Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Neil writes in

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

R5 Rat Bike

Check out this thread about a sweet hardtail R5 rat bike project.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Insane custom R5 chop

Came across this insanely beautiful and meticulously hand-crafted R5 chop on Motorhugger. Interestingly, there's a small inset pic of my very own R5 in the writeup as an example of what "regular" R5s look like. Thanks! I'm grateful to have my bike shown alongside work like this!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Question of Time

Edson writes in with a question:

Hello Lawrence,

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.


Edson - I bought my bike off eBay, with no prior knowledge of two-strokes (or motorcycles in general for that matter). I took it to a licensed H-D mechanic, who had recently hired a Japanese bike specialist. It took about $500 worth of sorting, cleaning and replacement of worn parts to get her going again. This price did include things like lightbulbs, tires, etc, so depending on the state of the engine assembly, this figure could be less.

Hope that helps. Keep us posted on your progress!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Racer Change of Ownership

Ricky writes in with an update to the Slick R5 Racer post a few weeks back:
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

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reader Mail and Questions

Mike wrote in yesterday with some nice things to say about the site, as well as an interesting question:

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!

Thanks for the kind words Mike, and congratulations on the find! $40 sure is a deal!

There's of a lot of interchangeability between the R5 and the early RDs, and had heard of brake and transmission swaps most commonly. Makes sense that you could swap in a longer swingarm from within the Yamaha family and have things line up pretty well.

It also makes sense that a longer swingarm would help keep the R5 from pointing it's nose to the sky so much. I couldn't find much on swapping with an Enduro, but I did find mentions on a swap with an RD400 (assuming a 1973 model year or close). As with any swap of this nature, I'm not sure how it might mess with the suspension geometry...

I also noticed in my research that Spec II offers a racing swingarm with an adjustment for stock axle position or 1.5" rearward. Check with them to see which application would fit, as well as what other adjustments might be necessary in terms of suspension setup. Might be worth looking into, especially if you're looking to go for more of a racer look.

Does anyone know of any particular enduro swingarm swaps? Anyone willing to forward some measurements?

Thanks again Mike, and congratulations. Send pics of your progress and I'll be sure to post them here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Triple Engine R5 Drag Racer

I've seen this insane bike posted all around the internet. Unfortunately there's little information to go with it, other than it was photographed during "Suzukijoe's visit to Willow Springs"...

Found these images via 2 Stroke Biker Blog. Anyone have any more information on it?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Handmade Portraits: Liberty Vintage Motorcycles

Interesting interview with Adam of Liberty Vintage Motorcycles, which is located a few blocks away from where I used to live in the Fishtown/Kensington area of Philadelphia.

I've had the opportunity to visit the garage on a few occasions to speak with Adam. The place really is just jam-packed with all sorts of interesting stuff - cars, bikes, parts, signs, etc. This video is a really well-produced glimpse of Adam's persona, and very much worth watching.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Alan's Barn Bike Project

Alan of Jacksonville, Florida, wrote in to share his project and his story:

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!

The bike looks great - can't wait to see it when it's finished! See more projects going on at MOTOEURO.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Slick R5 Racer

Michel writes in from Leesburg, Virginia:

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.

That is one great-looking bike. Love the hand-doodled livery! Here's a closer look:

Thanks for sending that in, Michel!