As if the original LC wasn’t enough Yamaha went several stages further in 1983 with the introduction of the YPVS equipped version. Considerably more hi-tech than anything before, the Powervalve won many a heart, and race too, In more modern times, as people flock to Elsie ownership, it may lag behind in the desirability stakes, but the YPVS is still an attractive proposition for restoration.
43-year-old Paul Halliday is bike mad, thankfully his wife of 20 years, Teresa, allows him to indulge his hobby to the full. Paul has worked in the Motor trade for 25 years (apart from a small stint in the Police Force) and is currently working for the RAC as a dedicated patrol looking after the VW Audi contract. Other bikes in his collection include RD250LC, SDR200, RD125DX and a stunning Yamaha R7.
Paul takes up the story “I have been interested in the RD LC’s ever since my first purchase back in 1982. I have been riding bikes ever since, but, in the late 80’s marriage and children came on the scene and so my motorcycle career took a back seat, by limiting myself to commuting to work only.
But with the onset of the new millennium I was back on track when I purchased a 1980 Yamaha RD250LC in 2003. Restoration soon followed and the realisation that these, once cult classics, still had a huge following and fan base. Following the completed 250LC, I had an opportunity to buy a Yamaha SDR200 in need of a little attention, a bike I was less familiar with, it not being a native of the UK, but rather a Japanese import, but whose charm and slim line appearance soon had me in its grasp. Although I enjoyed both these bikes I had always longed for the RD350LCII and was fortunate to find one locally during Christmas 2005. It had the very much-prized matching engine and frame numbers but as with most of these bikes it had suffered with neglect over its 22-year life span.
As with all restorations, I think it important to have your mind focused on what you want to achieve. Do you want a clean, tidy and useable example or are you looking for something special that would not look out of place in your own front room (wife permitting of course). With me it has to be the latter and, if you intend the same, I think it important that you start by taking as many photographs as possible. Research your bike properly and have a good source of technical advice from Internet forums or classic magazines. Once you are satisfied, start dismantling the bike, labelling parts as you go until you are left with the bare frame. For me, this is the very vulnerable point at which many restorations are abandoned, so you must get the frame shot blasted, and then powder coated, or painted, as soon as possible. Once you have achieved this and the frame is sitting on the garage floor under florescent lighting, the real enjoyment can begin. This might sound an obvious statement but it provides the starting point and the mental encouragement needed to get the job done. How often have you read in the local classifieds “bought a year ago, partly restored, all parts available.”
My bike was a particularly bad example, so much so that I had to purchase a second bike for a good source of parts. I started to strip the engine down and found the usual excessive wear and score marks, however the crank measured up fine and the bearings ran sweet and noise free. I had the barrels rebored, which had to go to the second oversize to get rid of all the score marks. I painted the crankcases and engine cases myself. The powervalves were in a particularly bad way, so much so they were effectively working independently of each other. (The previous owner said it ran fine, but just takes a bit of starting).
The bodywork on the LC’s has always been an area for concern, side panels crack and other plastics are no longer available from Yamaha. The nose fairing on my bike had so much repair work I had to give up on it, but I managed to locate a good one from France, including an original screen, which was a bonus. I also managed to locate a brand new front mudguard from eBay, which was advertised as an “RD front mudguard unsure of model” not bad for just £26.00. The Petrol tanks are also a problem, because if the bike has been off the road for a while the tanks tend to rot around the petrol tap area due to damp in the tank and because it is usually left on its side stand.
Despite all these set backs, I managed to complete the bike towards the end of 2006 and was luckily enough to be recognised for my work, receiving much acclaim and a few awards. The YPVS won Best Yamaha at the Donington park Classic Japanese Bike show of 2007 and, more recently it was put forward for the Classic Bike of the Year, and was subsequently featured in Classic Bike magazine in January 2008.
Special thanks have to go to ‘The Paint Studio’ Ilkeston Derbyshire & Betablast (Bead & Shot blasting service) also at Ilkeston Derbyshire, the high standard of their work has contributed greatly to the end result seen here and I simply couldn’t have done it without them.”
The Paint Studio – Tel 0115 9322 290
1983 Yamaha RD350 YPVS Specifications
- Price £600 paid
- Value now (est): £4000-5000
- Power: 59bhp
- Torque: 34.2ft-lb
- Top speed 115mph
- Dry weight: 145kg
- Colours: white/red, black/red ( white/blue French model only)
- Fuel: 20litres
- Rake/trail: 26deg/96mm
- Seat height: 800mm
- Wheelbase: 1385mm
- Engine: liquid-cooled cc ( 64x54mm), parallel-twin, two-stroke. 2 x 26mm carbs. 6-gears. Chain final drive
- Chassis: Tubular-steel twin-down-tube frame, 35mm non-adjustable air assisted, telescopic forks, monoshock rear with adjustable preload
- Brakes: 267mm front discs with single-piston floating-caliper, 267mm disc single-piston floating-caliper rear brake
- Tyres: 90/90 x 18 front, 110/80 x 18 rear
- If you have bought a restoration in a box do a dry build first, that way you will know what is missing, plus you will know everything that is there fits properly.
- What you get out of the restoration will depend on how much time you put in.
- If you are restoring an LC alway seal the petrol tank because if it leaks after a few months, and most will, it can cost a lot of money in repaintes and repairs.
- Don’t be frightened to ask for help, Internet Forums in particular are a good source of information.
- Join a Classic Bike Club. For Yamaha LC’s there is plenty of choice with a strong presence on the web too.
- Consider buying a Donor bike as a source of parts as buying parts separately can be costly.
- Check with your local dealer, as a surprising amount of parts are still available.
- Plasticote Barbecue paint gives a very good finish to the Standard LC exhausts but is not petrol resistant so sort out any leaking fuel before going down this route.
1983 Yamaha RD350 YPVS Gallery
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