Any discussion about the superior previous times of motorcycling will inevitably contain the terms “they never construct ’em like they applied to.” And then another person will mention the Yamaha RD350.
The fiery two-stroke was liked when it was released, acquired even wilder as it progressed, and has been skipped ever since it was discontinued. Specified the motorcycle industry’s current obsession with nostalgia, the time is ripe for a modern day consider on the iconic RD—but there are no indications that Yamaha designs to resurrect it. Following all, at any time-tightening emissions rules have put the kibosh on two-stroke growth.
Custom made builder Renato Frateschi remembers the RD350 well—particularly the afterwards RD350 YPVS F2, which produced waves in his native region of Brazil when it was unveiled in 1987. (If you really don’t know it, it was referred to as the RZ350 in the United states of america.) With above 60 horses on tap and a paltry suppress weight, it was an instant strike.
Like lots of, Renato misses the RD350. So when he and a consumer couldn’t pretty settle on a course for a custom made create, he arrived up with a radical proposal. “Look, I have an RD350 chassis and gas tank right here,” Renato instructed his customer, “and I imagine we can do a little something awesome with it.”
The consumer agreed, and Renato set about sourcing an motor for the bike. Since the cost of an initial, excellent ailment RD350 energy plant would have wrecked the budget, the thought was to develop a present day tribute to the legendary Yamaha. So he settled on employing the 4-stroke, twin-cylinder mill from the entry level Yamaha R3 sportbike.
Housing the contemporary parallel twin in a vintage RD350 frame took some doing, but that was not Renato’s only problem. These pursuing the venture were being speedy to stage out that the R3’s functionality is a prolonged way off from the RD350’s. So Renato did the only reasonable matter he could: he extra a turbocharger.
A tiny turbocharger was imported from Japan, and mounted discreetly just in front of the engine’s exhaust ports. Renato place it there to integrate it into the bike’s design—but the placement also aided to lower turbo lag.
Next, he had to obtain area for the air consumption, injectors, sensors, and an European chip that would permit him to tune the bike (by way of smartphone). So he developed and 3D-printed a tidy box to residence almost everything. The R3 motor nonetheless appears to be like petite, but now packs a sneaky punch.
As for the chassis, Renato carried out a slew of modifications to accommodate the motor, and to enhance the body for a additional safe experience. He also managed to pull it off with no ruining the RD350’s common lines.
The modern-day topic continues with a host of updates to the Yamaha’s running gear. It now rolls on 17” wheels (compared with the RD350’s primary 18” models), with a Triumph Daytona 675 swingarm and shock out back. The front brake calipers are Brembo models they are mounted on CNC-machined aluminum spacers, and pinch 300 mm discs.
For the bodywork, Renato turned to electronic methods to get anything just proper. First, he made a rendering of the comprehensive bicycle, so that the consumer could see specifically what he was getting into. As soon as that was signed off, the fairing, tail segment, front fender and stomach pan ended up all 3D printed in a tough Ab muscles plastic.
The tail piece can take inspiration from Yamaha’s legendary race-spec TZ collection, and features a exceptional wraparound taillight design and style. The entrance conclude echoes the style of the Suter MMX 500 race bike, although twin headlights spend homage to the 1987 RD350 YPVS F2. Sitting down middle stage is the first RD gasoline tank, modified to accept the R3’s fuel pump.
Finishing package includes a CNC-machined prime yoke, with new clip-ons, grips and bar-close mirrors. The exhaust technique is custom its twin mufflers present a compact hat suggestion to the RD350’s twin pipes.
Renato has nicknamed his development ‘RD Turbo,’ and wrapped it in a livery to match. Shiny red ‘speed blocks’ sit on a matte black base one more nod to the bike that impressed this develop.
It took Renato two years to create the RD Turbo, stretching the boundaries of his and his suppliers’ skills. There had been hurdles aplenty—from figuring out how to mate a new engine to an outdated body, to 3D-printing elements with an unusually massive surface area places.
But in the conclusion, it all arrived together—proving that it is achievable to make a modern get on the legendary RD350.