CMM RETRO REBOOT RD350LC
We keep you up to date with this amazing project.
Work has started on the IDP Moto/ CMM rebooted rd350lc for today’s motorcyclist. Excited? We are!
It is happening, it’s really happening: idp moto and CMM’S vision for a new version of the classic Yamaha rd350lc is on its wheels. To recap: we had so many positive responses from our retro reboot of the rd350lc of June 2014, that daryll Young of IDP Moto had a dream, a dream to produce a number of these stunning beasts for the paying public. Chatting with daryll it was clear that to be a success this machine needs to look just like our reboot, ride like an original – if updated rd – and look as if it could be in a 2015 Yamaha brochure. The ‘rebooted’ spec of the LC saw 43mm upside-down forks, modern r6 swingarm and Brembo monoblock calipers alongside bodywork that mimics the original and a motor providing a fair bit more oomph over the original’s 47bhp – we’d like around 60-70. Colours had to closely match the original schemes that we fell in love with back in 1980. With the bike meaning so much to so many of us, the job is going to be a hard one to get right. But we love a challenge. so what’s happened so far? Well, our own Niall Mackenzie delivered his fully restored rd350lc to IDP
to begin the first, vital task. Daryll says: “The first thing was to get all the necessary measurements from the original to lay over what we wanted to do. Every minor detail, has been logged from basic geometry through to width of the bars, height, positioning – everything. “This is because it’s not just for engineering purposes but because we need to get the feel of the original bike right. It can’t be too far away from the original.” With this in mind there’s already a styling issue. “Wheels and running gear have thrown up some problems,” says Daryll. “The original Italic wheels have been scanned as has a current R6 rear wheel that we’re basing the fitment on. First issue is of style: look at the pictures of the bike on our bench with R6 swingarm and forks in place and you may not see it, but with the R6 wheel in, it just looks ‘too wide’ for an RD350LC. “Our original plan of 180-55 17in Italic wheels has been put on hold while we investigate other options. We feel perhaps the 6in rim should instead go to a 4.5in rim – and a 160-60-17 rear tyre. Continental has come on board to help with tyres so we are working with them on the choice: the design itself of the wheel looks like the original, we’ve just frozen the actual manufacture while we finalise wheel dimensions. “Remember, this has to ride right not just look right, so it could well be that our test mule will see Niall testing various permutations before we get it right. The other issue is the R6 swingarm is clearly longer than the original LC’S so if it’s (say) 40mm longer we don’t want it to handle like a bus. It’s still got to want to wheelie on the throttle like the original one did.” Other look/fit problems also need to be resolved. The tank will be a hybrid of the original and a more modern/current R6. “Currently we are having the top of a 2015 YZF-R6 tank grafted onto an original. So you’ve got the shape of the original RD with the new-style filler cap and slope-down at the front. Even things like the seat are causing headaches. “We want to either find something identical to the seat covering used at the time with RDS or aim for something like that used by Yamaha today. We find that the aftermarket suppliers’ seat covering is different to both and it looks odd.”
Engine-wise Daryll says IDP will have two motors for testing: one standard simply to slot into a chassis for suspension and geometry tests, and a mildly tuned version which will give some idea of what the finished bike will have. Again it’s all balance, as James Whitham once said, the beauty of the LC was that it had just enough power, not too much. Watching our project with interest is Bob Trigg. Bob spent many years in the British bike industry, helping develop of many Norton Villiers Triumph products, such as the Norton Commando. He got involved with the original RD250/350LC projects along with Paul Butler, later chief executive of IRTA in grand prix racing. While at Yamaha Europe, Trigg worked with stylist Mick Ofield and Butler in product development. Ofield sent design ideas for the new 250/350 such as the line of the fuel tank, and they were used by the design team back in Japan. So what worked with the original that could help our ‘new’ RD350LC build? Bob says: “Success of the original design was that it was a collection of ideas that individually weren’t significant but together worked well. The bike could be all things to all riders: a practical solo machine and also good with a passenger, and it could blow off almost anything on the road. Also you could remove features of the styling and not lose much in the looks.” Testing of our new RD350LC looks to be getting under way at Silverstone in May: “Once Niall has test ridden and approved the design of the prototype we will begin to produce the first 2015 RD350LC, and would hope to be able to unveil the finished machine here at Silverstone circuit early to mid-summer,” says Daryll. “So far, we’ve done so much on this project and we still clearly have a very long way to go. The interest shown by readers in this project has been unbelievable.”
A brew, a tape-measure, steel rule and an original bike. Time to measure!
Craig at IDP Moto got the short straw and was roped in to do the measuring. Test mule frame ready to begin assembly.
Even the bare bones of the chassis looks saucy. Standard motor will be in the test mule.