By Ian Heartfield - 07 Apr 14
Take a look around this page, this website, in fact any custom motorcycle website for that matter, and you'll see that two strokes crop up less frequently than Ducati MotoGP victories. But Idaho based Justin might be about to change all that by showing us the light with this absolutely drop dead gorgeous RD350. So what made Justin buck the trend and go down the two stroke route? Quite simply it was the smell and the power. If you've ever ridden an RD, you'll know what he means. Once you've experienced hitting that power band and hurtling off towards the horizon in an intoxicating blue haze, you never forget it. Keen to relive the experience himself, Justin put an ad in the local classifieds, and in 2 weeks he had himself a donor bike. Right from the off Justin had a vision of how he wanted the finished bike to look - the perfect blend of modern world and 1975. This is how he went about it. Justin's brother happened to have a front end from a 2006 RM85 lying around. Cutting 5 inches off the springs and adding 13 ¾" Hagon shocks to the rear, achieved the exact cafe racer stance he was looking for. The stock RD steering stem was fitted into the RM85 triple and tapered roller bearings were added to improve the steering. A front disc brake replaced the standard drum, and the Excel 1.85x18's were laced with custom stainless steel spokes, and wrapped with delicious looking Pirelli MT90's. Despite limited fabrication experience and equipment, Justin was able to design and make the seat, tail section (with integrated taillight), side panels and fork guards by himself. All the unnecessary tabs were cut off, and the frame and other parts were sent off for black powder coating. The frame area under the seat was kept open by doing away with the oil tank and switching the bike to pre-mix. A modern reg/rec was wired in, and with a couple of small mods to the frame he was able to hide a small 4cell Ballistic battery under the fuel tank. The engine had very low miles on it and checked out almost perfect. So all Justin did was clean it up ready for a coat of paint and install a new set of rings. He added the pod filters and DG pipes to help her breath and help improve the soundtrack. The rear sets were custom made by Nick Pastore at VintageSmoke.com, and Justin added a custom rear brake stay arm and rear motor mounts specifically to match. The decision was made to stay with the original orange and black Yamaha paint scheme in order to keep the vintage look. Right decision. It looks insanely good. The build took Justin a year from start to finish, working in his spare time and saving money for all the parts as he went. He is rightly chuffed with how it turned out and as an FYI, points out that 'this thing is freaking FAST!' Even in standard form, a 1975 RD350 flies. And despite the low clip ons, he says he still has a hard time keeping the front wheel on the ground- what a shame. This bike has really got us excited here in the Shed. We're all riding 4 strokes, but this bike has shown us what we're missing out on. The super light, super intoxicating sound, smell and acceleration, of a two stroke. This could be the start of something. See Justin's previous build here on the Bike Shed.