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!

Ural Flat Tracker Ural Flat Tracker: 1955 M-72 Flathead Boxer - Hammer Bike builds the “Very First” Ural Flat Tracker…  In 1939, alarmed with Hitler’s ambitions in Europe, the Soviet Union decided they needed a new heavy-duty motorcycle as part of their military rearmament. In order […]
Harley Sportster XL1200 Street Tracker A Sporting Sportster: Harley XL1200S Street Tracker - Italy’s Rock Hard Custom builds a street-tracking Sporty…  In 1996, Harley-Davidson introduced a new member to the long-running Sportster lineup, the XL1200S Sport. The Sportster Sport had the same stump-pulling Evo V-twin as the regular […]
Top 10 Trackers and Supermotos of 2022 - Here at BikeBound, it’s no secret that we’re big fans of street trackers, flat trackers, and supermotos. And we aren’t alone — so are you, our readers. One of our Top 10 Customs of 2022 […]
BMW K100 Cafe Tracker The Orange Brick: BMW K100RS Custom - Moto Adonis transforms a BMW Flying Brick…  Introduced in 1982, the BMW K100 earned the nickname “Flying Brick” for its unique engine layout, wherein the bike’s liquid-cooled DOHC inline-four was laid on its side in […]
Super Meteor Desert Sled Slay Day Sled: Royal Enfield Super Meteor 700 “Mistral” - JETS Motorcycles builds a Super Meteor street tracker… At the time of its introduction in 1952, the Royal Enfield Meteor 700 was the largest British twin on the market. It was built specifically for the […]
Suzuki Savage 650 Street Tracker Savage DNA: Suzuki LS650 Street Tracker - Grand Cru Customs builds a Savage 650 street tracker…  Introduced in 1986, the Suzuki Savage 650 — aka the LS650 and later the Boulevard S40 — would remain in production for 33 years. The 650cc […]
KTM 390 Scrambler Mud Ripper: KTM 390 Scrambler! - Ormotors builds KTM 390 Adventure Scrambler…  In 2013, the KTM 390 Duke hit the market as a welterweight version of the beloved Duke, packing a 44-hp single-cylinder engine and WP suspension. There was nothing else […]
Huskypower: Husqvarna 630 Street Tracker - Satset Garage turns back the clock on a modern sumo…  Introduced in 2011, the Husqvarna 630 SMR was one beast of a supermoto — a fuel-injected big-bore street version of the bikes that had won […]
Kymco KTR 150 Tracker Tai Chi: Kymco KTR 150 Tracker - Shimotor builds a 150cc custom tracker…  Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more custom builds coming out of Taiwan. Rough Crafts and 2Loud Customs have been widely known in the customs world for years, but […]
Suzuki GT250 Street Tracker “Smoke, Noise, Speed” — Suzuki GT250 Street Tracker! - Tough Tracker builds a two-stroke ripper!  In the 1970s, competition in the 250 two-stroke class was especially fierce, as 17-year-olds could ride 250cc machines in the UK — and of course, every budding street racer […]
Aeon My150 Street Tracker The Final Exam: Aeon 150 Street Tracker - A young mechanic’s final test to work at KenKen Moto!  Aeon Motor is a Taiwanese company that began manufacturing motorcycle parts in 1970 and started building their own ATVs, scooters, and mini-bikes for European and […]
Yamaha XS650 Scrambler Period-Correct Goodness: 1970 Yamaha XS650 “Bugsy” - James “The Eggman” Eckman recreates the bike he sold 50 years ago…  Motocross arrived on American shores quite a bit later than some folks realize. Though the first European FIM championship was held in 1952, […]
Kawasaki KZ440 Custom La Distinguida: Kawasaki KZ440 Custom - Motorockers Garage’s Ribbon-Winning KZ…  The Kawasaki KZ440 was a middleweight parallel-twin that evolved from the KZ400, proving itself a competent runabout with a solid blend of performance and economy. One owner who’s used his KZ […]
Yamaha XT600 Scrambler Lord Drake Kustoms: Yamaha XT600 Scrambler - Introduced in 1984, the Yamaha XT600 would become one of the most venerated big-bore “trailies” of all time — a rugged, no-nonsense dual-purpose machine that performed equally well on grocery runs and trans-African expeditions. “The […]
Honda CRF450 Street Tracker Minimalist Extreme: Honda CRF450R Street Tracker - For Sale: Marcus Moto’s Design’s CRF Tracker”…  The Honda CRF450R is Big Red’s production motocross weapon, a four-stroke liquid-cooled racer born in 2002 and now in its sixth generation. The first redesign, in 2005, featured […]

 

 

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

    • bikebound

      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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