Some pics of my '75 RD350 progress
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Some pics of my '75 RD350 progress

This is a discussion on Some pics of my '75 RD350 progress within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Hello all. I am in toward the end of Phase I of getting my RD on the road. I bought the bike for $500, and ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Fang's Avatar
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    Some pics of my '75 RD350 progress

    Hello all. I am in toward the end of Phase I of getting my RD on the road. I bought the bike for $500, and now I have a total of about $1600 invested in it. That $1600 includes the bike, gas to go pick it up in my van, all misc chemicals and paints, sand for my sand blaster, new tires, seat, chain, almost all the seals,lots of stainless fasteners, a fancy HID headlight project; everything. I have tried pretty hard to keep track of the cost of this project. I am not too worried about the cost, but I was on a budget for this bike. I was going to get it all up and reliable and going for just $1000, but that did not prove to be a realistic figure. Then again, I probably have about $600 in extra, unnecessary stuff (like the SS fasteners and the HID kit...).

    Phase I is to get the bike looking decent and 10% mechanically sound.
    Phase II will be to trick it out with all those cool goodies that you can get for these RDs, and to maybe convert it over to rear sets and a solo seat -- it is intentionally going to be a two-person bike for now.
    Phase III is an off-the-wall monoshock project.

    One thing at a time. When I bought the HID light and the funky gas tank shown in the pictures I did start get a little ahead of my self for what I was going to do at this time. But I guess all that is just OK.

    I did not get my camera until after much of the build had been done, so here are just three quick pics:

    The bike is your basic, stock 1975 RD350, the orange one. The paint looks about twice as bad as it does in this picture. You can see some sloppy, universal fork gaiters to cover up the badly pitted front forks. You also can see that the motor has been blasted -- stock motors are painted black. I am going to go with the unpainted look. The seat has no upholstery on it, the gauges are removed, and a pair of clubmans have been fitted (to be replaced with clipons later), as well as the old Ducati headlight. Everything has been media blasted and either polished, left raw (like the engine cases) or painted. I chose not to powdercoat for two reasons: (1) to stay budget, and (2)I expect I will might still have a little frame welding to do before my funky gas tank will correctly fit.


    That funky tank. One of Yamaha's first bikes imported into the US, or at least one of the fist to get any attention was the YCS-1 "Bonanza." It was a 180cc 2-stroke and all in all a pretty cool little bike back in the early 1960's. I don't really know much about these bikes, so I'm pretty much making all this up as I go. However, the YCS had a really cool, funky old-style-gas tank. I like it. I love those old, asymmetrical tanks with the chrome panels and rubber knee inserts. So I bought one. In this picture you can see how the tank mounts up on my RD and how the lines will flow. This is more or less what the bike is going to look like. I will upholster a two-up seat that works well with all this, and I will paint everything, but I do not yet know what color. That candy-apple red looks nice. I have some side covers and the oil tank which will be installed and painted to match, as will the headlight. I trimmed up the fork boots/gaiters and now they don't look so floppy. I also plan on fitting in a large Honda CB450 fornt drum brake, but that probably will have to wait for a little while. At some point in the future I might try to obtain a set of a YCS-1 sidecover and oil tank to complete the early 60's look. I am not running blinkers at the time, nor a mirror, but that is only because I do not have any spares. I probably will have one bar-end mirror. I don't know if I will ever have blinkers or not.


    This is basically the same picture again. Even though the YCS-1 is one of the primary precursors of the RD series, its tank will not fit on a RD350. The YCS-1's tank's frame channel at its widest point is about 3", and a RD at its widest point is almost 4.75". The other evening I had a few beers and decided that it would be a good idea to attempt to stretch the YCS's channel **right now**. So I had another beer and set about widening it. First I tried to use compressed air. I have had good luck with this in the past (both intentionally and accidentally). But it did not work because the gas cap is not sealing correctly. Then I got the good idea of employing my big old bench vice to spread it, a la "Jaws of Life." Surprising enough, it worked rather well! I was slowly working my way back and forth along the bottom of the tank and after about 10 minutes the tank was already about a whole inch wider. But then I started to get greedy and I tried to open the rear of the tank a little too much. With a loud POP/BANG the metal of the tank tore. It is about a 1" tear along a stressed point, and I expect a friend of mine should be able to brazen it back together.

    So that is that. I like the way it looks, and if it were not for my own reckless stupidity I could have been driving the bike around right now with that crazy old tank on it. Nevertheless, the bike is running very well. With the exception of about 100 little things that need to be done, it is more or less mostly done.

    Peace and grease
    -fang
    Even the softest of things can pass through The Fang.mp3 like invisible water.
    Tired of eating CRAP!

  2. #2
    Senior Member 2smokeTyler's Avatar
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    check out my 400 build in my sig. on the motor, i am PRETTY SURE that only the engine covers were black, but the actual cases were bare. i havent seen a set of painted cases on a jap bike since the mugen honda motocross days. that tank is pretty cool, rare find i suppose, but just to me, it looks like it is on backwards! i have just never seen a tank shaped like that, its pretty neat. check out my thread on sunday after i get my "weekend update" pictures posted. i have a cool "made it myself" bar end mirror that will save you heaps of cash (they are like $75 each at the dealer for nice looking ones) and last question...what is up with wanting to run a front drum brake? going for the true vintage look? i prefer the look, and definately the feel of a disc brake, and it is also a bit of a safety issue. but good luck with the project and keep us updated. also, i think that ungawunga here is also a twostroke guy, so if you have any other q's, you know who to contact!
    --Tyler
    1976 RD400
    Best Flattrack Site On The Net! www.fightfordirttrack.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member UngaWunga's Avatar
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    Actually, a well set up drum brake not only looks cool but stops well.

    Nice to see more RDs here. I'll post pics of mine once I get it going. Need to get the GTV running first. Almost there.




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  5. #4
    Senior Member UngaWunga's Avatar
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    Details on the HID kit, please.




  6. #5
    Senior Member BANDIT's Avatar
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    If that's you in the first picture, you sure are a little feller!
    If you beat me all you have done is beaten an old fat guy. But If I beat you then you have been beaten by an old fat guy!

  7. #6
    Senior Member Fang's Avatar
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    I am pretty sure I can easily set up a big vintage race front dual leading shoe drum brake to stop significantly better than the current disc set up. Modern compounds and venting can work wonders. Plus it will NEVER leak brake fluid on your custom painted gas tank.

    The HID light.... I will do a custom post dedicated to that in a day or two. In the mean time, Check out THIS POST about it.

    Peace and grease,
    -fang
    Even the softest of things can pass through The Fang.mp3 like invisible water.
    Tired of eating CRAP!

  8. #7
    Senior Member cseger1's Avatar
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    quote:Originally posted by UngaWunga

    Actually, a well set up drum brake not only looks cool but stops well.

    Nice to see more RDs here. I'll post pics of mine once I get it going. Need to get the GTV running first. Almost there.
    Here's my R5. Not in any way cafe, but I thought it might fit in this thread Ok. Please don't mention the clubmans and stock pegs. I know that set up doesn't work. Its been rectified since this foto. I have a 75 RD350 that's getting the full treatment once my business is off the ground and I get some free time.



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