Motorcycle Reviews

Phoenix: The Yamaha RD350

R-D-3-5-0. That name was enough for me when I was a kid in the school; who cherished each and every pillion ride on my cousin’s RD. It was enough for me to understand that this motorcycle is something special even though I knew almost nothing about its history and specifications (even if I did, I wouldn’t have understood).

I have to admit when I picked up my own RD and kicked her to life a good decade later, my thirst for knowing more about this legend grew as we both spent time together. While I was going through the painful and often expensive (I’m not a rich guy) restoration process in Delhi, I had hardly seen any good RDs. The ones which were to be spotted could be outrun by Pulsars and Unicorns; they sounded cranky and are nothing but an insult to the RD 350 sticker on their side panels. So you could understand how I was feeling when I read about a Bullet beating an RD in a two stroke oriented Indian forum.

After not seeing any fast RDs for a decade, my own RDs restoration taking forever, there was this deadly thing which was creeping into my mind, doubt. The darn thing was almost killing my faith, till one morning I get a call from my good friend Dr. Tanjot Ahuja for a spin on his bike.

he bike in question here is far from being a stock Rajdoot RD350 that Escorts managed to launch here after finding the casts in Yamaha’s treasure box. The black bike that you see is fitted with clip-ons, 17inch CBR 954RR alloys for the show factor, sticky Pirellis and CBR 954RR disc brakes for the show and overwhelming braking power. The engine is ported and the oversized jets accompanied by a customized air-filter aid in burning the oil that gets thrown into its heart. This bike though sports a static ignition system but its still is far better than those curse of a 80s- points. The standard bore ART pistons are accompanied by a crank which employs Long Connecting Rods. And like a jewel in the crown, you will spot (I’m sure you already did) the expansion chambers which are custom made by Vivek Jayachandran of Tectrac Racing. The electricals are also a customized and reliable bit, a bright Hella headlamp with blinding high beam is most welcome on this two decade old Yammie.

The bike starts up in the first kick, well almost at half kick and that’s where all resemblance with other jokes of modern Indian motorcycles end. The engine rings and dings along as the Yammie settles into a typical two strokesque idle. The expansion chambers hardly throw out any white smoke which is how today’s generation generally identify a two stroke on road.

As I sneak into first and roll off, I couldn’t anticipate what was about to follow. I knew this was going to be different than the Unicorn that I rode in and this being a High Torque model; I thunked into second without attempting heroics. This is where it required a highly concentrating brain and Doohansique reflexes; my brain was busy in flashbacks…cousins red RD…3000rpm…wasted metal junks of Karol Bagh…4000rpm… my bike in garage…4500rpm…bullet 500 beating a RD…5000rpm…the Yammie almost snarled back and said, “Enough of this shit, here I go.” And boy… she almost pulled the socks out almost by sheer acceleration, the front wheel went light and before I knew front wheel was back on the ground as I shifted into third, hypnotized. With insects going kamikaze at an alarming rate on my helmets visor, no bikini fairing to hide behind and the rev counter registering almost everything at around 8000rpm. The wail from the expansion chambers turned into a scream as the Yammie kept ramming into the redline through the gears.

 This is a two stroke powerhouse and riding her in the powerband was my only priority, everything else suddenly became sundry, questions popping in my mind like why anything else is required in life…wait, something is more important here, braking! There wasn’t much left of the secluded six lane I was tearing apart, but thankfully with those huge discs, stopping this Yammie is as easy as eating fish curry with rice. As I returned the keys and lighted the stick of lungbased deathcalls, hands shaking and with an ear-to-ear grin I just couldn’t stop picturing how this bike would be with digital ignition and stage 3 porting.

 

The doubt has been erased, all those Indian four strokes be damned… I met one of my Bulleeter friends on the way back. I couldn’t stop myself when I said,” Bullet500? What Bullet500?” The faith was never stronger, the fantasy never this much… the R-D-3-5-0… it is back in my life (hopefully in yours too), rising from the ashes of the memories, like a Phoenix.

Here is a video of phoenix at her best

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEVQsh0Rj1E[/youtube]

(You can also download this video, you will need XviD MPEG-4 Video Decoder installed on your computer to play it)

Right click and choose save as to download RD 350 video (highres 4.5mb)

Right click and choose save as to download RD 350 video (lowreres 2.74mb)

Phoenix, the black RD350 HT is owned and regularly ripped by Dr.Tanjot Ahuja. He his having the time of his life while Mr. Sumit Mehndiratta, who restored and tunes her is happy to provide you any kind of RD gyan, and hopup your twin cylinder two stroke. +91-9810225063.

106 Comments

  1. hi my name is kiran,am a rd350 lover,if anyone want to sell 350 in kerala pls mail [email protected]@yahoo.com,thnku

  2. HEMRAJ ADHIKARI says:

    HI!! frndz…
    YAMAHA RD 35O HT model is my dream bike… n i wish 2 own it.
    can u people plz help me in find 1 in neat condition , wit all papers up2date…

    im 4m KOLKATA.(CAN GET D BIKE 4M ANYWHERE IN INDIA BUT ALSO NEED NOC)
    contact no. 09830862520 ; 09681212312.

  3. hey RD lovers i had an rd HT its for ssale if u any one reli intrested to Own so u dO me cOntact On :9703600978 wid all paper & NOC alSo 🙂

  4. hi guys…m lookin out for an rd350 ht(black) in n arn bangalore…max price 45k…any1’s gotta a bike to offer thn pls contact me on +919886418690

  5. sandesh jambagi says:

    Hey everybody m big fan yamaha bikes.but unfortunately wasn’t able to take even one yamaha bike.i maintain my sexy grey Apache160. i have desire to buy one yamaha rd350, if anybody knows pls contact to my mail id

  6. sandesh jambagi says:

    oops sorry.. my mail id [email protected]

  7. Hi, looking out for a RD350 HT in any condition, Bangalore, Mangalore or Mumbai. Please email me on [email protected]

    No matter how late you reply, will always be ready to pick up your RD. I am a True RD Fan, not a reseller.

    Thanks

  8. Hey guys looking for an RD 350 for sale in Mumbai, anybody selling, contact on [email protected]

  9. yamaha rd 350 for sale clear papers wid noc smart card rc.all work r recently done like paint chrome engine work .standard cylinder kit (zero no piston) unsleeved .standard crank pin ,new cdi kit fitted ,new us silencers ,pricol meter original ,original lamp.expected price rs 110000

  10. Joby Joseph says:

    Anyone willing to sell RD 350 in Kerala please mail at [email protected]

  11. Yamaha RD 350 – LT / 1985 model, fitted with original rectifiers and bottle coil, og silencers, Og. handle bars, og. indicators og body kits. for sale in Coimbatore – Tamilnadu….

    Intrested friends – call 9994233342

  12. RD 350 required within 50K, please send offer to [email protected]

  13. RD 350 original chambers for sale – INR 7500/-
    Contact +919994233342

  14. Chambers cost 7500, block/piston upwards of 15000, clutch and others over 5000, electrical items over 2000, CB points (if) over 2000…….everything, every part costs the sky…. and you want a whole RD below 50000 !!! What a laugh.

  15. hi….. this is nikhil i am great fan of yamaha bikes i am looking for a yamaha RXZ 5 speed bike my range is 30k….

  16. Hi all,
    would like to buy RD350 HT in any condition with minimum price from anywhere of chennai, coimbatore, Bangalore, Mangalore. , if anyone has pls drop a mail with yo contact info. [email protected]

  17. hai friends,am dinesh frm madurai i nead yamaha rd 350 at de rate 80000.pls contact 9843155355

  18. Hi guys,i am a RD350 lover n intrested in buying one,my range is 40K,any body intrested in selling one can contact me on my email [email protected] and can call me on 09868820613.

  19. Required yahama rd 350 under rs 40000 in maharashtra, pl call 9987811441- Rohit

  20. WOW WAT A BIKE
    ANY 1 TO SALE THIS BIKE IN ANDHRAPRADESH
    PLS MAIL ME

  21. ANY 1 SALE IN ANDHRAPRADESH
    PLS MAIL ME

  22. well written (y)

  23. looking for an RD 350 HT. please feel free to contact me

  24. hey want RD 350 as early as possible in a reasonable price, if anyone interested in selling please mail me.

  25. buddy the rd has top speed of 185 in 5th gear acc to me,the rd is legend bike having best technology which is torque induction,induction means flowing and torque means a force causing a rotation and in physics the powerful force is torque,i think it is enough for you

  26. shoaib khan says:

    any one! any state!! any condition if anyone has an rd 350 pls call me at any time …. pls ///… asap .. 9972945421

  27. 1984 RD350 for sale in mumbai.Max speed touched is a true 140kmph.All papers are clear.Only serious may call me on 9867138660

  28. hey guys…ive got some RD 350s and other vintage bikes as well…fell free to mail me on this ID…[email protected]

  29. Amit Bhardwaj says:

    WHEN NEW RD-350 WAS AVAILABLE IN 20,000 HW U CAN PAY 50,000 FOR 2ND HAND….DONT GET BE-FOOLED

  30. Amit is right, guys. I bought my RD from the Company showroom for Rs. 21,800/- in 1983. The bike is still in MINT condition, with the original paint, chrome, even all cables are original (except for one change of the clutch cable). All bulbs, even the HL and TL, are original. The bike has clocked 52000 km, but is still brand new. However since it is a second hand bike and it is not worth more than 2-3000 today ! Right ? !! Some idiots have offered to pay me upwards of 5.0 l for my bike. Are they stupid ?

    Even if you feed sugar to a donkey, it is bound to taste like grass to the donkey. Isn’t it ?

  31. malcolmspeakeasy says:

    @Upen: Ever heard the expression: “Pearls before swine”?

    Cheers!

    Malcolm The >:}

  32. yes its true…only stupids can pay 50,000 and can expect or sell RD-350 …no comments it depends from person to person…to go for either as per the model or condition ( irrespective of make/model)..preferences difference…

  33. @ Malcolm….I can’t stop laughing man….It’s no use. There is a saying in Marathi on like lines….”Gadhva samor wachli Gita” – in short – Reading the Holy Gita before a Donkey.

  34. Amit Bhardwaj says:

    upen u r not here to comment personally…yes i can make out ur mentalsickness which shows not only the desperation but kind of complex..need a specialist.

  35. Come on guys, take a chill pill. The reason RD350 costs so much is due the fact that there is still no mainstream motorcycle in India, which is as powerful. Plus it has become sort of a classic.

  36. Amit Bhardwaj says:

    yes of course RD350 is a powerful bike no doubts…but a problem commonly seen wd it ,is that the skilled mechanics are not available to set both the carburetors wd proper timing etc otherwise bike s superb..

  37. malcolmspeakeasy says:

    @Upen: We are on the same page. Here in the U.S. the RD350 and RD400 have a following. I have been involved with RD’s since 1980. If you have a question concerning tech. on these machines, feel free to pick my brains.

    Keep the rubber side down,

    Malcolm The >:}

  38. malcolmspeakeasy says:

    I hope you guys over there have access to a decent machinist. That can make all the difference between having an average machine and something that would blow your socks off, (You do wear socks over in India?) :^)

    Ever hear of squish-band clearance? Thirty thousandth of an inch clearance between piston crown at TDC (Top Dead Center)and the squish-band in the head leads to a more powerful, cooler running RD. Get that head centered on the cylinder by pinning it.

    Gotta run,

    Malcolm The >:}

  39. @ Amit: Sorry, but you started it and hence the attack ! No offence personally. And to know WHAT in RD IS, and what it DOES and HOW it does that, one has to OWN and LOVE and RD. The RD is pure LOVE. Full Stop. Having owned: 50cc, 75cc, 125 twin, 250 twin and the RD and also a Triumph Tiger 100, a Triumph Twenty One (still have it), a Norton Dominator 500, a BSA 650 and a whole lot of other bikes, I say that the RD is the King of the Road. No Peers !

    @ Malcolm: Thanks bud, I will certainly call you. And you are spot on, regarding the squish-band clearance 🙂

    Upen

  40. well upen lets nt debate who started 1,2,…. we are here to share our experiences…RD is d best i hav ever rode

  41. malcolmspeakeasy says:

    I do take it that you folks know that the RD is based on the TD/TZ series of race-bikes that were raced in Europe and the U.S. I found that the bikes were at their best when the chassis of the RD was set up like their race counterparts. Don’t go too crazy with engine mods. I have restored a 1977 TZ250D formula II bike for a customer. A TZ engine will drop into an RD chassis. Question: What are the wheel widths of the Indian model of the RD and the front end specs. (i.e. fork oil weight, amount, etc.)?

    Malcolm The >:}

  42. @ Amit: That’s good to read.

  43. I own rd350 and i need its side panne and carier .Pls help me in . My mob.No.09813625006

  44. the following RD350 performance parts are available ->

    Dual stage composite reed valves
    OE type high fl;ow air filters
    Alloy Banshee Boost Bottle with manifolds
    OE Fit Expansion chambers
    contact Romesh 09840140544

  45. Hey guys
    anyone have rd 350 front mudguard n indicators plz let me no
    ph:9740456706

  46. i hve 3 yamaha rd 350 for sale pls cnct 9915887889.nd all original spares of yamaha rd 350 .

  47. Pls any buddy let me know RD350 for sale my range is 70000

  48. Please need to notify if anyone is interested to sale yamaha rd 350 below 35k …call 09437068052

  49. hi upen,

    I wnat a RD 125 immediately can you find some???

    i had a 1970 RD 125 which i sold …now i want them back….

    thanks

    john

  50. Anyone willing to sell their rd350 in chennai please contact me (all the papers should be clear) my ID [email protected]

Leave a Reply