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This Yamaha RD500 LC barn find is truly unusual due to the life it has lead being disassembled and reassembled! This example was actually imported to the UK as a pre-production model for Yamaha dealerships and service technicians to examine and be trained on, prior to the release of the production RD500 LC.

Yamaha RD500 LC
Link to auction

The bike has never been registered for the road and only covered 2693 miles since being imported in 1984 to Yamaha Mitsui Machinery Sales (UK) Ltd. According to the current owner the bike has been passed through the following organisations:

In 1985 the bike was used for testing,dealer familiarisation and shows by Mitsui.

In 1986 the bike was converted to Marlboro colour scheme by Dream Machine for National shows and PR purposes and then used in the training workshop at Mitsui.

Between 1987 and 2000 the bike was stored at Mitsui workshop.

Between 2000 and 2014 the bike was loaned to East Riding College, East Yorkshire.

In 2014 the bike was returned to Yamaha Motor UK and sold.

Current condition and repairs

The current owner intended to fully reassemble using all genuine parts, however circumstances have changed and now looking to sell. As you can see from the pictures the bike also comes with a complete set of new old stock body parts.

The bike is priced high, however this is a very unique RD500 LC, probably the first imported to the UK. The paint by Dream Machine probably also cost a small fortune at the time.

Rebuilding your Yamaha RD500 LC

Any bike that hasn’t turned a wheel for a long time should be thoroughly checked before attempting to start or ride. The two stroke v-four engine in the RD500 is notoriously difficult to setup correctly and balance, that’s before you’ve dealt with potential issues like sticking power valves and crusty lines.

If you are a competent mechanic and willing to take your time, you shouldn’t find anything scary within the engine layout. An example like this wouldn’t have been through the hands of amateur ‘tuners’, so you can expect condition and wear to be reflective of the mileage and general care of trained technicians.

Yamaha RD500 LC barn find
Link to auction

If you need some inspiration for setting up your garage or workshop to undertake the work yourself, you want to check out our workshop tools article. Sorting out your work area before you receive a new bike to work on is always a good idea.

Restore to ride or display?

The day will probably come sooner rather than later when all two stroke engines are banned from road use, and your only option for riding these great machines will be parade laps or classic race/track days. If you’ve never experience GP inspired two stroke road bike a few classic bike hire companies have them for rent, so maybe a good idea to try before you buy.

The large capacity 500cc two strokes are actually not as peaky as many people claim. A well sorted stock example should pull cleanly from relatively low revs before the power band hits around 6000 rpm. Remember to be aware of this if you end up riding one in the rain!

You’ll also be devoid of much of the engine braking you’d expect from a four stroke engine, so make sure the brakes are in good order. The brakes on the RD500 LC are a fairly simple twin piston and twin disk setup, so a braided line conversion and better brake compound pads should be on your shopping list if you are planning to rebuild to ride.

If you decide to bid on this awesome RD500 LC please let us know how you get on, and what you have planned for the bike. It would be great to see this tearing up the roads in the UK!


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