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Old 23rd June 2014, 21:49   #1
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Default My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

Part -1

Motorcycles for me have always been an integral part of my life. Right from my childhood, I always used to dream about owning one and used to eagerly wait for the day I would turn 18, so that I could apply for my license and own my first bike. So in the year 2000 just after my school board exams were over I started to learn riding on my friend’s RX 100. All was going as planned and in the year 2002 I applied for my two wheeler license. As soon as I got my license, I immediately approached my dad and told him that I have finally got my license and now you can buy me a bike, to which his answer was a big NOOO. His reason as most fathers was that it’s too dangerous and I don’t want to get a call from someone informing that you have met with an accident. Further he told me that if you want then you can buy yourself a bike when you start earning. Now, no way I was going to wait till the time I could buy myself a bike, so I kept pestering him and finally got myself a second hand RX 135 (99 make) in late 2004.

Following the purchase of the RX I met up with my now good friend Tony Gomes in Malad (Mumbai). This is where I got introduced to the world of RD 350. The first time I heard about this beast was when my cousin Sanju mentioned about it during one of our conversations on bikes and cars. I was blown away with the stories he told me about his friends RD in college days. The way it accelerates and the fact that it is an inline twin. But sadly due to the maintenance costs and non-availability of spare parts only a handful of them were in running conditions and fewer of them would you ever see on our roads those days. But then at Tony’s workshop I learned more about this beauty. The urge to own one just grew bigger every time I took an RD for a spin. But as time passed, lot of people started getting bit with the RD bug, which just sent prices of junk RD’s skyrocketing. Since I had just started earning in late 2003 my bank savings just did not have enough zero’s to buy myself an RD. The search continued for a decent RD in working condition which would fit my budget, but all in vain.

Then in 2006 during a visit to a client’s office in IRLA (Vile Parle), I bumped into one of the weirdest garage I had ever seen. It was on the backside of the building compound, from where I had to enter my client’s office. I was greeted with some bullets queued up, with a shining Norton 500 next to them and besides the Norton stood a decent looking red RD 350. I just walked closer to these two bikes in utter disbelief, as it looked like a typical roadside mechanic, who mainly does up only bullets. I had so many questions in my mind, which I just wanted to shoot out to the guys working in the garage. But I realised that I was running in late for my meeting, so I just proceeded towards my client’s office. On entering the office the receptionist informs me that I need to wait since the person I had to meet up was not in office, which was just perfect as I could go out and enquire about those bikes. First I enquired about the Norton, which was handed over by the owner of the bike to the owner of the garage.

On hearing that, I just got more curious about this place. Next on the RD 350, I straight away fired my usual question on seeing an RD, is it for sale? The guy just answered in the negative, as it belonged to someone from Pune, who had left the bike to be worked upon. So I continued to look around the place and saw in one corner some bikes covered up and went closer to inspect, wondering, what more surprises this garage has to offer me. As I lifted the cover of the very first bike, I saw a disc brake setup and as I lifted the cover further up I saw two bend pipes coming down. The blocks and the bend pipes reminded me of the RD, but just that they looked slightly smaller. So I just put the cover back on and inquired which bike was this and I was just zapped by the answer as the guy said it’s an RD 125. I was like an RD 125, inline twin in India in front of me???? Immediately I dialed Tony and told him I found an RD 125. For a moment he was like are you sure it’s an RD 125, as it’s a very rare bike to be found in India at least, as they had to be imported directly back in the day. So the next question to Tony was, should I buy it, without even inquiring whether it’s for sale. It was not an easy call, as the first thing that popped on our minds was how we would source the parts, but Tony said just buy it as it’s a rare bike to have. So after my call I popped the question to the garage owner asking him whether the 125 is for sale, and he said a No again.

I was heartbroken at that very moment. But I was not going to let go of this one so easily. So I kept frequenting at that place for a few months (6-7 months to be precise) unit the guy had no option but to aspect my offer. The bike belonged to a Shetty hotelier in Vile Parle, so the garage guy spoke with him and he agreed to sell the bike. That’s when I tried to get more details about this bike from the garage owner. I asked how powerful this bike is and all he said was that it’s fast. Faster than the RX I asked him and he replied back with a firm yes. According to him no RX could catch up with it ever, it would just out accelerate them. This got me really interested and I wanted to seal the deal quickly. That’s when he told me that someone else has also been enquiring about this bike, which got me a little worried. But the garage owner assured me that since he was committed to me, he would sell the bike only to me. Finally the deal was sealed at 11k (yup, that’s it) and I got the bike loaded on a Mahindra pick up and got it transported to Tony’s workshop.

Some pictures of the RD 125 (Apologies for the poor quality, as some of the images were clicked with an ancient phone camera in 2006)

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My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200-img00341201104301706.jpg

My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200-img00342201104301707.jpg

Now came the difficult part of collecting funds to do up the bike. It’s a stock bike done a genuine 28k kms with a single owner, but I never really got to know, why the bike landed in the state I found it in. The garage owner said parts were an issue and that’s why the bike was left off to rot. We were just hoping that there were no nasty surprises once we open up the engine, as sourcing parts were going to be a challenge and I definitely had no funds to import stuff for this bike. The bike needed to be refitted with new parts or repaired all the way from top to bottom. Which I really did not know how was I going to manage, with my pocket money salary in 2006. But Tony was off great support and offered me to do the bike as and when I had the funds. So while we were deciding upon how to go about getting the bike working again and proceed with the build, we got a new twist to our project.

One afternoon I got a call from Tony saying that he has given a person my number who wants to sell a bike. I was like, bike? A third bike, why? The next statement by Tony was just surreal. He said two guys came to the garage wanting to sell an RD in working condition. I was like OK, but I already have an RD (a very rare one) and that’s when he said it’s an RD 200. Now, all this while we were having a tough time finding a good RD at a decent price. And now, all of a sudden, we are bumping into some rare RD’s. Since the guys never got the bike along when they visited Tony, I decided to pay them a visit in the evening. So the following evening I saw the bike, it was not in the best of state, but was in running condition. The carbs were open had no filters, side panels were missing, but the tank and meters looked to be original. The silencers had rust spots, and the bike looked like it had been worked upon. But nonetheless i was very much interested in the bike since it was an RD 200. Our plan was to buy this bike so that we could get some parts for the 125. So, we got down to negotiating the price. They were asking for 30K, but I did not have that kind of money, so I offered my price of 12K (1K more than the 125 since this was in running condition. And, after a lot of talking, they finally agreed to my price (the sellers, were college going kids and wanted to make a killing by selling it at 30K). Next day early morning, I picked up the bike and rode it to Tony’s place. The two guys also rode with me on a different bike, just to ensure I reach Malad in one piece along with the bike. That was a good thing as I had no idea, whether the bike would make it, at least not by the looks of it.

The only pictures of the RD 200 I have, when I bought it to Tony's place.

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So finally in a span of few months, I had two RD’s along with my RX in my stable. I had no clue about how would I manage them financially, but was just happy to see them parked in a corner and used to dream about riding them one day. Now, on closer examination of the two bikes, we found that most of the parts would not match with each other. For starters, the RD 125 had a disc brake setup and the RD 200 had a drum brake setup, so the front end was totally different. So I decided I would start off with the RD 200 as it was in running condition and would be a easier build than the 125, which was lying idle for quite a few years now. So we started stripping the bike and the engine, and the horror of Indian roadside mechanic workmanship started unfolding in front of us.

To be continued in Part 2

Last edited by moralfibre : 25th June 2014 at 09:38. Reason: Only two smileys per post please.
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Old 24th June 2014, 14:16   #2
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Default Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Motorbikes Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th June 2014, 14:30   #3
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Default Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

Wow!! great write up!! Eagerly waiting for more updates!!

P.S: Ive never even heard of the RD125 or 200 before this thread, thats why Im so hooked on!!
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Old 24th June 2014, 14:47   #4
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Default Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

It was bit disappointing to see "To be continued in Part 2" and there is no Part 2. Eagerly waiting for Part 2. Go RD !!
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Old 24th June 2014, 20:33   #5
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Default Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

Whoa I've never heard of RD200 or 125.Must have felt good right discovering those bikes like that.I remember once when I found a genuine Smiths(Not working) under piles of junk at my mechanics place.Can't wait to read more
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Old 24th June 2014, 21:30   #6
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Default Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

Interesting what these little garages can turn up. I once found an RD50 LC at a little garage at Trichur in Kerala. Incidentally that garage still does the work on my RD, even if it means riding down to that town or carting the bike across.

All the best with your restoration. That is a very interesting pair of bikes, and you should be able to source parts from abroad - its a Yamaha, one of the few manufacturers that faithfully provide parts for a long time.
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Old 25th June 2014, 00:03   #7
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Default Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

Part 2


Firstly, I would like to apologies that I have to break up this thread in parts, as the whole build process is spanned over a period of 8 years, and I really need to go back in time to put down all the events as they unfolded over the years.


So guys get set to relive the horror I went through, while getting these beauties back on road.


Firstly I goggled around to find out the specs of the RD 200 and RD 125.


There are two models of the RD 200 and RD 125. Visually, you can identify them by straight away looking at the fuel tank. The tear drop shaped tank of my RD 200 is the model which produces 18 bhp. The other model of the 200 has the rectangular shaped tank as my RD 125 which produces 21 bhp.
Similarly on the 125 the tear drop shaped model produces 12 bhp and the other rectangular model produces 18 bhp, which is the model I own. So, both the RDís in their original condition were designed to produce 18 bhp with five gears and that too in the late 70ís. Impressive!


The rebuild process was started in 2007. Now, as the first step of our rebuild of the 200, we decided to do a checklist of the parts missing on the bike, which we need to either refurbish or find an alternative


Here is a list of the missing parts we noticed on the bike prior to stripping it down.

a) Both side panel covers were missing.
b) Original signal lights and headlights were missing.
c) No air filter, only the cover was on the bike and the tubes connecting them to the carbs were missing.
d) Silencers/flutes were missing on both the exhausts.
e) No battery


Now, without the original carbs and side covers, we had no reference to search for alternatives. So we decided to go with the carbs which were on the bike. They were RX 100 carbs (one Indian and the other one was Japanese).


Now the next step was to open up the engine and that is when we started getting the nasty surprises. Since the bike was in running condition and I was short on funds, we decided, we would open up the heads to see whether the pistons could be reused. As soon as we opened up the head we find our first surprise, we find a crack on one of the blocks starting from the sleeve. Further as we pull out the blocks, we found out that the pistons inside were RX 100 pistons and also the blocks were sleeved with the ports mismatched. Then on further inspection, we found that the connecting rods also were not original and they were RX connecting rods and supposedly longer than the original ones. So to avoid the pistons from hitting the head, they had put spacers below the blocks where they connect the casing. This job was also a shabby job as we found the pistons were still touching the heads. Now, we were thinking how worst can this get, could the gears inside the casing also be an RX set? So, we proceeded further and opened up the magnet side casing cover to find that it was a CDI unit and not on points. The mechanic who had worked on this bike had done an ok job with the CDI.



Now, it was time to open up the gearbox. The oil pump was still on the bike and we were surprised to find it too, as it was not functional and the fuel was premixed with oil. Now as soon as we opened up the gear box we noticed that the right hand side casing was badly damaged and had weld marks on it. Our guess was that, someone damaged it while kick starting the bike. My blood was boiling at that point, not because of the above findings, but because the way it was handled by the previous owners and mechanics who had worked on it. Such a rear bike was abused to the core, but still this old beast was standing right in front of us thinking that it had finally landed up in the right hands, who would provide the care and attention it immediately required and I on my part had decided to do everything possible to get this tiny 200 back on the road.



As mentioned earlier the only thing I never had at that stage, was the funds required to rebuild a vintage bike. So, we decided to get the bike on the road using RX parts and whatever would be the next best match for the parts required.

List of the parts used

a) We used new RX pistons and connecting rods along with the spacer to take care of the longer connecting rods.
b) Got a new pair of sleeves inserted with some porting done to match the ports.
c) We used the carbs that came along with the bike.
d) Filters were sourced the from the Hero Honda splendor.
e) All the oil seals and bearings were sourced locally.
f) The front end was a new Pulsar setup including the front forks, disc brakes and mag wheels both front and back.
g) RX chain set, with the front and rear sprocket
h) The original swing arm was also replaced with a pulsar unit to match up with the mags and also to fit the rear suspension, which was again a Pulsar setup.
i) We had to machine the rear sprocket mount to fit on the pulsar mag. Also, we had to custom make the silencers/flutes for both exhausts, which was a challenge by itself.(we had tried to see whether a M80 flute would do the job, but it was not small enough)
j) Also we had to design a new CDI plate.
k) The complete wiring was redone with a fabricated battery holder.
l) We used the side panels of the RD 350, both the oil tank and the right hand side cover.
m) The seat was fabricated using a RX seat plate. The seat opens up just like the RD 350 seat on the 200.
n) The rear foot rests originally were on the swing arm and since we had replaced it with a pulsar one, we had to mount brackets to use the L bars of the RX for the rear foot rest.


Now for the cosmetics, we decided to have the exhaust and engine covers painted black along with the chassis and other small parts.
The paint scheme was a tough choice and in the end, went ahead with a maroon paint scheme as I had seen an RD 350 with a similar paint job. But, I must admit, I really never liked that colour once the bike was painted.
So it was early 2008, when we started the engine and it was the sweetest sound I had ever heard. The intake sound from the open filters and the roar of the twin exhaust was just musical. By the time the bike was completely ready it was early March and I was waiting for the paperwork to be completed so that I could take the bike home. So, by end of March I had the papers and I took the bike home. My first step was to complete the running in process and to the get bike tuned up as we had no idea of the carb settings, as nothing was stock on the bike. So, a few trips to Tonyís got that issue sorted out as well.

Some pics of the bike, when it was getting completed

The first time the engine was fired

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The finished masterpiece

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By mid May I had the running in almost complete, and one evening while I had taken the bike for a spin I noticed that the fifth gear would not get engaged. I tried couple of times, but no luck. This got me really worried and straight away rode to Tonyís place. We tried to identify the problem from the outside, but in vain. The only option was to open up the gearbox, which we did not want to do at that moment. So I decided to use the bike the way it was.
Then in early June, while I was returning home from Tonyís place, I heard a shattering sound from the gearbox as I opened up the throttle. I immediately cut the throttle pulled in the clutch and brought the bike to a halt without cutting of the engine. While the bike was idling, the gearbox sounded as if all the gears had come of their respective shafts and were moving around freely. My body went cold and was praying that the sound disappears and the bike runs normally. I tried riding the bike with that sound as I was not too far away from Tonyís place. I feared I might damage it more, but at that moment I just wanted to get the bike quickly to Tonżís place. Then somehow I made it to Tonyís place and we were trying to figure out what that sound could be or what could have gone wrong. It clearly did not sound like the bearings and were definitely the gear. Only option to find out was to open up the gearbox. Even after opening it up, I could not afford another rebuild. Also, what if we needed a new gear box? How would I source that? So I had no option but to leave the bike there until we decide on our next step.


Tonyís tried opening the magnet side casing cover and thought maybe the gear shifter shaft had twisted, but we could not be sure until we opened the gearbox. So the bike was parked among the other RDís to rot until we found a solution to the problem on hand. After a few months, one day we just decided to open the gearbox and found something we had never encountered before.



On opening the gearbox we found metal particles is the oil and disintegrated gear teethís. The shaft which holds the gears was broken in two. It was a horrid sight. My heart such sank looking at that gearbox of the 200. At that very moment I realized, getting the RD 200 back on road is going to be next to impossible, at least not for me.

Some pictures of the bike lying dead

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My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200-pic051.jpg


To be continued in Part 3
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Old 25th June 2014, 08:38   #8
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Smile Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnS_12 View Post
Part -1
I asked how powerful this bike is and all he said was that it’s fast. Faster than the RX I asked him and he replied back with a firm yes. According to him no RX could catch up with it ever, it would just out accelerate them. This got me really interested and I wanted to seal the deal quickly.
Congrats its really a great find . Google says the RD 125 produces 16 hp @ 8500 rpm and 1.3 kgf-m @ 8000 rpm connected to a 5 Speed gear box.The RD 200 produced 30 hp @ 7500 rpm and 2.92 kgf-m @ 7000 rpm connected to a 6 Speed gear box .Waiting for the restoration eyes glued to this thread .

Last edited by justin.das : 25th June 2014 at 08:41.
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Old 25th June 2014, 10:38   #9
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Default Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

Quote:
Originally Posted by bivin View Post
Wow!! great write up!! Eagerly waiting for more updates!!

P.S: Ive never even heard of the RD125 or 200 before this thread, that's why I'm so hooked on!!
Thank You. Yes, lot of people with whom I have met on the road with the 200 have always thought it was a 350 or worst a modified bike. When I told them it was a RD 200, they were like . How on earth you have an RD 200??? Even the cops get curious and get talking when they see this bike. And the 200 makes its presence felt, with its size and roar of the twin exhaust and the way it just accelerates like a little rocket. Its Insane!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue_V View Post
It was bit disappointing to see "To be continued in Part 2" and there is no Part 2. Eagerly waiting for Part 2. Go RD !!

Part 2 is here and hopefully I would be done with Part 3 in the next few days.


Quote:
Originally Posted by B O V View Post
Whoa I've never heard of RD200 or 125.Must have felt good right discovering those bikes like that.I remember once when I found a genuine Smiths(Not working) under piles of junk at my mechanics place.Can't wait to read more

The feeling was just out of this world bro. I keep exploring any bylane I come across to find something interesting. By the way did you pick up the Smiths?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
Interesting what these little garages can turn up. I once found an RD50 LC at a little garage at Trichur in Kerala. Incidentally that garage still does the work on my RD, even if it means riding down to that town or carting the bike across.

All the best with your restoration. That is a very interesting pair of bikes, and you should be able to source parts from abroad - its a Yamaha, one of the few manufacturers that faithfully provide parts for a long time.

True, even we had come across an RD 125 LC, with a mechanic, who according to us was not even capable of repairing a bicycle forget an LC. How long have you had your RD? More on the restoration to come in Part 3. Happy reading.

Last edited by aah78 : 25th June 2014 at 22:02. Reason: Please limit smileys to 2/post. Thanks!
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Old 25th June 2014, 11:16   #10
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Thumbs up Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

The 200 is an absolute looker ! Very tastefully restored indeed.
Its a pity to see it in the present condition in the last couple of pictures

Hope its back on the road now !
Looking forward to read about the 125 as well.

I am glued to this thread.
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Old 25th June 2014, 15:14   #11
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Default Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

Thats was an amazing restoration job you did. hats off to your courage and grit.
Saddened to see the RD dead again.

Eagerly waiting for your part3 of the story. Hope the RD lives... again!!
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Old 25th June 2014, 19:48   #12
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Default Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

Wow!! It looked great after restoration!!
This thread is more addictive than watching Game of Thrones!!
I cant wait to read your part 3.. Cheers!!
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Old 26th June 2014, 09:40   #13
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Default Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

Great find and restoration! The RD200 looks kickass and its sad to see its condition in the last few pics. A couple of years ago I spotted a RD200 in Bangalore on the airport road. The exhaust note was sweet symphony and the way the bike accelerated was a sight to watch!
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Old 26th June 2014, 10:21   #14
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Default Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

SnS_12 you are in Mumbai, and if you have any spare time on Friday evening, drive down to Powai for our regular Mumbai members meet. Guests are also welcomed. Looking forward to your Part 3.
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Old 26th June 2014, 11:21   #15
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Default Re: My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200

Nice find but the restoration work looked more like jugad work, sorry but it's not at all looking like RD cosmetically even the internals used from RX killed it mechanically.
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