Additional photos of this 1976 Yamaha RD400 are available here for your perusal.
“Cool doesn’t even come close.” That’s how Visordown summarized the iconic RD400 in one sentence, but the longer story isn’t very complicated, either. The RD400 came about when Yamaha made the RD350 a bit bigger in 1976 – displacement was 399cc. Thanks to 44 horsepower, the bigger RD was capable of hitting the ton with a top speed of 105 miles per hour.
Most people know the 400 simply for being an easier to ride upgrade over the 350, but it was also notable for being the first production motorcycle to feature cast wheels as standard. The 400 motor was more than a bored out 350 unit – Yamaha increased the stroke and in doing so they had to build new crankcases as well. The bike weighed about 350 pounds, and it was the most popular two-stroke sportbike of its day.
The seller acquired it two months ago from a collector who sold it to help fund the restoration of a 1940’s Indian. Since then he’s covered less than 10 miles. There is no odometer – true mileage is unknown.
“I bought this with the intention of making a Kenny Roberts tribute, but I just have too many other projects and I’m moving out of the country in a few months. It was professionally built by a shop in Michigan, and I’m the second owner since then. It was very well built as you’ll see in the pictures; this isn’t some botched together café racer.”
“Neither I nor the previous owner have ridden it much more than a few miles each. It starts very easily and has always used ethanol-free gas, and there’s no rust in the tank.” The seller recently “cleaned and rebuilt the carbs, installed new jets and needles, rebuilt the autolube pump, and replaced the head gaskets.”
“Alternatively, you could add a speedometer (the speedo unit is still on the front axle) and some signals and have a nice and surprisingly comfortable road racer. The headlight is controlled by a toggle switch and the brake light works with both the front and rear brakes.”
The seller notes “several small paint blemishes that come with age, some very minimal oxidation on the rearsets, footpeg rubber has some chips, a small portion of the tail piece fiberglass is coming delaminated above the taillight.”