What is a Street Tracker?

Mule Sportster Tracker
“Stealth” Street Tracker by Mule

There are many evolutions of the modern motorcycle, as you know. Many of these evolutions are modern takes on classic styles of bikes. One such homage is the Street Tracker. These ultra-sleek machines are reminiscent to the glory days of flat track racing, featuring the pared down look of a dirt track racer, but offering everything you need to be street legal. Whether it’s your own build or bought from a custom shop, a street tracker will turn heads anywhere.

The First Street Trackers

Modern street trackers can trace their ancestry to the AMA Grand National Championship racing series. During the 1960s and 70s the series was the premier motorcycle racing championship, and many of the events took place on dirt ovals of varying lengths:  The Mile, The Half, and Short Track. It was a time when legends like Dick Mann and Kenny Roberts were tearing up tracks everywhere. These racing giants loved their bikes and wanted to ride them on the streets as well, so modified the racers by adding lights, mirrors, a horn, front brakes, and eliminating the need to ‘bump-start the bikes. As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for race fans to develop a desire for their street trackers.

XR750 Tracker
Harley’s Legendary XR750: The Greatest Source of Inspiration for Street Trackers

Factory Street Trackers

Manufacturers have not jumped on the street tracker bandwagon. Well, Harley Davidson has tried. The maker produced the XR1000, paying homage to its racing XR750. The bike was prohibitively expensive and sold poorly. Harley gave it another go with the XR1200, but production only ran from 2009 to 2013.

Triumph, it’s been rumored, filed a 2012 trademark application for the name “Street Tracker,” so a factor tracker from the Brits could be on the way. This does seem like just another effort by manufacturers to capitalize on a trend in the custom bike-building world, naming a bike after a whole genre of customs.  We’re reminded of the Ducati Streetfighter and Scrambler, other genres of custom bikes subjected to the same process.

XR1000 Street Tracker
Harley XR1000 Street Tracker: The XR750 Influence is Evident

Custom Street Trackers

Street trackers typically have a set of wide bars to match the ones needed for additional leverage on a flat track. From the handlebars, you move back to the gas tank. A street tracker typically looks best with a small tank. The best example for the look of the tank can be seen by looking at the immortal Harley-Davidson XR750. The tank should move easily into a narrow seat. The rear fender is minimal, just enough to cover the taillight, and often made of fiberglass from a retailer like Omars Fiberglass or Hot Wing Glass. Typically you run 19 inch wheels, equally sized front and rear. Traditionalists use wire spokes to reduce weight, but you can use cast wheels just as well.

XS650-Tracker
Michel van Rossen’s XS650 with 710cc engine

Once those mods have been completed, some builders add a number plate and fork guards, though these can be a bit much, overdoing the illusion that you’ve been sliding on a dirt track all day. The most common tracker platforms are the Yamaha XS650, various Triumphs like the T100, and the Harley-Davidson Sportster.

XS650 Street Tracker
Our Editor-in-Chief’s 1981 Yamaha XS650 Street Tracker

Mule: King of the Street Trackers

Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles is the undisputed king of the custom street tracker. His father was an electrical engineer at Cape Canaveral, and Pollock has said that he’d like an aerospace inspector to be able to look his bikes over and give them the thumbs up. Truly, his builds look like the engine bays of Indy racers. Operating out of his shop in San Diego, California, he has almost singlehandedly defined the street tracker aesthetic, hand-building bikes that are highly functional in every way, unadorned machines that earn their beauty instead of dressing up for it.

Mule-Street-Tracker
HD-Based Tracker by Mule Motorcycles

Sideburn, Dirt Quake, and the Resurgence of Flat Track

Sideburn, based out of the UK, is THE magazine when it comes to flat track racing and the culture surrounding it. As they say themselves:

The world’s finest, most glamorous, most colourful, most informative, global-reaching go fast, turn left magazine. All right, the world’s only go fast, turn left magazine. The place where every weekend is a dirty weekend.

Sideburn created an event called Dirt Quake, where everyday riders can take their bikes out on a flat track for real bar to bar racing. The events include classes for what they call Inappropriate Road Bike (IRB), Street Trackers, Choppers, Ladies, Harleys, and even a Snowmobile class. The events have been a huge success, and are now international, having migrated to the US of A. You can find out more on Sideburn‘s website.

The resurgent interest in dirt track can also be seen in the inclusion of AMA Pro Flat Track in the 2015 X Games in Austin, Texas. Without a doubt, flat track is on the way UP.

Street Trackers on BikeBound.com

Below is a sampling of the street trackers we have featured here!

BMW R80 Custom Woodmachine: BMW R80 by Moto Rebuild - The BMW R80, built from 1978-1994, featured an ~800cc version of the venerable “airhead” flat-twin boxer engine, offering 51 horsepower to the rear wheel through a low-maintenance shaft drive. The bike cost nearly 50% more […]
Yamaha XSR700 Scrambler Back to Dirt: Yamaha XSR700 TT Scrambler — For Sale! - Elemental Rides x Capelos Garage build an IT-inspired XSR… Yamaha Yard Built program commissions talented builders from all over the world to transform modern Yamaha street bikes into “Yard Built” specials — a way to […]
Ironhead Club Tracker Meet “Karen” — ’77 Ironhead by RoastWorthy Cycles - Baby Dresser to Dirt Road Ripper in $2000 … Way back in 1957, the very first Harley-Davidson Sportsters to roll out of the factory were powered by the now-iconic Ironhead engine, a two-valve push-rod V-twin […]
Sportster Beach Cruiser Beach Cruiser: Black Petrol’s 1200 Sportster - The Harley-Davidson Sportster has now been in production for more than 60 years, an air-cooled 45° V-twin machine that’s served as the company’s most performance-oriented offering for most of its run. In 1986, the Evolution […]
KTM 500 SXF Tracker Project Flat Track: “Unobtainium” KTM 500 SX-F Tracker - KTM Race Team Mechanic Michael Carusi builds a “Wishlist” Flat Tracker… In our opinion, some of the best racing in the world right now is happening in the American Flat Track AFT Singles class, where […]
Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 Street Tracker Win This: Husky Vitpilen 401 Street Tracker - Purpose Built Moto is giving away this Husqvarna Vitpilen 401! The Husky Vitpilen 401 sports the same single-cylinder engine as the KTM 390 Duke, wrapped in a lightweight steel-trellis frame and four-piece plastic body kit […]
Yamaha XSR700 Street Tracker “Tyrant” Yamaha XSR700 by Hoo-Bue - Back to the Dark Side… The Yamaha XSR700 is a retro-inspired naked bike that incorporates styling cues from the classic Yamaha XS650 with the modern technology of the FZ-07/MT-07 — a perennial favorite among new […]
Yamaha XS650 Tracker Yamaha XS650 “MUTO” Tracker - “May the FUN be with you!” Rémy Pagart of France’s MUTO Motorbikes has quickly become one of our favorite builders, a self-described “all-terrain artist” who brings a fresh boldness and joy to his work, operating […]
BMW F650 Funduro Custom Frateschi Funduro: BMW F650 Custom - The BMW F650 Funduro debuted in 1994 as the company’s lightweight, single-cylinder adventure bike — a baby GS packing a 50-hp four-valve Rotax engine, top-notch build quality, and ultra-low running costs. But Visordown.com claims there’s […]
Honda CBX750F Custom Full Metal Beast: Honda CBX750F by Grego’s Customs - A Brazilian Custom Motorcycle of the Year! The Honda CBX750F, launched in 1983, was an evolution of the “original superbike” — the beloved CB750. The air-cooled 16-valve DOHC engine produced 91 bhp, capable of propelling […]
KTM Framer Track Weapon: Two-Stroke KTM 300 Framer - 196-lb, 50+ hp flat tracker from George Pickering x Survivor Customs! The KTM 250SX is the Austrian constructor’s largest-displacement two-stroke motocross bike, built for riders and racers who want the latest features of the flagship […]
Zephyr 550 Street Tracker Problem Child: Kawasaki Zephyr 550 by Vintage Sykles -   A 70s flat track racer returns to his roots… The Kawasaki Zephyr series was the company’s range of retro-styled naked superbikes, which took inspiration from the original Kawasaki Z1. That meant twin rear shocks, […]
Beta 200 Street Tracker Rolling South: Beta 200 Street Tracker by Rodando Sur - Built in 7 days for the Argentinian Builders Challenge! The Beta Motard 200 is a street-legal 200cc four-stroke supermoto the Italian manufacturer offered in the South American market, particularly Argentina. It sported twin 17-inch wheels, […]
Honda CB750 Scrambler Bumblebee: Honda CB750 F2 Scrambler by Mad Mike Custom - “Like riding a fast tank that nobody can stop…” Better known as the Nighthawk in some parts of the world, the 1990s Honda CB750F2 Seven Fifty was no longer the world-changing “original superbike” of its […]
Honda Dominator Scrambler Fear Nothing: Honda NX650 Dominator “Witaca 001” -   A Honda Dominator built for the path, not the destination… When Honda introduced the NX650 Dominator in 1988, we can safely assume they had no idea this “urbanized trail bike” would become a favorite […]

 

 

For a full list, go here.

4 Comments

  1. troy simmons simmons

    So awsome!!!!!!!!!!! You have to love that bike!!!!!!!!

  2. My Street Tracker two Stroke Brasilian.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDUf3cDLhv4

    • Beautiful. Email us some build information (in English, if possible) and at least five photographs, and we will feature your build on the blog: taylor @ bikebound.com. Cheers!

  3. Bruce Herrington

    This has been a great article on Mule Motorcycle and the Trackers.

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