Yamaha RD 350LC

'The RD350LC was a de­scen­dant of the string of out­stand­ing air-cooled two-strokes with which Yamaha had es­tab­lished an un­matched rep­u­ta­tion for mid­dleweight per­for­mance'

Bike India - - CONTENTS - WORDS: ROLAND BROWN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: PHIL MAS­TERS

The thrilling two-stroke twin re­mains one of the best-loved bikes of all time

IT’S THE NOISE AND ac­cel­er­a­tion above 6,000 rev­o­lu­tions per minute that are still so ad­dic­tive; the sud­den burst of ac­tiv­ity ev­ery time the throt­tle is wound back in anger and the 347-cc two-stroke mo­tor comes alive. You might think the thrill would have worn off af­ter all these years, es­pe­cially now that so many modern bikes pro­duce far more per­for­mance than this early-1980s twin. But if the lit­tle Yamaha can no longer de­liver the gi­ant-killing speed on which its mighty rep­u­ta­tion is based, it still puts a broad smile on its rider's face with ev­ery ride.

So much so that if you were to make a list of the most pop­u­lar mo­tor­cy­cles of the last cen­tury, the RD350LC should surely be in­cluded, and some­where near the top, too. It might have pro­duced less than 50 PS and had a top speed of not much more than 160 km/h, but for many rid­ers Yamaha's raw, racy LC was the high-per­for­mance bike of the 1980s — or any other decade. Cer­tainly, few ma­chines can have brought so much fast and fu­ri­ous en­joy­ment to so many as the liq­uid-cooled two-stroke twin that Yamaha un­leashed in 1981.

In many ways, the LC had the lot: speed, ex­cite­ment and han­dling — plus rea­son­able prac­ti­cal­ity, re­li­a­bil­ity, and econ­omy. Although it had an ap­petite for fuel and two-stroke oil, it was rel­a­tively cheap to buy and to run. And it looked great, too, with a re­strained style that con­trasted with its outrageous per­son­al­ity. No won­der it was such a suc­cess.

The RD350LC was a de­scen­dant of the string of out­stand­ing air­cooled two-strokes with which Yamaha had es­tab­lished an un­matched rep­u­ta­tion for mid­dleweight per­for­mance. The line had be­gun with the YR1 model back in 1967. And through­out the 1970s, mod­els such as the 350-cc YR5, RD350 and RD400 had kept the tun­ing-fork logo to the fore. The “RD” ini­tials stood for Race De­vel­oped and were well earned be­cause most of the Yamaha twin's gains in per­for­mance and

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