Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Reader Restoration -

Can­didly (as an owner of both an RD350LC and an RD350 YPVS) they’re not ex­actly arm-rip­pers these days. Even the 350 is pretty gut­less be­fore the power chimes in, so I feared the worst from the 250. But there again, com­pared to the YPVS with its lin­ear power de­liv­ery, the LC is cer­tainly more ex­cit­ing due to this on/off na­ture, so it’s swings and power­bands…

If speed is your thing an RD250LC, even one as beau­ti­fully pre­pared as Phil’s, isn’t the bike for you. Be­low 6000rpm very lit­tle hap­pens, but once you’ve hit that fig­ure on the dial, it zips through to the 9500rpm red­line in a flurry of noise and ac­cel­er­a­tion that’s the sig­na­ture of a pre-pow­er­valve al­ways need to be on the pipe to gain any real mo­men­tum, and that’s all the fun. Un­like so many stro­kers sub­ject to mal­treat­ment and poor set-up, this one fu­els prop­erly with no hint of a stall or splut­ter. It even starts first kick and ticks over, a sign of a well-pre­pared bike free from a bodged ‘tune’ or in­cor­rect jet­ting.

“I love the fact you have to work with the bike to get it go­ing,” says Dean. “Blip­ping on down­shifts and keep­ing the revs up to main­tain mo­men­tum. Mod­ern bikes are id­iot proof with their au­to­blip­pers and stacks of torque by com­par­i­son, it still has some­thing about it.”

I’m in agree­ment with Dean – you soon for­get the lack of power, and en­joy the sort of en­gag­ing ride only a two-stroke de­liv­ers. You need to en­sure the lit­tle RD is in its power­band or you will be tap­ping down on the gear lever as the mo­tor bogs and the ex­haust note changes from a shriek to a muted gur­gle. But when you only ride it on twisty roads on a sunny day, keep­ing the lit­tle par­al­lel twin on the boil is all part of the fun and this adds an el­e­ment of learner devil-may-care naugh­ti­ness to the 250 that the 350 doesn’t have.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween a well set-up LC and a tired one are pretty ob­vi­ous. Dean has done a great job in get­ting the most from this one.aside from a bit of slack in the head bear­ings (this will be sorted out over win­ter) there isn’t much to find fault with and even my boot was de­void of oil stains af­ter the ride – not some­thing I can say about my RDS… It’s a well-sorted LC built by some­one who knows their stuff.

“It’s the light­ness that sur­prise me the most when I ride the RD,” says Dean. “It turns so sharply and weighs next to noth­ing. It’s a bit wob­bly and wal­lows a touch, but you get used to that and then hurl it around as the mod­ern Avon rub­ber is so good.” The blacked-out footrest hang­ers and pil­lion grab rail might catch a few mut­ter­ings from purist LC lovers, but I love the mean and moody look con­trast­ing with the bright yellow Kenny colours.there’s plenty of re­stored RDS out there striv­ing for brochure-per­fect stan­dards; it’s nice to see a bike that while look­ing beau­ti­ful, hasn’t been taken too far: a crummy 1980s fin­ish didn’t stop us lov­ing them then.

It’s an LC to be ridden, not just pol­ished, and judg­ing by how Dean rode Phil’s LC, it isn’t go­ing to have an easy life. He might want to add a fin­ger cov­er­ing the clutch to his ex­ten­sive bike con­trol skills though, just in case…

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