Tech Zone > Aircooled RD Tech Help 250cc and Above

Should I spend £500 on a Vape Ignition?

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Hi All,

I know I'm asking a question that really only I can answer, but it would be really helpful to hear others opinions/experiences with their choice of electronic ignition or points.

I have a not very original, German import RD250D 1977 with 350 barrels. It's new to me and I haven't ridden it or even seen it running (except in a video). It came with points and looks to be all there. I'm re-building the engine and wondering weather to re-fit the original points, coils et al or fit a new Vape ignition, which is close to £500 now.

The bike is for riding, I bought it as a fairly economical way to enjoy some 2 stroke capers and I'm not building a concourse restoration.

If anyone has been down this road and wouldn't mind telling me about their experience or giving me their opinion on the merits of both systems I'd appreciate it.

Many thanks


To bring back some memories of the 70's, I rescued an RD400c two years ago. It had been stored in bits for most of 20 years. Rusty, crusty, very dusty. Entire engine painted flat black with lots of over-spray. It was all cleaned, corrected, new seat, tires, rings and seals fitted. The points, condensers, coils, alternator, regulator and rectifier were all cleaned and tested goodm so they were re-used. ALL connections cleaned and tightened. Carbs cleaned carefully and missing airbox pieces sourced. It starts first or second kick and pulls to full speed. Only slight bucking on deceleration as a problem. I don't race it. I ride it in decent weather ~40 miles RT for vintage bike nights or over a nearby park. The timing was set while the engine was still on the bench and hasn't been touched since. Electronic ignitions may be great on bikes ridden in competition or very hard but IMHO they are not needed for casual riding.  Seems that carbs, jetting, intake and exhaust would be the harder items to match on an engine so modified. Certainly, if it ran before on points you should start off with getting it running well like that before throwinb a high-cost modification on it. Too many variables. BTW, from purchase (new) summer of '76 through sale January of '79, my first RD never needed points, condensers, or plugs including through a ~1500 mile weekend.

Personally, absolutely not, waste of a lot of money on a standard bike.If you’re capable of other engine work I’m sure you’re capable of resetting the points once a year ish. They are very  reliable with a little maintenance and an essential smear of grease on the cam.  I very rarely replace  the points, in-fact my bikes have their originals still fitted, but I do replace the condensers.  You can make life easier by re calibrating/scribing the timings marks with a dial gauge for accuracy and easy re checking. Unless the bike is tuned or for track use, then there are more significant advantages with the electronic ignition.

You need to check how well/properly the conversion was done. Is it a full conversion with the 350 cylinder studs/little ends/primaries/oil pump, gear and worm drive/tach drive/Main Jet. Or is it at a half way house effort/bodge? You need to concentrate on that first and the engine generally starting with the condition of the bores, pistons, crank. Check for oil leaks from clutch push rod, output shaft behind sprocket and gear change shaft plus the blanks.  Basically the engine will need a good going over if it’s current state is unknown and so will the carbs making sure all the correct parts are in there with the correct filter to match the main jet size, baffled or unbaffled.

I would definitely try to get it running as it is first. Any running issues may be due to the 250 carbs. Persevere  and see where you get. Keep us posted.

Captain Scarlet:
Good reasoning from the members as usual.
You have said the bike is for riding and with the points/condenser set up it may well give you trouble free months of usage.
I went to the Vape system because of the stories of chasing a issue that is long winded by replacing one by one 40/50 year old coils,points,condensors,reg recs,plug leads ,wiring etc and all of us are not qualified in the sparky areas.
The Vape has given faultless performance on both my 50 year(this year)YDS7 and YR5 and gives me some reassurance when out riding them with my wife.
Although the price may seem high but the kit (rotor etc)from the engineering perspective seems well made and if you were to sell the bike in the future you could put the bike back to the original parts easily and recover some of the outlay(probably half) by selling the Vape kit separately.
As always your bike,your choice  ;)


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