GoogleCustom Search
Yamaha LC

Yamaha's RZ/RD 250 and 350 family have become legendary motorcycles in every sense of the word.

Since launch in 1980 the RD-series - called RZ in Japan, USA and Australasia - have helped begin many a road or race career on two wheels.

Both the 250 and 350LCs were developed together in the late 1970s and were the result of calls from European bikers for a 'pure' sports two-stroke. Hearing this call, a group of passionate two-stroke engineers in the heart of Yamaha began developing the new machines. The resulting RZ250 and 350 models were astounding, with Yamaha admitting at the launch of the machines that they were: '...a direct descendant of the legendary TZ road-racer.' The RD/RZ family finally fulfilled the promise of a race bike for the road, with the 250 alone producing 35 brake horsepower, or around 140bhp per litre from its liquid-cooled (LC) parallel-twin heart.

1980 Yamaha 250LC

Never before - or since - has a machine been so loved by its owners. The RZ/RD series offered a mix of performance, practicality, good-looks and value that the opposition couldn't match. While the RZ250 carried on being produced in its original form until around 1986, the 350 became the 'YPVS Powervalve' in 1983, evolving into the final Brazilian-made RD350R which was finally withdrawn in 1996.

Today both the 250 and 350 are regarded as 'cult' and 'iconic' machines, having many thousands of loyal fans across the world. Some machines have been turned into 'specials': one-off bikes with special tuning parts to mark them out as individuals, just like their owners. Meanwhile, more and more are now finding their way back into stock, production form and winning awards once more, at local owners club meetings and classic motorcycle shows.

1980 Yamaha RD/RZ350 Summary Tech Specs (250 in brackets);

  • Dry weight kg: 143 (141)
  • Overall length mm: 2080mm
  • Wheelbase mm: 1370 (1370)
  • Cylinder arrangement: two-stroke, liquid-cooled, parallel twin
  • Bore & stroke: 64 x 54mm (54 x 54mm)
  • Displacement cc: 347 (247)
  • Compression ratio: 6:1 (6:1)
  • Maximum horsepower/rpm: 47 @ 8500 (35 @ 8500)
  • Transmission: 6 speed
  • Front suspension: Hydraulic fork
  • Rear suspension: cantilever monoshock
  • Front tyre: 3.00 X S18 (3.00 X S18)
  • Rear tyre: 3.50 x S18 (3.50 x S18)

Yamaha LC History;


There where 3 colours available in 1980 when the LC was launced;

RD350 BlackRD350 BlueRD350 White


No major changes to the 250lc or the 350. But the 350 having twin discs up front and a cushdrive rear wheel it gave a lot bigger punch than the 250 and at only £100 more and with the new 125cc learner limet coming in it virtually killed the 250 sales. The LC was still the only stroker worth looking at 1000s were selling .


This year saw the introduction of the limited edition model, with a pro-am fairing and bellypan as standard, and two new new colours the rear red and the traditional black with the red/grey stripe .

1982 RD3501982 RD 350

RD Prototype

The LC did not start life as we see it today. Below are a few pics on how it got started. There is text on the blow up pages aswell.

RD Prototype






With Suzuki’s new RG250 Gamma starting to steal sales, Yamaha took the sting out of the Gamma by completely revamping the LC producing the RD 350 YPVS { LCII }  There was a new frame, twin front slotted discs, a rear disc and a  true mono shock rear suspension, and of course the infamous YPVS (Yamaha power-valve system). So in April 1983 the power valve was born.