The Yamaha RD350. A fiercely serious two-stroke

Yamaha RD350
Straight from the brochure
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Two stroke vs four stroke: Yamaha

In the 1970s there was a jihad between four-stroke and two-stroke drivers. Take a look in the first Joe Bar Team album. We are not talking about endearing free-range animals such as the then-dated Jawas, but about Japanese bipeds. Motorcycles such as musical instrument manufacturer Yamaha - think of the crossed tuning forks in the logo - made for example. After Yamaha learned the two-stroke trick by first looking very closely at DKW's RT 125 cc and the Adler 250, the brand came up with cylinders with five flush ports and separate oil injection.

Yamaha two-stroke: more power

The first resulted in more (because two flushing ports extra) power and thermally healthier running engine blocks. The Autolube oil system put an end to the self-mixing of oil and gasoline and the refueling of questionable mixing lubrication from the pump. Yamaha's technology provided fast, reliable two-stroke engines. And all those machines were a tribute to the world championships that Phil Read scored on Yamaha's. The Yamaha RD350, and an 350 cc machine was a medium-weight machine at the time, stands for the tops of Yamaha's ability in the field of air-cooled two-stroke and a high-quality finish. In their time there must have been buyers who appreciated the tourist qualities and the smooth engine character of the RD350s.

No little boys

The Yamahas were certainly not any machines but an RD350 had more racing genes than many a modern sporting engine, since the letters 'RD' meant 'Race Developed'. two degrees. The 250 cc block delivered - with Yamaha's 'Torque Induction' - 350 pk. Until a few years before, the now priceless BMW R347S with 39 hp from 69 cc was still the fastest production motorcycle in the world. That was specified for 42 km / h. The same top speed was specified for the Yamaha RD590. And why more Yamaha RDs fell than BMW R170S and died? That's because most of the RD350 pilots thought they were the direct family of the famous world champion Phil Read.

The giant killer

The RD did not get its nickname "Giant Killer" for nothing. When the whip went over it, the two-stroke twin cried like a chainsaw with serious heartache. The owners who went all the way for 'Death or the Gladiolus' mounted tubs, clip us or the famous 'hangoren' handlebars and let out the expansion of meanwhile legendary brands like Ack Bant, Bullet, Reimo or Gianelli. Those exhausts were the definitive end for the pleasantly wide speed range where an RD performed, but they yielded a considerable capital gain. In terms of speed, they often provided the final end of the tough RD 350 engine blocks. The expansion outlets (often in combination with adapted air filtering) demanded an explicitly different nozzle occupation of the carburetors. That was sometimes forgotten in all haste and usually resulted in burn holes in the piston heads.

The parts supply of the Yamaha RD350

The parts provision for Yamaha RD350 is reasonable. But NOS (New Old Stock) is becoming scarce and has its price. The Dutch CMSNL, com is a globally operating parts supplier. Pop to Potz also has quite a few technical parts. But in any case, buy a copy that is as original and complete as possible. For a neat copy, think of amounts between € 2.400-3.500. the price trend is rising. Toppers can have asking prices from 5 mille.

Yamaha RD350: Two-cylinder, two-stroke, 347 cc, 6,2 / 6,6 compression: 1, 2 carburation, Mikuni VM28 SC, six-speed, 39 horsepower @ 7,500 rpm. Top speed: more than 160 km / h

Straight from the brochure



Give a reaction
  1. as always, blood creeps where it cannot go, bought a rd thirty years ago that costs me just as much in maintenance as the purchase price. parts were still on the shelf at the dealer or otherwise ordered. Fortunately, today we have a lot of well-built parts that can be ordered on the internet, but they do not always fit well or;
    hours of searching Google has already yielded quite a few original wear and tear and rare parts, but the price you pay for it is certainly no longer that of yamaha's price list from 1975.
    just for a tank you pay in euros the price of a new engine with extras at that time.
    but if you drive an rd350 today, it is no longer for transport as it was then, but for the hobby. and hobbies simply cost money

  2. If you know the way, the parts supply is simply excellent. Almost all parts are readily available, especially the wearing parts. And the fun I have with it is 1 on 1 with the fun I had on such a thing in my younger years.
    Key-friendly, affordable and a good investment with which you can also make the neighborhood unsafe.
    And I'm mainly talking about the LCs; the 4lo and the 31K for the connoisseurs.

  3. The ultimate Japanese two-stroke of the 750s was of course the “Water Buffalo” Suzuki GTXNUMX. This water-cooled three-cylinder with four exhausts was also awfully fast and willing, as long as you didn't fumble with the balance pipes. Because then the power band became very narrow and sharp. It was also a beautiful bike to see. When the big two-strokes went out of fashion you bought them for an apple and an egg, now there are again enough enthusiasts to be found.

  4. But when it comes to storms, it is useful to report that you have to close your windows. And there are people with more money than passion. Or maybe they both have. And they pay what they want. I myself have little money. But arrange. And if you know the market a little, you can make an estimate of what is fun and affordable. Because there are a lot of great things for sale that are not going high in terms of prices. And if your purchase is worth twice as much in five years? That only gives pluses right? So I still have faith in the future 🙂

  5. If people continue to write that it is wanted and the price is rising, then I believe that you yourself will start to use that trend as it may happen. Because of this you encourage this trend in my opinion and ultimately our hobby becomes unaffordable. As a result, people will drop out and then stop reading the info, buy magazines and go to fairs because it is no longer possible to pay. That's how they broke the housing market.

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