The seventies were the peak years in the short history of the two-stroke. At the end of that period, in 1979, Yamaha introduced the ultimate two-stroke street fighter: the Yamaha RD 350 LC (1979-1983).
That was the successor to Yamaha's air-cooled two-stroke. In the meantime, such a Yamaha RD 350 LC has already become a real cult bike. Good, original copies are becoming scarce and are increasing in price. Many LCs have run on circuits. That has usually made them suffer a hard life in which all kinds of things were unscrewed (and thrown away) before the start. Due to tight bends and sliding parts, the exhausts were also referred to as 'wear parts'. But pay close attention to old pain when purchasing an LC.
Technically speaking, such a Yamaha RD 350 LC is well put together
If things go wrong, it is in the well-known two-stroke ways: jamming or holes in the pistons. Replacement of parts 'above the belt' is still the solution there. And oh yes: check out why it went wrong. Crankshaft problems were of a different order until recently. The crankshaft cannot be overhauled and must be replaced in case of trouble. There Yamaha saw the parts very purely as a revenue model. The connecting rods and big end bearings can still be replaced. In the meantime, there are a few specialists who can give such a crankshaft a second life.
The LC is often seen as a road racing machine in plain clothes
He is not. The character of the engine is too civilized for it. The Yamaha RD 350 LC is much more the optical crystallization of what a fast two-stroke should look like than a hyper-nervous racehorse. It is a fierce and fast toy that can also be used for driving. Below 5500 rpm, the RD 350 LC is a pleasantly driving motorcycle. Above that, the exhaust noise hardens and the block pops from 6000 rpm in its powerband. 3000 rpm later the fire under the fries goes out again and you have to switch to get the fire back in. Driving like this is motorcycling 1.0 with hair on the teeth. The only ounce of decadence that remains in the heat of battle is that the LC has self-deactivating flashing lights.
Good quality two-stroke oil is needed to keep things running
And it is necessary to always have half a liter - or less - on board. Petrol stations are real 'land marks' for LC drivers. When the gas was pulled on the Yamaha RD 350 LC, the contents of the tank went fast. In that driving style on winding, secondary roads, an LC is a thorn in the fur for much more modern, heavier and 'faster' motorcycles. In the Ardennes or Vosges, around 350 can literally leave the rider of a 1000 cc four-cylinder in his blue smoke screen.
The update - with a whole new power valve set-up - in 1982 was a much better machine, but it lacked the charm of The Original.
The Yamaha RD350 LC: liquid-cooled two-stroke twin, 347 cc, 47 hp at 8500 rpm, 2 x 26 mm Mikuni, six gears, steel cradle frame, front fork ø 32 mm, rear monoshock, wheels 300 × 18/350 × 18, Brakes V / A: 270 mm disc, 180 mm drum, weight 143 kg, top speed approx. 180 km / h.
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