RD250LC PRO-AM

Our man Macken­zie tracks down a 250LC for his next project: a Pro-am race replica!

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS -

Niall Macken­zie to replica his replica RD Pro-am…

Ever since I got in­volved with Chris Her­ring from the Cir­cuit of Wales and IDP Moto in res­ur­rect­ing the RD LC Pro-am se­ries back in 2015 I’ve had a con­stant han­ker­ing to own a Yamaha RD250LC. My suc­cess in the orig­i­nal se­ries fea­tur­ing the 350cc model in­spired me to re­store one a few years ago, so now I’ve clocked up a cou­ple of 250cc Pro-am wins I felt it was time to track down my beloved Elsie a lit­tle sis­ter. I re­mem­ber the 250 ver­sion be­ing the first LC to land on these shores in the early sum­mer of 1980 and al­though I didn’t own one I rode my mate Ste­wart Rae’s bike on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions at the Pines Chip­pie in Denny. I ac­tu­ally pre­ferred the punchy per­for­mance of his brother Alis­tair’s white Suzuki X7 but the LC had more top-end and looked much more sleek and so­phis­ti­cated. At the time I de­cided to wait for the 350 giv­ing me more time to work flat-out, save up and avoid sign­ing up for some steep fi­nance. It was frus­trat­ing though as all my mates were hav­ing lots of fun in the sun while de­liv­ery dates for the 350s got later and later. I even­tu­ally col­lected mine in the Septem­ber from Bill Flem­ing Mo­tors in Glas­gow and was given a Bell Star 2 hel­met from Yamaha as com­pen­sa­tion for the de­lay. The day I picked it up Ste­wart and Alis­tair asked for a go but I told them to get lost (only jok­ing!). The now iconic sta­tus of these bikes cou­pled with sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic­ity gen­er­ated by the Pro-am re­vival has seen prices con­stantly rise over the past decade so I was well aware there are no cheap 250LCS about. I briefly con­sid­ered

build­ing one from parts but af­ter check­ing even the cheap­est ebay prices I could see that would never work. Ini­tially I was look­ing for a de­cent, com­plete bike to re­store but then got think­ing why not build a Pro-am rep? It hon­estly had no bear­ing on the mat­ter but I no­ticed Ben­netts re­cently ran a com­pe­ti­tion to win a replica of my race bike from 2015 where the win­ner sold it on the same day he picked it up for £5k! Build­ing a replica would also mean I didn’t have to pay top dol­lar for a UK reg­is­tered bike with match­ing chas­sis and engine num­bers plus it mat­tered less if things like cen­tre­stands, mir­rors and lights were miss­ing. With this in mind I de­cided to set an up­per limit of £3000 and get trawl­ing. Two weeks later I handed over £2900 for a tidy white/red 1980 Ger­man im­port with­out match­ing num­bers and un­reg­is­tered. The ven­dor from Coven­try claimed it had un­der­gone a prac­ti­cal restora­tion and it had all the nec­es­sary pa­per­work to eas­ily get it road le­gal. Cu­ri­ously, this ebayer also men­tioned his rea­son for sell­ing was be­cause he had suf­fered a life chang­ing in­ci­dent. Now over the years I’ve met some un­usual peo­ple on ebay. I’ve had scary Ro­ma­ni­ans show up at mid­night in their Ro­ma­nian truck to col­lect gym equip­ment, I’ve had gar­den land­sca­pers lit­er­ally lob a Yamaha TTR 125 side­ways onto a tip­per full of gar­den rub­bish, how­ever, the best was the large lady that came to pick up a Raleigh Chop­per frame – on a Raleigh Chop­per. With­out a word of a lie she trav­elled by train from Mil­ton Keynes up to Bur­ton on Trent, then rode 11 miles from the sta­tion to my house, strapped the parts on her bike and then rode off again on a rainy win­ter’s night. I was con­cerned so checked on her the next day to find she missed her train and slept in the sta­tion. Un­be­liev­ably, she came back a month later on the same bike for more parts, ab­so­lutely men­tal.

This is what Niall is aim­ing to cre­ate: a Pro-am 250LC.

The Old Trout loves his Elsies.

Clean, neat and tidy: the LC, not Niall. “I’ve loved be­ing part of the res­ur­rected Pro-am se­ries on iden­ti­cal RD250LCS so de­cided that I wanted to build one just for my­self.”

Crisp, clear clocks.

Yup! This has been resto’d.

Tanks are of­ten duff: not this one.

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