The Cosmic Rider: Yamaha RD350 YPVS

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer

For Sale: Blechmann’s Two-Stroke Stunner! 

Bernhard “Blechmann” Naumann is one of Europe’s most highly regarded builders, known especially for his metal-shaping skills. Hence his nickname, “Blechmann” — The Tin Man.  Bernhard grew up in a very small village in the Austrian state of Burgenland, where he gravitated toward design and fabrication from an early age:

“As a kid, I was interested in many different things, but most of all in technology and drawing. I was not born as a ‘rich kid,’ so I started creating things with my own means early on. That meant trying to build things out of nothing.”

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer

As time went on, those creations became increasingly complex, and he found he was never satisfied with off-the-shelf items — he always wanted to put his own imprint on the things in his life:

“As it was with my first car… my first bike… the bench in my living room and even the toilet roll holder. Maybe even with my whole life.  When I noticed what I could do with sheet metal, I realized that it was ‘my material.'”

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer
The master’s workshop. Photo: Katharina Hafner

The Tin Man has built several high-profile customs over the years, and we recently featured his Yamaha Virago “Drecksbecher” — his first-ever motorcycle special, recently rebuilt by his friend Martin Buchmayr. Today, we’re thrilled to feature another one of his builds, Der Kosmische Reiter (The Cosmic Rider) — based on a 1985 Yamaha RD350 YPVS.

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer

The RD350 YPVS — known as the RZ350 here in the States — is one of the most sophisticated two-stroke street bikes in history, introduced at Germany’s 1982 Intermot show to great excitement:

“The factory claim the ’83 RD unveiled in West Germany is the nearest thing to a road going racer ever produced.” –MCN

As the name implies, the 347cc liquid-cooled two-stroke featured the Yamaha Power Valve System (YVPS), which used a servo motor to control the height of the exhaust port at varying engine speeds, maximizing power and torque across the entire rev range.

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer

Bernhard built this bike in stages for a client who became a friend, adding hand-shaped metal parts such as the tail, tank, fenders, and fairing over time. The result is a streamlined stunner of a two-stroke that looks like it arrived out of a parallel universe. And it’s street-legal, too — no easy task given the strict Austrian laws for modified bikes.

“As you can imagine, there’s a fully tuned two-stroke engine with nearly 80 horses and little weight. It’s a hell of a ride and fun as hell.”

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer

The Cosmic Rider is now for sale! The Tin Man says he’s sorry to see it go, but that’s part of the business. You can contact him about the build at his email: [email protected]. Below, we talk to Bernhard for the full details on the build.

Der Kosmische Reiter: Builder Interview

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer

• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

My “real name” is Bernhard Naumann and I grew up and live in Burgenland (a federal state in Austria close to Hungary) — actually in Neustift (a village with a population of only 464).

As a kid, I was interested in many different things, but most of all in technology and drawing. I was not born as “rich kid,” so I started creating things with my own means early on. That meant trying to build things out of nothing.

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer
Photo: Katharina Hafner

When I grew up we had no video games, etc. We played outside with simple things. Later those things just got bigger, more complex, and my hands became nimbler. Sometimes I just watch these hands forming the metal-sheet and think to myself that I have to get better. However, sometimes I also think that it is already not that bad. I’ve always had the pleasure of designing things.

Today “built not bought“ is popular — better than buying the cool stuff. I never followed any trends or given rules and I was never happy with off-the-shelf things. I do not criticize the mainstream — I simply just never cared.

Photo: Katharina Hafner

As it was with my first car… my first bike… the bench in my living room and even the toilet roll holder. Maybe even with my whole life.  When I noticed what I could do with sheet metal, I realized that it was “my material.”

• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?

It’s a Yamaha RD350 YPVS and year of construction was 1985.

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer

• Why was this bike built?

It was built for a customer; now he’s my friend. But currently the Cosmic Rider (the Yamaha) is back at home and for sale.

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

This particular build evolved in several stages. As my customer can afford it. So first I built the tank and rear section. Years later I finished the bike with the front fairing you see, there was no overall concept from the beginning. Just adding the parts in a pleasing way.

Yamaha YPVS Cafe Racer

• What custom work was done to the bike?

I never use clay. I have a very special approach to get my shapes. I start off very rough with cardboard to get a feeling for the proportions. Thereafter I work with the final material, the sheet metal. This method allows me to oversee the whole object from any angle and view. And I can sculpt easily. Every bike and its pieces are completely handmade, so it takes a lot of time. I think about 300 hours in total.

Yamaha YPVS Cafe Racer

 

Engine
Twin-Cylinder, Two-Stroke, 347cc (Bore/Stroke 64 x 54mm)
Piston: Wössner, coated
Carburettor: Mikuni, revised
Air filter: funnel
Exhaust: Jim Lomas
Power: 70 hp at 9000 rpm
Torque: 40 Nm at 7900 rpm
Top speed: 210 km/h

Chassis
Frame: Steel double cradle, modified at rear and head
Fork: Telescoping with Wilbers springs
Front wheel: 2.15 x 18″ with 100/80-18
Rear wheel: 2.15 x 18″ with 120/90-18
Brakes: front double disc / rear disc

Accessories
Tank: Blechmann
Fairing: Blechmann
Tail: Blechmann
Mudguards: Blechmann
Instruments: Bonanza bike, digital speedometer

Specs
Empty weight: 148 kg
Wheelbase: 1368mm

• Does the bike have a nickname?

Der Kosmische Reiter (The Cosmic Rider).

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer

• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?

As you can imagine, there’s a fully tuned two-stroke engine with nearly 80 horses and little weight. It’s a hell of a ride and fun as hell.

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer

• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

One thing comes to my mind. In Austria we have very strict laws for authorization on public roads, and the Horseman got one!

I like how the bike came out. And I feel sad to sell it, but of course that’s part of the business.

Yamaha RD350 YPVS Cafe Racer

Follow the Builder

Web: www.blechmann.at
Facebook: Blechmann – Bernhard Naumann
Instagram: @bblechmann

 

5 Comments

  1. A masterpiece.

  2. David Seitz

    Sound please.

  3. Pretty unique, and I love Bernhard’s humility. Don’t like the frame color, but aside from that this is a super cool bike.

  4. Ariel Coimbra

    When I was kid in Brazil Rd 350 was my dream bike ! So when I was probably 30 i bought a 1989 Rd that was a dream come true ! Seven years ago I came to US and I give the bike to my old brother as a gift ! He sold it !!!

  5. maxdesign art

    First thing I notice is how the color of the frame clashes with the seat color, no fore thought there. Second thing I notice is that the fairing is not in scale with the rest of the bike, the bike is light and slim framed, but the fairing overwhelms it. Third thing I see is all the un-manicured aluminum welds at the top of the tank and at the rear tank edge, these have been overlooked and should have been evened out and blended in to the smooth aluminum. I think all these things standout straight away and in my opinion are blemished that need correction, then it will be perfect.

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