Yamaha YR5 Special: Cafe Racer

The design intention with this unique one-off motorcycle was to create something very
close to the the original: The Yamaha YR5
It has become evident with the recent resurgence of interest in Japanese bikes as Classics in their own right, that history is best understood from a distance. For years collectors sought the RD350 as the most collectable of the two stroke sports bike. The air-cooled version appealed to the purist seeking the “original” thrill. However a modern ride on the RD reveals a softer, easier to ride and more pliable bike. The YR5 does not do this, and
hence its overtaking the RD as the more collectable: it does not pull at all in the low rev
range and only begins to pull as it approaches the rather narrow power band. Not an easy
commuter then.
Yamaha began producing 350 two strokes in 1967 with the YR1, followed by the YR2 in ’68
and YR3 in ’69. Whilst these were horizontally split 5 speed air-cooled twins, they were
totally redesigned for 1970 with the launch of the purple and white YR5. This design proved
so successful that the basic engine casing remained the same for more than 20 years,
being used on the RD350, RD400, 350LC and ultimately the RD350YPVS.
The YR5 is the purist’s choice: raw, undiminished two-stroke power-band nirvana.
This particular creation retains all the value of the original YR5: nothing has been cut off or
modified in any way that does not allow full transformation back into an unmolested original
machine. (The YR5s now sell for more than the RD350 air-cooled so this is important to the
collector)

a) The 3 years: ’70, ’71 & ‘72  b) Modern coated replacement piston  c) Assembly  d) Tank Badge

The Cafe Racer look requires a blank triangle behind the carbs. This necessitates the
removal of the air box, battery box and oil tank. Removing the oil tank makes it necessary
to run the bike on pre-mix fuel. The oil pump has been left in the engine untouched: all it
requires is an oil feed, so should a future owner desire to run on Autolube, all this requires is
the fitment of an oil tank and an oil feed pipe connected to the pump.
A future owner would probably like to change the clocks. There are so many options
available, the selection so vast and the impact of the visual appeal on the bike so
important, that this became such a personal issue with opinions so divided, that the choice
has been left to the future owner. The fitted clocks are from a DT series Yamaha.
The chain guard is awaited from Wicked Wayne. This could take a while. Fittings are
provided. The tank badges are outstanding and will be supplied.

A truck full of parts: the bike begins

A truck full of parts: the bike begins