Yamaha RD 350 – The famous classic car

Yamaha RD 350 - The famous classic car
wolf

Final: Yamaha RD 350

The famous old-timer from Yamaha

Three tuning forks cross each other in the logo of their brand, their two two-stroke cylinders provided fiery propulsion, and on the street they kindled a unique soundscape. This time in the final of MOTORRAD: the famous Yamaha RD 350.

At 13 you have dreams.

Maybe from the first moped. Definitely from the first kiss from the pretty girl from the parallel class. Or maybe a little more. My dream was dark green, screamed like a big cat stepped on its tail, and gave off the sweet scent of unburned hydrocarbons. It was my neighbor’s RD. Every morning on the way to the school bus, the rich little boy burned past me, every morning the same humiliation: I had to walk, he was allowed to race.

New motorcycles were still a rarity in the early 1970s. And a hot Yamaha RD 350 was totally new at the time. Instead of clicking the Internet today, direct research back then: I circled the machine parked in the yard concentrically. Two exhausts, so two cylinders, carburetors go in at the bottom, so a two-stroke. Just like the racing machines! Speedometer up to 200! Red area at 8500 rpm! Disc brake! Madness. My quartet gave information: Yamaha RD 350, 39 PS, top 175 km / h, price 3395 marks (1971). There were stronger things, but that seemed completely unattainable financially. “Dad, will I get a motorcycle like this one day?” “Boy, learn something smart, then you can buy one yourself later.”

B.After all, the rachial pedagogue he was, he knew how to turn my brain convolutions so that one thing was clear: first coal, first RD. Just a 250, but just as screaming and fragrant.

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Yamaha RD 350 - The famous classic car

Final: Yamaha RD 350
The famous old-timer from Yamaha


wolf

It has always been quite a burner, but the footrest bar under the mufflers made some RD drivers kiss the asphalt.

Disenchantment spreads. What was a rocket then is a snail today. What vibrated slightly back then feels unbearable today. Is the RD broken? Everything is checked in the parking lot. There are engine mounts, the engine runs quietly when idling, nothing rattles, nothing hangs away – then that’s how it was.

Are you so spoiled today? Yes one is. But: The road world, the whole traffic situation, everything has changed dramatically. The consequence: look for the old streets with the RD. Those curvy, not really well paved areas where hunting through the corridors is still really fun. Even with only 39 HP, of which there are maybe 35 in this RD. To do this, you have to be far away from the big city, head for the first villages in the country and then turn left and right again, then off you go. There are hardly any cars here, they get annoyed in traffic jams on the expressways of the republic.

I am delighted with the handy, narrow machine that masters curves like a string. About the ease with which the engine revs up and finally hear that inimitable sound again. How vigorously and vulgarly motorcycles were allowed to suck in back then, how tinny and loud they could crack out of their trumpets. It’s finally back, the RD feeling. Nobody pushes, nobody annoys, and in corners the little one is pretty quick to drive anyway. Especially since the mounted Metzeler tires ME 33 and 77 adhere much better than the groove 12 and block C 66 from back then. What have you put on your face with the hard stuff! And those were the good tires. The original Yokohama were dreaded in-the-rain-immediately-greasers. I get bolder over time. Thanks to the new ICON struts, the original Japan dampers have never been used, they can be angled with confidence. The RD offers plenty of ground clearance, it was just a burner back then. And the narrow tires don’t need the lean angles to be really fast in corners.

On my home route, I run into a visibly anxious super sports driver. His racing suit is adorned with pristine knee sliders, his driving style is reminiscent of Valentino Rossi, but unfortunately half as weird. He shrugs when I see myself in the rearview mirror. With a big grin on my face, I pull past, make a solid angle, left, right, left through the combination of curves, yes, that’s how it works! To the right a little deeper – oops, there it is again, that scratching sound of metal on asphalt! The bracket, man, the footrest bracket under the exhaust, it levered out! Just noticed, came home happy, what a day.

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