Yamaha R5 Road Tracker – BikeBound


Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

Scott Pickett’s “Traditional American Road Tracker”…  

Launched in 1970, the Yamaha R5 350 was the predecessor of the storied RD twins that smoked their approach into the hearts of a era. Whereas the RD collection would add six-speed transmissions and reed induction, the R5 paved the best way, cementing Yamaha’s fame for producing two-stroke giant-killers.

“The Yamaha R5 350 was in lots of respects the crown jewel of Yamaha’s persevering with 2-stroke program. Whereas it put out the identical 36hp because the earlier 12 months’s twin, a rise in torque and different refinements meant it simply boasted the very best efficiency of any 2-stroke Yamaha had ever made.” –Bike Classics

The R5 was a lot much less peaky than its predecessors, with Cycle World claiming that “the R5 pulls like a 500 once you twist the grip in fifth.” As you may think, this smoother energy supply was particularly appreciated on filth tracks across the nation, the place a light-switch powerband is not any good friend to traction.

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

Lately, we heard from Scott Pickett of Colorado, who actually grew up in his father’s Yamaha store in Kankakee, Illinois, which opened in 1963 — the identical 12 months Scott was born! As you may think, Scott received an early begin on two wheels.

“I constructed my first {custom} motorbike at 15, after I stuffed a CS5 200cc engine in a LS2 100CC body! I used an RD60 tank and a TY175 trials bike seat and made some clip-on bars for it!”

Scott getting an early begin on two wheels!

Since leaving Illinois within the early 80s, Scott has continued engaged on bikes out of his house storage, doing all the pieces he can himself.

“I do all of my very own fabrication and welding and even the entire stitching of upholstery. I did ship the cylinders out to be bored, nevertheless it pains me to do it since I’ve the flexibility to do it myself, simply not the tools!”

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

Having raced flat observe on Yamaha XS650/750s and a Trackmaster-framed TT500, Scott picked up this ’70 R5 as a “very tough unique barn discover” and got down to create his imaginative and prescient of the “traditional American Road Tracker”…with a spotlight that will be extra Tracker and fewer Road.

“The purpose was to construct a motorcycle as near an precise period-correct flat tracker whereas nonetheless assembly minimal avenue authorized necessities.”

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

Aptly nicknamed “Yellow Habit,” this two-stroke avenue tracker options an XS650 entrance finish — resprung for the R5’s lighter weight with gold cartridge emulators — and a modified ’86 Yamaha Fazer swingarm. The bike is rolling on a pair of Yamaha 19-inch entrance wheels, with quick-change rear wheel adapters for simple gearing modifications and an oversize rear disc to compensate for the two-stroke’s lack of engine braking.

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

The engine was rebuilt with a brand new crank and high finish, however Scott saved the inventory porting for a extra filth track-friendly energy curve. It now breathes by way of a set of Mikuni carbs with UFO-style “circulation optimizers” that Scott made himself, as they don’t make them within the 28mm dimension he wanted.

“They draw a lot extra gasoline up the needle that I went from #25 pilot jets right down to #12.5s and I needed to decrease the needle to its lowest setting! It went from a bit sluggish to a ‘raise the entrance wheel’ kinda snap off idle!”

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

Scott says the bike an absolute ball to journey, and it seems to be correctly track-ready with the XR750-style Gopher Glass bodywork and velocity block livery, as if it’s simply escaped the closest filth oval for a rip by way of city — simply as supposed. Whereas Scott did 99% of the work himself, he credit his outdated man for educating him the best way of two wheels:

“I’d wish to thank my dad for educating me to like bikes and belief my capability to construct something. He has an ear for carb tuning that I’ll probably by no means have, however I’m nonetheless studying from him at 85!”‘

Under, we speak to Scott for the total particulars on this “traditional American avenue tracker.”

Yamaha 350 Road Tracker: Builder Interview

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

• Please inform us a bit about your self, your historical past with bikes, and your workshop.

I grew up in a Yamaha store in Kankakee, Illinois. My father opened the store in 1963, which is the 12 months I used to be born, so my complete childhood was in and across the motorbike store. I constructed my first {custom} motorbike at 15, after I stuffed a CS5 200cc engine in a LS2 100CC body! I used an RD60 tank and a TY175 trials bike seat and made some clip-on bars for it!

Scott and his outdated man 🙂

I began working summers and Saturdays within the store simply cleansing bikes and bogs and home windows, then moved into the elements division at 14 after which into service at 16. By the point I graduated highschool my dad had bought the store and I used to be the one mechanic within the store beneath the brand new proprietor.

I moved to Tallahassee, Florida in 1982 and spent 35 years there earlier than transferring to Northern Colorado in 2019. I’ve constructed a number of XS650-based avenue trackers and raced flat observe on XS650/750s and a Trackmaster TT500. Since leaving Illinois I’ve simply labored out of my house storage and executed as a lot work myself as attainable.

On this most up-to-date R5 Tracker construct I both painted or powder-coated all the pieces myself apart from powder-coating of the body, which was simply too massive for my kitchen oven! I do all of my very own fabrication and welding and even the entire stitching of upholstery. I did ship the cylinders out to be bored nevertheless it pains me to do it since I’ve the flexibility to do it myself, simply not the tools!

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

• Inform us about your Bike…

This mission began as a really tough unique barn discover, however was reworked over the previous 12 months and a half into my imaginative and prescient of the traditional American Road Tracker. As I stated, all work was executed by me in my house storage besides powder coating of the body (which was simply too massive for my oven) and boring of the cylinders!

 

The purpose was to construct a motorcycle as near an precise period-correct flat tracker whereas nonetheless assembly minimal avenue authorized necessities. I really feel just like the type must be extra Tracker and fewer Road.

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

The entrance finish was swapped for a mid-70s Yamaha XS650 entrance finish and the steering stem shortened to suit the R5 body. The swingarm is borrowed from a 1986 Yamaha FZX 700 Fazer and has been narrowed and shortened to match the inventory R5 body and wheelbase.

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

The tank and tail are fiberglass within the XR750 type from Gopher Glass and painted in conventional “Molly Stripe” Yamaha competitors yellow.

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

The engine was rebuilt with new crank and recent high finish and all new seals and bearings, however inventory porting retained to favor a extra filth observe pleasant energy curve.

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

New 28mm Mikuni carburetors with custom-made UFOs ship the gasoline by way of a single Ok&N filter for a lot improved throttle response by way of the low to mid ranges.

Wheels are Yamaha 19” solid entrance mags with quick-change knock-off rear wheel adapters to make gearing modifications on the observe simple. Hydraulic disc brake in entrance and an outsized rear disc present the stopping, as there’s virtually no engine braking on the 2 stroke twin. Hydraulic clutch with FZR1000 friction plates and heavy clutch springs places all the ability to the rear wheel!

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

Nods to reliability are new vape digital ignition and charging system with Dewalt-style Lithium Ion battery and LED lighting.

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

All switches are hidden apart from the kill button and horn button in order to not spoil the clear flat tracker look of the bars. The one vintage-style digital/analog tachometer can also be consistent with the flat tracker look. I discover that a couple of minutes with a GPS and you may inform what velocity you’re going in high gear on the completely different RPM.

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

• Are you able to inform us what your R5 is wish to journey?

This factor is a ball to journey! It nonetheless has inventory porting, as a result of I had initially supposed to race it on the native flat observe. I didn’t need the ability band to come back on like a lightweight change within the filth, so the inventory porting makes energy from fairly low and pulls actually easily from 4-8,000 RPM.

The suspension took some time to work out as a result of the forks, being from an XS650, have been too stiff for the light-weight R5. I lastly discovered a very good spring charge and used gold cartridge emulators for simple dampening adjustment. The brakes are wonderful on this gentle bike and have that “excellent” really feel!

Discovering an identical set of grasp cylinders for the hydraulic clutch and brake took a little bit of trial and error, however in the long run, I actually like the best way they turned out. The UFOs within the carburetors made an enormous distinction in throttle response too. The corporate that invented them, Thunder Merchandise, doesn’t make them for the 28MM Mikuni VMs, so I made a set utilizing epoxy putty!

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

They draw a lot extra gasoline up the needle that I went from #25 Pilot jets right down to #12.5s and I needed to decrease the needle to its lowest setting! It went from a bit sluggish to a “raise the entrance wheel” kinda snap off idle!

Yamaha R5 350 Street Tracker

• Is there anybody you’d wish to thank?

I’d wish to thank my Dad for educating me to like bikes and belief my capability to construct something. He has an ear for carb tuning that I’ll probably by no means have, however I’m nonetheless studying from him at 85!