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!

Honda XL500 Tracker Honda XL500S Flat Tracker - In 1979, Honda released the XL500S, a single-cylinder dual-purpose machine developed to compete with the Yamaha XT500, winner of the first two runnings of the Paris Dakar Rally. The bike had important improvements over the […]
Sportster Street Tracker Makassar Monster: Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster - A “Naked Tracker” from Indonesia’s Tiba Tiba Garage…  Since 1957, the Harley-Davidson Sportster has remained one of the world’s most highly customized motorcycles. With the big V-twin engine and less weight than larger H-D machines, […]
Honda CB300R Street Tracker Honda CB300R Street Tracker - From Roadster to Street Tracker…  The Honda CB300R is a lightweight, single-cylinder roadster from the company’s “Neo Sports Café” range, which includes the mighty CB1000R. Weighing in at just 313 pounds wet (317 with ABS), […]
Moonshine: Suzuki TS100 Scrambler - Two-Stroke Scrambler from House of Customland x Minority Custom…  The Suzuki TS100 was a lightweight street-legal two-stroke enduro produced from 1973 to 1981. The little smoker made 11 horsepower, good for a top speed of […]
KTM 990 Super Duke Custom The Marrakech: KTM 990 Super Duke - Outsiders Motorcycles transforms a V-twin weapon…  The KTM 990 Super Duke was one bad machine, a 120-hp hooligan’s dream with a chromoly trellis frame, 999.8cc LC8 V-twin engine, and high-spec WP suspension. It was nothing […]
Suzuki Freewind Scrambler 007 Scrambler: Suzuki Freewind 650 - Sardinia’s MCafeGarage builds one sleek 650…  The Suzuki XF650 Freewind has been called the predecessor of the V-Strom. The Euro-styled single-cylinder all-rounder debuted in 1997, designed to rival the BMW F650. The engine came courtesy […]
Suzuki Grass Tracker Scrambler Grass Tracker No. 008: Suzuki 250 Scrambler - Heiwa Motorcycle builds an vinduro-style 250 scrambler…  Last year, we featured a Suzuki TU250 scrambler from one of our favorite builders, Kengo Kimura of Heiwa Motorcycle, who built the vintage-style, dual-sporting machine for himself: “His […]
Honda Monkey Tracker 1:1 Scale: Honda “FTZ50” Monkey Toy Box! - Red Right Hand of Moto thinks inside the box…  The Honda Z series, better known as the Monkey, remains one of the most iconic and beloved motorcycles of all time. Introduced in the early 1960s, […]
BMW Super Hooligan Street-Legal Super Hooligan: BMW R NineT - Rind Performance builds a street-legal Super Hooligan… One of the world’s best-known custom bike builders, Roland Sands, has an impressive racing pedigree: He was the 1998 AMA Pro 250GP National Champion. Over the years, he’s […]
Supercharged Minibike The Monster: Supercharged 1969 Bonanza Minibike! - Wolf Creek Garage builds a blown mini tracker for The Wild One!  In 1958, Michael O. Farrand founded a high-performance go-kart company, Custom Kart, in Central California. Operations soon moved to San Jose, and the […]
The One Moto 2022 Trackers The One Moto Show 2022: Trackers & Scramblers! - We’re back with our second segment from The One Motorcycle Show! Last time, we featured The One Moto Show 2022: Cafe / Salt / Road Racers. Now it’s time to veer from the tarmac and […]
Handbuilt Show 2022 Trackers Handbuilt Show 2022: Trackers & Scramblers! - Hosted by Revival Cycles each year during MotoGP weekend in Austin, Texas, The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show celebrates hand-built machinery of the two-wheeled variety: “The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show is an inspiring showcase of works from builders […]
Rotax Thunderbike Fastest Horse in Town: Rotax 604 Thunderbike Tracker - Thunderbike Champion Texas Chris builds a faster horse…  The Thunderbike class hails from the early days of UK flat track racing, when one of the sport’s godfathers, Peter “Boastie” Boast, wanted to create a class […]
Ninja 250 Scrambler Lil Scrapper: Ninja 250R Scrambler - Vintage Sykles builds a firefighter a tough 250 Ninja…  In 2008, Kawasaki unveiled a completely new version of their best-selling sportbike, the Ninja 250R. The baby Ninja has long been a favorite of both new […]
KTM 300 Street Tracker Two-Stroke Ripper: KTM 300 EXC Street Tracker - Black Cycles Australia builds one rip-ready KTM two-stroke…  The KTM 300 EXC is the company’s flagship enduro machine, a 293cc two-stroke off-road weapon with a race-winning blend of weight, balance, handling, and power: “Lightweight, great […]

 

 

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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