Kar Lee brings his ge­nius to the tid­dler LC!

In 1982, there was one two-stroke that teenagers truly lusted af­ter. We won­dered what the RD125LC might look like to­day.

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS - WORDS AND IM­AGES: KAR LEE @KARDESIGN cmm

While Honda was mess­ing about with staid-look­ing four-stroke CB125 Su­per Dreams and Suzuki was three years away with the (ex­cel­lent) RG125, 17-year-olds up and down the coun­try were get­ting their dads to sign up for hire pur­chase to get their hands on the Yamaha RD125LC. While Kawasaki’s AR125 had the per­for­mance, it didn’t quite reach the same level of so­phis­ti­ca­tion or big bike sex ap­peal that teens wanted so badly. If it still ex­isted we’d hope it looked a lit­tle like this. The 1982 tubu­lar frame is re­placed with a heftier al­loy beam and the cra­dle car­ries the en­gine higher to help cen­tralise weight and make the mo­tor look big­ger than it ac­tu­ally is. The orig­i­nal wore both an 18in front wheel while its suc­ces­sor went to the fash­ion­able-at-the-time 16in. Mod­ern bikes wear 17-inch­ers, as does ours. The monocross rear sus­pen­sion makes way for a true ris­ing-rate sys­tem with a swingarm that could han­dle twice the power. Af­ter all, we’d ex­pect to see Boye­sen reeds and some All­speeds on it be­fore long. 123cc was all you needed to reach the 12bhp learner limit back in the day, but our vir­tual LC has no such re­stric­tion and with the as­sis­tance of YPVS from the later model tops 25bhp eas­ily with its fuel-in­jected, wa­ter-cooled pow­er­plant. A big­ger ra­di­a­tor ban­ishes the over­heat­ing is­sues of old and like the Kawasaki KMX125, a 200cc ver­sion would also ex­ist. Can you imag­ine 35bhp in a lightweight chas­sis? We can, and it’s hi­lar­i­ous. One of the strengths of the 125LC was its de­sign: it was a real beauty, chan­nelling some of the vibes of the big­ger 250/350LCS but still re­tain­ing its own iden­tity with the more an­gu­lar bikini fair­ing and OE bel­ly­pan, so for the most part we’ve kept the per­fect pro­por­tions with just a few sub­tle tweaks of our own to bring it bang up to date. See you out­side the chippy!

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