Vince Richer and his Yamaha RD350LC
What do you do when you want something so bad it hurts? Just keep pestering, according to reader Vince Richer.
Ihave been following this great mag for many a year and thought it was time to send you some pictures of one of my Yamaha fleet! Ever since my early days in the 1980s I was thrashing around on two-strokes. I started off with a Yamaha Fizzy, then a Yamaha DT100, a DT175 MX, a DT250 MX, Yamaha XT500 then a Suzuki X7 with Microns and a Suzuki X5. Every now and again my eye would catch a glimpse of the king of two-strokes on the street: the Yamaha RD350LC: but sadly for some reason it slipped through my net way back when. I guess the usual stuff that normally occurs happened: I got married, got four wheels and the bikes slowly went by the wayside! So what was it that made the RD350LC look so good… well, the design of it the shape of it and the tech that went into it at the time. When you think back it was a big leap forward: monoshock rear end, six-speed gearbox. It had all that black satin going on too, simple design and not lots of plastic. You could say goodbye to chrome: it was the new beginning a street race/road version of a TZ and I loved it. But as I said – I never seemed to get one back in the day, but then I did four or so years back. I’m now your typical old maggot; reliving my youth I got one at last: a 1981 4L0. And she wasn’t too bad when I got her. Although she came as a basket case, she did have only 9000 miles on the clock so she was in good nick in many respects. The price: well, I managed to nab her for around £1500. It was owned by a neighbour of a mate that had it. I kept pestering him with ‘give me a shout when you want to sell it!’ Eventually, he caved in for cash and boy am I happy he did. When I had a good look over her, I would say it was 80% there but the engine was in bad condition. Thankfully I got Stan Stephens (who is just down the road from me) to strip it and he found one piston had seized (someone had used a YPVS piston in there) and the barrel was scored. Apart from that it was in good condition, he said. The frame and
“I so wanted an RD350LC and then four years back I managed to steal this one for £1500. After restoration and work from Stan Stephens, it just takes off from 6000rpm with the Allspeeds singing!”
gubbins around it were powder-coated. I also got the cases, barrels and head stove enamelled. The Allspeeds that came with the bike were in mint condition after a time on the polishing wheel, along with the footrests. I have used 31K powervalve carbs (vapour blasted). As Stan said the standard ones have a flat spot through the revs – so I listened to the great man’s advice! The paintwork was originally in Kenny Roberts Yellow but had it redone in its original clothes: all the zinc and olive plating. I did myself along with restoring the wheels. I spent a bucket-load of Wonga restoring her but I believe it’s been worth every penny! Going back to Stan, he was always the man down our way for bike tune-ups. I took my Yamaha DT250 to him for a stage two tune and it blew the clutch out of it, it was that powerful! He told me to put 220 jets in this bike. What I like about the man is that – when you meet him – he’s so humble! He’s also a techno wizard. So where do I take her? Well, it’s the normal shows and rideouts: she recently won best Japanese classic at the Dover Transport Museum event. She’s a real head-turner – especially on the coast runs we do from the East Kent Motorcycle Club. We often head down along to Rye, Hastings, Folkestone and Ramsgsate. It’s a good ride from Lydd Airport down past the Lydd firing range: it’s like a GP ride. Heading past Dymchurch is a stunning ride for bikes when it’s quiet on a Sunday morning. This LC has Allspeeds so when you hit 6000rpm it just goes mental. I’ve got other bikes. A KH125, a 1986 XT600 43F from Italy that I restored and ride to work every day and a DT175 MX in French blue with a round swinging arm. I haven’t run it in yet. What do I love about my LC? Well, it’s the simplicity of the engineering of the time: a fun design and colours. This was the start of the 1980s and things are too complex now and there is too much plastic: bikes have become boring. I will never get rid of my LC now. It’s valued at around £10,000 and I know they will have to bury me with it, I love it that much!
Vince finally bagged his Elsie!
ABOVE: Cases and barrels were blasted and coated. 31K Powervalve carbs were also used.