Yamaha RD350

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The Yamaha RD350.
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The Yamaha RD350.
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The Yamaha RD350.
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The Yamaha RD350.
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Salvage yard reject: Hard as it is to believe, this carcass of a Yamaha RD350 is what Ian started with.
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The detail work on Ian Swift's Yamaha RD350 is nothing short of amazing. Plastic film on the left engine cover protects it from scratches.
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Ian's Yamaha RD350 may be almost perfect, but that doesn't keep him from firing it up for a quick run.
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The Yamaha RD350.

Yamaha RD350
Years produced:
Claimed power: 39hp @ 7,500rpm (claimed)
Top speed: 95mph (period test)
Engine type: 347cc air-cooled, 2-stroke parallel twin
Weight: (wet) 352lb (160kg)
Price then: $1,071 (1975)
Price now: $1,500-$4,000
MPG: 35-40

Contrary to popular opinion, there’s no evidence supporting the idea that the “RD” in the Yamaha RD350 model designation stands for “Race Derived” — but race derived it certainly was.

Yamaha jumped into racing in Japan as soon as its first motorcycle, the 1955 125cc YA-1 “Red Dragon,” was launched. Early ventures into the U.S. racing scene were successful enough to encourage the company to widen its horizons. Yamaha factory rider Fumio Ito might have won the 1963 Isle of Man TT aboard the 250cc Yamaha RD56 if it hadn’t been for a bungled 50-second fuel stop. And when Ito was sidelined by a crash in 1964, Phil Read went on to take the 250cc Grand Prix world title. Yamaha factory teams continued to dominate the 125 and 250 classes at world level until 1968.

350cc or bust

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