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1987 Yamaha RD350 by Motorscompany


Posted on July 7th, by Scott in Racer. 24 comments

yamaha_RD350LC_1

Written Ian Lee.

As I sit here in the feeble warmth of the sun in this southern hemispheric winter, I sometimes drift away and like to imagine I am somewhere exotic. Rio maybe, where the closer you get to being naked the better. I’m talking about the local custom bikes though. Today’s feature bike comes from São Paulo, stripped bare and proud of it. Built by Motorscompany, this Yamaha RD350LC was raised from the dead, and given numerous transplants in order to gain life again. From dead stock to sports custom, the little oil burner has had mucho work done, and the results speak for themselves.

yamaha_RD350LC_2

Purchased is 2011, the RD was in a very sad state indeed. The frame was rusted, forks bent, seized engine, it’s the sort of bike a lot of people would just walk away from. Not Marcelo Peixoto though. He could see something in the abandoned clunker and knew what it needed. Dragging the bike back to Motorscompany workshop, the build began.

yamaha_RD350LC_3

First things first, the bike was stripped back to the bare frame. Every component beyond repair was ditched, the tubing in the frame under the engine cut out and replaced. The rear subframe got the oxy treatment, the new ‘trellis’ subframe designed to convert the bike to a single seater. To enable this, Marcelo produced a single seater seat pan and ducktail, then had the seat trimmed by Pedrinho Bancos.

yamaha_RD350LC_7

Motorscompany wasn’t looking to rebuild the bike back to original spec, so a wide range of manufacturer’s parts were utilised in the build, as well as some componentry produced in-house by Marcel and his team. And they all seem to work together rather well.

Sitting at the front end is a forkset from a Buell XB12R, featuring a rim size brake rotor which ensures that overheating won’t occur on track days. Keeping with the HD theme, a V-Rod headlight sits proud on the forks. At the rear is a swing arm from an RGV250, sprung by a Triumph Daytona 675 shock absorber. The Suzuki swing arm rounds out the tail end of the bike nicely, kicking down as it passes by Marcelo’s custom exhaust system.

yamaha_RD350LC_6

Once the framework was completed, Motorscompany added more power to go with these mods. The seized engine was gutted, a +4mm stroker crank fitted and carbon fibre reeds fitted. The cylinders have been ported, and Mikuni 35mm carbs fitted to pump more fuel into the engine. A high performance clutch now feeds power to the drivetrain, which will be handy for when the 421cc big bore rebuild takes place sometime in the near future.

yamaha_RD350LC_9

Marcelo and the crew at Motorscompany have created this Frankenstein RD, improving on the power and handling while not neglecting the aesthetics of the bike. With the paintwork courtesy of Flavio and Salim of Choppers Paint, the bike looks just as good sitting still as it does on the track. With many components coming from many manufacturers, the bike has been built to the exact style Marcelo wanted – with capabilities far beyond the bike it started out as.

Photos by Mario Villaescusa.





  • SportsterMike

    Oh Yes Please!!! Good upgrade to wheels and forks without going over the top
    Damn I wish I hadn’t sold my 1985 F1..

  • http://www.mulemotorcycles.net/ Mule

    That is incredible work. I yield to the maestro. Perfect!

  • timowers

    Nice bike. I’m building a yamagama but won’t be using the VJ22 swingarm as they’re just too heavy. The ’95 T model is a better bet (http://j.mp/RGV-95-T).

  • Junior Burrell

    Very nice!!

  • http://geokan.tumblr.com/ GeoKan

    Insane spaghetti of parts, my eyes are gutted!!!
    And this ‘banana’ swingarm -is- and always be a fetish :o

  • revdub

    Be still, my beating heart.

  • Matias Damian

    Any video???

  • Bultaco Metralla

    A superb build featuring one of my favorite engines. Love the rear trellis and the upgraded front end, love the rim brake on the front and love it that another two stroke has graced these pages.

  • Diogo Simões

    Did you mean São Paulo (São “Paolo”), Brazil?

    We rock in Brazil!!

  • Andre Lago

    BRAVO!
    Congratulations for the impeccable work. that´s a jewel!

  • blackbird

    Like the bike a lot. It’s apparently liquid cooled so wouldn’t it be an RZ rather than an RD?

  • http://www.mulemotorcycles.net Mule

    So odd that when a bike of high sophistication and and quality, with top level workmanship, not to mention nice components is featured, the comments go to nil. I guess this bike needs odd lines, mismatched (but worn out) components, pipewrap and Firestone tires to really impress the masses.

  • Newman

    This looks amazing! The colours, stance, flow of the bike…. Inspiring!Thanks for sharing!

  • Old mate

    That’s an RZ350 not an RD.

    • http://www.pipeburn.com Scott

      It was called a RD350LC (LC for Liquid Cooled) in Brazil.

  • SportsterMike

    Ditto Scott et al

    Bikes were always called RDs in England whether air or water cooled
    Annoying the RD club here can still get hold of the engines – out of a quad bike in Australia?
    so I just need a frame, tanks wheels exhaust etc…..

  • http://www.pipeburn.com Andrew@Pipeburn

    Looks like we’ve had a few comments disappear overnight. Another win for Disqus, it would seem. Apologies if your was one that was magic-ed away.

  • http://www.pipeburn.com Andrew@Pipeburn

    Got to admit, it had me fooled on first viewing. I was kind of underwhelmed. Then I started to notice all the little details…

  • Steve Joseph

    This thing is beautiful. Thats about all I have to say about that

  • http://www.motofactor.com.br Carlãozinho Coachman

    A good Friend, a great guy, a briliant professional and e very intresting bike. Congratulation Marcelo and Motorscompany Team, Leandro and all. All the best!

  • Davidabl2

    Comparison with the “before” picture,even though the RD wasn’texactly an ugly bike, is pretty amazing

    • Gabe Cosarca

      Wrong RD buddy, here’s the late 80’s RD/RZ

      • Davidabl2

        Well even though I’m on the internet, I guess I’m no expert ;-)
        I don’t think i ever saw one of the late ones, but saw dozens of the early ones. The transformation is less astonishing..Motorscompany has built a wonderful RD/RZ in any case.