<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener("load", function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <iframe src="http://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID=6771839&amp;blogName=1970-72+YAMAHA+R5&amp;publishMode=PUBLISH_MODE_FTP&amp;navbarType=SILVER&amp;layoutType=CLASSIC&amp;searchRoot=http%3A%2F%2Fblogsearch.google.com%2F&amp;blogLocale=en_US&amp;homepageUrl=http%3A%2F%2Flawrenceotoole.com%2Fr5%2F" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" height="30px" width="100%" id="navbar-iframe" allowtransparency="true" title="Blogger Navigation and Search"></iframe> <div></div>

Rajdoot 350

Monday, April 26, 2010

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.

Labels: , ,

Email this article:

Mandarin Orange Paint Code

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

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: http://www.hokpaint.com

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.

Labels: ,

Email this article:

Giving up on R5 project

Sunday, March 21, 2010

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 up....new 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.

Labels: ,

Email this article:

Recreating Dad's Bike

Sunday, March 14, 2010

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!

Labels: , ,

Email this article:

Campaigning an R5 "Back in the Day"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

After coming across the BikeEXIF article, I received the following letter and excellent collection of photos from Bob Crossman:

Lawrence ...

Came across your site via a link from Bike EXIF. Neat stuff ...

I campaigned an R5 "back in the day" in California in the ACA, AFM, & AMA. Won the 72 & 73 AFM 350 Production Championships on my "ole R5". In 1973 I added the 6 speed gearbox and the front disc brake from the RDs. Here's some shots you might enjoy:

My 1st Race, OCIR... Rode to the race, finished 5th out of 39 starters.

3 Different ideas about the "correct line". (Turn 6 at Riverside)
From left to right:
Me in the Blue & White leathers, R5
Scott Clough in the middle (RD350)
Rod Murufas on the right on his RD350
Finish order that day was Clough 2nd, Murufas 3rd.

Riverside in '73 after adding the RD front disc brake.

Not an R5, but the Jim & Jim's/ND Spark Plugs RD400 that I campaigned in the 400 box stock class. 16 wins, no defeats.

Thanks so much for sending these in!

Labels: ,

Email this article:

Chris writes in... with some questions (UPDATED)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chris sent in this nice letter, with some questions about swapping in a 6-speed an maybe doing a dry clutch. Anyone have any tips, suggestions, etc?

Greetings from Nashville TN USA. First off thank you for your web site. Ironically I stumbled across this page a few weeks before I had acquired my R5. I have been a motorcycle enthusiast most my life. 4 or so years ago I graduated from a motorcycle institute with Harley and Yamaha factory certifications. I worked on predominately Harleys before getting hired at a vintage british specialist shop. Before this I rarely thought of vintage motorcycles, now I can't seem to get 'em out of my damn head.

Anyways, so I got a '70 R5 from a buddy for a paltry 200 dollars american (I think its equivalent to about 17 quid now LOL) only problem was no tins, and someone had sawed off the rear loop. I was going to scrap the tank and seat anyways and I'm a decent welder so no big deal. So thanks to your site I have an idea of what I'd like to get out of this project. Something similar to the TR3. If interested I will keep you posted and have taken shots of all progress up to now. I have to decide whether to pony up the 500 for the Airtech fuel tank or test my abilities with carbon fibre (with which I have made a few pieces, nothing bigger than a bread box though). I plan on pounding out a seat from aluminum and my buddy does custom seats for motorcycles so I'm sure he can help me there.

If you have any advice, beyond what you have so graciously jotted down in your blog, it would be GREATLY appreciated. I also had got a RD 6 speed trans that I was thinking of placing in the cases but I failed to realize the 6 speed uses 4 shift forks whereas the 5 speed uses only 3. And I wanted to do a dry clutch like on the GP bikes, looks like I have some machining to do to fit some oil seals in place. If you've heard of either of these modifications done successfully that would also be quite valuable.


Thank you for the site, your fellow enthusiast, Chris

P.S. check us out at tnbritishmotorcycles.com

UPDATE: A reader writes in this response:

I am not sure about the dry clutch but the RD 6 speed bottom end blots in with no problems( entire gear box cases included) and the R5 covers and cylinders will fit up to it without modifications. I have done this to my R5 and I love the extra gearing.

Here is a pic of the RD case installed. Good luck.


Email this article:

Fellow R5er

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nick writes in with some kind words about the site:

Hey Lawrence

I have been really using your site for a lot of help on my R5. I feel like I should start giving back to the cause…

I am planning on taking a year long trip on my Yamaha R5C 350. If you have any advice or anything you want me to tell the world while I’m out there let me know. I also wanted to send you some bike supplier support. I’m sure you have already heard about them but HVC has done a lot for me, both technically and mentally. HVCcycle.com

Both you and HVC along with everyone who has ever been passed by a 350 really has been supportive. And if there is anything I can do or say about your experiences or your friends with R5’s let me know.



Email this article:

Cole's Mean Green R5 Project

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cole wrote in this morning with some photos of his great bike:

I've been lurking your site for a few months when I bought me a 72 R5c.... it supposedly just needed to have the carbs cleaned and the airbox reconnected to run. Well 4 months and lots and lots of parts later it is finally finished! Or at least finished for now. I attached a few pictures of it... It has a new top end bored out 4th oversize, new DG exhaust, new paint, tires, etc, bobbed rear fender.

Love that seat and the bobbed rear fender. Gives the bike such a purposeful look...

Labels: ,

Email this article:

Australian Restoration

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jeff Gascoyne is located in Kangaroo Flat, Australia (about 150 km north of Melbourne) where they have an active group of early Japanese bike enthusiasts. Above is Jeff's bike, and below is something Jeff wrote for the vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club Inc (Australian Branch), Central Victorian Region newsletter called Jap Torque:

I have recently completed a full restoration of a 1972 Yamaha R5C that I have owned since around 1978. It was used daily, mainly as a commuter, until the EPA sent me a letter in 1995 informing me that it was emitting excessive smoke, which it was. The bike has been a project bike since then with progress being very slow until quite recently.

The R5C was the forerunner to the RD models and in its day was quite a quick machine. Yamaha claim a top speed of 160 km/h plus. The engine is a 2 stroke air cooled, 5 port, parallel twin cylinder with a capacity of 350cc. The net weight of the bike is 141kg and the maximum output of the engine is 36 BHP @ 7000rpm. Maximum torque is 28.0 ft lb @ 6500 rpm. The braking system uses drum brakes front and rear. The fuel tank has a capacity of 12litres and the bike has a 5 speed gearbox. The bike was finished in mandarin orange.

The bike has been completely disassembled. The frame, swing arm, tail light bracket and some other parts have been powder coated. New swing arm bushes have been fitted, as well as front and rear wheel bearings and seals, steering head bearings and brake shoes.

The front fork legs were pitted and I sent them to Queensland, Rad Hard Chroming, for repair. They were great to deal with and did a terrific job. The forks have new seals and the aluminium outers have been polished and have been assembled ready to be fitted to the bike.

Most of the chromed pieces, i.e. mudguards, brake levers, chain guard, mufflers and various other pieces have been rechromed. I have used the local electroplater and have been pleased with their work.

The seat frame was very badly rusted with sections eaten away. I rebuilt the frame using sheetmetal and then encased the frame with fibreglass matting. I then sprayed it black with epoxy paint. It looks like it will do the job very well. I purchased a new seat foam and cover from HVC Cycle and had it fitted by a motor trimmer..

Nearly all of the fasteners have been replaced with stainless and any Phillips head screws have been replaced by socket screws. I know that this is not original but I hate Phillips head screws.

The engine has been fully dismantled and the cylinders rebored and fitted with new pistons and rings. The crankshaft and gearbox were inspected and found to be ok.

I have bought new sprockets that will suit an o ring chain (530) as the original chain is a 525 which is not available in an o ring chain. I have kept the same ratio, 40:15.

Obtaining parts has not been the problem I thought it would be. Richard Penna (a local motorcycle dealer) has been particularly helpful and it is surprising the stock he has. I have purchased parts from overseas from two places, HVC Cycles (www.hvccycle.com) in the USA have been excellent as have CMS (www.cmsnl.com) based in the Netherlands. Most parts I have been able to obtain are genuine Yamaha (i.e. handlebars, seals, petrol and oil hoses, etc.).

Painting was done locally and I have been very pleased with the result. I was not able to find the original paint code (mandarin orange and black) as I intended to keep the paint as close as possible to the original.

The bike runs perfectly, is registered and on club plates and I have recently joined the VJMC and have enjoyed catching up with like minded enthusiasts. I would be pleased to hear from anyone in regard to my project and would value advice and opinions given.

Labels: , ,

Email this article:

Stolen R5?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Got this email over the weekend, thought I would pass on the info:

I just came across your site tonight wish i had found it sooner you have great information

I am trying to get this information out on my ride that was stolen yesterday.

metalic purple 1970 r5-350 engine & frame #009571

If any one comes across anyone looking for parts or selling parts this bike was stolen in Boaz Alabama on 3-20-2009

Any info appreciated. I will forward on...


Email this article:

More Reader Mail

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Frank from Rileyville, Virginia, writes in to share his bike and his "near miss" with my R5:

Pics of my bike, these are the only ones I have of it, but it hasn't changed any since.

It's a 71 R5 with RD top end, front end, and body, done by the previous owner. DG chambers, Y-boot with K&N, carbs re-jetted to match. Future plans include an electronic ignition, cafe seat, and clip ons. I have an R5 oil tank and side cover, I'll get them on too.

I've been visiting your blog since shortly after you started it. I remember being exited about the amount of enthusiasm you had for the bike and just how good it looked! It made me want to find the stock parts for mine and return it to stock! Anyway, I was looking through your pics and had seen a few that looked familiar, it didn't make sense since I've never seen your bike before. When I read that you bought it on Ebay, and the pictures were from the auction, it made sense. I was watching that same auction, I almost bid on that bike. I didn't for two reasons, I had a bike to resurrect and didn't have the time and money for two, and my wife would knock my head around if I bought another one. Just before all this I had 5 bikes, sold all but my R5. I regret not bidding on the bike since it was so nice after you cleaned it. I remember feeling a bit angry and "kicking myself in the ass".

But I can honestly say that I'm glad you got it. You've taken such good care of it and the contribution you have made to the 2 stroke community is immense. I come back to your site now and again because I know there will be something new and exicting on it.

My other favorite places;

2 Stroke World

Mark Haas, genius of the 2 stroke

Labels: ,

Email this article:

Project R5 in Myrtle Beach - SOLD

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Joe wrote in with some nice things to say about the site, and to request I pass on some info about his R5 project for sale in South Carolina:

Do you know anyone willing to buy a project bike? I bought it for $300 and have only put about $50 into it... but I've had a fellow put $50 bucks down on it 6 weeks ago; but has never come back... So, I'll happily take $300 for it. I put on a front brake handle, and front right "original" turn signal lens, also carb floats.

I’d love to post it for sale on your site. I am in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I’ve had the bike in my yard for sale, and have had several bites… but no takers, yet.

Get in touch with Joe
if you are interested...

Labels: ,

Email this article:

Steve's Father-Son R5 Story

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Steve wrote in with some nice things to say about the site, as well as a really great story to tell:

Hello, I wanted to first thank you for your very inspirational site. I check here often. I wanted to share my story and my bike with you.

I'm 36 years old and my dad had this old 1971 Yamaha R5 almost since I was born. It was always an "old motorcycle" that I never paid much attention to. He rode it rarely. Although, I have some cherished memories on the back seat, leaned into the sissy bar enjoying the thrill only a 7-year-old could understand. (See the attached picture for a pic of me as a boy on the back with my dad.)

For the last 15 years, it mostly sat, dirty and rusting in my parent's garage. "When are you going to get rid of that leaky motorcycle" my mom would occasionally say.

One day my dad chimes in "I think I'm going to put the motorcycle at the curb, sell it for $50." Something went off inside me. I HAD to have the bike. I had never ridden a motorcycle, never cared about motorcycles. Certainly knew nothing about fixing one. But I had to have this piece of family history. My Dad gave it to me for free on the spot. The next week I picked it up on a trailer and hauled it 60 miles home to my house. It barely ran and looked tired. One cylinder was misfiring. One carb barely working. Exhaust so clogged-up it couldn't go over 40 mph. There was a thick layer of grime and oil on everything. Did I mention my dad NEVER washed it? Seriously, maybe a fender got wiped off now and then. But for the most part, road grime and oil coated every nook and cranny.

I got it home and immediately began tearing it apart and sorting every bit. Did I mention I have never taken apart or worked on a motorcycle before? I spent over a year, part-by-part restoring the Yamaha in my garage. Bought an old manual, but did most of it on instinct. I found amazing satisfaction in figuring things out as I went. The bike was an absolute dream to work on. I was never intimidated, and every restored part was gratifying beyond belief.

Somehow, it seemed the layer of grime had sealed in the bike pretty well. No major damage to fix. Only surface rust to deal with. Solid electrical and a very happy motor after a top-end rebuild. I learned all about taking carbs apart. I repainted the frame (with the engine still in, don't ask) and stripped and repainted the bodywork to match the original. I kept the bike as original as I could. Only replacing the stock bars and mirrors. I found a few loose parts like the badges on eBay. But for the most part, I kept her original. There wasn't a square inch on the bike that didn't get my attention to bring her as close to new looking as my meager budget would allow.

This is my baby now, I still putter with her in the summer and ride her when I can. Did I mention I have a Ducati Monster that has drawn my attention lately? But the Duc cannot compare to the old soul of this girl. Every so often I get my son on the back (see other picture) and hope he's enjoying it as much as I did. Now if only I could find a nice sissy bar.

Steve also sent along some great photos:

Labels: ,

Email this article:

Sunny's R5

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sunny sent in a photo of her latest acquisition... looking good!

Labels: ,

Email this article:

Dave's R5

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dave wrote in to share some pics and info about his build:

I ended up with this bike and two others from a friend who knew I wanted one of these things real bad. They were all parts bikes and for some reason each one had a part needed to make a complete bike.

This is the first time i have done a ground up but it was worth it, The R5 is a bike that will stand out in history as a Giant killer and I had to have one. I started this project in the winter of 2004 and had it compleated in the summer of 2005 with the resources I had and have been working on it ever since. This is a rider and it will always be!

Currently I am putting a fresh top end on it so I will let you know how that works out.

Labels: ,

Email this article:

Reader Mail / Relocating Signals

Monday, November 26, 2007

Michael Brito wrote in:

Great web site. Awesome bike. In fact your R5 inspired me to refurbish an R5 of my very own. I would like to know where you got the turn signals for your R5 so I can relocate mine. Did you farm out most of the paint work? How much $$$ did you put into your R5?

Thanks for writing!

I wrote a little about relocating my front turn signals here. After Mike wrote in, I realized now that I didn't go into much detail. I hadn't bought aftermarket signals, I just used the ones that were already there, but were mounted to the forks using brackets. From what I can remember, here's the process:

- remove the nuts on top of the forks
- slide off bracket and turn signal
- remove bracket from turnsignal
- replace fork nuts
- disconnect wiring to signals (no cutting necessary)
- remove headlight from bucket, reroute wiring (from bike) into the bucket from the hole in back
- remove nuts holding bucket to flanges on both sides
- run wiring (signal) through holes in headlight flanges and bucket
- align signal base to depression on flange
- use signals to hold bucket to flanges, reuse nuts to tighten bucket and flange to signal
- reconnect wiring, test
- remount headlamp

Sounds complicated, but I figured it out just by fiddling around myself, so with the above directions anyone should be able to do it no problem.

As for the paint, I was lucky and found a bike that had been parked in a garage for most of it's life. There's little damage, just a few dents and chips. I haven't done much in terms of paint besides cleaning and waxing.

If you're looking for the metallic Mandarin Orange paint, unfortunately you're out of luck as it's no longer made. Here's a link to some discussion about a possible House of Kolor alternative.

All in all, I haven't spent much on the bike, $550 to buy, and about $1000 in parts and work to get it running, inspected, new tires, new bars, one new sidecover, and a NOS matching mirror. Not bad for such a great little bike!

Labels: ,

Email this article:

Manual Madness!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tom writes in with some great stuff he'd like to share:

I have been using your site for months now as I work on restoring my 72 R5C. I was kindly sent these files though from a fellow two stroker I met though Craigslist. He insisted that since this info is so hard to find that I should share it in any way possible. So I am sending it to you for if you want it on your site. I am not sure of the legality of this though. This info is very old and I doubt any publisher will say anything, but you never know. These files are quite large though and will take a while for people on dial-up. They have all been worth their weight in gold to get my R5C on the way to running again. Maybe in return if anyone knows of a killer deal on a pair of carbs for my bike they can drop me a line?

Here are links to the files. They're rather large, so be prepared for long download times:

Yamaha Service Manual for DS7, RD250, R5C & RD350 1972-1973
Yamaha Motor Corp, 1974
51.75MB, 113 pages

How to Fix your Yamaha Two Cylinder, Two Stroke Motorcycle
Intertec Publishing Corp, 1975
76.25MB , 86 pages

Yamaha 250-400cc 2-Stroke Twins - 1965 - 1978 - Service and Repair Manual
Clymer Publications, 1978
88.55MB, 190 pages

And please, let me know if you can help Tom out with a set of carbs!

Labels: , ,

Email this article:

Martin's Gorgeous R5 on EBAY!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Martin wrote in this morning to inform me that his YR5 (featured previously on this site here an here) is currently up for auction on Ebay UK.

Here is his auction description:

Yamaha YR5 350cc 2-stroke twin also sometimes designated the R5

This is an original UK bike, it has some history to suggest that it was raced in the early 70s and then converted to road use. It has only had 3 owners. The 2nd owner died in 1980 after which his widow stored the bike until it was sold to a family friend in 1999, since then it has stood almost unused for 7 years until I bought it last year.

I recommisioned the bike from the ground up

New battery

Full service,


Hagon rear Shocks

New screen & Nosecone,

Reground Fork Stanchions and seals

The frame has been powder coated

and many parts chromed.

It has been a great bike to ride and has always drawn crowds at places like Matlock Bath. But unfortunately I suffered a seized the engine when the right hand 2 stroke oil pipe came loose.

After searching all year I have managed to find some original NOS pistons, rings& gaskets from America and Japan and have had it rebored by PJ engineering (motorcycle engineering specialists of Wolverhampton).

So far it has been rebuilt and started, that’s it. It sounds ok and has not currently done any miles.

I realised this bike is too rare to use regularly. So I have bought myself an Aprilia 250 because I enjoyed the two stoke so much

This bike deserves a collector, or Yamaha Dealer as a show piece, it would be great to parade or show.

The bike is in a Phil Read replica colour scheme, It has original Mead speed sports fairing, race tank & seat. The wheels have been upgraded at some point to RD400 alloys.

The exhausts are 1970’s originals and are stamped into the metal “Codnor Light Fabrications” this is a Derbyshire company that we now know as Micron.

It is fitted with Piranha Electronic ignition and starts first or second kick every time.

Front brake is disc with braded hoses using a standard RD350 front calliper & disc, so parts are no problem

I have some correspondence that the last owner past on to me from Padgett’s of Batley, plus Classic Bike, Yamaha, and Len Manchester motorcycles. This seems to support the case that the bike was prepped for racing, as many where from new and then put on the road by the 2nd owner. This seems correct as the fairing tank seat exhausts etc are all period early 1970,s but the rear light is from an RD400 which was not made until 5 years into the 70,s

Also included are the original Yamaha workshop manual and several magazine articles from magazines of the time in the early seventies

This is probably the only surviving example of a Yamaha proddy racer put on the road in the uk. Grab a real pierce of nostalgia.

I am selling as I have 5 bikes and my daughter is about to turn 16. I need the space for her 1st bike!!!!

The bike is MOT,ed and Taxed to October. The tax is free as it is tax exempt! The bike is in immaculate condition and is ready to show

Please ring for extra photos and spec.
Martin 07988800194

Labels: , ,

Email this article:

Colin's R5

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Colin writes in to tell us about his recently acquired R5:
I have been looking for a nice two stroke for some time now. Something that was relatively cheap, but ran. I wasn’t looking for show quality or anything just something to get around DC on and tinker with. I came across this ’71 R5 owned by an older gentleman for over 30 years. Cosmetically it has seen some wear but the engine runs great and sounds great too. I sent along some pictures. This is exactly how I bought the bike. How about that sissy bar, amazing. Fortunately in about ten minutes the sissy and highway bar come right off. Short term I am going to put some clubman bars and some rearsets. Then slowly when the money comes in will start cleaning up the parts. It was a wedding present for myself. Great website about the only place I found good useful information on the bike.

Excellent find!

Sounds like you're on the same course as I am, with clubmans and rearsets. Funny, my bike came equipped with almost the exact same sissy bar! Weird scroll thing going on...


Email this article:

Great Reader Mail

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dave Hess from Selinsgrove, PA, wrote this excellent letter to me earlier this week. Stuff like this makes working on this site worth the while:


Two months ago my mother had to move to an assisted living home, so we had to clean out the old homestead. I came across my old Yamaha R5B I parked in her summer kitchen (shed) back in 1979. Wow, what a mess! I was going to roll it into the dumpster we rented but my brother told me I should try to get a few bucks for it on ebay. When I checked the prices these old bikes were bringing on ebay I just about fell off my chair! I decided to try to clean the bike up in hopes of upping the value of the old girl.

Needless to say, when I saw the shine come back on those fenders and the mandarin orange paint come back to life, it took me back to my college days when I used to jam a few bucks in my pocket and disappear on my R5 for days on end. That old sense of freedom I had back when times were much simpler struck me! All I wanted to do was fire up my old R5, listen to her throaty two-stroke rumble, smell the blue smoke coming out of her exhaust and ride into the sunset! I remembered riding with a gang of my friends back in the 70's, and just what a performer my bike was. They all had bigger bikes with far more cc's, but my R5 just blew them all away.

In doing research on the bikes I came across your website, which I must tell you is a real breath of fresh air. It shows the genuine appreciation you have for the Yamaha R5's and it has really motivated me to get my bike back on the road. Needles to say, I'm about half way through my restoration project. I'd like to share some pictures when I get a chance.

Thanks for the site. It's a real pleasure and something I look forward to seeing when each update comes to the net!

Dave Hess
Selinsgrove, PA

Dave, thanks for the great letter! I'm also very proud to know I played a (small) role in getting your bike back up and running. Please send in those pics and keep us updated!


Email this article:

Jesse Writes In

Friday, June 08, 2007

Jesse from Arlington, Virginia, writes in to share some pics of his newly-acquired R5 and ask a few questions:

Hi Lawrence,

I just came across your R5 website. Very nice! I just took posession of my 1st R5 this weekend. It's an orange 1972 R5C that is need of some restoration. I have restored 4-stroke British bikes in the past (I'm currently riding a 1978 Triumph) but this is my 1st 2-stroke machine. Are there any listservs, discussion boards, etc. that focus on the R5 or Japanese 2-strokes in general?

Good-lookin' bike, Jesse! Love the exhaust! You can see more of Jesse's bike on his Flickr page.

Jesse raises a good question in his email. I've gotten a bunch of similar emails from other readers who are looking to ask questions in a firum setting. I've come across a number of sources for R5-related info in my research - here are a couple of links:

Here are some discussion groups:

Yahoo! R5 group - http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/r5yamaha/
Yahoo! YDS Owners group - http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/yamahaydsownersgroup/

A couple of other forums to try - much more generic, for a wider variety of bikes:

USA 2Strokers - http://www.usa2strokers.com/forum/default.asp
OBB - http://www.oldbikebarn.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi
Cycle Forums - http://www.cycleforums.com

There are also some shops out there dedicated to these bikes. Some good ones that come to mind are:

HVC - http://hvccycle.com
Moto Carrera - http://www.motocarrera.com
Spec2 - http://www.spec2.com
Omar's - http://omarsdtr.com

Check out the links in the sidebar for more. Hope that helps!


Email this article:

More on Martin's Gorgeous R5

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A few posts ago I presented Martin's beautifully restored R5 road racer (see Martin's Gorgeous R5 April 13, 2007). I asked Martin to elaborate a little more on the bike, to tell me the specs, the restoration, the original history, etc... Well, he responded - check out the before and after above!

Here is a little of its' known history:

I purchased the bike in 2006 and it was in the condition shown [in top photo]. It was in running condition although all of the fibreglass was crazed.

The bike was originally sold by Granby Yamaha in 1970 and set up with the full sports fairing from new... The bike has only had 2 previous owners the first for 2 years and the 2nd from 1972 to 1980 when I an told he unfortunately died of cancer, the bike was then looked after by a friend who started it regularly and rode very occasionally.

On the day I collected the bike it started with no problems and I took it into my van to my local dealers where it passed its MOT test . So I arrived home with a fully working motorcycle after it had been mostly out of use for 20 years!

The 2nd time out the oil pipe came loose and it seized on one side. After some fantastic help from Governors Bridge Motorcycles in Atherstone UK (01827 712906) who had a brand new pair of 1st oversize Dykes type pistons in stock I decided to completely restore the bike.

The forks where slightly pitted so I sent them for rechroming and machining to Philpot's in Luton who did a great and speedy job, the barrels where rebored by Paul Jones at PJ Motorcycle engineers in Wolverhampton UK. I have used Paul for years and he is without doubt the UK's best 2-stroke specialist.

Finally I repaired all of the tank, seat & fairing myself. The fibreglass was completely rubbed back through the gel coat, then had several lays of finish re-applied to deal with the crazing. Mark Burgess at Jawell paints in Wolverhampton who I use regularly helped with advice, and the final finish was 1 coat etch primer, 1 coat high built acrylic primer, 2 coats of 2 pack white gloss which was hand matched by Mark to a sample of the original fibreglass colour, and the stripe is in 2 pack Rosso Corsa. The paint scheme has been based on Phils Read's 1969 factory bike.

Thanks for sharing, Martin!

Labels: ,

Email this article:

R5 from Denmark

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Flemming Juel from Frederikshavn, Denmark, writes in to share pics of his beautiful 1971 R5B. He notes that they "they speaks for themselves"... and boy, do they. Gorgeous!


Email this article:

Lee's Barn Find

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lee writes in to tell us about his find - this 1972 R5:

I thought you might like these pics of my "barn find", a 72 r5c. My buddy and I bought this, 2 GT185 Suzukis and a Honda CB450 for only $400. They were all mostly complete and extra dirty, but otherwise in decent shape. I only have about $200 and some blood sweat and tears into it so far and it runs great after some carb cleaning/tuning, custom baffles, new ignition switch, bars, grips, levers and some straightening of some tweaked bits. Check out the tank emblems I made on the CNC at work out of stainless steel (about 8hrs. of cut time), I couldn't bring myself to pay what they want for reproductions. Thanks for the website, it's very informative.

Nice job on those emblems! They look great! And great job on finding 4 bikes for $400 - not bad!

Keep up the good work, and let us know how you progress on those other bikes!


Email this article:

Martin's Gorgeous R5

Friday, April 13, 2007

You all know how much I love road-going racers (see posts here and here).

So you can imagine my joy when I received an email from Martin in the UK. Pictured above is his beautiful 1970 R5 sold by Granby Motorcycles of Ilkeston, England. I don't have much info yet, as the email was brief. All that is known is that, much like my bike, this one has been fully restored after spending 20 years in a garage.

Love the work done here - all the style of a racer (fairing, fenders, tank, seat, chambers) with the necessities of a road bike (lights, etc). I love the way the original sidecovers and oil tank were incorporated... everything looks in place!

I've asked Martin to elaborate a little more on the bike, to tell me the specs, the
restoration, the original history, where the parts came from (fairing, seat, any custom fabrication he's done), etc... I'd love to write up an article about this great bike. Hopefully he has more pics, particularly any in-progress or pre-restoration - that would be great!

I'll post more info when I get it.

Thanks Martin!

Labels: ,

Email this article:


Sunday, March 18, 2007

There is much progress across the pond (just look at all the innards there!) as Stephan Morris continues the renovation of his '72 R5C.

His work is getting me motivated to sort my bike out. Right now, the battery is holding a charge (so that problem is finally fixed) but the bike won't start. I just keep kicking until gas starts leaking out of the exhaust. Not good. Picking up a tune-up kit (points and condensors) very soon...

Labels: ,

Email this article:

Rising Sun Tank

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Chris Scholey from Ontario sent these pics in to keep us up to date on his project. Great paint scheme, no?

Can't wait to see the finished bike...


Email this article:

1972 YR5 Renovation Project

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Paul Watts wrote in to let me know about Stephan Morris' just-started teardown and restoration of his R5 in the UK. The level of detail in this article is excellent, going step-by-step and photographing everything.

I for one am going to be paying very close attention to this restoration as it progresses, so that I might pick up a thing or two - for the rest of you I'm sure this information will be invaluable as well. Thanks for sharing, Paul!


Labels: ,

Email this article:

Chris' RD350 Progress

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Chris wrote to me back in October of 2005 showing me his newly acquired 1973 RD350 (see here for post and "before" pictures). Well, over a year has passed, and he's made quite a lot of progress on his machine. Let's see what he's done:

  • Newtronics ignition (I would recommend installing this, worth the money)
  • New Wiseco pistons (lucky that the stock bore just needed honing after finding that one of the lead counterweights let loose off of the crank and went whizzing through the rest of the motor)
  • Used crank from another R5 motor I purchased as scrap from local motorcycle shop (50 bucks! score)
  • Polished all the aluminum I could on the motor before re-installing
  • New stock seat cover (Ebay not cheap)
  • All new black paint job
  • New stock hand grips
  • Rebuilt carbs (found the piece you posted quite informative)
  • As the cold weather approaches, the next task to tackle is chrome spokes on some aluminum rims
I almost sold it on Ebay but, was able to feel out how much I could get for it. I couldn't bring myself to part with. Anyways, keep the website up. It seems that there is resurgence in popularity in these bikes.

I agree, there has been a resurgence in these bikes. They're cheap, simple, fun and good-looking. Good to see such interest in getting these guys back on the road, and in such good style as Chris' ride. Just take a look at this engine:

For those interested in the carb article that Chris mentioned, see my Mikuni tuning post here.

Labels: ,

Email this article:

Great mail

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sorry, been a while... PRIMER has been keeping me busy...

But that hasn't stopped the mail from coming in... Just got this great message the other day, had to pass it on:
Dude, you're my hero! My first motorcycle was a 1969 Honda 90 purchased for $200 in the summer of 1973. I was 15 and full of piss and vinegar. A year later I sold the Honda and bought a 1973 R5C. When I bought it it had a sissy bar and ape hanger handle bars. I yanked those off right away and put a set of clubmans on. The kids at school kept asking me, "Isn't it hard to steer with those handlebars?" Anyway, your restoration looks just like my Yammie looked over thirty years ago. I'm inspired. I might just try a resto myself!
Sounds familiar! Glad I can help inspire - I say, get that bike back out there!


Email this article:

Transmission Fluid?

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sorry it's been a while since my last post - things have gotten busy around here...

Joe Hill wrote in with some excellent questions about the R5 transmission fluids:
The question I have is the transmission. Where should the fluid level be? Is there a way to drain the fluid and replace it? And what type of fluid does it take? I checked the trans fluid today, (the plastic cap and dipstick on the right side of the bike sitting on it) and it looked very low. I could see a gear. The guy I bought it off said that it was reciently changed, but other things he told me were done to the bike turned out to be false. I think it needs fluid but I don't know how much it holds or what type. I also need to know if there is an easy way to drain out what is in it to make sure the correct amount gets put in.

Well, Joe, I checked my trusty manual, but found nothing in the transmission sections, nor in the specs section listing capacities. I found it under the "Removing the Engine" section, of all places:

As you can (sorta) see in the photo, there is a single bolt in the underside casing of the transmission, just in front of the arm holding the driver footpegs around the exhaust pipes. This is the drain plug. Take it out to drain the tranny fluid.

The manual goes on to say:
- Warming up the engine will quicken draining the oil.
- The amount of oil is 1500cc (1.6 qts). Motor oil SAE 10W/30 should be used.

Seems pretty simple. At first I thought the perhaps the Autolube system was responsible for oiling the transmission as well, but since the specified oils are different, this cannot be the case. It must just be a self-contained oil bath, and it's probably a good idea to drain and replace anyway. After seeing this, I'll probably wind up doing this myself!

Hope that helps!

Labels: ,

Email this article: