Written by Andrew Jones
My associate loves speaking about bikes. Typically, she simply bangs on and on for hours and hours about two-stroke service intervals, the historical past of 500cc two-stroke Grand Prix racing and her favorite topic – enlargement chamber designs. I’m joking, in fact. She hates bikes. However simply think about if there was such a factor. Think about a associate that was as eager to combine two-stroke as you have been. Effectively, for San Diego’s Eric Zanutto and his spouse Melanie, nature has conspired to do the unimaginable. They each like bikes. Hell, they each construct bikes. Right here’s their newest creation – a ’71 Yamaha R5 Racer restomod.
“I grew up close to Fresno in California,” reminisces Eric. “It was an previous farming city. My dad received me into airplanes and bikes from a younger age. He was a motorbike builder as nicely,” says Eric. Sadly, he handed away rather less than a yr in the past. “So with him being within the Air Drive and into planes, I received fairly hands-on at a younger age. I’m an aerospace engineer now – I construct and journey bikes as a stress reliever and since it’s only a huge bunch of enjoyable. However I’m at all times studying as I am going, and I do know I’ve lots extra to know.”
Eric and his spouse picked up this 1971 Yamaha R5, full with a ’75 RD350 engine transplant, from Rancho Palos Verdes a couple of yr in the past. The bike was in extraordinarily tough form, with rust on just about each half conceivable and an entire bunch of mismatched bits. “In the long run, we have been in a position to salvage a lot of the elements and refurbish them. We fully tore the bike right down to the body and detabbed it, then we had it powder coated. Subsequent we disassembled the RD350 engine – which was caked in a quarter-inch of sludge and black widow eggs – and rebuilt it ourselves. We hand polished the drum brake hubs and put in new shouldered aluminum hoops with Buchanan’s spokes.” All-new EBC pads went within the hubs and recent Bridgestone Battlax rubber was fitted.
“Up entrance we hand-polished the forks. Progressive shocks went into the rear and an RK gold chain, a Speedy Siegl Racing aluminum brake arm and an Airtech Streamlining TZ250 fiberglass seat have been additionally bolted on. The gasoline tank had numerous rust, so we cleaned it out with muriatic acid and sealed it with an epoxy tank sealant.”
Regardless of each seal and gasket being changed, the engine’s mechanicals are principally inventory. The glad couple did nevertheless set up a Energy Dynamo CDI ignition, a Movement Professional throttle, Jim Lomas enlargement chambers, and it’s working the previous Mikuni carbs from Eric’s ’84 Japanese spec RZ350. “For the reason that CDI ignition had a reasonably full wiring system, we completed off the remainder of the connections with a customized wire harness we made ourselves. Lastly, we did our personal Kenny Roberts-themed paint job.”
“That is my spouse’s first classic bike and first two-stroke,” notes Eric. “It’s additionally the primary bike she’s helped me construct. She has owned and ridden loads of different fashionable bikes, although. Neither of us do that for a dwelling. We each have day jobs, so it’s only a passion and keenness of ours. My first bike in highschool was my aunt‘s previous French Blue ’77 Yamaha RD400 that I cafe’d. That bike taught me lots at a younger age and it’s why I’m now fairly explicit about Yamahas, two strokes, and previous bikes basically.”
That preliminary tango with the 400 made Eric aspire to construct a slimmer R5 or RD350, with spoked wheels and a extra open body. Whereas in Japan for work, he promptly fell in love with the previous Yamaha TD2-style race bikes on the Iwata Yamaha museum. “That was the inspiration for the seat chosen, the general move of the bike, and the polished bits right here and there.” Except for the brand new elements and the powdercoat, the 2 did all of the work on the bike, by hand, by themselves. “Since I used to be a child, constructing bikes was one thing I shared with my dad. Now I can share it with my spouse as nicely.”
“I might say the toughest a part of the construct was all of the corrosion and rust removing. This bike sat because the ’70s and was in horrible form. All of the shiny bits have been polished by hand. And by hand, I imply by hand. There was a lot of sandpaper of assorted grades, working our method right down to 7000 grit after which lastly utilizing an orbital polisher to complete off the shine.”
“What I like most in regards to the completed bike is seeing one thing that has been reborn; all these lengthy hours within the storage and recollections made whereas bringing one thing again to life are actually particular. Except for that, I actually benefit from the total sleekness and move of this bike. From head to tail, it’s every little thing I envisioned my previous RD400 might have and may have been.” A childhood dream come true. It doesn’t get any higher than that.[ Eric Zanutto – Melanie Zanutto | Photos by Sly Imagery & That Yamaha Rider ]