Ron Wood Rotax Flat Track Motorcycles

Ron Wood Rotax powered flat tracker

Some of you may look at the Desmosedici RR and get all weak in the knees, wondering how you can sell your first born to buy that street legal racer, but some of us look at bikes a little differently. Ron Wood builds flat track motorcycles designed to race on rutted and rippled dirt tracks at very high speeds. Ron also builds what, to my mind, is one of the simplest, cleanest and most strikingly beautiful motorcycles anywhere. Unfortunately, what Ron doesn't do is build them for the street.

There is at least one example I found in an old issue of Motorcyclist of a street legal Ron Wood flat tracker, it was a one off built by Dale Lineaweaver of Lineaweaver Racing. It was based on the twinshock frame and looks just perfect. The frame weighs 21 pounds! The entire bike weighs in wet at 251 pounds! The 600cc Rotax single cylinder engine, a specialty of Ron Wood is set up for bump starts and when you consider the race tuned Rotax in a 251 pound motorcycle, ... sign me up!!

But I can't sign up because no one is building these for the street and I can only wonder why. If there is an almost instant sell out of $65,000 MotoGP replicas that don't begin to perform like a race bike until you get them up to super legal speeds, surely there is a market for someone to build a beauty like these flat trackers that can perform brilliantly and powerfully in the speed ranges we see every day.

I've mentioned the Storz XR1200 dirt track style Sportster kits which look really nice but when compared against these Ron Wood racers, the Sportsters seem enormous, even though they are lighter than stock.

As we consider the retro looks of the Triumph Scrambler or the old dirt track look of the Storz XR, wouldn't these Ron Wood designs fit in perfectly?

Photo of Lineaweaver bike below:

Link: Ron Wood Racing
Link: Lineaweaver R&D
Photo of Lineaweaver racer from Motorcyclist - January 1994

The Kneeslider: Storz XR1200

Flat Tracker by Dale Lineaweaver

Comments

  1. RATTSBIKES says

    There is a site I think 650motorcycles .com that has a photo gallery on it, and if you scroll down you can see lots of wonderful bikes designed from the old Yamaha 650 twin. I have a 1976 Kawasaki B1 twin made into a cafe racer style of that era, no where near as nice as the above example, but still it is mine. And there is going to be a flat track racer street legal of course comng out soon in my stable LOL. But Yes times are changing and we need to get back to the basics of building bikes, not rolling showcases that can’t be ridden or even started from fear of messing up the chrome or paint?

    I love the looks of the older bikes and anything can be built with a little time and money, like my racer for example it all cost around 2000 Cdn dollars including purchase. I know there are lots more out there building thier own and these bikes need to be show cased to show what can be done.
    Thats My Rant LOL
    AirRat

  2. mark says

    Personally, I’d love a lightweight cafe racer based on a 650cc single. That would be a really fun around-town/backroads bike.

  3. aaron says

    I’m still looking for my motor – air cooled 600/650 singles are near impossible to find around here, and I can’t afford to spend $2000 on a bike just to scrap 80% of it. but the holy grail for me? the borile. drool. or the cr&s vun if I feel the need for more power/speed.

  4. says

    I agree.
    The most fun on the back roads can be had on a good running thumper. I have a YAMAHA XT 600 that I built a frame for and used CR 500 suspension. I use it mostly for dual sport rides but about a year ago I slipped on a set of 17” wheels and some realy gummy tires. On a tight road where speeds are below 60 mph I have yet to be passed by anyone on a sport bike. Riding this bike is without a doubt the most fun you can have on two wheels.

  5. says

    Who wants a Flat Tracker? Nitrous oxide and no brakes? And you can only make left turns. Not very practical on the street.

  6. Dave says

    Building your own is half the fun of motorcycles. I’ve just finished a XS650 cafe racer and am starting a SR500/manx. I’d like to see pictures of RATTSBIKES Kawasaki B1. Streetrackers are hugely popular with the XS650 crowd and the SR500 owners as well mainly because they can be built cheaply. A Ron Woods special would be the ultimate but, probably too expensive for most.

  7. says

    Not to plug the company, but Moto Carrera offers kits to convert mid-70s Japanese bikes into street-legal “dirt” trackers:

    http://www.motocarrera.com/custombikes.htm

    Interesting looking rides… not nearly as minimal or sleek (or gorgeous!) as the Ron Wood bike shown here, but still small, light and flickable with good power-to-weight ratio.

  8. sfan says

    I can’t agree with you more.

    While I am excited that we are starting to see supermotos in america, they do not have the elegance and purity of line that Wood’s bikes have (except Ducati’s Hypertard). Most brands seem to need an “entry level” street bike, but that doesn’t need to equate with lame. In an industry that lives by style & niche markets, I find it very surprising that nobody has even really tried this market segment. For example, imagine what the Buell Blast *could* have been.

  9. aaron says

    yeah… the blast colud have been reliable, or safe, or not an embarrasment to those involved in its design and manufacture…. any of those class action suits going ahead, or have they settled before it hit the courts?

  10. todd says

    lightweight singles are the best. However, they don’t sell very well. A 650 single (in CARB compliant form) puts out around 40 hp. If you try to sell a bike with 40 hp along side a 600 four with 100 hp for the same price guess what sells?

    Derbi has developed a street going 660 single flat-tracker styled bike using the Yamaha mill from the US raptor. It’s called the 659 Mulhacen and there’s a Cafe Racer version in the works as well. I’ve been pestering Derbi to be sure to import it to California and they’ve told me it is in their plans to do so. I won’t hold my breath… look it up, you’ll like it but it probably won’t sell very well.

    -todd

  11. Earl says

    Yes, but none of the new motards have anything near the elegant good looks of the RWRFlatTracker. It reminds me of the simple purity of classic English trials/scrambles bikes. I want one!

  12. says

    Hey James, did you know that flat track bikes also compete in what they call TTs. Those tracks are made up of right and left turns and they also throw in a few low level rolling jumps. The flat track bike is a very capable machine due to the fact that it is very light weight and typically makes very usable and controllable power. As far as the nitros thing goes I don’t know that I have ever seen one with that set up, but more power is always a good thing.

  13. Mark says

    About, Derbi Mulhacen 659 I sure hope they will import this bike. Not only will I buy one but i could sell 6 tomarrow! Love this Bike!!

  14. says

    funny to come across this article. We of Goodspeed think excactly the same about a clean and simpel motorcycle. Actually we are in the process of building the prototype for (garage)racing and the street. Although our bike is more (euro)speedway influenced it does relate to the yamaha 250 shorttrackers of the early seventies. the prototype should be ready by end first quarter 2007. Check out our website. http://www.goodspeed500.com

    So somebody is building a cool agile bike for the street.

  15. Doug says

    Especially considering that apparently any company can buy and install Rotax power plants to their heart’s desire, It just BOGGLES my mind that Harley (or using their Buell subsid, if they are too much pussies) won’t build some nice little single cylinder sport Bikes and/or dual sport bikes. Even cool street legal dual shock flat track style bikes might win me over.

    I work at a junior College and I can tell you there is ZERO interest amongst California Youth in Cruiser style motorcycles … I think they are all “that is grandpa’s stupid thing … wouldnt be caught dead with one” They ride sport bikes … occasionally a dual sport. But hardly any bikes really and it’s no wonder considering insurance for that age for fast sport bikes. I’m saying that Cruisers are going to DIE just as quick as their current baby boomer owners shrivel too much to ride them anymore. They are going to gather dust and become worth less and less.

    I think things are ripe for a new breed of bikes … singles or even vee Twins that ARE NOT cruisers and are not full faired sport bikes. Made in USA FOR a new generation, something that is THIERS, something the cruiser set will scorn, something with some model choices that the insurance won’t kill.

    It would take circumstance for something like that to take root I understand. It just being a good idea won’t move bikes off a showrom floor. BUT if Harley or some other US company took a chance and built some awesome bikes, with killer lines … BLACK and shiny… instant classics I am thinking Hollywood might do the rest.

    Not to mention there is a core group of riders (like myself for instance) who LUST after a NEW USA built or at least US rider inspired generation of of sleek light weight narrow bikes with CHARACTER. NOT fricken cruisers! BARF And NOT Spacey swoopy plasticy Japanese styling gunk painted in gaudy many colored eye vomit either …. CLean, timeless Class is what I speak of How to say it with words …. class LIKE what an awesome cool Ducati can inluence someone who appreciates that … or in their day, the looks of a Norton Commando or a BSA 441 Victor … (I speak here of visuals not the reality of machines and their mechanical shortcomings) There was even a Harley that made hearts like mine flutter to look at them (before understanding the machines shortcomings once again) that AMF era (I think?) Harley Cafe Racer had the look for it’s day…. another Vee later on that I thought had something going for it with just minor adjustments (though alas I only saw pictures) was the Transalp from Honda … I LOVED that Honda Flat Track Engine and wanted so badly that they build some bikes with that motor … maybe I hallucinated the Transalp as being something along that line …

    IMHO th Europeans with their Motard beasts are on a at least on the right tract except they settle for wierdness … those bikes however good they may be(are they even? I don’t know personally) are hopelessly WIERD. We (non cruiser/non motard NORMAL bikers) can love the looks of a clean dual sport bike and can love a clean MX bike for what it is and totally love the whole concept of a sleek single cylinder road bike vintage or in concept … but the totally screwed up effect a tall MX chassis with a little road race front wheel is a visual abortion! VOMIT! The frustrating thing about some of the Super Motard (Retard?) bikes is HOW close they seem to be to an awesome formulary but they need MAJOR revision to get there. What would it take? At least a differnt frame and revised suspension and then everything else scaled and styled to fit.

    And regarding the above, the answer is obviously not going to emerge from the Euro minds who LIKE the Super Retard look and in my opinion it won’t come from our Asian brethern either (they march to the beat of some bizarre drummer I can never even begin to appreciate! Look at the hot rodded asian cars for examples of what they think is cool … in so cal area it is a large whale tail and bizzare exhaust note, all rim no tire, zero ground clearance.

    American influence (British too I think) want practical performance first. function dictates style … clean, light, tight, and ‘outasight’ Hey that could even be the first sales slogan IF some brave soul will BUILD ME THE BIKES I SPEAK OF! Just get someone rich enough that they don’t have to listen to a bunch of Marketing A HOLES insisting that “it must be an entry level bike” or it must be this or that or blah blah blah … just put togther a panel of NON cruiser NON Motard American/Brit maybe even some Italian or French I don’t know bikers and give them feedback andveto power over each design phase …. it is not rocket science, is it? I mean there are powerplants all ready to bolt in , right?

    So please somebody DO THIS FOR US! It WILL be a finacial success in the long run that I KNOW in my heart … Would not surprise me if it took off slowly, embraced first by cult core but it WOULD catch. A dual Sport and a Street Sport. Eventually a smaller displacement lower performance “insurable” model. Get contracts with military and police for an urban version of the dual sport.

    I have been looking for this forever… when? When will we get? Never? That is hard to accept

    Thanks for listening

    Doug also at sinworm@aol.com

  16. deathwish says

    The Woods machines are awesome. I have power machines, owning a 113 S&S and 2 124 S&S powered bikes but what am I building right now? A Triumph 650 Street Tracker. Not just a pretty seat but a serious Tracker! I have been in love with 1/2 mile and TT bikes forever. Go to a Peoria TT and then tell me what you think after a race.

  17. says

    Same for me- give me something that is similar to the Ron Wood single in street legal form, the cheaper the better! They’re out there for sale on the Flattrack site, but they do not have titles or electic starters. That bump starting looks very difficult at best!
    HERE IS MY IDEA (yes, I do not need the newest/fastest etc, lets keep it either homebuilt or expensive!). How about using an XL or XR L HONDA 500/600/650 street legal model single with electric start for a platform. Clean up the the frame, lower the fork and shocks, strip the unnecessary junk and bolt a flattrack seat/tail section. Maybe someone can shed some light on this idea. Personally I’d love to hear some other ideas for a light, clean, AIR COOLED, street legal singe, preferable with an electric start. I’ve had the SR500 Yamaha and the lack of an electric starter dooms it for me. The new suzuki 400 SM single seems to be a great performer, but its ugly as sin in my estimation. Maybe someone can offer some tips on how to clean up that mess of hoses and plastic?

    penick ‘AT’ nettally.com

  18. deathwish says

    George, it just someone that knows there way around a motorcycle and is a pretty good fabricator or builder. today I took the Triumph and widened and stretched the swing arm, made new aluminum side panels, added many new brackets for relocating or changing everything,dropped the seat height 1 3/4″ and then cleaned all welds. Nothing is being left untouched. Yamaha front end and Yamaha Disc brakes. I am about 16hrs into the chassis and have most of the chassis done. Still many hours in fabricating a seat, shortening the front forks etc. The point is your idea can be done. Sell all the plastic and start looking at pieces you like. Try to find some nice pictures of the bikes used in todays TT’s and short track races where they use the singles.

  19. nick says

    you certainly have hit the mark – see a new aussie firm – from the guys whp started ‘Mambo’ surf clothing in Oz. They sold the company and have started their own custom bike biz in Sydney.

    Check out ‘Deus ex machina’ – my god these are champion bikes. the revolution is here.

  20. says

    Why can’t someone produce a SHAREWARE bike? Post online a frame design, and list of parts. Check out Haynes Publishing and their book Build Your Own Sportscar by Ron Champion. John Bradley has written “The Racing Motorcycle” Vol 1 and 2 which shows tips on how to build bikes but there are NO specific plans. I’d buy a HOW TO book if it can show me how to build a Ron Wood chassis for sure! Kneeslider … HELP US PLEASE! SHAREWARE RW STREET TRACKER, SHAREWARE RW STREET TRACKER, SHAREWARE RW STREET TRACKER …

  21. BoffoSquid says

    Geez – I hear ya – but you guys have been listened to – by the latest Super Motard offerings from KTM, Ducati, Husuberg etc. The street oriented single in a 600cc form factor is great idea – one that dies a horrible death in showroom floors. Uhhhh – quick question here – looking for a show of hands – did anyone buy a GB500 from Honda? A SRX600S from Yamaha (I did – one of 20 brought into Canada for one year only!). Fellas – its a numbers game – we all agreed they would be great bikes – but the kid with a wallet full of summer wages and a girlfriend is not going to buy a lithe, sensible, too much fun street attack one lunger – he’s going to drop it on 600cc sportbike to hang out, pop wheelies and impress the high school girls. Hate to rain on the parade, but the North American buyer has a severe case of gimme ccs or gimme death when it comes to supporting product offering from m/c manufacturers.

  22. says

    My Dad just recently retired his 1993 Ducati SuperMono. I can tell you that this motorcycle was waaay beyond the technology of the early to mid 90′s. I remember him racing Jay Springsteen at Mid-Ohio a few years back.Jay was riding a built XR750 Harley. The SuperMono absolutely dominated Jays bike, especially on top speed. It would just smoke by him like he was standing still. My Dad ended up winning three championships in 2002 (2 on the SuperMono, and one on his 749). Awesome!

  23. bigmosickle says

    For a nice standard or possibly modified as a street tracker style bike, the European manufacturers have some good choices, two of which were already mentioned above. BMW has G650Xcountry 652cc single rated at 53hp, 326#,$7500 as well as the F650GS (lower spec. version of the F800GS)798cc twin rated at 71hp,377#,$8255. Ron Wood has taken the BMW 798cc twin, made a frame to fit and gotten a beautiful 317# flat track bike that makes 90hp in slightly tuned form. Ducati has their Monster series: the 2008 M695 695cc twin rated at 73hp,370#,$7995 and the 2009 M696 696cc twin rated at 80hp,355#,$8495. KTM has their new 690 series featuring their new 654cc single ranging in power from 62hp(SMC supermoto) to 65hp(Duke street), weight from 308#(Enduro) to 342# (Supermoto R), priced from $8898(Enduro) to $9498 (Duke). Aprilia has the new 750cc Shiver V-twin (but it is heavy) and the 450cc and 550cc V-twins that are very light and powerful (but expensive). Buell has the 984cc City X (City Cross) for an American made option. For 2009 Kawasaki has the naked version of Ninja 650R and Versys 650cc twin coming stateside. Note that Kawasaki’s 650cc twin has already been adapted as a flat tracker and succesfully raced against Harley’s XR750! Moto Guzzi has their 744cc Breva and Nevada V-twin. Triumph has the 2009 fuel-injected 865cc Bonneville twin that is 100% standard style and the three cylinder 675cc Street Triple that is a modern standard/street fighter styled that screams! All the Japanese manufacturers have single cylinder dual sport bikes from 250cc to 650cc (plus Suzuki has the 650cc SV650 twin) that might work well if stripped of the plastic ‘styling’ panels and lowered a couple inches – but none are very exciting to look at. Other than the above, it is ‘roll your own’, buy an older standard style bike, or pay someone to build a nice street tracker that will nourish your starving soul.

  24. Jody says

    Anyone have a copy of this article still? Or was it just an odd picture? I am planning to build a street tracker and was going to base it on an XS650. However, I’ve had a change in opportunity. An ex-GNC Knight framed Rotax 600 was offered to me recently for this very project. I’ve ridden it once and it pulls pretty darn strong. I’d guess it to be in the 60hp range. It’s setup for bump start and has sprocket sets for short tracks. While the motor runs strong, I’m not sure how well this frame setup would translate to street riding. Any thoughts?

  25. Motorbike Mike says

    I’m going to put a CB 160 Honda to the drawing board. I’ve been in contact with the new owner of Omar’s, Robert Ward, & he’s trying to find a cool glass set of tank/seat & poss. have # plates all together. Cool flat track look is the real deal !!! I’m not even going to make mine run, it’s just gonna look old school, home boy made & raced weekly…. I have multiple scars & crooked limbs to prove there actually was a fast ?? street raced CB 160 back in the day… Side pipes or twin rt side lower pipes, trick rt. side peg, Champion style tank & seat assy. or maybe an old style Triumph tank/seat design.

  26. Chris says

    Hello,

    I saw your set up for the tail light and plate do you sell them, or could you give me the part numbers, your’s is great.

    Thanks,

    Chris

  27. Charles Arford says

    Is this the same Ron Wood who owned Ascott Raceway anytime he ran his two Norton 750 Commando’s with Alex and Jay on board??? If this is the same guy I worked for back in the 70′s, then this is typical Ron Wood design. Now I’m referring to the flat track version; clean, straight forward, well balanced and of course, “red”. Nice job Ron! It looks like fun to ride! Not to keen on the street version, but hey, when the government gets involved look what happens, eh?
    Charles Arford

  28. Gar says

    Yes it is the Ron Wood and the Alex Jorgensen Who Blazed around @ Ascot…
    Jay (Springer?) never rode for Ron…But Him and His Factory HD ride DID fall victim to the Nearly 80 Horsepower RED Norton…
    -Gar