Sunday, 17 March 2013

Past Bikes - 1972 Yamaha CS5E 200cc

My first real bike. I bought this bike in July 1974 with money earned from a summer job in a local factory. The little Yamaha was a cracker. 200cc twin cylinder two stroke, twin leading shoe front brake, 85 mph - it was a light year ahead of the Bantam in speed & sophistication. It even had an electric starter. No separate motor, it used its dynamo to spin the engine.

I bought the bike from a guy in Bishopbriggs and had to ride across the city to get home. Only problem was I couldn't really ride! I kept stalling as I tried to move off. My father told me to start the engine, pull in the clutch, select 2nd gear then he and the owner pushed me down the street. I was told to drop the clutch and I was off. And that, folks, is how I learned to ride a motorcycle.

My first trip on the Yamaha was in September '74 when I went to Oban for the weekend staying at the Youth Hostel. I didn't have any bike gear so wore a plastic raincoat over a combat jacket. When I got up to speed the coat's buttons popped open leaving me with a flapping cape like Batman.

I did one long journey on the Yamaha with my brother on his Honda 175 from our home near Glasgow to London in the summer of '75. By that time I had passed my test but he had not and that meant the trip (about 800 miles) was done without using motorways.

Me as surly youth with the Yam. Note learner "L" plates on fork leg and home made plywood top box.

What a lovely paint scheme - could this bike be any more 70's?


  1. Nice little bike. Just reminded me, I still have a homemade box I made for my old 175 Honda to keep my books dry when I was commuting to college in the 70's...guess I really don't throw anything away.

    1. The box was made of 3/4" ply! It weighed at ton - it must have ruined the bike's handling - but I didn't know anything in those days. There is better (or is that worse?) home-made luggage to come in this series.

    2. Mine was smaller and built from scraps of quarter inch and half inch ply my father had laying around. And finished with stain and varnish he had as well. After seeing what aluminum panniers sell for, I've decided to go the homemade route again. We'll see how I do with that. Have found a lot of info on the web....

  2. I bought one of these in 1977, fell off it and broke my leg. 14 weeks in hospital then I was back on it. Sold it in 1980 to buy a CB250RS (new), which I still have. After a couple of decades on four wheels I bought a 1982 Z650, having never had anything bigger than a 250 and a 20 odd year break from two wheels, plus being older and hence less suicidal, I decided the big Kwacka was too scary and sold it on, and bought a box bits purporting to be a complete CS5E - so full circle. The Yam has been put together and runs, but is still awaiting an MoT.

  3. Yamaha is the king of bikes.

  4. Very nice picture, on photo #2 it's a brand new bike!
    A friend of mine had the same one, in 1974. I still have the datasheet, I made a scan of it some time ago, you can get it on this page :