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1969 Yamaha L5T (FS1E's bigger brother)
How rare are these, I'd never seen one before I clapped my eyes on this one, it brought back many memories of my FS1e & I just had to have it. I doubt you'd find more than a handful in this country. The bike is a L5T trailbike manufactured in 1969 for the USA market, I believe it was restored in the states and was imported here in 2005, soon after I bought it from the importer who was the first owner. I have a dating certificate from the Vintage M/C Club which confirms it's 1969 vintage, comes complete with a age related number plate (G) and as such is an historical vehicle and as so road tax is free.
It's a 100cc rotary valve single cylinder two stroke unit, features include 12 volt electrics, indicators (which were optional & fitted by the supplying dealers, the indicators fitted here are not original but look period), three speed down shift gear box (AKA FS1E) with high low ratio changeover (Yamaha call the gear system 'Trail Matic Transmission') see photo below. The gearing can be operated with the engine running (not tried when riding - could be a bit dangerous). Other features include autolube but most surprising of all an electric starter (wow), remember this bike was made when the British bike industry was offering bikes like the Bantum, it's features were to spew oil all over the road and constantly break down, no wonder the Japanese are where they are today.
The engine starts on the button or by kickstarter it runs & ticks over really well but its a bit lacking in the top end, it was perfect when I first got it but as its been standing for over a year (in a garage) I guess it could do with a carb clean & tune up etc. The speedo reads 914 miles which could be about right considering the bike was restored in the USA.
The bike was restored to a reasonable standard before I got it, the frame and all the painted parts are done to a good standard, however there is one big problem the paint on the tank has started to craize quite badly (hairline cracks - see photos), I'm not sure if the crazing is the paint or the lacquer, I've had a go at T cutting which seems to have helped but it is a slow and tedious process. A friend in the know seems to think the paint or lacquer was originally put on too thickly and this could be the cause. I've only recently noticed the marks, when I first got the bike the paint was very good so am a bit surprised about this, I suggest any one bidding take into account a tank respray or some heavy elbow grease with a cutting solution, the rest of the tinwork seems to be unaffected. Considering the age of the bike most of the chrome is in excellent condition, the front rim has a few blemishes the rear is superb as is the exhaust.
Complete with the bike is the owners manual in as new condition and a workshop manual in similar condition. I also have a couple of spare head gaskets and a pack of about a dozen barrel gaskets (bought as a job lot). The MOT ran out in February 07 & it's currently sorned.
The Fizzies big brother and goes quiet briskly considering the 3 speed box, it still has a top speed of around 55-60 mph on the flat and I'm sure will easily out drag the baby brother. Please remember this bike is almost 40 years old and is in better condition than me (I'm a little older), I doubt if anyone would be disappointed and believe me this bike is ten times better than the younger smaller upstart FS1E.
I'm selling off a number of my collection because same old story I do not have time to ride & nurture them as I should, these bikes should be ridden and enjoyed at least before petrol hits £5 a gallon....................... Oh my god it has hit £5 a gallon, 35p when I was a yooth.
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Mvh Johnny S