Cafe’d Smoker – 1972 Yamaha R5 Custom

In Cafe Racer, Custom, Japan by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

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Post Listing Update: This R5 did not get any interest at the BIN of $8,500.


There’s something really special about two-stroke cafe racers, and this one-off Yamaha is a prime example. This build supposedly started out as a ‘72 R5 that received a refresh with the air-cooled parallel-twin getting all new rings, gaskets, and seals, while the carbs were rebuilt and rejetted, and a pair of DG expansion chamber pipes were added to the mix. All the fluids, lines, and filters were replaced with new units as well.

With the engine sorted, the bodywork was stripped and the frame was chopped and capped off with a hooped unit that now houses the Yamaha’s LED strip taillight (with integrated signals). A new cafe seat and tail were tacked onto the new hoop as well. The front end of the build was treated to new fork seals and boots, new (lowered) black aluminum headlight ears, a new headlight with integrated LED signals, and new clip-ons adorned in new grips, bar-ends, and polished switchgear.

With the R5’s electronics having left the factory almost half-a-century-ago, the Yamaha’s system was long overdue for an overhaul. So a new custom wiring harness was cooked up, along with an upgraded regulator/rectifier, and a new Antigravity 4 cell battery. The stock rear suspension has also been replaced with an aftermarket set, and other minor additions to the project included new foot controls, new gold chain and front and rear sprockets.

Finishing out the cafe racer is Yamaha speed block livery in blue covering the tank (which received a custom cap and new seal), side panels, fender, and tail — matching the awesome set of aluminum Warp9 rims with stainless Buchanan spokes (with new tubes and tires). Every surface was seemingly either painted or polished, including the 36 hp mill’s cases.

The attention to detail throughout is pretty impressive. According to the seller, every nut, bolt, and screw was removed, cleaned and (re)installed. Between the stellar fit and finish, and the front and rear integrated indicators, this is a remarkably clean build — with those DG pipes this thing almost certainly sounds as good as it looks. Though it does lack mirrors and a license-plate holder/bracket, this cafe’d 21-incher is seemingly otherwise fully street-legal. And with only 6,714 miles on the odo, this one’s got plenty of life left in it.

You can find this 1972 Yamaha R5 cafe racer build (VIN: R5121379) for sale in Clark, Pennsylvania with a BIN price of $8,500 or best offer

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