Forgotten Bikes of India #4 – Yamaha RD-350

Parallel twin cylinders, dual carb setup and an extra ordinary performance, is what the Yamaha RD 350 series is famous for. Yamaha RD350, a legendary bike, was launched back in the year 1983. Owning and restoring a RD was always a dream project for me and my friend Nikhil. For me, owning one is going to be a tough job, as I have several restoration projects lined up before I can think of going for any other bike, but as far as Nikhil is concerned, he already owns one. How he got his bike, is one amazing story!

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Nikhil had to take a break from his Engineering studies for a year due to which had to take up a job. Now that he had started working, he was making some plans to go for a decent mile muncher which he could use for his daily commute. Just a few days after he started working, he and his Yezdi club members decided to go on a camping trip. It is here that he met an interesting guy. This guy owns a huge collection of bikes which also includes a lot of RD 350’s . A casual conversation about the Yamaha brand triggered a long lost thought of owning a RD350.Nikhil asked Mr.Vinay, the guy he met earlier, whether he was willing to sell any of his bikes and the answer to this was a big fat Yes!

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Nikhil took his time to decide if he should go for it or wait, as with a new job money was a huge constraint.Mr.Vinay was in constant touch with Nikhil, but he couldn’t get a concrete answer from him. A final solution to the budget problem was paying the sum in installments, which they both mutually agreed upon.

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Nikhil managed to collect the money for this bike, but for that to happen he had to sell his beloved Jawa. He sold his bike, cut down on all of the unnecessary expenditure and finally brought this RD350 home . Now that the bike was home, Nikhil started collecting all the necessary spares so that he could restore the bike back to the factory condition. He completely restored his bike and named it “Hero”. Nikhil considers this bike as his lucky charm, as it brought in a bunch of new opportunities for him.

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His RD is the best RD I have ever seen and ridden up till now. Yes, I do envy him a bit, but then his dedication always inspires me. Whenever we talk about bikes he always tends to get nostalgic about this particular bike, how he got it and how he achieved his dream. He always says “Never give up on your dreams… instead, strive hard to achieve them and always keep the wheel spinning”.

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Yamaha RD-350 was one of the fastest production motorcycles that India has ever seen, still respected and worshiped by many the RD-350 has gone on to become a legend of sorts in many folklore’s of motorcycling.

Words by Aseem Joshi, our resident expert and vintage motorcycles fanatic,
Automobile Engineer by profession and a die hard vintage automobile enthusiast.
Aseem still rides his dad’s 35 year old Yezdi that gives him more joy than any modern bike could ever give him.

Thank You Nikhil Murtadak for sharing your RD350 ownership experience.

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