setstats The retro-styled Yamaha RX - Hearts & Tears
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Small but serious

The original design brief was tough. We wanted a bike with great handling and zippy acceleration for the snaking roads of Nepal. We needed to source all the parts locally, keeping the costs down so that it would be affordable to rent and insure. It needed to be tough to withstand a daily thrashing and, of course, it had to be beautiful. Rick started experimenting.

The first decision was the engine. Yamaha sold huge numbers of their 100cc and 135cc RXs in the 1980s and they had legendary reliability. Eventually phased out due to ever tighter emissions laws, the 2-stroke screamer is simple, powerful and light. We had found our ideal power-plant.

We focused on setting up the chassis, suspension and running gear for the local roads. They’re so much fun that test riders were laughing inside their helmets. Rick rode an early prototype through the Chitwan and Parsa jungles, solo, with no tools or spares to make a point about reliability. We gave it to the lads of the Gurkha regiment to see if it was soldier-proof. Nothing broke. And then several guys (complete beginners!) rode them half way around the world. The RX may be small, but it’s a serious bike.

 

Trying out different design ideas
Finishing touches for Lukas' RX
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