Yamaha RD 350!
Hearing that name, brings a lot of emotions to the surface. Happiness! Nostalgia! Excitement! And much more. It also instils a sense of belonging, a sense of freedom, All in all it makes one feel legendary.
It was India’s first sports bike and blew the Indian masses away with the raw power it produced.
But with great power came greater risks as the masses were not used to so much torque. These bikes were built to be fast and fast like nothing before. Throwing a whooping a 30.5 bhp @6750 rpm and a peak torque of 3.3 kg-m @ 6500 rpm, 0-100 under 7 seconds was the very definition of adrenaline rush for the very few who dared to experience it.
Although these bikes were thrilling, the thrill was something that the masses did not seek and looked at 2 wheelers just as a means of commute, while the RD 350 was anything but just a vehicle for the commute. The mileage was just between 20-25 Km/L and people were in accidents more frequently because they weren’t experienced enough to handle the power. So, naturally the bikes didn’t gain traction and the production only lasted for 2 years (1983-1985).
The hunger for these mean smoke- puffing, petrol drinking, oil leaking, 2- stroke machines of rapid death as they were known colloquially but originally known as Race Developed series only gradually grew onto the younger generations. These bikes were symbols of the rebels, the free-spirited, the grasshopper in the story of the ants and grasshopper as these bikes were built purely for the passion of biking and mocked the lifestyle of saving for the future, maintaining economy to gain fuel efficiency, staying safe and not risking as the society demanded for one to settle down and provide for the family.
Over a period of time people began to appreciate these machines rather than despise them and some even worked on modifying and tuning them to push the barriers and even succeeded. Today you can find some RD 350s with BHP almost equivalent to the KTM Duke 390 which is 43.5 HP. And some bikes which were built for drag races are capable of throwing close to 70 BHP and clocking a quarter-mile in 11.4 seconds or even less.
To the old and to the young, these bikes are a heartthrob even till this day and have a really good market in the second-hand markets especially when kept in mint condition as it came with a 6- speed gearbox, twin cylinders, twin carburettors, air-cooled torque induction and absolutely no electronic gizmo which made them so easy to deal with.
And that’s what it takes to take the irrefutable title of an “Evergreen sports bike: The Yamaha RD 350”
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