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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.

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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!

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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!

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Came across FixTheBike.com while I was updating the links in my previous posts (manual downloads should work correctly now). It's a great idea, similar to this site but much broader in scope - bring together all sorts of documentation on all sorts of bikes in one place for free download. From their wiki:

The first place on the internet that will try to pull together a vast ocean of motorcycle information into one place for everyone to find and use completely free of charge or restrictions.

The site looks very empty until you log in. Once logged in you will gain access to everything. This is to help prevent spammers and other bots from wrecking the site.

So please enjoy yourself. Please strongly consider uploading any documents you may have as this is the only way we can grow. Donations are always more than welcome to help cover bandwidth costs.

I already saw some stuff from this site up there, and I'm in the process of uploading some more...

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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!

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R5C 350 Riders Manual

Monday, August 13, 2007

Seeing as it's extremely hard to come by these days, and seeing as how mine is slowly crumbling, I figured I'd scan and post the "Rider's Manual" that came with the R5 when it was new. Fair warning though, it's a fairly large file. Enjoy!

R5C 350 Riders Manual (25.5 MB PDF)

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R5 Wiring Diagrams

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ok kids... a lot of you have been asking about electrical issues. Seems these bikes (as just about anything 30+ years old!) have a bunch of gremlins, and it can be a real pain sorting everything out. I'm in the middle of it myself. So I thought I'd revamp the diagrams on the site as well as highlight them all in one post here.

- R5C Wiring Diagram - from the 1972 Rider's Manual
- R5F Wiring Diagram - not a US model
- RD 250/350 Wiring Diagram - for reference, should you need it

Also here are two diagrams tracing the physical wiring harness as shown in the factory Service Manual to help you locate everything:

- R5C Wiring Harness Diagram 1
- R5C Wiring Harness Diagram 2

And finally, here is a link to a PDF of the electrical section of the factory Service Manual (via OMP).

Gotta love all the hand-drawn complexities and typos throughout! Anyways, I hope this helps!

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Main Switch Diagram

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A reader of the blog recently wrote in asking about the positions on the main switch, particularly the rightmost position. Here's a scan from the 1972 R5 Owners' Manual which sums it up nicely.


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Lacing a Spoked Wheel

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Instructables has a great step-by-step how-to on lacing wheels. Although the wheels in the example are from a Royal Enfield Bullet, the info within is still an excellent read. I've seen the motorcycle builds on TV and this process has always confused me. Check it out.


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Mikuni Super Tuning Guide

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Just came across this handy manual on the Mikuni USA carburetor owner's and tuning manuals page. This downloadable and printable manual helped me understand the inner workings of my VM carbs. Below is the direct link to the relevant PDF:

VM "Round Slide" Tuning Manual (1.3 MB)

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Some hard earned knowledge of the DS7

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I came across this DS7 page while helping out Nate, who recently picked up a DS7. There's a good section at the bottom that offers some tips that could be of some use for later Yamaha 2-stroke riders:
Riding technique is important. If you are not in the power band (6000 rpm up), twisting the grip to full throttle is not useful, and actually just helps foul the plugs. Be very patient and wait, or shift gears, until the engine gets to at least 5000 before hitting wide open. Otherwise you are just dumping extra oil into the cylinders and ruining your plugs.

The mufflers are too restrictive even when absolutely clean. They rapidly strangle the machine as they plug up with oily soot. So you need to drill a couple of holes about one eighth or 3/16 of an inch in diameter in the end of each baffle so some exhaust gas can bypass the baffle. It's best to not drill in the chrome area, just beside the exit hole is OK. Then you have to keep the baffles pretty clean, and maybe make a scraping tool to clean them out without always having to remove them. A long screw was what I used. (about 10 inches) I used it kind of like a little rake to scrape out the baffle.

Metallic ash can foul the spark plugs. There are two sources of this, one is leaded gas, which you can't find any more so no worries there. The second source is the 2 stroke oil. Yamaha says use oil "BIA Certified for service TC-W" I don't even need to look that up, 20 years later it's still engraved in my memory. Actually, you sometimes can't find this stuff but what you are looking for is "Ash free" oil. You can check the label. The DS7 ran with lots of oil, and that what partly contributed to fouling but also made the engine last a long time under severe use.

More information and plenty of pictures here.

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Rear Set Installation

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Finally, here it is! The rearsets go on! I documented everything while doing it, getting the camera nice and oily in the process. I apologize for the picture quality, as the lighting in the garage is not studio-grade, and I was one-handing most of the shots!

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Bend that Kickstart Lever!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Last night I went over to my friend Brian's house (fellow rider and business partner in PRIMER), where he graciously lent his vise, torch and shutterbugginess to my ongoing quest of mounting rearsets to the R5.

To recap, I got Raask rearsets for the R5 from friends for my 30th birthday. However, when mounted, the relocation of the rear brake lever impedes the full travel of the kickstart lever, meaning if I put 'em on I wouldn't be able to get the bike started easily. This required heating and bending the kickstart lever to clear the brake before mounting. I got a spare kickstart off Ebay a few weeks ago, and finally got the chance to start bending things into shape last night.

Here, Russ (in background, fellow Yammie rider and also a member of PRIMER), Brian and I take turns heating, bending, and swearing at the lever in Brian's basement workshop. It was quite fun, I must say. The process was well-documented by Brian himself:
Stay tuned... there's more to come on the saga of the R5 rearset install...

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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!

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Metallic Orange Paint Solution

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I've gotten a bunch of email from others looking for the orange metallic paint that's used on the R5... as far as I could discover, it was officially called "Mandarin Orange" and was used on the 71 and 72 R5s... see these documents:
1971 R5B (656k PDF) - Mandarin Orange over white
1972 R5C (756k PDF) - Mandarin Orange over black

You'll need the free Adobe Reader to view and print these files. Thanks again to Don Q for this info.
Well, after rooting around a little on the r5yamaha Yahoo! Group, I found a response posted by the always-helpful Ed:
There are no codes! House of Color 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.Thats 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 it is... no quick and easy bottle touch-up for me. O well - hopefully this info can get in the hands of some more people who need it by posting it here.

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R5 Model Identification

Monday, October 10, 2005

A few people have written in lately and asked me how to identify an R5. After some searching on the internet, I found that there was suprisingly little information about this. So I've decided to repeat a little information from some earlier posts and other sites to get this info into one comprehensive place.

The Yamaha R5 series is the predecessor to the RD series. The R5 models were built in 1970 (A model), 1971 (B model) and 1972 (C model). The R5 is a piston ported motorcycle, so unlike the RDs there are no reed valves. It also uses a 5-gear transmission, unlike the later 6-gear RDs. It was very similar to the YDS7, and used oil injection and front and rear drum brakes (the later RDs got the front disc brake).

For more information, photos and articles, scroll down the sidebar at left. For official specs, click here or scroll to the very bottom of the page.

In terms of overall model year color schemes, from what I've gathered:

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

This is the way you can tell the model years apart visually. But, as so many surviving bikes have swapped/lost body parts or been repainted, the next step is to check numbers:

Engine or Frame Numbers (start-end)
1970 R5(A) - R5-000101 - 013649
1971 R5B - R5-015101 - 042209
1972 R5C - R5-100101 - 130606

The R5 shares the same serial numbers for both engine and frame. You can find the engine numbers stamped in large numerals on a flat section of the left side of the case, above the shift lever. If the flat spot is there, but no number, most likely you have a replacement case.

The frame number is also stamped in large numerals on right side of the neck of the frame, just in front of the tank.

This info comes from a dealer document listing colors, start and ending engine and frame numbers on all Yamahas '62-74. A very generous Don Q scanned the docs from 1970-1972 (R5 model years) and posted them as PDFs on his site. The rest of the pages are so bad they are not readable and Don will have to type them up manually. His files are pretty big because of the scan, but have a great old photocopied look to them. You can download them from his site here, or you can download smaller, slightly cleaner PDFs here:

1970 R5(A) (536k PDF)
1971 R5B (656k PDF)
1972 R5C (756k PDF)

You'll need the free Adobe Reader to view and print the files.

Don is a very talented striper, flamer, letterer and artist located in Costa Mesa, California. There's some really good stuff on his site - check it out! Special thanks to Don for sharing this info.

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Grips and Mirrors

Friday, September 30, 2005

JD wrote in to ask a good question about the bar and grip setup on my R5:
I noticed that you have bar end mirrors, do you also have stock grips? If so how did you install the mirror on the throttle grip - just cut a hole?
Here's the deal. I replaced the stock bars for lower, somewhat uncomfortable, but much better looking cafe bars. In order to get the clutch lever off the stock bar, I had to cut the stock 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 open-ended ProGrip 698XL Superbike grips.

Well, sorta.

The 698XLs I ordered wound up being closed-ended, despite the description on the site I bought them from, and they didn't carry the open-ended ones. That's OK, though, as I discovered that I really wanted the 699 Superbike grips... same company, same material, just a cooler grip pattern. And supposedly open-ended. So I exchanged for those.

And, of course, they arrive close-ended. So at this point I simply took an Xacto to them and trimmed myself a hole. Both grips, as I had mirrors on both sides.

The grips are excellent. They really dampen the vibration of the motor. However, the bar-end mirrors, while looking rather trick, 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.

So, I decided to remove the bar-ends, replace the original black plastic caps that came with the cafe bars in their stead, and mount the original dental mirror. While it's only on one side, I really like the look of it. Plus, due to the lower speeds of the bike while cruising, I'm usually in the right hand lane anyways. I may keep an eye out for a NOS mirror for the other side too... might not look bad with both on there...

For more info, see posts titled Mirror Swap (5/31/04) and Hmmmm... (7/13/04), below.

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Good conversation

Monday, June 20, 2005

There's been some good newbie discussion going on the "r5yamaha" Yahoo! Group lately. Mel from Seattle wrote in with these good questions:

Hi, I recently purchased a 1972 R5, until my owner's manual arrives I have some basic questions:

1. What do most of you have for tire air pressure on stock size tires?
2. What fuel do you run? Is there a need for premium (92 octane) with compression only being 6.9:1? (forgive me but I am new in 2-stroke world).
3. Shop manual, any recommnedations?
4. Basic setup, where do I learn about air/fuel mixture setup, carb sync, idle speed, etc?

1. Engine runs strong, it has less than 8,000 miles. It accelerates really well (at least that is how it feels to me) however at coasting or compression braking (throttle closed) I get a lot of bucking and surging. Any ideas?

There have been some responses, this latest one from Ed:

Hey Mel,

Run premium fuel ALWAYS! You are running too lean and that's what you are hearing when you are cruising along at speed at part throttle.

The way to tune these is to make it rich to the point where it 4 strokes and then back it down to the point where it no longer does this. You want it as rich as possible to keep it cool. Never run anything less than a 120 main(I run 130)

keep the needles near the middle, set the float height at exactly (this is critical) 15mm, use a 30 or 40 pilot jet and play with the air screw some (start at about 1 3/4 turns out and go in from there till it runs smooth but doesn't make any clicking noises at about 60 mph for about 10 minutes). Run a STOCK air filter and baffles in the exhaust. Using a dial indicator and volt ohm meter (this is a must) set the timing at 2mm before TDC. At this point the points should just begin to open. You can tell this by the needle just starting to flutter on the vom. The points need to be set first. Do this at TDC and set them at 13 thou.

R5s are bullet proof, but until you get them set up right they can be difficult. It is extremely important that everything be correct for them to run right and be dependable. Once there they stay there with little work so take the time and set it up right now.

Hmmm... I have a bit of that bucking, so perhaps my timing is off... It's been about a year so I'm sure things need to be checked and reset.

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Points and Timing

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Chris wrote in to say hello and ask a few technical questions:

First off I'd like to compliment you on your fantastic looking R5, I hope mine can some day look that good as I am in the process of restoring it right now. I just had some questions that you may be able to answer for me regarding the points and condensors, Would you happen to know the point gap and its timing as well as the gap for the floats? If you have this information it would be greatly appreciated, or if you have any questions go ahead and let me know. Thank you very much.

This directly from the original Yamaha DS7/R5C/RD250(A)/RD350(A) Combined Service Manual (1973) that I was lucky enough to get with the purchase of the bike:

Timing should be checked anytime the points are re-gapped.

Tools necessary:
- dial gauge
- dial gauge adapter
- conductivity test lamp or Yamaha Point Checker
- point wrench
- flathead screwdriver
- 12mm wrench

1) Install a dial gauge adapter in the plug hole on the cylinder head, then install the gauge. Set the indicator to zero when the piston is at top dead center (TDC). Rotate the crankshaft against the normal direction of rotation to 2mm BTDC.

2) Set the point gap at 0.3-0.4mm (0.012-0.016") by moving the breaker plate. When adjusting ignition timing for the left-hand cylinder, adjust the point of the LH terminal (orange), while for the right-hand cylinder, adjust the points of the RH terminal (grey).

3) Connect the positive lead of the point checker to the insulated point terminal. Ground the negative lead of the point checker to the engine or chassis.

4) Loosen the breaker plate setting screw, and move the plate to the right or left with a flathead screwdriver until the point checker indicates the points opening at exactly 2mm BTDC. Do not fully loosen the screw, because the breaker plate tends to move when the screw is retightened. Turning the breaker plate in the normal rotating direction will retard the ignition timing, while turning in reverse direction will advance the timing.

5) Finally, tighten all screws, rotate the crankshaft against the normal, running direction until the dial gauge indicates 2.5mm BTDC. Then slowly turn the crankshaft in the normal running direction. The point checker should just swing into the green at 2mm BTDC, indicating the points are opening causing ignition.

6) For best performance each cylinder's specifications should be nearly identical. Point gap (L&R) should be identical and timing should be within 0.05-0.10mm. Timing on any one cylinder, besides being in balance, must be +/- 0.1mm of 2mm BTDC.

As for the gap for the floats, they should be set to 15mm.

Hope that helps!

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Mirror Swap

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I had bought bar-end mirrors for the R5 and installed them when I put on the clubman bars. While I love the clubmans, the mirrors really got on my nerves... 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 - not good when you actually need to check your background for a quick lane change.

So, this past weekend, while polishing the stinker to a high shine, I decided to remove the bar-ends, replace the caps in their stead, and mount the original dental mirror. While it's only on one side, I really like the look of it. Plus, due to the lower speeds of the bike while cruising, I'm usually in the right hand lane anyways. I may keep an eye out for a NOS mirror for the other side too... might not look bad...

Now I'll have to change the header image, as the bike has had some changes since...

Had a bit of trouble with the battery this weekend - it had gone totally dead... after two days on the charger it came back to life, but while riding, if I used the turnsignals, the bike would stall. Don't know what that's all about. Either the battery is bad, or the voltage regulator and/or rectifier units are bad...

Anyways, that's it for now... bike is due for inspection soon, so hopefully all this can get sorted out.

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Relocating the front turnsignals

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

One thing I remembered doing to my bike that I neglected to mention before was relocating the front turnsignal pods when putting on the aftermarket cafe bars.

When I got my R5, the front signals were mounted on the forks on factory-looking washer-like mounts located just under the top fork nuts:

Sorry the picture isn't very clear - these were taken by the previous owner and posted as part of the eBay auction. But at least you can see that the signals are not attached to the sides of the headlamp, but further back by the forks. You can see the bolts that hold the headlamp on just in front of the signal lenses. See the pic below for comparison.

Anyways, the problem was this - when I mounted the new cafe bars, the hand controls would not clear the turnsignals - there was just no way to have them both in the same spot. I had seen the front signals on other R5s mounted on either side of the headlamps, and in fact, there is a depression in the metal that is the same size as the end of the signal arm (I think there were holes for the locator pins as well - you can kinda make them out in the photo above). So with a little fineggeling I moved them there and ditched the mount washers:

Is there any reason to why some bikes have the fork mounting location and some are mounted on the headlamp ears? Model year difference? Is this something owners did for better clearance, or what?

Anyways, just something to keep in mind if your bike is set up the same way...

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Usenet stuff

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Just doing some searching around rec.motorcycles:

> A friend and I wanted a bike so, we looked in the classified and found
> an ad for a 72' Yamaha two stroke R5 350. The bike was sitting out in
> the rain for about ten years. That didn't daunt us so we it rebuilt
> anyway. We replaced the lower end, had the pistons rebored and bought a
> new battery and sparks. The bike started up then quit.

Been there. Seems like you have a pretty good start on making the bike
a runner. We'll get to the electrical problem in a minute. First you
need to take care of some other areas before they get to be real

If you don't have one already get a good manual, Clymer or Yamaha.

You made no mention of the fuel system. Here you need to:
1. Empty the tank, remove the petcock and clean that sucker out. If
there is rust buy a tank coating kit with an acid wash. Kreem makes an
outstanding example.

2. Empty and clean the oil reservoir. Its plastic so it won't rust.
Fill with a good quality premix. Golden Spectro or Yammalube.

These items are important because they not only feed fuel, but
lubrication to the engine. It is a good idea to add inline filters to
gas line.

> I took it into
> the shop and they dialed in the points. I took it home, it ran once or
> twice. Then it doesn't start again. In fact, it drains the battery. I
> know the problem is not the starter because it has a kick starter. I
> tried to push start it, no luck. I don't know what to do. And I don't
> want to spend a fortune to have a mechanic look at it. When it runs it's
> a really great bike to ride.

Sounds like it is not charging. First get a battery charger. They make
some inexpensive units. You don't want anything that charges over 1 amp
or you may harm the battery. I would recommend getting a "Battery

They run about $45 dollars but are excellent units that can be used to
keep any small battery at full charge without worry.

With the battery at full charge start the bike and hag a voltmeter
across the battery. It should read about 14 volts with the engine
running about 3,000 rpm. If not , get to checking. Since this thing
has set outside so long in the rain I would undo all electrical
connections, clean them and stick them back together using a dielectric
(conductive) grease.

Recharge the battery and restart the engine. Still no 14 volts? (it
will read 12 volts if not charging). You may have a problem in the
charging system itself. Could very well be the voltage regulator.
Follow the manual in trouble shooting the charging system.

DO NOT ride the bike unless it is charging. If the battery gets low the
ignition system can not do its job and the engine will detonate or eat
its own pistons. Trust me on this one. It happened to me.


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Want to convert an R5 into a TR3 replica?

Monday, January 10, 2005

I had already linked to another R5-TR3 conversion, but the parts listed were from Yamaha, and most are no longer available. Well, Jamie Linxwiler put together an up-to-date article on building a TR3 Replica R5/RD350, using parts and resources that are currently available. It seems like it's remarkably simple and straightforward process... and making a hybrid, street-legal version with the TR3 tank and seat could be very interesting... time to start saving sheckles...

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More feedback...

Friday, August 06, 2004

Hadn't checked in a while... got some responses to my introductory posting over at the Old Bike Barn forums. Big Bob writes:

Among the other bikes I've owned, my R5 was one of the favorites.

There were only a couple of things that turned out to be crucial, the first being don't try to make it do something it does not want to do. Mine would shake its head one time and lay right down on my left knee. Happily, they are not heavy beasties, and pick up relatively easily, although I should tell you that it's been more than 30 years since I had to pick it up.

If it smokes too much, odds are the oil mix pump needs adjusting - but don''t adjust it yourself to a no-smoke point - that could be followed shortly by a no-run point, and a large bill. It should smoke just a little at hard throttle.

They are good runners, although you're right in that they seem to hate a stead speed - but after all, it is a small Yamaha, and they're custom made for canyon racing, or for running up into Bucks County on some of the older roads. I'm a Hatboro class of 1960 graduate, so I know Street Road fairly well - you'd've been happier on a two-lane that was interesting - the four-lanes are best run with something larger and less intense.

The R5, when everything is just right, will run like stink, and embarrass many a larger bike, both at a light and back through the boonies. Mine spent a lot of time in the New Hope area, which was loaded with good practice roads.

Enjoy it - it is a fine machine, and should serve you well for years with minimal upkeep - just read the manual and do what it says.

And 79cb750f aptly adds:

Since it is the predecessor to the RD-350, the quintessential hooligan bike, you can do darn near anything to it racy.


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Cool café mods

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I had come across James Franzen’s unbelievably cool café Bimmer in my search for cool bikes. The Bimmer has a great one-off solo seat - I emailed him to inquire about it, as to how to go about making or finding a similar one. Here is his response:

The seat was a one-off unit made by a guy that designs stuff like this for a
living - so the unfortunate thing is he's the one with the fiberglass tricks
and not me.

From your site I can tell you've seen "Glass from the Past."
You might want to look at airtech's offerings:
But their server appears to be down this morning.

I am considering some of this guy's offerings on an old Ducati single I'm
building up:
It's in Australia but the US dollar goes farther there.

Because I want to run the old Ducati single with a bumstop seat and no rear
fender on the street, I'm designing a tail light/ brake light/ turn signal
unit that is ultra small - only 1/2" extension beyond the license plate and
super bright - with license plate illumination included. I only have
photographs of the prototype as the refined product is in fabrication now:

One last thing - a guy that saw my seat tried to make his own copy and
documented it on a website:

That R5 will make a sweet café racer! Good luck to you!

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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Been getting some feedback from members of yamahaydsownersgroup, in response to some newbie questions I posted there. A lot of people lean towards staying stock. One response in particular contained some real good stuff, so thought I'd pass it on:

Safer/better/more reliable?--Number one is tires. On R5's the tires
need to be updated to moderns---no ribbed fronts. Dunlops may be the
only ones available in your bike's size. Number 2 either change the
front brake shoes or have them rechamfered/grooved. Stock R5 front
brakes come on very sudden and will toss you in a sec. Number 3 is
replace the rear shocks with moderns. Number 4 is replace the
swingarm bushings with bronze sintered, and just change the fork oil
to good moly-based 10-15wt. Number 6 is replace the horn.

See where this is going??--Nothing to do with cafe or engine mods.

Only ergonomic item would be to go to low-rise euro-styled bars,
also called "BMW bars". Please don't go to flat bars; you'll hurt
your neck at best, won't be able to see at worst. The stock seat is
a plank, but is still more comfortable than cafe seats. Leave the
footpegs alone until later; most rearsets make shifting balky and
make the rear brake less effective with shorter brakearm. Any
concerns about grounding the stock under-pipe footpeg brackets is
from old magazine hype. This was always magazines' complaint about

Also posted more links I’ve found...


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