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 two-stroke.you 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…