putting together this website. It is very helpful.
I recently (yesterday) bought a R5 350 with a small history - the father used it in college back in the 70's then gave it to his son when he was 10, the bike was stored for 35 years, the son took it to college, a bunch of friends told him they "knew" how to work on bikes and put the whole thing apart and were never able to bring it back to life. Now, the son is finishing college in 2 weeks and needed to get rid of it (in boxes) The bike is in outstanding condition with 3100 miles on it BUT completely apart. I plan on restoring it S-L-O-W-L-Y. I know the engine 'turned' but did not run.
My question to you is, how much do you think (estimate) to have the engine done over? And how long do you think it will take to assemble this bike? I could not pass it on since I always wanted this bike since back home.
I appreciate your advice.
Hello, I bought this bike from Michel who posted pics on your site. I have changed it up a little and had my first two races on it. Headed to California to race it at Willow Springs AHRMA April 22-24. Cheers Ricky
How are ya? I'm a new R5 owner (as of Saturday) and found the site in my research travels! Very cool stuff. I've wanted an RD forever and lucked into an R5 basket case for $40, so I couldn't say no. I currently have several 70s era Honda projects, including a 1968 CL175 sloper (only year made) cafe racer project and a 1972 CB350 custom hardtail chopper. Anyhow, you don't want to hear about the old Hondas cluttering up my garage!
I'm actually writing because I found an article online awhile back that had some interesting modifications that racers used in the 70s on their R5s. One of which was a swingarm swap from a Yamaha enduro (I believe) of the same era that extended the wheelbase by 1.25" thereby helping to keep the front end down under hard acceleration. I am building vintage race replica for the street with my R5, plan on some basic power upgrades, and would love to do this swinger swap. I cannot for the life of me find the site again though.
That said, would you know what bike the swinger needs to come from? The DT360s of the era look similar, but I cant seem to find anyone that will take proper measurements for me. I could always lengthen the stock piece (as I've done before for bobber and racer projects) but would prefer not to.
Thanks for your time, and I look forward to seeing more of the R5 site!
Here's a shot of my nearly completed R5C project. It started as a barn find that I picked up in the 2009 Bike Week auction at Deland for $400. It looked pretty complete and usable, the motor turned over and it appeared to be an easy restoration.
Of course it wasn't. From the wooden seat base down to the decent looking, but rotten exhaust, every surprise was a bad one. The chrome wheels looked really good, removing the tires revealed they were unusable due to internal corrosion. And so it went. Surprisingly the motor was good, though the carburetors seemed to contain a hodge-podge of DS7/R5 parts.
I stripped it to a bare frame, powder coated that and began the build from there. I was looking for a rest-rod look, identifiable as an R5 but individualized. The wheels are built up from a pair of XS650 alloy rims with Buchanans stainless spokes. The engine is stock with a K&N filter relacing the air box, jetting and a set of silenced chambers. I also added a n electronic ignition system.The side covers were refinished with an "asphalt" powder coat finish. Forks were rebuilt, new shocks, sprockets and chain installed, bearings repacked and all the usual maintenance and preparation were done during the build.
The rusty turn signals were removed, the burnt out headlight bulb replaced with a (pricey) new one along with a new rim. The wiring loom was taken apart and remade. Handlebars are a Triumph pattern, narrowed about 2". I sourced a repro seat cover and found a better chain guard. I replaced as many fasteners as possible with stainless steel and fabbed up some others, like clevis pins. Some rusty chrome parts like the headlight bucket, taillight mount and brake linkages were powder coated.
As you can see, the paint pattern is stock but the colors are not. It is Porsche Guards Red and Black. I thought the original tangerine was dated and I recalled how good some 70's bikes looked in red/black (Kawi Z900, Sportster, etc.). In keeping with the black rather than chrome theme, I changed the side covers to red with black spears and did the "350" with a black inlay. I'm very happy with the new look.
I'd hoped to finish it by Bike Week 2010, but as happens the project took longer than expected. I'd only just finished it, but not yet solved the carburation issue, when I had a serious accident on another bike. I'm literally just now getting back on my feet, so I have yet to ride it. But I will, and very soon!
Love your web site and was very useful when I got started restoring & building up my WERA Vintage 2 class R5 racer. See photo attached and feel free to publish. She is a sweetie.