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Old 13th August 2013, 13:16   #1
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Default Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

Hello everybody! Though a member of this forum from 2007 this happens to be my first thread. A long one at that!

This thread would contain how I: got interested in the RD, owned own, was responsible for screwing one and finally, resurrected the same.

RD350 - It was love at first ride! Sometime back in the early 80s my cousin's friend picked a spanking new RD. This friend used to frequent my cousin (we stayed at the same place) and the bike was parked at our place day in and day out. My cousin took me out for a spin and that's it.
I was used to being a pillion on chetak, vespa and priya (bajaj and a scooter). The fast cars I had gotten to go then were the fiat's, amby's and a standard herald.

Back to the RD, the ride was ridonculous, exhilarating, mind numbing compared to anything that I had been on. I had to have one of my own. I was a kid and only thing i knew riding was a non geared vehicle then. Eventually learnt to ride the geared scooter and my neighbor's road king (first motorcycle i ever rode).
Then came the time when I needed a ride of my own. Had to be a nice powerful bike. Sure enough folks got me a TVS champ all of 60cc :(. They didn't trust me. They thought I would kill myself with anything faster. Eventually I got an all powerful LML/Vespa too.

Fast forward to early 2000 - I got my first decent cheque. I had enough monies to get myself a decent RD. I came across a person called Shedu (seemed shady) who had this metallic blue RD of '85 vintage. Papers were clean and so was the bike. Bike ran like a charm. Our man did not come down much on the price. I wanted the RD real bad and it was one of the better ones that I'd come across then. Came with the saree guard, crash guard, carrier. 32K for a good LT stocker is what I paid.

And those were the best days of my life! Bike was reasonably reliable and was then on my daily commute. I had found a mechanic by the name Prakash whose garage was quite close to my residence. Regular maintenance was done by him. Sometime late 2000 Hyderabad had very heavy rains and quite a few places were flooded. My bike became a victim. Prakash did a reasonably quick and efficient job and fixed it back to better than before state. I'd asked him to port the cylinders. All was well till I bought my car in '00 Dec. I'd picked up lancer sfxi and then on I started using the bike quite less.
Eventually, I was neglecting the bike. Was lying unused for a very long time. However, I used to get guilt conscious apart from missing the bike once in a while and this would make me get it back up and running. A few days of using the bike I used to again leave the bike unused for months together. This happened quite a few times. In the interim the speedo stopped working. Prakash said would get it fixed. That was the last I saw the speedo.
For no reason I wanted to get the color of the bike changed to black. Left the bike with Prakash yet again. I was pretty bad at following up and this coupled with parking woes (for the car near his garage) and my new found interest in modding the car proved to be a big mistake.
Months became years and the bike was still lying with him. He had hardly done anything.
I'd moved on from headers to turbo charging the lancer and was on the verge of engine swap when sanity prevailed.
Marriage, perhaps, was a reason for me regaining sanity . The wife had not even seen the bike. She used to remind me to follow up and get the bike as is even if he has not done anything. I started bugging the mech, he eventually got it painted. He had stripped the bike apart. It was an endless saga to get him put it back. He almost put it back and then the most interesting twist of events - He shuts shop and vanishes.

Duh! I am flummoxed. What have I done? Gave him a fully functional bike in good running condition and I lost it. Thought I'd lodge a FIR. Wanted to try on my own to locate him and the bike.15-20 days and I did succeed. But, what I got in return was quite bad. Indicators missing, carbs missing, meter console missing. Was not sure what else would have been missing in the innards. All this apart from losing monies. Terrible. Interestingly he assured me he would not only return all my stuff but also finish the bike at my place. I actually believed he would.

The bike was lying at home without a cover. Eventually got covered in layers of dust. Strangers used to appear out of no where making offers for the bike and in that condition.
And this was only making me want to get the bike up and running at the earliest.
Figured out that only the parts I mentioned were missing were missing apart from a few smaller items which I could find without much difficulty. Seemed too good to be true though.
I started scouting for carbs. Came across a few guys that were selling RD stuff and then came across a listing on this very forum selling mikuni carbs. This was by Adrian who goes by the handle khodays out here.

Signs of good times. Yes indeed! I was also looking for someone reliable to do up my bike.
Adrian was willing to share the contact details of Antony (of DAM Motors) who takes care of his bike. Carbs were not purchased nor was Antony contacted. A few more months later I get in touch with Adrian again stating that I was all game for the bike to be done up in Bangalore and by Antony. He then shared Jagadeesh's contact. Jaggu is from Hyderabad and is quite deep into RDs. Adrian wanted me to first figure out what all the bike actually needed and mentioned that it would be best if Jaggu can help me get it done right here in Hyd.
Jaggu puts me on to his mech, Sanjay. We meet up at Sanjay's garage. Strip the bike totally. Every part is out. We make a list of what needs to be replaced and what can be rebuilt. Was decided that Sanjay would only put back all the parts and anything that had to be rebuilt would be done by Antony.
I was to travel to the US in a couple of weeks. Change of plans. Change of list. Jaggu put me on to Chuck of Team Scream Racing. He is one of the best when it comes to RDs and jet ski's. He is God. Yet, far from Norris!

We decided to get the top end done by him. Change of plans yet again. And the build plan goes like this:

Rebuild the crank - rebuild includes pressing the lead weights, glass beading and
polishing up the crank. He would provide a good RD 350 core crank. I would get Pro-X rod kits shipped to him. He would also supply a set of 4 (made in Japan) main bearings,
have a better upgrade for RD lower rod bearing that he uses for the roadracers and dragracers, Suzuki RM125/RG500 Gamma rod bearing.

He would go to stage 2 porting. Stage 2 also will include cylinder deck machining for
converting to the much better RD 400 headgasket. This stage 2 porting is more transfer port intensive to make more power everywhere and would take advantage of the extra parts we were using.

Carbs (30mm) - modifying them to fit RZ/Banshee intake manifolds, machining the slide for 3.0 slide angle cutaway and setting up jetting.

Reeds - Use the oem Yamaha reeds for the YZ125. (4 pieces). He would trim them for fitment for the RD cage (these are 3 petal wide/trim off 1 to fit RD cage).

Clutch - Use the latest model RD350 7 plate clutch. Use YZ250 fiber plates and eliminate the rubber o-rings, These are a little wider and hold much better than the stock narrow plates.
Use Barnett springs.

15/40 is stock final gearing. We went for the 520 conversion size. Much lighter, used on all his hot rod/racer builds.

RDD or Ravi Nagesh CDI (went for Ravi Nagesh).

Moto Carrera chambers in stainless steel.

Moto Carrera rearsets and foot pegs.

Tranny would be US spec too. Will be replaced with a RD400 tranny soon.

Antony was doing the P220 front end setup for me.

I got all the stuff but for the carbs before I returned. Carbs came in eventually.

Back to India. Sanjay takes forever to finish bikes in his garage. Wanted me to give my bike after a few in his garage and wait for all eternity. I decide enough was enough and off I go to Antony. I drive down to Bangalore with all the bike parts in car.

It is usual of Antony to do a wonderful job and mine was no exception!

I get a call stating that the bike was ready. Intention was to ride down to Hyd. Antony and I share the ride. I also take the car so that it helps just in case and only one person is on the bike. I go to Bangalore, bike looks wonderful. I ride it. Just one word - Disappointed.
This is not what I expected from Chuck's build nor Antony's work. Antony wanted me to use it for a bit more and then figure out. Ride back to Hyd saw a flat tyre on the bike's rear tyre and having the car alongside did help quite a bit. Apart from that we had nothing but fuel breaks and it was more or less a non stop ride back home. My mom and cousin were in the car apart from Antony's friend. I was either riding or driving all through the journey. This also was my first long ride on a bike and any bike ride more than a couple of KMs after almost 12 years.

I talk to Chuck about the issue(His carb setup was a bit rich with 330 mains and even 280 seemed rich, was flooding). Going lean was not good either and there would have been a reason as to why he gave such a rich setup. He forgot to mention that all his setup's use a boost bottle (Harry Barlow designed). Waited a bit more, got the boost bottle, new manifold rubbers and spacers for them. Antony visits me and fits them all. I go for a spin. First impression - way better. Engine warms up a bit. We want to go check it out on some open roads. Runs fine till about 5.5k RPM and not so after that. Antony tweaks it a bit and I go for a spin yet again. Oh heck! Power wheelies all the way and in all the gears we dared to open up. Manic behaviour starts around 6.5k RPM and goes on and on. I have the widest grin possible! Antony goes for a spin, even he is quite happy. Feels it is drag ready already! Incidentally he has the best drag time on RD in India.

Much thanks to Adrian, Jaggu, Antony, Chuck, Doug (motocarrera), John (economycycle), Zubin (mazda motors - paint) for making this an awesome build!
Thanks to team bhp without whom I wouldn't have come across Adrian!

I have not a single picture of the bike before and only a few after the build (phone cam). Will share a few Work In Progress pics shared by Chuck.
Attached Thumbnails
Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350-100_7891.jpg  

Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350-100_7976.jpg  

Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350-100_8024.jpg  

Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350-100_7782.jpg  

Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350-100_8054.jpg  

Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350-100_8119.jpg  

Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350-100_8130.jpg  

Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350-rd.jpg  

Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350-rd2.jpg  


Last edited by MindSpeeDs : 14th August 2013 at 15:10.
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Old 14th August 2013, 15:45   #2
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

Thread moved from Assembly Line.

Thanks for sharing
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Old 14th August 2013, 16:59   #3
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

My Gosh!! Rolling right out from a factory? Frankly speaking, I have not read your entire post since I was attracted by the marvellous pictures of this majestic bike. That is some serious restoration job. Very very nicely executed.
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Old 14th August 2013, 17:54   #4
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

superb execution!! congratulations. i just love those chrome ECs. just a query though.. hows the ground clearance impact? these are a little different in design and much of the bulk is below the foot pegs..
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Old 14th August 2013, 18:00   #5
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

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superb execution!! congratulations. i just love those chrome ECs. just a query though.. hows the ground clearance impact? these are a little different in design and much of the bulk is below the foot pegs..
Thanks! GC seemed alright even for Bangalore. Had no issues in Hyderabad either.
Doug had offered me the ones where both exit on the right. That would probably had a tad lower GC. Just the reason why I opted for these instead.
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Old 14th August 2013, 18:14   #6
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

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Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
My Gosh!! Rolling right out from a factory? Frankly speaking, I have not read your entire post since I was attracted by the marvellous pictures of this majestic bike. That is some serious restoration job. Very very nicely executed.
All the guys involved did a wonderful job! I am very pleased with the end result.
It sure is a very long read. One could easily go to sleep reading it
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Old 14th August 2013, 18:17   #7
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

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All the guys involved did a wonderful job! I am very pleased with the end result.
I am sure that required quite some work. It has really turned up nice and speaks volumes about the effort that has gone into it.

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Originally Posted by MindSpeeDs View Post
It sure is a very long read. One could easily go to sleep reading it
Not at all. Its just that the pictures attracted me like anything and I wanted to be the first one to congratulate you on the fantastic job.
Will surely give it a read though.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 14th August 2013, 18:23   #8
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

Congrats Mate, should really appreciate your patience in rebuilding this motorcycle. Sad to know that the bike was abused not once but twice. Having know Anthony for quite some time now, he is a good bet in Bangalore. No Second thoughts on that.

All the best with your RD and would encourage you to attend the Bangalore RD Monthly meet if you can make some time for it.
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Old 14th August 2013, 19:09   #9
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

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I am sure that required quite some work. It has really turned up nice and speaks volumes about the effort that has gone into it.
Lot of time, effort and monies

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Originally Posted by ku69rd View Post
Congrats Mate, should really appreciate your patience in rebuilding this motorcycle. Sad to know that the bike was abused not once but twice. Having know Anthony for quite some time now, he is a good bet in Bangalore. No Second thoughts on that.

All the best with your RD and would encourage you to attend the Bangalore RD Monthly meet if you can make some time for it.
Thanks! Yeah. It does feel bad. I am glad for bringing her back to the current state.

I would love to attend the Bangalore RD meet but riding down from Hyd. Roads are good but would prefer to do so in good company.
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Old 14th August 2013, 19:56   #10
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

Fantastic restoration mindpseed. Still love this bike to bits for the kind of chaos it would create when on road.
Was a hit among youngsters back in the late 90's when I was in college.

BTW this DAM motors that you are referring to, is this the same place run by Dominic and Antony, the brothers ?
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Old 15th August 2013, 04:06   #11
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

Congrats MindSpeeDs,

The bike is looking really fab. I always had a soft spot for older Yamaha's, i don't find the current generation of Yamaha in India so much appealing, but the old RX and RDs had a lot to offer. I am also looking for an RX for myself. Did consider RD350 but it would be way above my budget.

nIk
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Old 15th August 2013, 17:20   #12
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

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Fantastic restoration mindpseed. Still love this bike to bits for the kind of chaos it would create when on road.
Was a hit among youngsters back in the late 90's when I was in college.

BTW this DAM motors that you are referring to, is this the same place run by Dominic and Antony, the brothers ?

RDs were and will always be head turners. Any state they are!

I suppose so. Not aware of his brother's name. He does have a brother who takes care of kinetics and similar ones. Antony does the RDs and a few other bikes.

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Congrats MindSpeeDs,

The bike is looking really fab. I always had a soft spot for older Yamaha's, i don't find the current generation of Yamaha in India so much appealing, but the old RX and RDs had a lot to offer. I am also looking for an RX for myself. Did consider RD350 but it would be way above my budget.

nIk
Thanks. RXs seem very value for money. They are reasonably fun to ride bikes too. Prices of RXs seem to be going up too.
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Old 16th August 2013, 09:54   #13
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

Congrats on a wonderful build! Those are fantastic looking pipes. and a fine choice of colour.
Question on those rear sets: Do they bolt on to the original mounting points of the front foot pegs on the RD frame? How do you set up the rear brake and the gear lever assembly? Rear set includes all the necessary bits?
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Old 16th August 2013, 12:57   #14
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

that is one hell of a screamer.

Great story. Makes us all reaffirm in the word 'perseverance'.

time to get my Bullet back on her feet.

cheers,
ac
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Old 16th August 2013, 13:52   #15
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Default re: Blue Angel - Resurrection of my Yamaha RD350

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Congrats on a wonderful build! Those are fantastic looking pipes. and a fine choice of colour.
Question on those rear sets: Do they bolt on to the original mounting points of the front foot pegs on the RD frame? How do you set up the rear brake and the gear lever assembly? Rear set includes all the necessary bits?
Thanks! That's one of BMWs shade of blue. Love it.
Sigh..rear set has another story. A friend and I picked a set each. He tries to install and figures out it can't be and sells his. Asks me to sell mine too. Sold it to a guy in Denmark and then check with Doug. He says he has spacers and brackets for an additional which will fit our RDs just fine. Picked up a couple more sets. Dumb! Isn't it

Quote:
Originally Posted by ac 427 View Post
that is one hell of a screamer.

Great story. Makes us all reaffirm in the word 'perseverance'.

time to get my Bullet back on her feet.

cheers,
ac
Thanks! Screamer all the way. Bike was almost impounded on our grin inducing test run (sound and speed, both).

No point keeping her in the closet!
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