Yamaha RD350LC/YPVS by Phil West

They had looks and speed and defined an era
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

If you were young in the early 1980s, you will remember the Yamaha RD350LC and the RD250LC. In an era when motorcycle design was still horribly influenced by the 1970s these were gorgeous.

Looks alone sold many of the race-developed (RD) liquid-cooled (LC) newcomers, but it was performance that really did the trick. The results were not all good. The RD250LC was the motorbike that changed the law. It exceeded 100 mph and became a must-have for teenagers. The problem was that until 1983 17-year-old learners could ride 250cc machines on provisional licences. MPs reduced the limit to 125cc. With the RD350LC a new category of racing was born. Phil West is right. To bikers who first hit the road during Margaret Thatcher's first term in office, RD/LCs were life-enhancing.

This adoring tribute captures the frantic longing they generated when speed cameras did not exist and risking your neck on a bike was a rite of passage. If The Undertones did not ride RD350s, you feel sure they wanted to.