Yamaha’s RD350B genie is out of the bottle.

Another Fine Vintage Whine

You learn things writing about the motorcycles that once lived in people's garages. Lyle Lovett is meticulous, with a photographic memory for all the details. Joe Gresch jarred a few screws loose with a motorized Schwinn against the Family Truckster back in the day. Maybe you know I exhumed my 75 Yamaha RD350 after nine years of suspended animation for a feature in the November 09 issue. Now I can't leave it alone. Old motorcycles are like old bourbon. Pulling the cork is a whole lot easier than putting it back. There's always something, which usually leads to something else. Especially on a two-stroke.
Despite all that time under the cover that once protected my 78 Honda Civic at Cal State Chico, the RD fired after a new battery fresh tank of unleaded and four prods on the kick-starter. Somebody ping the Vatican. We have a miracle. This much you know from the last RD-related post: friends in the oil business told me the years were not so kind to what was in the Autolube tank. Injector oil carries solvents to ease its progress through the small bore lines that carry it to and from sensitive engine bits. Those solvents can evaporate from the oil over time, impeding its progress through said lines, subsequently stops the pistons from going up and down.

Out with the old oil. In with the new. It's all good, right? Not exactly. Rolling out of the garage, a moan from the front of the bike tells me the front brake caliper's lone piston is sticking. Getting it unstuck goes directly to the top of the to-do list. Ahead of replacing those cracked carburetor boots, tracking down that rattle in the headlight bucket and finding something to swap for a pleated paper air filter element that appears to have been manufactured during the reign of Amenhotep III. It's like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. You're never really done. But you know what? I like that. Unlike the other motorcycles in my garage, this one really does me.