A small standard like the RD is the perfect errand bike if you don't need much storage space. In this case, a round of trips to the local home improvement store, motorcycle dealer, and the tag/DMV office, was made enjoyable by taking the 350. People are always surprised to hear a street bike making sounds that they associate with a dirt bike. Older guys smile and nod or give a thumbs up. Taking the long way, I incorporated some country roads and let the bike open up a little. The pull of this machine over 5k is addictive!
1975 Yamaha RD350
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A perfect test for the RD was coming up in the form of The Gathering of the Nortons. I have been attending this annual event for over a decade, and it is always good enough to be covered in the main blog. Despite the name, it is an excellent gathering of other British bikes, European Marques, and vintage Japanese machines. I have not seen an RD there in years, so I decided that this was a good choice. It would also provide a 100+ mile test as well. The bike was great there and back, with only a stumble at idle now and then which causes a stall. No issues once underway, and at speed it once again reminds you why this would have spanked any other 350, and done the same to some 500s as well. I rode in the company of a fleet of Guzzi Le Mans including a 1000. No problem keeping pace, and I could have surprised a few in the corners giving how light and nimble the RD is. Giant Killer indeed!
in order to put a few solid miles on the bike, I decided to brave a chilly day and get about an hour of running time. I had previously done a short loop, and things seemed to be ok. The carbs seem to need a fair amount of time to warm up, but then again, this has been an arctic winter so the bike may not be at fault. Ten minutes into the ride, everything feels warmed up, and smooth. Like all 2 stroke machines, it has a relatively narrow band where it makes optimal power. On the RD350, once it hits that band, hang on! It feels like a 500cc or better in the power band, and you can see why it embarrassed bigger bikes. It is relatively light and nimble as well. What a great combination. It needed a minor adjustment to warm idle, but other than that, this rocket rules!