Yamaha RD125 Torque Induction

1976 Yamaha RD125

RD125

Engine – air-cooled twin-cylinder two-stroke

Capacity – 124cc

Max Power – 13.8 bhp @ 9500rpm

Torque – 7.6 ft-lbs @ 9500rpm

Transmission – 5-speed chain final drive

Weight – 115kgs

Top speed – 76mph

I bought the RD125 from a guy in the Raploch, Stirling for £30. He had been driving round fields in it, and it was a sorry state. The throttle cable had snapped at some point and he was using a piece of string to control its speed.

It had a weird rotating knob at the top of steering stem, apparently it was a steering damper. It also had the round shaped tank, rather than the later, squarer, coffin tank.

As it was from the un-restricted 125cc era, it had a decent turn of speed, the newer bikes were limited to 12hp.

I had a couple of potentially serious crashes on the bike. The first when I skidded on diesel on the "miners welfare" roundabout in Stirling. The bike wasn't too bad, but I ground the flesh on my little finger down to the bone. It would have been a lot worse if there had been a car behind me at the time.

The second crash was my fault. The bike had a habit of cutting out when you pressed the brake pedal when the lights were on, probably because the battery didn't hold a charge very well. I went to pull out to turn right at a junction, but didn't see that a black Ford Cortina that was close behind a car that just turned left at the junction. It had no lights on. I hesitated, then pressed the brake. The bike stalled and I coasted into the road. The car hit me side on. I sailed right over the roof of the car, in slow motion as these things tend to happen. The front forks were bent and the petrol tank was caved in on both sides, presumably where my legs had gripped it. I had a sore shoulder and knees but it could have been a lot worse. The Cortina driver was keen to get on his way and didn't give me any contact details.  With the benefit of hindsight it was likely that he had been drinking and didn't want the police taking any interest on what was a busy main road.

It was a good bike, pretty lightweight but struggled with a pillion passenger, so I traded up to a Yamaha RD250 Air Cooled