Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine
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Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine

10 photos

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine
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The design of the cockpit was as simple as it was laboriously to achieve the engine and chassis.

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine
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The 16-inch model does quite a bit of antics in corners.

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine
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Heat battle: strut between the manifolds.

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine
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Cornering: a sports tourer for today’s standards.

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine
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Racing drivers’ dreams come true: The Yamaha RD 500 LC cheers through the Hockenheim Motodrom.

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine
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26 years ago, Yamaha made two-stroke fans breathless. With the Grand Prix replica, normal motorcyclists could feel like Kenny Roberts on the road. Here are the pictures of the replica.

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine
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It was not a light motorcycle, but there were internally ventilated brake discs.

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine
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The mirrors, indicators and headlights of the Yamaha RD 500 LC seem a bit careless.

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine
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Two crankshafts, four membrane inlets and power valves, not a simple two-stroke.

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine
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Anti-dive system and four silencers in the rear, as well as a large 22 liter tank.

Finale: Kenny Roberts’ Yamaha

Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine

Two-stroke fans from all over the world held their breath: in 1984, Yamaha brought a Grand Prix replica with a 500cc V4 two-stroke engine onto public roads. With it, even normal motorcyclists could feel like King Kenny Roberts.

Many of us middle-aged motorcyclists have been socialized through two-stroke machines. Stop right now: We don’t want to write here so swollen. So: Anyone who got their driver’s license in the 1970s was guaranteed to do it – at some point they drove one Yamaha RD 250 or Suzuki GT 250. At least if things are going to be sporty. And if the coal wasn’t so abundant.

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Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine

Finale: Kenny Roberts’ Yamaha
Yamaha RD 500 LC: Grand Prix replica with V4 two-stroke engine

RD 500 LC saw the light of day. Madness: a 500cc two-stroke rocket with 88 hp, 50-degree V4 engine and modern chassis technology such as anti-dive fork and internally ventilated disc brakes.

The shock came when I looked at the price tag: 11188 Marks called up Yamaha, nothing again. Even two-stroke enthusiasts who were meanwhile in wages could hardly afford this machine. Especially since of course a lot of cash was needed to run such a bolide. It was quite a bit from RD 250 & Co. used. The second shock: the 500 had little to do with the successful Yamaha racing machines. The V4 weighed a full 216 kilograms, too much for true sports drivers, of course. Third shock, but this time for Yamaha: a year later, Suzuki brought the RG 500 Gamma, with 95 hp, square four rotary valve engine and 30 kilograms lighter thanks to the aluminum frame.

So it was not particularly easy for Yamaha to sell this machine, but the brand with the three tuning forks deserves the honor of boldly pushing this highlight in motorcycle history onto the market. Courage that is of course missing today in times of well-organized global corporate strategy with a focus on the Asian region (now I’m getting so pompous again). I mean: Back then, the boys still had balls and slammed us in front of the bib. So, let’s bang it: footrest folded up, kickstarter folded out, one or two kicks, and the RD groans. Cold start cloud like an aging Golf diesel, but a much better smell. Aah, that’s how it was 30 years ago…


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Racing drivers’ dreams come true: The Yamaha RD 500 LC cheers through the Hockenheim Motodrom.

A little magic with the clutch and throttle grip, and the heavy machine rolls off with a gasp and mockery. Yes, at that time there were no injections with automatic cold start increase, you lifted the carburetor slide yourself, initially by choke, after 500 meters a few warming gas blasts are enough. But this sound! This inimitable clanking and grinding, sawing and screaming. Only the RDs sounded like that, and the 500 doubles the experience.

The thing pulls from 3000 rpm. Thanks to membrane inlets and tiny 26 mm carburettors, the racer is city-traffic-friendly. You can maneuver an RD 500 LC really peacefully and quietly through the crowd. A touring sporty, comfortable seating position and even really large mirrors help. Fittings and clocks are known to be of good Yamaha quality.

The post takes off when the four rotary slide valves clear the outlet ducts. From 6000 rpm the power valves open and literally let the 500s explode. The torque rises suddenly and the RD marches. From 8000 rpm it adds a shovel and delivers a splendid two-stroke bite. Inimitable, floating, unstoppable. There is no engine concept that can speed up the engine with such ease.

The good 80 hp are of course by today’s standards no elemental force. And the heavy weight also tames the RD. Nevertheless, the RD is on the move quickly. Why? The torque of 67 Nm is on the level of the best 600 four-cylinder four-stroke engines. The Yamaha technicians managed to make the chassis easy to handle. The front 16-inch device makes the load quite wobbly, but the narrow 18-inch device at the back pulls it largely straight again. Today there are no longer such tire combinations. Not to imagine how nicely the RD would move with current 17-inch monitors. The other chassis highlights, anti-dive fork and internally ventilated brake discs, work really well. Especially the braking performance of the RD is still convincing today. Both features have disappeared from the motorcycle scene for years.

How would you classify an RD 500 LC today? As is so often the case, what was called a super athlete back then can almost be passed as a tourer today. The sitting position was comparatively upright, the suspension and damping rather gentle. The thick RD cuts a fine figure on tour. Since the strut beneath the engine is even operated by a lever system, it cushions even small bumps with ease. Together with the huge 22-liter tank, the range is also right.


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Anti-dive system and four silencers in the rear, as well as a large 22 liter tank.

Was it consumption that quickly made the big two-stroke engines extinct? After all, a quickly driven RD 500 LC swallows between seven and ten liters, but it can also be driven under seven liters. In addition, there is of course about a liter of two-stroke oil for 400 to 600 kilometers. And the feeling that you are throwing a lot of dirt into the environment. The cold start exhaust plume is only a first expression of the high emissions. If you follow an RD, you will be very foggy after a few hours. Catalytic converter, injection – none of that.

A shame, because with modern engine management and even direct injection, the two-stroke engine would definitely have a chance again. But nowadays no manufacturer dares to do it consistently. That leaves us only to dream of what if. And to remember the good old days when manufacturers made us happy with such daring concepts and thus set highlights. Ten of these highlights can be admired at the MOTORRAD special show. From October 6th at INTERMOT in Cologne. Until then.

Technical specifications


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Two crankshafts, four membrane inlets and power valves, not a simple two-stroke.

Engine:
Water-cooled four-cylinder two-stroke 50-degree V engine, two crankshafts coupled via gears, separate lubrication, diaphragm inlet, power valve outlet, bore x stroke 56.4 x 50 millimeters, 499 cm3, 65 kW (88 hp) at 9500 / min, electronic ignition, a 26-millimeter Mikuni carburettor, kick starter, multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox

Landing gear:
Double-loop tubular frame made of steel, anti-dive fork at the front, twin-arm swing arm at the rear with a suspension strut articulated via a lever system, double-disc brake at the front, single-disc brake at the rear, 16/18 inch cast wheel front / rear

Measurements and weight:
Weight with a full tank 216 kg, tank capacity 22 liters, top speed 223 km / h

Price: 11188 marks (1984)

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