Before the era of 4-stroke engines, 2-stroke used to rule the roads. Indian roads had plenty of bikes powered by a 2-stroke engine. But one stood out among them! The Yamaha RD350! As I was going through the old advertisements, I came across one which stated, “Don’t be sad, you’re not the first 750-rider to get blown off by a Yamaha RD350!”. Take a look at the ad:
1983: Yamaha introduces RAJDOOT in India
RD350 was already famous in its home country of development, Japan. Due to its high performance, people were in love with the Yamaha RD350. In 1983, in collaboration with the Escorts group, Yamaha introduced RD350 in India under the moniker of Rajdoot!
Fun Fact: ‘RD‘ in the name ‘RD350′ does not stand for RajDoot! It actually is an abbreviation for Racing Development in Yamaha’s terminology.
The Rajdoot had a 347cc 2-stroke engine capable of producing 31hp in the high torque version and 27hp in the low torque version. In terms of torque, the giant killer had 32Nm at its disposal. FYI, the Japanese counterpart had 39hp of power and 37.9Nm of torque. This engine was mated to a 6-speed constant mesh gearbox.
Yamaha RD350 – The Rapid Death Machine
Yamaha Rajdoot had a top speed of close to 170kmph! But that’s not the most horrific part. 0-100kmph on this bike came in under 6.5 seconds, a time span in which a Honda Activa is not even able to reach 60kmph. This earned Rajdoot the famous Rapid Death Machine tag. To control that amount of speed was not everyone’s bread and butter and this resulted in a lot of accidents at that time. Another drawback of the Rajdoot was drum brakes instead of disc brakes as its Japanese counterpart. Rajdoot became a nightmare for many novices and even some advanced drivers. Even the police department got RD350s but as they were more familiar with Royal Enfields, controlling this monstrosity became a difficult job.
Want to know another name for RD350? The Rapid Drinker!
India has been a place where the first question that comes upon while discussing a vehicle is: ‘Kitna Deti Hai?’. Yamaha RD350 answered that question with very low numbers, ranging between 10-25kmpl. This made it a not-preferred choice for many.
The Cult! A Real Racing Bred Motorcycle
Yamaha RD350 is known to be the giant killer. 500cc, 700cc were just puny engines in front of this race-bred motorcycle. Yamaha equipped RD350 with Torque Induction Ignition System. It made sure that the air-fuel mixture is directed towards the combustion chamber and not returned. It resulted in higher torque even at lower RPMs without any loss in power. Rajdoot was equipped with twin-carburettors and was the first Indian bike to have a tachometer.
According to some reports, the 347cc 2-stroke engine of this bike could be tuned to reach 67hp of power output which made it a popular choice among modification enthusiasts.
All good things do come to an end!
I am talking about the article! As for the Yamaha RD350, it still has a cult of its own. Yamaha launched Rajdoot at a price of ₹18,000. Adding hospital and fuel bills to it, RD was a costly affair that not everyone could afford. Yamaha RD350 stood against bikes such as Royal Enfield Bullet, Jawa 350 and Yezdi Roadking.
RD350 is still being modified by the lovers and you might even come across one such someday. And don’t forget to share it with us in the comments section below. Do you own a modified RD350? We would love to feature it on our blog as well as the Instagram channel. Do follow us there and share your bike’s images and information with us.