Yamaha RD350 LC YPVS

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Yamaha has an impressive two-branch history

And the provisional (?) End of that was the Yamaha RD350 LC YPVS. LC stood for liquid cooled. Liquid cooled so. We will return to the YPVS. The Yamaha was a cheetah in wolf's fur. The Yamaha RD350 LC - with a conventional exhaust system - was the basis of the story and was used in the way racing cars were used in the early days: you drove it to the circuit as quickly as possible, taped the lights and went for death or the gladiolus . And you really didn't need the 200 pk of the latest R1 for that. In its days, the two-stroke win was a machine with unprecedented road holding, thanks to the frame that was an outright copy of the racing frame that had its roots in the cross world, with fantastic brakes and of course brutal power.

No 200 horsepower ... but still

At the time, 49 pk was quite something. And on the test bench, RDs almost ran 51!

The LC was the successor of the somewhat larger RD400 and, due to the same bore and stroke of its air-cooled predecessor (64 x 54 mm), had a cylinder capacity of 347 cc. The maximum power was 49 hp at a dry weight of 147 kilo. In his time he effortlessly mastered much heavier motorcycles. At least: when it came to acceleration, steering and braking. With a seriously molded Dutchman on it, the top speed with a strong wind on the head could just be something like 140 km / h. On the other hand: if the wind was right, the 350 cc Yamaha could just as easily drive faster than 170 km / h. And in the meantime, the motorbike is a real 'cult bike'.

And lots of Yamaha RD350 LCs (and YPVSs) went flat in their lifetime

There are no oncoming circuits on circuits. But driving very fast can also be dangerous without oncoming traffic. The slender machines could heeeel be fast, provided they were ridden with respect.

The Yamaha RDs were good machines

And because they were two-stroke, they were simple machines. If there were any problems, then those were problems with the top ends. And crankshafts became scarce because they could not be overhauled. That was a choice from a cost point of view for Yamaha. But became a problem for owners. Nowadays, that problem is solved. In the early days there were carburation problems. And the exhausts kept leaking because of the engine block mounted in rubbers. These problems were solved for the 1981 model year.

Despite its racing genes, the LC and certainly the YPVS is not an unpleasant motorcycle to 'just' ride with

Until such an 5500 rpm it is just a pretty friendly device. On top of that - say from 6.000 rpm - you are going to seriously hear the exhausts and the qualities of the - nowadays naturally with its thin front fork and oak brakes heavily dated - concept come into their own. Three thousand revolutions later, the power festival is over, by the way. The RD is a basal two-stroke beast with Ø26 mm Mikunis and membrane inlets and a double disc at the front, with self-switching direction indicators being the height of civilization.

As an extra boost for your social life you get to know a huge number of people working at gas stations on a bravely driven RD350LC. And never forget to bring a bottle of the best two-stroke oil.

The LC line was presented in generous clouds of PR chatter and bleating

The - hastily assembled - prototype was presented at 1979 in Paris. The thing was not yet ready for production and it did not look like it. The end result tasted fantastic. A lot of plastic was used to keep the weight as low as possible, but the Yamaha was still heavily wounded by the liquid cooling than its air-cooled predecessor, the RD400. He was also hardly any faster than that machine before tuners very easily removed such an 15 horsepower.

The Yamaha RD350 in the photos is the heir to the primal LC, a YPVS with a good acquaintance

Robin Hofstede is a man who does not fit in this time. He loves speed. One of his other motorcycles is an almost 300 horsepower, blown 1100 cc Suzuki. Robin is also a gifted technician and metal worker like 'Robinjo's Place' on FB and in Driebergen. Not as a living, but from passion.

He already enjoyed an LC, but his successor, the YPVS, was even more fun. The YPVS was presented in Cologne as "the engine closest to a road racer". The secret was in the YPVS system in the exhausts. YPVS stands for Yamaha Power Valve System. The valve there controlled the exhaust port timing so that power delivery over the entire speed range improved.


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Yamaha RD350

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  1. The article of the Yamaha RD350 LC YPVS is very truthful, owns one without an oil pump with electronic ignition and expansion exhausts: a real bomb and so on. also nice to tour with an experienced 2-stroke rider, have a lot of fun with it!

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