11-2-19 Update: the seller has added three riding videos:
Additional photos of this custom R5 are available here for your perusal.
The start of a long lineage of legends like the RD350, Yamaha’s R5 punched far above its weight class – it was one of the best bangs for your buck in the 1970s. While Honda had moved towards four strokes, Yamaha was soldiering ahead with making oil burners faster.
The R5’s 350cc piston-ported motor pushed 36 hp through a 5-speed transmission, enough to reach a top speed north of 90 miles per hour. For more on what made the R5 such a giant killer, check out this review on Motorcycle Classics.
But a description of a stock R5 is going to be insufficient today, as this example has been highly modified by a husband/wife duo that wanted a project to work on as a pair. Per the seller:
“My wife and I bought this bike as a project bike to build together. It was her first two stroke but not her first bike. I’ve had quite a few old two strokes and really wanted to build one for my wife to experience. We picked this bike up a few years back from the owner in Rancho Palos Verdes California. He had basically thrown a bunch of old RD parts together he had in his garage. We went thru the tedious process of getting the bike blessed and titled by the DMV/CHP. Bike has a clean CA title and up to date registration.”
With the exception of the frame powdercoating and cylinder boring, the seller and his wife did all of the work themselves. Since the restoration, this custom R5 has been ridden approximately 500 miles.
The bike was stripped down to the frame, which was then de-tabbed and powdercoated gloss black. A ’75 RD350 motor was swapped after being rebuilt with new seals, gaskets, and a fresh bore less than 300 miles ago. There’s also a new crank (original included if you’d like to rebuild it), RZ350 Mikuni carbs, TKRJ Japan RZ350 pistons, Boysen reeds, Jim Lomas expansion chambers, Powerdynamo CDI, and all new wiring. There is no battery. The engine and cases were painted gloss black, and the oil injection pump has been removed so you have to put premix in the tank.
This R5/RD hybrid is running without an ignition switch but the sale will include a Yamaha keyed ignition if you’d like to install it. There’s a new halogen headlight and LED turn signals as well as a Lowbrow Customs bullet LED taillight. The gas tank is from a RD350, the interior’s been acid etched and Caswell lined. There’s some minor pitting on the chrome gas cap.
The forks were rebuilt with new seals and fluids, then polished – again, there’s some pitting in the chrome. There are new All Balls Racing tapered steering head bearings, and in the rear there’s a new Progressive shock and swing arm bushings. Brake shoes are new front and rear, as are the brake, throttle, and clutch cables.
Rounding out the modifications are a Koso speedometer/tachometer, Bridgestone BT45 tires, Renthal grips, Airtech TZ250 seat, Pro-Tek aluminum handlebars, Motion Pro throttle, and a lovely Kenny Roberts paint scheme.
Back to the seller: “It was built to be ridden and as such it has been ridden and shows some signs of wear and has other little imperfections.”
This Yamaha has attracted more than its fair share of attention, with a 2nd place in Best Yamaha at the 2019 Two Stroke Extravaganza in Southern California. It was also invited to the 2019 Outliers Guild Motorcycle Show, and has been featured in Bikebound, Pipeburn, and Yamaha’s social media channels.
The builders have given their creation the name of Daisy, and they’re looking for a new owner who will enjoy Daisy as much as they have. Will that be you?