“A classic race bike with out fairings…however for the road.”
This was the imaginative and prescient Jesse Crane (@crane_moto) had for the 1975 Yamaha RD350 café racer you see right here. You would possibly keep in mind Jesse from his ’71 Yamaha R5 350 we featured final spring, which he purchased as a seized-up basket case and reworked right into a 295-lb (totally fueled) rocket ship — a motorcycle he took on the storied Tail of the Dragon final fall.
Jesse works as a Chassis Engineer for a significant motorbike producer, and he and his son each race within the Street America Supermoto collection. He’s a person who is aware of learn how to construct a motorcycle to carry out on the road and observe, and if there’s one factor we’ve discovered through the years, it’s that racers construct a number of the greatest customs.
This ’75 RD350 was truly the donor bike for lots of the elements on Jesse’s R5, which was simply superb as a result of the RD could be a ground-up construct. Jesse had even larger ambitions for the RD…or ought to we are saying decrease, given his emphasis on the previous Colin Chapman adage: add lightness.
“Purpose of the construct was to create a classic race bike with out fairings…however for the road. Present weight of the bike is 260 kilos with a full tank.”
Jesse de-tabbed and braced the unique body on the headtube and rear shock mounts to scale back chassis flex. He relocated the higher rear shock mount places, pairing them with a set of 320mm YSS rear shocks. The tank is an RD60 unit modified to suit the body, and the worth is greater than aesthetic:
“In my view, one of many largest dealing with problems with the unique RD350 was an excessive amount of rear weight bias. The small RD60 gas tank and clip on handlebars assist shift weight to the entrance finish for a extra even weight distribution with the rider.”
A TZ-style tail part was narrowed to interface with the brand new tank, giving the machine that classic race bike look. Up entrance, there are the aforementioned customized clip-ons, in addition to a GP-style aluminum higher yoke machined to suit the two″ mini speedo. An adjustable steering damper retains issues regular.
The brakes are a weak level of the inventory RD, however Jesse took care of that with a Honda CRF450R entrance caliper and grasp cylinder, customized response bracket, and Ducati 998 rotor:
“For these with RD350’s on the lookout for a entrance brake improve, I recommend a Ducati entrance rotor swap and customized response bracket. Not solely does the brand new Honda/Ducati entrance brake system have considerably higher energy/really feel, additionally it is 10 kilos lighter than the inventory grasp/caliper/rotor.”
The OEM hubs had been frivolously polished and laced to a pair of light-weight aluminum rims (1.8″ F / 2.15″ rear) with Shinko 712 rubber. Jesse thanks his buddy Cody Zainey for convincing him to color the bodywork GM Brilliant Aqua — a C4 Corvette colour that could be atypical of a 70s Yamaha, however seems excellent on this machine.
As Jesse is a Chassis Engineer, most of his focus was on the chassis and dealing with, however the engine obtained just a few alternative upgrades as effectively: Wiseco pistons, 30mm PWK flat-slide carbs with pods, JL chambers, Vape ignition, and the oil pump has been eliminated to run premix at 32:1.
As you may think about, this 260-lb smoker is a revelation within the dealing with division.
“Whereas the R5 felt like a classic cafe racer, this RD350 feels extra like a resto-mod. Purists avert your eyes.”
Jesse says the JL chambers make the engine sing, and he has a tough time using it at any type of fixed velocity as a result of it sounds too rattling good on the throttle or throughout engine braking. Then there are the reactions of everybody who sees the bike:
“I really like using this bike to weekly bike nights or to lunch on a Friday afternoon and seeing individuals’s reactions. The everyday response I get is ‘What the Hell is that factor!?!? Seems superior no matter it’s!’”
After all, the ultimate weight is an enormous level of satisfaction for Jesse — as effectively it needs to be.
“I hope others can discover the fantastic thing about simplicity and added lightness as I do.”
We definitely do, Jesse! Under, we discuss to Jesse for the complete story on this featherweight café racer.
Yamaha RD350 Café Racer: Builder Interview
• Inform us about your Bike…
This can be a closely modified café racer, based mostly on a 1975 Yamaha RD350. Purpose of the construct was to create a classic race bike with out fairings…however for the road. Present weight of the bike is 260 kilos with a full tank.
• Are you able to inform us what it’s prefer to journey the completed bike?
The bike’s chassis feels surprisingly fashionable. Gusset reinforcements to the body on the headtube and higher rear shocks assist scale back chassis flex. Taking off about 100 kilos from the manufacturing unit RD350 additionally helps lots. In my view, one of many largest dealing with problems with the unique RD350 was an excessive amount of rear weight bias. The small RD60 gas tank and clip on handlebars assist shift weight to the entrance finish for a extra even weight distribution with the rider.
The upgrades to the entrance braking system are fairly wild, and supply incredible chew and really feel. For these with RD350’s on the lookout for a entrance brake improve, I recommend a Ducati entrance rotor swap and customized response bracket. Not solely does the brand new Honda/Ducati entrance brake system have considerably higher energy/really feel, additionally it is 10 kilos lighter than the inventory grasp/caliper/rotor. In comparison with my R5 cafe racer that was featured earlier within the 12 months, the bike rides with a extra fashionable really feel. Whereas the R5 felt like a classic cafe racer, this RD350 feels extra like a resto-mod. Purists avert your eyes.
The JL chambers actually assist the engine sing at excessive RPMs. I’ve a tough time using this bike at fixed engine load, as a result of it sounds nice at throttle and through engine braking. I really like using this bike to weekly bike nights or to lunch on a Friday afternoon and seeing individuals’s reactions. The everyday response I get is “What the Hell is that factor!?!? Seems superior no matter it’s!”
• Any concept on the horsepower?
The engine doesn’t have a lot for engine modifications in addition to the Wiseco pistons, PWK flat slide carbs, and JL chambers. Energy might be someplace round 45hp. Nowhere close to what some individuals have achieved with a RD350 engine, however I’m a Chassis Engineer and never a Powertrain Engineer…so you may clearly see the place I focus my consideration. I additionally say I might fairly journey a low powered light-weight bike over a excessive powered heavyweight bike anyday. You don’t want a lot energy at 260 kilos!
• Was there something finished throughout this construct that you’re notably happy with?
I’m positively probably the most happy with the completed weight of the mission. I used to be initially pondering this bike was going to be nearer to 280 kilos, however was shocked once I put it on the dimensions and noticed 260. So there isn’t actually anybody explicit modification I’m happy with, because it requires all the modifications to realize the ultimate product. I hope others can discover the fantastic thing about simplicity and added lightness as I do.
• Is there anybody you’d prefer to thank?
A giant thanks to my great spouse Kayla Crane. She has at all times been supportive of my motorbike shenanigans. Additionally I want to present props to my pal Cody Zainey, who satisfied me to color the bodywork in GM Brilliant Aqua. Though the colour is atypical for a 70’s Yamaha, it actually seems nice and is kind of distinctive.
- Body de-tabbed, gusseted, relocated higher rear shock level
- RD60 gas tank, modified to suit the body
- TZ fashion tail, narrowed to interface to the RD60 tank
- Physique is painted in GM Brilliant Aqua (C4 Corvette colour)
- Customized rearsets and clip on handlebars
- Honda CG125 entrance fender
- YSS rear shocks, 320mm
- 5.75 backside mount headlight, customized aluminum bracket
- HVC cycle GP fashion aluminum higher triple clamp, customized machined for two” mini speedometer
- OEM wheel hubs frivolously polished
- Light-weight shouldered aluminum rims, 1.8” huge entrance and a pair of.15” huge rear
- Shinko 712 tires
- Ducati 998 entrance brake rotor
- CRF450R entrance brake caliper and grasp cylinder, customized response bracket
- Aluminum pitbike throttle meeting
- Adjustable hydraulic steering damper
- Wiseco pistons
- VAPE digital ignition, operating battery-less
- PWK 30mm flat slide carburetors with pod filters
- Yamaha Banshee throttle cable
- JL exhaust chambers, stainless-steel with carbon fiber silencers
- Customized kickstart lever to combine with engine case
- Oil injection eliminated, premixed at 32:1
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