The ideal RD, built by the man who wrote the book on Yamaha Two-Strokes…
The Yamaha RD350 YPVS type 31 — sold in the US as the Yamaha RZ350 — was one of the most advanced two-stroke street bikes ever. Unveiled in 1983 at the Cologne motorcycle show in West Germany, the power valve Yamaha RD was hailed as…
“…the nearest thing to a road-going racer ever produced.”
Enter Peter Abelmann of Western Germany — the man who wrote the book on Yamaha two-stroke motorcycles, literally: Yamaha-Zweitakt, which means “Yamaha Two-Stroke” in German.
Peter rides, builds, and collects these two-stroke Yamahas from the late 1950s through the late 1980s. When it came to the bike you see here, Peter’s mission was clear:
“Not more or less, I just wanted to build my IDEAL Yamaha RD.”
The result is this stunning Yamaha “RD380” cafe racer, with a host of modern upgrades and a dry weight of less than 300 pounds. Below, we get the full story on the build.
Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Peter Abelmann from Western Germany. I am into motorcycles since I was 16. This was in 1986. I almost drive only Yamaha two strokes. Last year (2017) I published a book called “Yamaha-Zweitakt” (Yamaha Two-Stroke) in German. I also collect the old Yamaha strokers from YDS1 (1959) to my little SDR200 (1988). I also own several TZ racers. All bikes I am building are for myself – I never sold one. My workshop is in our family house, which has not enough space for all the things I wanted to do… but I am happy with it!
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
It was a RD350 YPVS type 31K (German Model) from 1984. (Named RZ in the US.)
• Why was this bike built?
Not more or less I just wanted to build my IDEAL Yamaha RD.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Classic lines and light weight were the main aims!
• What custom work was done to the bike?
So much… front fork Yamaha R6, front wheel RD250 hub with aluminium rim (2,50×18), custom made fender, custom made holders for the headlamp, Brembo Oro caliper with 320 Brembo brake, Motogadget instrument, custom made fuel tank, Yamaha OW01 handlebars, Engine with 380cc, Ducati dry clutch conversion, custom made seat, custom made subframe, custom made rearsets, rear Brembo brake, Zeeltronic electronics, TMX30 carbs, German made exhaust system (Wiwa), rear wheel hub of a TDR250 with aluminium rim (3,50×18) Conti Road Attac II Tyres, most bolts are grade 5 titanium and many many more… Dry weight of the bike is 134 kg (295 pounds).
• How would you classify this bike?
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I am proud of the bike itself. I personally find that I reached my goal to create the “IDEAL” RD!!
Buy Peter’s Book: Yamaha-Zweitakt