1980 RD350 LC 4L0

1980 Yamaha RD350 LC 4L0 Restoration – Introduction

RD350LC 4L0So, after collecting her in May and just looking and admiring the old girl in the workshop for the last 9 months, it is time we decided what to do with our resident RD350 LC 4L0. These bikes are getting rare and the opportunities to get one cheap are pretty much non existent!

At the time of writing eBay auction prices vary from £6,000 to £10,000+. The world’s gone mad! 

Unfortunately she came with zero history, the online MOT history check reveals no information and there’s no evidence of a tax disc so we’re not sure when she was last used or parked up! We only had the verbal confirmation from the previous owner, who held onto it from 1993 to 2019. 49,955 two-stoke miles from new and at least two engine re-builds, the previous owner parked her up after the last engine let go and he moved on to a more reliable 4-stroke machine. She does however have matching engine and frame numbers BUT is on the hit-list, an insurance write off in 1995, but before categories were introduced.

Sadly the exhausts were binned by the previous owner so we need to source those! Ouch! 

RD350LC 4L0 tankCovered in dust and preserved in it’s own crap, we didn’t even clean the old girl in the 9 months since we took ownership, the patina is natural and I must say she has aged rather well, I could sit and look at her all day!

On to the restoration….

We have read numerous articles on RD350 LC concours, nut and bolt restorations, hybrids and specials but not so many where the natural patina is left as it, an “oily rag restoration” shall we say! We don’t have a budget but see little point in spending thousands on powder coating and sand blasting, new decals etc etc etc but would you get back your investment? Maybe not but in any event it’s a not about getting our money back or making a profit but keeping her original, anyway, a bike is only original once! 

We like the original paint anyway!

1980 Yamaha RD350LC 4L0 restoration commencesThe brief is therefore to get the engine running (reliably), electrics and brakes working and MOT her, that’s it! Sounds simple but it’s a 2-stoke, the engine could be expensive (there is compression and it’s not seized), we will see…

It doesn’t legally need an MOT of course but, for safety reasons’ we will get one and it would complete the story.

Next to source a parts supplier, aftermarket will do and would be significantly more affordable, although engine parts would be difficult to source, if required! As we said earlier this is going to be an “oily rag restoration” not a concours job.  Regardless the shopping list was going to be a long one…


As she’s shortly going off-site for the restoration work we thought we best get some laid-up insurance cover, we tried a few companies (BeMoto, Bennetts, Footman James and Carole Nash), none of which offered laid-up cover online, all required a phone call, the online Carole Nash system didn’t even recognise the registration!

Cover varied from £67 (Footman James) to £144 (Bennetts), although the latter was based on the minimum mileage of 1000 miles as laid-up cover was not an option online!

We contacted Bennetts and enquired why you can’t get on online quote for laid-up cover but a week passed and no one was willing to comment.

Footman James were the cheapest but also the most friendly and appeared less computer-orientated! 

We can’t wait to get started and look forward to updating you on our journey, looking to publish articles at least monthly. In the meantime check out our walkround video on our YouTube channel below; 


Special thanks to Motorbike Breakers for sponsoring this article and also sourcing some of the NOS parts we will no doubt be using in the coming months.