Can you really improve on perfection? Yamaha faced that tricky dilema in the early ’80s when building a replacement for the seminal RD350LC. What could possibly be better than an Elsie? The answer as we all know was the 350 YPVS. But now, with three decades of hindsight, is the Powervalve really the ultimate LC? On paper it always has been – more power, more sophisticated chassis, etc – but as nostalgia has emerged as a stronger force behind the bikes we now covet, cold, hard numbers have become less and less important.
How a bike makes you feel, both in terms of the ride and as an object of ownership, is, we reckon, much more what PS-era bikes are about. So for this issue we’ve brought together an original LC and the best YPVS – the 1985 F1 – to see whether Yamaha really did improve on perfection. Simon Hargreaves dons his paddock jacket.
We’ve been trying in the last few issues to improve on another of Yamaha’s frankly genius strokers, with our Lightweight TDR250. It’s now finished so we’re standing back with a mug of tea and admiring our handiwork. Hope you like the result. PS perfection reigns through the rest of the issue too with Honda’s gem-like CBR400RR, Kawasaki’s ballistic ZZ-R1100 and loads more.
Enjoy the mag
Inside this issue...
FACT FILE: KAWASAKI ZZ-R1100
Once the world’s fastest motorcycle (176mph), still a mighty convincing sports tourer, and always one of Kawasaki’s powerhouse legends...
"I LOVE THE NOISE. IT HOWLS."
Honda’s CBR400RR Gull-Arm is a diamond of a bike. If its lines and details don’t seduce you, then the soundtrack certainly will as Matt Earl discovered.
HOW TO: REBUILD A REAR CALIPER
Not a very taxing job, but cleanliness, a gentle touch and keen eye for the smallest blemish are absolute requirements. Here’s how it goes.