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Yamaha RD350.


The RD350 was a motorcycle produced by Yamaha. It was the premier sport lightweight of the early 70's and was evolved from the piston port (pre-reed valve intake tract), front drum-braked, 5 speed Yamaha 350 cc "R5".
Well developed for its time, it featured a reliable aircooled, parallel twin, 6 speed (in some markets, such as the UK, the first model was sold in 5-speed form), reed valve equipped intake tract two-stroke engine. It was in production as either a dark green or brandy red with white and black side details with metal emblem "Yamaha" on the tank RD350 (1973), the RD350A (1974), simple purple tank with "Yamaha" decal on the tank, and the orange with white RD350B (1975). The B model (in the UK at least) also featured a silver and black colour scheme.
All models were equipped with "Autolube" automatic oil injection, relieving the user from the need to be mixing gasoline and two-stroke oil.


Rim sizes were 18" WM2 (1.85") front and 18" WM3 (2.15"), both being of chromed, wire spoked steel construction. In the UK, rim sizes were 1.60 front and 1.85 rear.
Brakes were: single front disc brake and a rear drum brake, which Cycle Magazine described the combination as the best in its class.
The frame dimensions of the street 350 were very similar to the famous Yamaha TZ250 and TZ350 series factory road race bikes, differing mainly in weight and front fork rake - the RD being ~27 degrees and the TZ being ~25 degrees. The frames appeared similar, side by side, with the street frame adorned with many brackets for the street equipment. The weight difference was substantial though, with the street going RD frame weighing almost twice as much as the "TZ" roadrace race frame.
The stock bike made about 32 to 35 true rear-wheel HP at about 7500 rpm - very fast for the time. A contemporary of the RD was the Kawasaki H2 750cc Triple, said to make 72 to 75 true HP (tested by Cycle Magazine at 55bhp).
The 350 evolved into the more refined and cleaner running RD400C in 1976, the "D" and "E" in 77-78 and the final model, the white 1979 RD400F.


The bike was a very snappy performer and was popular with beginner riders. However, the combination of a stiff suspension, relatively abrupt power delivery and very powerful brakes to the inexperienced riders led it to being regarded as being "too fast" for new riders (uncontrollable 1st gear wheelies in the hands of careless riders were not an uncommon problem). Its good performance, light weight, and easy maintenance made it a world favorite but it ultimately suffered at the hands of increasingly stringent noise and tighter emissions standards in the US market and changing consumer appeal.
Its also worth noting that the Yamaha RD was the UK's second most stolen vehicle in 1982, the first being a Ford Cortina.


6 Comments:

  1. SUMEET SINGH CHAGGAR said...
    Just wanted to know, can see that you used continental GT rims on the yellow Rd, do they work well and would I require to remove chain-cover and will it work with front fender
    docsen9777 said...
    No mention of rd350LC in the writeup...it was the best rd ever...and by quite some distance
    docsen9777 said...
    No mention of rd350LC in the writeup...it was the best rd ever...and by quite some distance
    David said...
    It works fine sumeet, the front fender is not affected by it.
    David said...
    I will be doing a post on that bike Docsen,watch out for it.
    Nandu Narayanadas said...
    David can I please give me ur Whatsapp number. I need to have a discussion regarding rd350. Mine is +971543207626

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