So, you are an adult, love motorbikes and got yourself a KTM Duke 390. It is plenty quick, you love riding it around town and occasionally, go touring on it as well. You love your life at the moment and believe you’ve never ridden anything better. Most likely you would be right, the Duke is indeed a wonderful bike and by far the best performance motorcycle your money can buy. Nothing else comes close in its segment once you’re out of neutral!
See all used RD 350s listed on OLX for sale and you might find an interesting deal that fits your budget.
But if you talk to, for instance your father, about it then he might tell you that he feels the same for some other motorcycle. The interesting thing about technology is that it allows us to create the best that can be at that moment. Every generation has seen some of the most memorable motorcycles of its time. That being the case, the Duke it is for you, but to your dad, it might very well be something else that evokes similar emotions, perhaps, a Yamaha RD 350.
When 2-Strokes Walked the Earth
There was a time when the Jawa and the Yezdi ruled on the Indian streets. However, it wasn’t until the RD 350 that we got to see the true performance potential of a two-stroke motor. It came to India in 1983 and was sold by the Escorts Group as the Rajdoot RD 350. Although, Yamaha originally made it in 1973 for a very short duration till 1975 due to strict emission norms getting in place. On the other hand, it was a technologically advanced motorcycle in India even in the mid 1980s.
People who have a soft corner for the performance motorcycles of the past are extremely fond of the RD 350. Given the fact that India never saw any of the iconic four-stroke multi-cylinder motorcycles, the legendary two-stroke Yamaha was the best we ever experienced in that time. Its performance was a revelation and a bit overwhelming for many riders. The RD 350 was the quickest and the fastest motorcycle of its time with a true top speed of around 160 km/h, numbers that are still considered a benchmark for home-grown motorcycles.
Personally, I have never been a fan of the RD probably because I never got to experience it in its full glory, but also because it went through two major changes specifically to suite the Indian market. First, the front disc brake was replaced with a drum because the concept was quite alien to us and second, the engine was detuned from its original 39BHP to 30BHP. More specifically, the RD 350 in India came in two versions – High Torque and Low Torque. The former made 30BHP while the latter made even lower 27BHP. All this was done to make them fuel efficient. What a surprise! I also feel it looks quite passable and it never made me turn my head.
Yet, I understand why some people adore it and keep it alive. Even I have to nod my head in agreement that the sound is quite intoxicating at full chat. The narrow power-band is something, I’m sure, would be worth experiencing. The RD 350 represents an era of motorcycles which was ended by the ever rising concerns for the betterment of the environment. In fact, people who love two strokes feel robbed by the advent of four-stroke motorcycles.
And just to reiterate the beginning of this feature, while we love the small KTMs, the Ninja 300 and the R3 today, I’m positive most of us wouldn’t mind seeing the revival of two-stroke sportbikes. After all, technology can do wonders.
We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Anil Sharman for letting us spend some valuable time with his RD 350. We understand that it is not easy to maintain such a motorcycle and it is quite a hard work to keep it running good, however, if you are someone looking for an iconic two-stroke, we are positive you would find one on OLX.