We often tend to think that we know how bike models came into being: RD350 1973, RD350A 1974, RD350B 1975 etc.
Even if there are subtle differences between markets over the same year, most of us self-confessed anoraks will generally believe we have it covered – different rear lights, indicator mount extensions, mudguard lengths and the like. And with all the brochures there in front of you it’s possible to lull yourself into a smug and self-satisfied sense of security. Well, until a previously unrecognised model pops up and bursts your bubble. Every day is school day – however, you need to remember to be receptive to the information on offer.
Yamaha’s official factory list No. 89 documents six RD350s running the landmark 351 chassis prefix and they cover three model years. There are four distinct models within the group but the nomenclature is simply bizarre.
Most enthusiasts will tell you the RD350B was a 1975 model, yet the factory records confirm that the bike in camera is an RD350(B). The brackets apparently make all the difference but how and why is anybody’s guess.
To really spice it all up the bikes were out and running on Japanese tarmac in 1972. With panels, clocks and engine side covers from the older YDS/YR models, they are the rarest of the rare. One thing’s for certain… you never stop learning in the world of classic motorcycles.