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Old 05-02-2012, 05:47 PM   #1
DallasW OP
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Saskatoon, SK
Oddometer: 4
Have an old RD400, is this an awful idea?

So my only method of transport right now is my RD400.

Obviously this isn't a problem, but I would like to get some solo camping in this summer, so I'm looking at throwing on a couple DIY panniers to hold my small kit and heading up north into the Canadian Shield. I'll likely be going to campsites, and just hiking out from there, no offroad/trail riding, but not sure if this a great idea or not.

Should I sell the bike and find something more capable of doing semi-offroad stuff (read gravel roads, they're all over here)? I feel like people have done crazier things on motorcycles, but I thought I would ask advice from people who knew what they were talking about!

'76 Suzuki GT380 - "2 Smoke Jo"
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:49 PM   #2
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Location: Portland, OR
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I rode a lot of fire roads on my RD. No problem.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:59 PM   #3
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Northern Virginia
Oddometer: 407
That looks like a pretty clean example of a very collectible bike. I'd see what the market offers for it and, perhaps, get something more suited to the use you intend.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:02 PM   #4
DallasW OP
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Saskatoon, SK
Oddometer: 4
I paid $1400 for it last fall, and although it looks clean, it isn't the a perfect bike either (paint chips, could be taken apart and cleaned, etc etc.)

Good advice though, I'll maybe throw it up for what I'd let it go for and see if anyone bites!
'76 Suzuki GT380 - "2 Smoke Jo"
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:03 PM   #5
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Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Dumpmere - Muskoka
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Will you deliver it to my door?????
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:06 PM   #6
I used to be SCRay
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Joined: Feb 2006
Location: you dont call wagga wagga wagga
Oddometer: 4,733

Becoming collectable.

Companies over here are finding them over there and then flogging them off for up to $8000.

They buy up a container load at a time.

Have you ever seen 'old bikes wanted' adverts in your local papers?

It seems like US/Canada riders often keep bikes for a long time with little use. Maybe one or two summers and then tucked away, forgotten about? Move onto something different?

over here, we ride all year, so they get worn out. It is a constant battle to keep older bikes working so that they can be ridden whenever the opportunity arises.

I've just finished dissassmbly of an RD400 that was obviously a paddock basher in it's last life. Too far gone for a restoration - and I've got 2 Yamahas that are 'restorable' - so this one will be turned into a cafe racer / track bike.

Insofar as yours? IMHO have a close look at what's required for re-finishing. And try and keep it original.

If you can afford it, keep it and over the next 10 years, do it up. You'll be really happy with yourself in 20 or 30 years time that you've still got it. I say that from experience. I've had my RD since I was 16 & my XS11 since I was 21. I'm coming up on 52.

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Old 05-02-2012, 08:43 PM   #7
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Joined: Jul 2009
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The OP's RD400, in that condition would go for no less than $3000 in the SF bay-area. Probably more. I am sure you can ride gravel roads on them (I did, RD350) but it isn't that much fun, or comfortable, although you can spend some time doing dirt track style turns - they are really good at that.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:20 AM   #8
Out of the office.
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Where the Ghetto meets the sea.
Oddometer: 6,407
I bet with only moderately trying you could find someone who's willing to swap your RD for some kind of scramblerish bike.

Like a 2,500 BMW or an 80's XRL honda. Or even an early DRZs.
On vacation for a spell
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:47 AM   #9
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: syd oz
Oddometer: 3,677
ride it
light bike
will do dirt roads
do it up next winter
do again
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:16 AM   #10
Mr. Ray
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Pisgah! Motorcycle and MTB heaven.
Oddometer: 3,638
Originally Posted by fallingoff View Post
ride it
light bike
will do dirt roads
do it up next winter
do again

While I agree that there is merit to the keep it nice viewpoint expressed here, I have to agree more strongly with the above. Ride it! It should work fine for what you are planning.
It's about this big.
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:21 PM   #11
Sniper X
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Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Central New Mexico, 7420ft above sea level
Oddometer: 33,349
That is either a 77 or 78 and they are great on dirt roads especially with tyres like Dunlop K70s or the like. I would for sure do either a boyer electric ignition and make SURE you have it timed right or do new points and condenser and make sure you have it timed right before any longish trips. I'd also check the reeds, and replace them with Boysens if they are tired or broken. I have had 13 RDs and two were 1978s in that color. I'd also change all the fluids and such including the brake fluids and bleed the brakes.
" The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:09 PM   #12
SHED (Shit Head)
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Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Formerly San Diego CA/ now P'Cola FL
Oddometer: 500

You have a $2500-$3000 bike if sold in CA
Buy the bike you really want,
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:44 PM   #13
formerly josdavlar
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Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Edgewood, New Mexico
Oddometer: 166
Aside from the bike, I suggest soft luggage. You can find it used inexpensively. Panniers can break your leg if you fall off in an unfortunate way.

Actually, I have a beater cortech set (tail and saddlebags) with some bad zippers that i'd sell on the cheap if you're interested. Sorry, didn't mean to turn this into an ad...
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Old 05-15-2012, 03:47 AM   #14
Brunow - 007
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If you like it. Drive it!
Nowday's marketing pushes people to directions they don't need!
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:39 PM   #15
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Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Courtice, Ontario, Canada
Oddometer: 1,407
ALL motorcycles deserve to be ridden. When the bike was new, it was probably used for everything, so why shouldn't it be now? Try and find some "Chunkier" tires that might not plow so much on dirt. Other than that, go for it............................................and post pictures.
If you get far enough away, you'll be on your way home.
Piss off, I'm in my Happy place.
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