A 70’s Chilean postman, maybe it is not the career that instantly springs to mind when deliberating fantasy job options, but perhaps it may be worth consideration as an outside contender. The glorious local scenery bathed in South American sunshine would be your office, you would have the evenings off and your employer would furnish you with a brand new Yamaha RD350, the original pocket rocket sensation. It would certainly beat being a Brit postie in the fifties, stuck with a BSA Bantam in the drizzle. However it appears the mailmen of 70’s Chile may have got a bit carried away with their luck, for the RD350 earned itself a none too pleasant nickname, the “Matacarteros” or postman killer…
The last time we featured a machine by 86 Motorcycles we noted that Cristobal Quintana from Santiago had found his style. His formula for bare tanked ratty-brats that are rough, ready and begging to be ridden is perfect, but with this RD he has broadened his stylistic horizons and built a machine completely different to those which have gone before it. The customer wanted a cafe racer built on the “Matacarteros” platform but with the emphasis on pristine as oppose to patina. Cristobal got to work.
The RD’s career as a postal workhorse had left Chile with a number of potential donors and a ready source of parts, but in search of the perfect base Cristobal made his way to Los Angeles where he sourced a fine ’73 model. The drive back south to Santiago took 8 hours, plenty of time for Cristobal to crystallise a plan for the transformation.
He started by disassembling the bike, lopping off all of the unnecessary metal and modifying the frame loop. The forks were cut down by about 2.5 inches and hand polished, the rear shocks were replaced with Showa items.
“A new transmission kit was mounted with an o-ring chain. We installed a competition re-build kit for the carbs & UNI air filters. The engine had a complete re-build with new rings, pistons and cylinders, and a powder coat finish. The bike now runs with cdi ignition system and does not require a battery to start.”
The front aspect was cleaned up with a set of club man bars and a “cafe racer” bracket for the humbly downturned head light. The rims were powder coated and laced to the hand polished hubs before being shod in classic Firestone rubber. The frame also benefitted from a trip to the powder coat shop.
A seat was formed in foam with the classic cafe racer hump profile, it was then masterfully upholstered in quilt stitched brown leather with the 86 Motorcycles emblem embossed into the hide. Aftermarket rear sets complete the racing crouch pose.
Despite their predilection for unpainted motorcycles the boys at 86 have deployed colour expertly on the RD. The tank and side panels were painted with 3 shades of green and black and silver shading. The paint finds no home on the absent mudguards, but judging by the parched landscape their application would be irrelevant. RD DG competition pipes in black provide the evocative two stroke soundtrack.
Cristobal has christened the bike “Shark” – both he and the RD’s new owner are delighted with 86 Motorcycles first foray into the heady world of two stroke. No doubt as it romps through the streets of Chile those 70’s postmen that survived their careers aboard the “Matacarteros” get all nostalgic for the smell and sound before their misty eyes behold its beautiful transformation. That order book may be filling up soon fellas…