Buying a Yamaha RD200

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So I bought a Yamaha RD200! What made me do that, I hear you ask!

Well it all started when I was asked if I would like to test ride and blog about a newly restored RD250. Up until that point I had never ridden a two stroke bike so I wasn’t sure what to expect but what I certainly didn’t foresee was that I would absolutely love it.

Having only been riding for just under seven years, I learnt to ride on a YBR125 which, I have to say, was a really easy bike to learn on and I did enjoy riding it but I wasn’t sure if that was because I was finally learning to ride a motorbike, something which I had wanted to do for a long time or whether it was the bike, probably a combination of both.

My first ‘big bike’ was a Honda Hornet 600 and now I have a Z900 and a CB1000R, so I have only ever ridden ‘modern’ bikes.

I also realised that the RD250 was real ‘old school’ and by that I mean there are no fancy electronics or rider aids to worry about going wrong and after a little bit of research I thought it would be good bike for me to learn how to maintain and look after a bike as my skills in the garage are somewhat limited to say the least.

So I test rode the RD200. My immediate thought was ‘Where are the brakes???’ The RD has a drum brake on the rear and a old style single disc on the front.

From my experience of driving classic cars with drum brakes, I know that normally you have to give a week’s notice if you want to stop! It is surprising though how quickly you adjust your riding style and anticipate when you would appreciate coming to a stop!

It is a completely different riding experience, I felt as though I was sitting on the bike rather than in it like on my Z and the noise and smell of the two stroke are just amazing. 

Before setting off I was told about ‘finding’ the powerband at about 6,000 rpm when the speed kicks in. Whoa, they weren’t kidding. It was huge fun to ride and an absolute pleasure and I had a huge grin on my face.
By the time I got back from my test ride, I knew I was going to buy it and I couldn’t wait to get it home.

The mechanical side of the RD has pretty much been done by the previous owner – the engine, gearbox, front forks and rear shocks have been sorted so really all it needs is tlc so for me, as someone who has very limited mechanical knowledge, it is absolutely perfect as a first bike to learn how to maintain.

To be honest, to start with I just intend on riding the bike for the rest of the summer to make the most of the good weather and then during the winter I will start in earnest with my ever growing list of jobs.

My first ‘job’ when I got the bike was polishing. I have to tell you I really think I know how to polish a bike now and I don’t really feel the need to do that part again! It definitely is much easier when someone else polishes your bike for you.

When I got the bike the brake lever was bent so I went on eBay and managed to source an ‘old stock’ Yamaha replacement and when it arrived I fitted it myself. 

The nut was stuck so I used a bit of heat which helped loosen it and when I replaced the nut I used some copper grease to stop it rusting on again. 

I am so chuffed that I was able to do do the job myself and having never done anything like that before, to me was an achievement, albeit a small achievement.

Having gained a little bit of confidence I thought I would tackle the number plate holder as this, in my opinion let the bike down badly. I look the number plate off and unbolted the holder itself and wire brushed and cleaned it all up. 

I then sprayed some primer on and then sprayed it all in silver and then refitted it to the bike and put the number plate back on.

Wow what a difference that has made to the bike. I think my ‘paint job’ might be what they call a ‘twenty feet’ paint job whereby if you stand twenty feet away it looks awesome, any closer and it’s well, maybe not as awesome but hey, it was my first go at spray painting and I was pleased with myself for having a go.

Now to decide what my next job is ….. I’ll keep you posted…..



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