What's your thoughts on a early RD350

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

  1. tripodtiger

    tripodtiger Off riding around on bitumen circles.

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    Over here we have, in most states, Learner Approved Motorcycle Schemes. Any 250 with the exception of half a dozen of the later 2 stroke twins - RGV, Aprilia, TZR, KR1 & KR1S - plus, bike less than 660 & with a power to weight limit.
    KTM has managed to get the 530 EXE on that list! :eek1
    I'll stand corrected but all of the RDs & RZs, except the 500, are learner legal.:clap

    I reckon an RD350, 400 is a great learner bike. For all of the reasons mentioned above. Rider's don't tend to get themselves into trouble except by mis-adventure or stuffing up something they've done deliberately.

    If you get something wrong, through unintentional loss of control - something like holding the throttle open & dumping the clutch would be a fairly common novice error mainly caused by freezing on the controls, legs flying all over etc - it probably doesn't really matter what you're riding. Excessive power isn't really the problem.

    If you get yourself into trouble trying to do something, that's another matter. I'd also suggest that, in a large number of cases, the power available still isn't a huge causative issue. You're going to try it at whatever speed the thing your riding will go. More power just means you'll stuff up at a higher speed. Just going faster doesn't necessarily determine the consequence. Yes, there is a correlation.

    The need for restrictions is political, IMHO. It says that the government & authorities are doing something about the 'terrible' collision rates. It's very easy. Costs almost nothing. Is simple to enforce - but enforcement is always after the event.

    I'd be much happier seeing a novice on something that has sufficient torque to carry their weight properly in the situations they intend to ride than something that is far too small, engine &/or physical size wise.

    If you can live with the different issues that come with an RD350, they are all getting around 40 years old for a start, then I reckon they are a good place to start.

    And they go round corners fantastic.

    I will admit, the brakes on mine are a bit so-so. And the effect of that? I have to be aware of ALL of it's performance.
    #81
  2. JSharp

    JSharp Been here awhile

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    Those bike were great handlers back in the day. That day was 40 years ago however.

    I'll agree that they'd be fine as starter bike. Maintenance is simple and minimal and the reliability in street use is plenty good. They don't have a ton of power and the light weight and quick steering makes them fun to ride.

    I guess I just don't get all the old bike romance associated with them. Maybe I spent too many hours on one at racing speeds...
    #82
  3. FloridaSteve

    FloridaSteve Long timer

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    Yeah I'd say that would skew your opinion dramatically.
    #83
  4. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

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    Yes, it does........and to further skew that golden glow, just ride a grey market GP replica for a decade after the RD's.

    It really drives home the reality of how crude the air coolers were.



    [​IMG]
    #84
  5. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    Had a '72 R5 350 and a '75 RD350B.

    For their day they handled great, and, braked great. For their day. That's not to say they still aren't a whole ton of fun. Easy to keep up and look after, especially If I could tune it up and keep it going. Its a great machine for a new to bikes to wrench on.

    The last RD I rode was in about 1995. It wasn't the same, it felt vibey and all the modern slander everyone now heaps on them. But there's no comparison with bikes in those days vs now. But in its day, well, pretty much nothing was alla round as fast and all around competent - for the commoner motorcyclist that is.

    Giant killer? They sure were. I actually felt bad about luring people into impromptu roads encounters. Z1's were easily dusted, (on a proper road) but eventually I feared they may have ended up in the weeds and impaled so I cut back on that.

    I am confident the RD made me the stellar all knowing skilled rider I am today. Not that I'm great, I'm not, but what I managed to do and learn on that bike was extremely useful.

    My favorite thing, in my memory, that I managed to do on a RD350 was a Monday morning commute. After staying at my GF's over the weekend I had to get to work, I believe exactly or about 60 miles away, Olympia WA to Quilcene, WA. I slowly worked my way up to getting better times. My best was 1 hour. This is not a straight road at all, a pretty fantastic road actually, and on a early weekday morning it had virtually no traffic. I could never beat that one hour time because the one time it appeared I might I ran out of gas. I always started with a full tank too. They may have "sipped" gas, but not at that pace.
    #85
  6. JSharp

    JSharp Been here awhile

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    :clap
    #86
  7. Shocktower

    Shocktower Long timer

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    I love mine 1979 RD 400 Daytona Special, it is not yet on the road, I have it nearly ready, but I am getting it ready. What I have done flat slides, ordering new shocks, new headset emulators in the front forks motocarerra pipes. I have not done any porting, the bike has 6.432 miles on it so it will stay stock for now, I am sure it will be a kick in the ass ride, BTW I will put setbacks on it too :evil
    #87
  8. Harvey Krumpet

    Harvey Krumpet Long timer

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    Not wanting to derail the thread but.... we are adopting the Aussie list of learner legal bikes in October. IT 490's are on the legal list:evil

    Thank you Oztralia..:freaky

    Oh, Raxelson. That is a lovely bike, caused me to pause & drool.
    #88
  9. LasseNC

    LasseNC XSessive!

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    Who to use for parts in the EU? Are there RD350 specific forums you can recommend?
    #89
  10. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

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  11. FloridaSteve

    FloridaSteve Long timer

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    I'll second both of those. Very good boards. You'll find everything you need over there. Have any pics of the new bike?
    #91
  12. LasseNC

    LasseNC XSessive!

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    Yeah, I have made a small topic with pictures.

    Sent from my HTC Legend using Tapatalk 2
    #92
  13. cbreakin

    cbreakin Adventurer

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    Old tread, I know, but I have to agree with the positive sentiments of most of the posters on the the topic. I acquired this bike as a complete survivor in somewhat rough condition. I spent last winter working on her and this summer ripping around the SoCal canyons. The RD handles well, the peaky engine character is really entertaining, and I don't feel like a target for CHP when I'm riding it. All in all some of the most fun one can have on two wheels.

    [​IMG]
    #93
    highnoonhunter and LasseNC like this.