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!

Yamaha Scorpio Z Street Tracker “Silverhawk” Yamaha Scorpio Z Street Tracker - Introducing “Shirubahoku” (Silverhawk) by Joyride… The Yamaha SX225 — sometimes known as the Scorpio Z — is a four-stroke, air-cooled single popular in Indonesia and Bali. While it’s mainly marketed as a commuter, the bike […]
Honda XR650R Street Tracker Retro-Tracker: Honda XR650R by Parr Motorcycles - An XRR street tracker inspired by the legendary Honda RS750… Since the inception of the AMA Grand National Championship in 1954, Harley-Davidson has been the most dominant manufacturer in flat track racing. However, in the […]
Honda XL600R Street Tracker Honda XL600R “She-Tracker” by Alex Martino - In 1983, Honda introduced the XL600R, a street-legal evolution of the XR500 that could do an honest 100 mph, cruise at 75 on the highway, and then crush fire roads and dirt roads with the […]
Harley XG750 Custom Cafe Racer “Indie” Harley XG750 Custom by Milwaukee Moto - “I decided to put the XG on a diet and make it as cool as possible…” In 2014, Harley-Davidson introduced their first new lightweight motorcycles in 40 years, the Street series. The Street 750, also […]
Honda CBR150R Scrambler Honda CBR150R by Jowo Kustom - The Honda CBR150R, launched in 2002, was the successor to the two-stroke NSR150, featuring a four-stroke, 150cc single-cylinder engine that makes around 18 horsepower. Mainly sold in Asian markets and South Africa, the bike shared […]
Honda CB750 Scrambler Honda CB750 Scrambler by RacingSmith - A mean-green 750, built for an Air Force serviceman… Many moons ago, we were thrilled to feature the first build from Ben Smith of Winston-Salem, North Carolina’s RacingSmith. The bike was a Honda CB750 tracker […]
Honda MT250 Elsinore Supermoto Supermoto Elsinore: Honda MT/CR250 Retromotard! - Snore no more: an enigmatic Elsinore with modern upgrades… In 1973, the Honda CR250M revolutionized the motocross world. Until then, Honda had only produced four-stroke machines, and all of its off-roaders were converted from street […]
Honda XL600R Flat Tracker “Bone Destroyer” Honda XL600R Flat Tracker - In France, BCKustoms (Breizh Coast Kustoms) continues to turn out of some of our favorite custom flat trackers and street trackers. Founder Yann Le Douche has quite the racing pedigree. He’s worked as a race […]
Barigo YB 500 “Blue T” Barigo YB 500 Street Tracker - An XT500-powered street tracker, finished in honor of a lost friend… Barigo was a small frame builder founded by French motocross rider Patrick Barigualt. The story is, a friend asked him to build a frame […]
Yamaha Virago 920 Cafe Racer Virago 920 “YamaDuci” by Augment Motorworks - A Japanese-Italian love story… The Virago series was Yamaha’s first entrée into world of V-twin cruisers, and one of the first motorcycle mass-produced with a monoshock rear suspension. It was a bold move for Yamaha […]
Triumph Thruxton Street Tracker For Sale: Triumph “Knucker” by Mr Martini - Triumph Thruxton 900 “Knucker” by Italy’s Mr Martini… The original Triumph Thruxton was a production-class racer based on the T120 Bonneville, hand-built in the company’s factory race shop. In 2004, Triumph brought back the Thruxton […]
Honda Shadow 500 Custom “Kage” Honda Shadow 500 by One-Up Moto Garage - In 1983, Honda introduced their Shadow series of V-twin cruisers, including the VT500C. Better known as the “Shadow 500,” the bike featured a liquid-cooled, three-valve, 52-degree V-twin engine that made 54 horsepower — mated to […]
Honda XL250 Scramblerx Island Hopper: Honda XL250 Scrambler by Custommade C.A. - A two-seat 250 scrambler, perfect for small trips to the Greek islands… When Honda introduced the XL250 in 1972, it was the world’s first mass-produced four-stroke enduro, laying the groundwork for the big four-stroke enduros […]
Yamaha XS650 Brat Tracker Yamaha XS650 Brat Tracker from Kuna Customs - The Yamaha XS650 (1970-1983) is one of our favorite vintage Japanese motorcycles, styled after the British twins of the 1960s. The engine/gearbox had unit construction and a horizontally-split crankcase, making it one of the most […]
883 Street Tracker “JSH Flat Track” 883 Street Tracker by Garasi 19 - The Harley-Davidson Sportster, introduced in 1957, has been in continuous production for over sixty years — one of the longest-running models in history. Available in 883cc and 1200cc versions, the bike continues to be powered […]

 

 

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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