BMW Motorrad Spezial

Yamaha RD400 cafe racer

Yamaha RD400 cafe racer
When you think of Yamaha café racers, it’s usually the SR400 or SR500 that crops up. But Chris Fiaccone of Dallas, Texas, has shown that the RD400 is a terrific starting point too. He’s into bikes that are fun and nimble, and this two-stroke twin delivers. The RD400 was a lively, quick-steering machine developed from the giant-killing RD350: built between 1975 and 1980, it was priced well under Honda’s CB400. Its light weight and 40 bhp motor took it to a whisker under 100 mph, and made second-gear wheelies easy. Fiaccone’s mods include clubman bars, new pipes, a modified frame and new two-up seat, and liberal powdercoating. [Image by Pat Painter.]

  • I had two identical 1975 RD350’s a few years ago and I can confirm to the mad power those little two-strokes put out. They were wheelie machines for sure. Man, I miss those bikes! Chris’ bike is very cool.

  • bacon

    check out his thread on for more build info. his work is awesome

  • Bob Phillips

    I had both an RD350 and a wonderful red RD400. How I remember the wheelies on that bike oh so many years, ago. 1st, 2nd and then the front end would gently float back down when you shifted into 3rd gear. Those were the days when I just knew I was going to live forever!

  • Here’s another sweet bike by Chris and motofiaccone! Just like the other bikes, the styling is perfect! You really have an eye for this stuff, Chris! The two up seat is a nice distraction from most of the Cafe bikes out there…

  • Robs

    My first bike was a 1978 RD400 I bought from a co-worker in 1980 with less than 500 miles on it (he had just bought the “new” RX-7). This is the FIRST bike I think of when I hear Yamaha Cafe racer! At least in the Los Angeles area at that time, “the” cafe bike to have was the RD, either 350 or 400. SR500s were “slow” (actually, I had wanted and SR500, but the price of the RD was too good to pass up), and the Honda’s all cost more.

  • MastreMahem

    In 1982 I had a 1979 Honda 400 Nighthawk – a mild, comfortable, good looking cruiser that sounded pretty throaty and was virtually maintanence free. My friend had a 77 Yamaha RD400 – it was a light, very quick, whiney, tempermental beast that generated endless vibration. And it was a blast to bomb around on the back farm roads of South Jersey. He’d go on and on about it’s impressive stats and pedigree, his teeth shaken and rattled loose. We’d switch bikes and he’d feign reluctance at having to tolerate my milquetoast scooter, but I knew he appreciated its smooth soft feel and very forgiving geometry. I could ride for 2 hours straight no probs, but he needed “smoke breaks” every half hour. A thrilling tiny beast, that RD400.