This week we’ve been watching all things Yamaha Power Valve. Here’s our pick of the bunch, read on to see why…
Two stroke prices have been increasing year on year for the last decade or so, they show no signs of abating. For some motorcyclists the Seventies offered the best selection of stroker models but if you haven’t reached your 50thbirthday just yet, it’s probably the stinkwheels from the Eighties that light your fire.
Just like the Seventies, there was no shortage of models for you to contemplate owning during the decade that followed. The very first YPVS (Yamaha Power Valve System) 350 replaced the RD350LC. It was bang on trend with a small bikini fairing, colour coded belly pan and even had a red frame, quite a novelty 30-odd years ago. It’s like Yamaha had stood back and watched what LC owners had got up to trying to ‘improve’ the earlier versions, and the RD350LC2 was quickly replaced with not one, but two new YPVS 350 models – both of which are highly desirable classics today.
The RD350F1 wasn’t too much more than a tarted up LC2. Gone were the nose cone and the top yoke mounted clocks, which many owners found would create an interesting weave at speed. In came a full fairing, rectangular headlight and a set of no frills clocks mounted to the fairing cradle.
In case a fully faired bike wasn’t your thing Yamaha also launched the RD350N1 at the same time. It’s basically the F1 but without the plastic trimmings. The stripped back look and clip ons gave it a certain yobbish look. The model was short lived, and trying to find one three decades later can be a challenge.
Let’s remind ourselves also that the YPVS 350 was a favourite with proddie racers and also bike thieves, both of which means there’s not so many around 30 years later.
Restoration projects can cost an arm and a leg to complete, with used parts fetching ever increasing sums and getting harder to find. Sometimes it’s easier to just bite the bullet, dig deep and buy one that someone did earlier.
That’s exactly the case with this immaculate restored example we found on eBay. A rebuild costing £4,450 was completed in 2012, so you can ignore that recorded mileage of 45,876 miles. It also sports matching frame and engine numbers, and that’s always an attractive addition for the serious Yamaha collector.
Flicking through the images on the advert makes us want it more. This RD350N1 YPVS is the finest example currently looking for a new home that we can find, and the asking price is £6,899.
What to look for when buying a RD350 YPVS
Check the font of the frame and engine numbers, those stolen bikes from years gone by were often restamped by crooks, then resold. If it doesn’t look like a machine in Japan stamped the digits, walk away.
Non matching numbers isn’t a big deal, but it does have an impact on values.
The crankcases are prone to damage if the chain comes off, check to see if there’s been an historical repair.
CDI units are hard to find on the used market. New ones, if you can find one, will be very expensive. Different models used different black boxes.
Non standard bikes are plentiful, but big bore kits, update running gear and wild paint jobs aren’t to everyones taste though.
Expect to pay
You’ll need at least £1,500 for a basket case project that’s mostly there, double that for an average bike that’s road worthy. Beyond that it’s down to what you want to pay and what’s available. The LC2 commands the premium, while the less powerful, Brazilian-built, RD350R twin headlight models, which were built between 1992 and 1995, can be genuine bargains.