Tiddler Winks: 1975 Yamaha RD125

Like cars, motorcycles have gotten bigger, heavier and more powerful since the malaise era.  Nowadays most street motorcycles feature displacements over 1 liter and beginner bikes are considered to be 500cc’s.  However, back in the bell-bottom era you could buy a 125cc two stroke street bike featuring 16 angry hp from Yamaha that you could ride on your commute and not be considered a nervous novice. Find this 1975 Yamaha RD125 for sale in Bothell, WA for $1,900 via craigslist.

The smallest displacement street Yamaha you can buy today is the liquid cooled 321cc twin YZF-R3.  But back in 1975 you could buy this RD125 with an aircooled two-stroke twin!  Imagine two pistons the size of 12 GA shot gun shells whizzing up and down to 8,500 rpm to make peak hp of 16!  The RD125 will turn the 1/4 mile in 18 seconds at 71 mph, but you have to rev the nuts off it.  But that is all part of the fun in riding a small displacement two-smoke!

The bike has about 7,300 miles on it and the ad mentions a recent top end rebuild with about 2 hours on it. It should be good to go for another 7,000 miles at 10,000 rpm.  The speedo has that weird cracking that all 70’s Yamaha’s get, but that’s patina, right?

The twin tail pipes look to be in good shape without a bunch of oily dreck oozing out the ends.  Two strokes eat pipes and especially baffles due to their unique method of combustion.  However, when the baffle gets plugged you can use the firepit in the back of your suburban home to burn it out.  Just make sure your spouse is away that evening. 

See another smoker with pistons the size of tomato paste cans? Email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com

Gianni is Daily Turismo’s Pacific Northwest correspondent.  He’s a lifelong Alfista and grew up riding two-stroke dirt bikes in rural Washington State when no one cared where you rode off road.  He wrote this bio in third person, but isn’t nearly clever enough to make witty jokes about it.  Vote for Manuel, in reverb we trust.