Built in Ontario, Canada, this Yamaha RD 400 got a total overhaul courtesy of its builder Cam Smyth. The bike hails from 1976 and has a two-stroke motor that formerly had 400ccs of displacement, more on that later.
Smyth Innovations, you can find them on Facebook posting about their builds and features, recently built a Yamaha RD 400 into a tracker-style motorcycle, but it’s more than just a coat of paint and some retro-inspired body panels that make this bike something special. As the story goes, it started with a customer but two bikes were brought in and not just one. A pair of RD 400s were brought to Smyth Innovations, with one being intended for a complete end-to-end restoration, while the other is the bike you’re seeing now.
Cam Smyth prefers small-displacement Japanese motorcycles from the 1970s and 1980s, and perhaps it is for good reason. Machines of this era were simpler to work on and more “pure” as some would say. This era was highlighted by several universal Japanese motorcycle (UJM) legends such as the Yamaha SR 400 which only recently stopped production.
The SR 400 came only about two years after this RD 400 rolled off the showroom floor, and it’s now got a new lease on life as well as an updated engine. Bored out to 427ccs, the air-cooled two-cylinder- two-stroke motor got a complete overhaul and was sandblasted and powder coated to give it a stealthy black look. While everything was apart, Cam and his team bored out the twin thus earning it the designation: The 427 Tracker. Smyth Innovations even added a hydraulic clutch, enlarged air intakes from Banshee, V-Force Filters, and TM32 carburetors from Mikuni. The exhaust is yet another piece that contributes to the engine refresh, but it’s also a lovely display of craftsmanship with the twin-tip muffler at the end coated in black—the same as the engine. The estimated power output of this new setup is around 50 horsepower.
Following that, Smyth Innovations continued with a fork, swingarm, and brake upgrades. The upside-down front fork was lifted off a Suzuki GSX-R 600 and it was paired with front fork protectors from KTM. The rear suspension is taken from a Yamaha Enduro IT 250 from the eighties, and the swingarm was lengthened by a few inches to fit the 19-inch diameter spoke wheels. The brakes were taken from a Kawasaki Ninja 300 and modified with parts from Galfer.
Apart from that, Cam and his team also fitted a Koso digital gauge cluster that adds just a pinch of modernity to the motorcycle, and it also gets LED lighting on the front that sits behind a tinted acrylic windshield. Powering all of the electronics is a lithium-ion battery that’s hidden from sight and pegs the bike as a lightweight, bare-bones machine even if it’s been slightly modernized.