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Vintage Yamaha RD250 and Yamaha RD350
The "Race Developed" Yamaha RD series gained popularity in early 1970's due to success of Yamaha motorcycles on the racing grounds. Its success started with two almost identical race bike models - RD250 & RD350. The 1973 Yamaha RD350 directly evolved from Yamaha R5, while Yamaha RD250 was an improved version of Yamaha DS7. There were only few competitors on the market at that time that offered such fast, agile and reliable machines, yet fuel efficient and easy to maintain.
The engine size is one of the main differences between these two models as RD250 was more targeted to European and UK market, where 250cc engines were very popular. Both RD models have parallel twin two stroke air cooled engines and autolube oil injection. The kickstart is manual and drive is powered by chain. To distinguish them from older models, both RDs received an upgrade in form of reed valves in the intake system (Torque Induction).
By default, all models were fitted by 6 gear transmission. However on some markets, such as Germany or UK, the 6th gear was locked, because local authorities believed that the noise levels were too high. Never the less, that didn't stop RD owners unlocking them illegally in attempt to reach the top speed of 160km/h.
The frame is again identical to both models - slim, rigid double cradle with telescopic forks. The 18 inch wheels that R5 & DS7 had remained, but brakes were upgraded. The front wheel received new disc brakes while the rear wheel retained drum brakes. Most of the other parts are interchangeable and usually match both models.
Yamaha 350 and Yamaha 250 production after 1975
Yamaha RD 250 352 production continued successfully until late 1970’s with several modifications:
1975 - the 6th gear was officially unlocked and exhaust silencers enlarged to compensate.
1976 - New coffin shaped tank and 2 piston caliper disc brakes on both wheels
1977 - Cast spoke rims on both wheels
1978 - Footrests relocated above exhaust pipe, longer silencers and manifold, CDI inition & improvement to brake calipers
1980 - Liquid cooled RD250LC models introduced
The classic RD 350 Yamaha ceased production in 1976 to make space for larger and more powerful racer Yamaha RD400. But not for long, with introduction of Liquid cooling in 1980, Yamaha RD350LC returned followed by RD350 YPVS in 1983.
Today Yamaha RD series motorcycle models like are in a modification boom, with garage enthusiasts turning these vintage legends into RD350 café trackers, RD350 Choppers, Bobbers, even Drag Bikes and other custom projects. To find an original untouched RD is almost impossible. This is partially caused by several factors, these powerful bikes usually endured several accidents during their lifetime and therefore numerous repairs, but also custom bikes were very popular even in the early days.
Motorcycle parts for 1973-75 RD250 and RD350 Yamaha
As most of the Yamaha original spares are obsolete, we offer you high quality reproductions of Yamaha RD 250 parts and RD350 parts. All these spare parts were made to the exact specifications of OEM parts.
We now have over one hundred Yamaha RD 250 & Yamaha RD 350 parts now in stock and keep adding more. If you can’t find the part you are looking for, please email us as we will do our best to source it out.
|Model||VIN / Serial Number||Colour|
|1973 Yamaha RD250||352-1XXXXX||Butterfly Blue|
|1973 Yamaha RD350||351-1XXXXX||Brandy Red|
|1974 Yamaha RD250A||352-2XXXXX||Amber Brown|
|1974 Yamaha RD350A||351-2XXXXX||Ruby Red|
|1975 Yamaha RD250B||352-3XXXXX||Clean White|
1975 Yamaha RD350B
If you require parts diagram or parts list, please contact us.
For further information about Yamaha RD models and their history visit Cycle World.
The road test review can be found on Classic Motorbikes.
There is also lots of help available from fellow motorcycle enthusiasts on the Aircooled RD Forum