The Yamaha RD350LC was today revealed as the motorcycling community’s favourite bike of the 1980s. The RD350LC triumphed by way of an online poll run by Bennetts and leading classic bike publication, Classic Motorcycle Mechanics

Respondents were presented with a shortlist of 22 definitive motorcycles from this golden era, which were meticulously selected by two industry experts – Bennetts’ Marc Potter and Classic Motorcycle Mechanics editor, Bertie Simmonds.


The Yamaha RD350LC – widely regarded as the bike that was responsible for the rebirth of the two-stroke – rolled off the production line for the first time in June 1980. The Race Developed Liquid Cooled (RDLC) machine managed to establish a truly global fanbase up until production was ceased in 1995, and it’s unsurprising that it secured 19% of the poll’s votes.

In second place, 13% of respondents voted for the Honda RC30 (VFR750R), while the Suzuki RG500 was third with 9% of the vote. It wasn’t plain sailing for the Yamaha RD350LC, with tough competition in the form of 19 other cherished bikes, which included classics such as ‘the original Ninja’ – Kawasaki’s GPz900; the German-inspired Suzuki Katana 1100; and the undeniable stalwart of the shortlist – the Suzuki GSX-R750, which is still being produced today and is set to celebrate its 30th birthday in March 2015.

Reflecting on the result, Classic Motorcycle Mechanics’ Bertie Simmonds, commented: “It’s no real surprise to me that the RD350LC is the number one 1980s classic motorcycle. It sums up the generation and decade really – it was an affordable, exciting machine, often a rider’s first ‘big’ bike and as such has a place in many hearts. In second the Honda RC30 was one of the most successful homologation road and race bikes built for the World Superbike series in the late 1980s and today is a real collectible with prices starting above £10,000! As is the Suzuki RG500 – with the RD another two-stroke! It seems we miss the smell of two-stroke oil and the performance that a stroker provides.”


On recognition of the Yamaha RD350LC’s resounding popularity, Marc Potter commented: “The 1980s brought some real exotica like the Honda RC30 and Yamaha OW-01 but Yamaha’s RD350LC was the bike that brought performance to the man on the street. It seems that everyone who was into bikes in the Eighties has their own LC story. It’s the bike that’s launched a hundred racing careers and is a very worthy winner of our Classic TT poll.”


Tony Carter

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