Is the RD coming back?

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Yamaha’s filed some documents which suggest we might be getting a modern retro reboot of its iconic RD250 and RD350! Here’s what we know so far.

Yamaha’s RD250 and RD350 remain some of the best-loved motorcycles among those of a certain vintage. And for good reason. The two-stroke pocket rockets gave a whole generation of riders their first proper taste of speed, before the UK Government changed the rules for learners in 1983 (restricting them to 125cc machines). 

Yamaha RDLC
Yamaha RDLC

And now it looks like Yamaha’s preparing to make the most of that rich legacy, because we’ve just got wind that the Japanese factory has trademarked the RZ250 and RZ350 name on its home turf. Yes, you read that right – the RD was known as the RZ in Japan (and a few other places).

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That’s why it’s not too difficult to make the tiny leap and assume that Yamaha’s looking to introduce a modern take on two of its best-loved models.

But will we see them in the UK, and if we do, will they be able to live up to the RD/RZ name? In truth, it’s tricky to know for sure. There’s a good chance Yamaha could just be filing the trademark to ensure it keeps hold of the rights to the name, but even if that’s not what’s going on, then it’s still reasonably unlikely we’re going to see any fiery two-strokers soon (though there’s no harm in holding out hope).

It’s much more probable that the factory’s wanting to make use of the famous name for a new machine which looks the part but features a conventional four-stroke motor. It’s increasingly common in the modern motorcycle world – and although there’s often disappointment from those who knew and loved the originals, it’s the only practical choice with ever-tightening emissions regulations. Yamaha’s recently-released R7 is the perfect example – not a patch on the iconic in-line four 750cc sports bike built for the track, but still a cracking bike in its own right.

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