What's your thoughts on a early RD350

Discussion in '2 smokers' started by bloodandmotoroil, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. jkdwings

    jkdwings Been here awhile

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    Oh, those lovely RDs of the past. My buddy has an early 70s RD200 that I rode pretty early in my biking experience (at 17), and that was the first time I experienced a 2-stroke power band. Magical. It wasn't much later I found a used RD400 for sale that wasn't running. $500 and some carb work and she's been going solidly for a few years now. Great pull in the power band, and easy power wheelies. Then I managed to find myself an '89 NSR250. Certainly doesn't compare to the RD's torque, but that much horsepower in such a light bike should be illegal! Don't know if I'll ever be able to sell either bike
    #61
  2. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

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    Early air cool RD's ? Naw, they dont handle at all ! :evil



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    #62
  3. Shocktower

    Shocktower Long timer

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    I love my 79 RD 400 Daytona Special, I have been restoring it slowly, but with everything you could think of, I got flat slide carbs moto carerra pipes new brake lines, new headset bearings, I think I am going to get an Aluminum swing arm . They are the coolest bikes :evil
    #63
  4. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

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    Pjay in New Zealand will laugh at this pic !

    Stock footpegs on a '73 350.......4 hour endurance race, our first one, and this is how my team mates boots looked at the end ! :rofl

    We ground most the way through the footpeg loops at the end. Biggest fear was bending the loop down, grounding out hard and high siding.

    His son went on to win formula RD WERA 20 years later !!!! :clap



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    #64
  5. scrambler73

    scrambler73 Been here awhile

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    To say that an RD350 "handles poorly" is one of the most mis-informed things I've read here on ADV... Even by today's standards, they handle pretty stinking good...
    I dont even think they handle that bad with stock/crappy supsension. (as long as there is still some oil left in the shockers/forks...lol)

    I will agree that the stock brakes sorta-kinda suck if ridden hard/fast. Ive had a couple of "pucker moments" while riding briskly..

    And I also agree wholeheartedly that the majority of us will never come close to reaching the limits of what that little chassis is capable of.

    Yeah, they only have 40HP, but it is SOOOOOO much fun keeping them on the pipe in the tight/twisty stuff.... Of course, they are going to get schooled on an OPEN/FAST/SWEEPING track or road. They barely do 100mph.

    The R5 and RD's chassis' are not that far removed from the Factory Race bikes of the same era. Spoon a set of sticky tires on (BT45's or AM26's), throw a good set of shocks and springs in there and they still kill giants in the tight stuff. They are VERY "motard-esqe" in how you can hammer the corners. Rear-sets and chambers and its a whole nuther ballgame.

    In stock form, the RD Yamahas IMHO are the best handling bikes (hands down) of the early to late 70's. Guys were still competative through the late 80's in a lot of road racing clubs against bikes 10-15 years newer.
    #65
  6. Shocktower

    Shocktower Long timer

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    To me an RD 400/350 is like the hot chick from highschool only a lot cheaper and never talks back, and will always put out :evil
    #66
  7. MrR3NO

    MrR3NO n00b

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    Hey, everyone this is my first post as I'm new to the bike scene. I recently got my motorcycle license, through a rider's course, and have been looking into getting a 70s bike as my first. I do have very limited dirt bike experience as a young kid if that matters really at all. I know it can be a lot of work but I'm pretty handy and with a manual/instructions I can fix quite a lot. That said, I've got my eye on a 74 RD350 and stumbled across this forum.

    I've read the responses here thus far and there is a pretty decent consensus that an RD is an awesome machine to own. I just want to know how it would be as a first bike for someone who also likes getting his hands dirty, loves to learn, and is exceptional with google lol.

    I'm not 100% dead set on the RD350 in my area but I'm gonna go check it out and we'll see, are there any extra things I should look at/consider that an average person who has just a little motorcycle knowledge needs to know? Especially when it comes to this bike?

    Any help would be great, thanks.

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    #67
  8. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    An RD 350 for a beginner bike??? :rofl
    Good luck with that.
    #68
  9. tripodtiger

    tripodtiger Off riding around on bitumen circles.

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    GO FOR IT!!

    I'm become an RD collector! '73 250, '77 400 & '81 350 :clap

    What do you need to know about an RD. Well, the 350 is actually easier to ride than the 250. It has heaps more torque as well as horsepower. The 350 really was a giant killer. Even my 250 would routinely beat up 750 hondas - through the bends.

    It will take you almost no time to work out how many revs it needs to make power.
    It will take you only a little bit longer to realsie that you have to use your left foot.
    Once you've worked that out, you'll start having a ball.

    What you save in tyres, chains etc, you'll spend on petrol and 2 stroke oil.

    Make sure that your carbs are synch'd. Otherwise you risk burning pistons if you give it some for an extended period.

    Check the oil pump and install clear oil lines to the carbs. You'll probably find that you get around 3 tanks of petrol to a tank of 2 stroke oil. But always carry a litre bottle of oil. And modern synthetic oils are so good that the only smoking it should do is when the exhausts are still cold.

    Very simple. Very easy to work on.

    At the risk of getting boring...have a squiz. Two of the videos I put up from an historic bikes ride day in Victoria.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/VEuB3lo8aP8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    On the strength of those two days, I've bought myself a 350LC track bike.

    Bear in mind this is my restored bike. it's set up to use on road in social rallys. I wasn't trying to thrash it. It's 40 years old. This was supposed to be a fun event with lots of different skills sharing the track.
    You can hear, in the second video, those times when I let it get off the pipe and had to change back


    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/iovkSVi19JE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #69
  10. MrR3NO

    MrR3NO n00b

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    Thanks a lot Tripod, you've definitely eased my fears about picking up an RD first. It seems to be a fantastic classic bike. If I can get it for a good price, I'm gonna pull the trigger.

    By the way, the videos were awesome.
    #70
  11. A-ron

    A-ron n00b

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    An rd350 is a great beginner bike. small, light, handles GREAT, a 12yr old can flat foot it, actually hard to ride over your head and a top speed of 100mph tucked with the wind at your back.
    Also a very simple machine to work on, two holes 2 pistons, no valves and other unnecessary bits.
    #71
  12. FloridaSteve

    FloridaSteve Long timer

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    Pardon my rant here but..... Wow is there some misinformation on here.

    Scrambler nailed most of it but I have to add my 2 cents. First of all a STOCK RD350 would be a fine first bike. It's really pretty tame considering that a lot of kids are getting on 600 supersports as their first bikes.

    MR3nO asked about: "as a first bike for someone who also likes getting his hands dirty, loves to learn, and is exceptional with google lol.". IMHO I don;t think there would be a bette bike on the planet for exactly that sort of thing. there are HUGE and helpful communities. Parts are plentiful and affordable and if you choose to go that route you can turn them into mini rocket ships.

    Whoever said an RD350 is a poor handling ride could not be more mistaken. The bike is basically a consumer version of the wildly successful early TZ race bikes. Properly set up they go around a corner as quickly as anything up to the the early 90's.

    Oh and a STOCK RD350 sipps gas. Especially compared to other bikes(2 and four stroke) from the era. Now the tank size may limit you a bit if you're cruising with modern ADV bikes with 7 gallon tanks but I doubt you'll be running in those circles on this bike anyway.

    And I've always thought the stock RD350 brakes FOR THAT ERA were a marvel. That simple little single piston fron brake was really quite amazing compared to the block an tacker of other bikes that barely slowed you down. ADD a braided line and quaity pad and they're fantastic all things considered. Of course small as they are they will heat up on you if pushed long and hard. Say on a long twisty day.

    Now as far as the Kawasaki H1's and H2's go sure they had plenty of brake and handling issues but if you get into them you quickly learn that most of those issues can either be eleminated or significantly negated without anything too major.

    Rant off... carry on... :1drink
    #72
  13. FloridaSteve

    FloridaSteve Long timer

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    @ triptiger That second video looks like a freaking BLAST!
    #73
  14. FloridaSteve

    FloridaSteve Long timer

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    Bassani pipes... Even with the mile long stingers they are my favorite! Awesome street pipes! Nice broad range.

    #74
  15. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

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    Yup, hands down the best old school midrange pipes out there. Despite their long ends, I managed several WERA podium finishes with a pair of em. Very, very easy to jet for them with a otherwise stock engine.
    #75
  16. Super Sport

    Super Sport Adventurer

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    I'm an old guy who still likes to take my modified RD350 out on pleasant Sunday afternoons
    .............and wring the crap out of it. [​IMG]
    #76
  17. FloridaSteve

    FloridaSteve Long timer

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    Amen! One hell of a nice build!
    #77
  18. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

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    Now THATS a nice fuel tank !

    Any idea what tank that is ?
    #78
  19. Super Sport

    Super Sport Adventurer

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    "Now THATS a nice fuel tank !

    Any idea what tank that is ? "

    Afraid I forgot the brand. It is written on the inside of the tank, and the same company made the seat pan. I seem to remember that they used to make motorcycle parts and now make fiberglass parts for cars only.

    I got the tank and seat in a barter, not knowing it was for an RD. I called the manufactuer after doing a google search to see what the tank was made for, and they didn't know. So I tried it on a ratty RD350 (the one in the photo) and... voila! The tank and seat were a perfect fit. I loved the tank and built a bike around it.
    #79
  20. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    I have a 1973 i keep in the rec-room. Bought it as a barn find 15 yrs ago with 2900miles on it. Cleaned it up and ran it for a season and put 1000miles on it. Alot of fun but I looked like the sugar bear on the damn thing so i tucked it away. It's been an art piece since then but it don't eat no hay.
    #80