Yamaha RD350 – Rashmi Mane-Mahadik
I am Rashmi Mane-Mahadik, an IT Consultant by profession and a biker at heart
My association with riding began when
My first ever bike owned was a Yamaha RX100. I saw the Yamaha gleaming in the sun and I could not get the color red out of my mind. My Yamaha RD350 too is red!! The power, the pickup, the feel was unbelievable. I have mostly ridden solo and hardly every joined any group. But now we (my hubby and I) have our own Yamaha RD350 Pune Club (CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE PAGE).
I have participated in motocross races the past in the stock class category. In those days since there was no women’s category I participated along with male athletes giving them a run for their money!
My previous rides were
Apart from Yamaha RX135 and Yamaha RD350 I owned a Machismo 500 CC. Machismo was a daily commute bike and Yamaha RD350 exclusive for Weekends. But I was never able to get the adrenaline rush of a 2 stroke on the Machismo. So, I switched to RX135 (5 Speed) for daily commuting and that’s my motivation to “punch in” at office now.
My options were
It was and will always be a 2 stroke bike for me. However, I had a Triumph street twin 900 cc test ride and would have been another addition to my collection (not replacement of my existing bikes). If given a choice, Triumph street twin or Ducati Scrambler to my collection. I definitely prefer the Cruiser bike over any sports bike.
I chose my current bike because
Yamaha RD350 was the most powerful machine of its time, presenting itself as the exact opposite of Royal Enfield Bullet 350. Known for mad speeds and lightening fast acceleration from its 2-stroke 347cc twin cylinder engine. In India, the RD350 came in two variants: HT (High Torque) and LT (Low Torque). The HT variant made 31bhp while the LT model produced only 27bhp while the Japan version was good for 39 BHP. The engine came mated to a 6-speed gearbox. The Indian version even came with just 180 mm front drum brake, making it the most dangerous package of all time. The quickest accelerating motorcycle, much ahead of its time.
The RD350 is also a wheelie-friendly motorcycle. Dump that clutch and you are staring at the heavens. Also, certain number of Yamaha RD350 motorcycles were issued to the police department for officers to nab criminals.
The iconic classic appeal of the RD 350 is an endless era of style. It was a style icon when launched. Chrome rims, chrome mudguards and chrome silencer were the main features of attention and they are still on their duty.
The number of kilometers clocked so far
Have not counted the kilometers clocked so far. But there has not been a single day in the past 20+ years when I have not kicked my bike.
My most memorable rides
Any ride on my bike is equally memorable and the place, time or weather is never a constraint. But the most memorable one was on the highest motorable road on Khardungla pass at 18,670 feet.
I would recommend/ Not recommend that girls/ ladies buy this bike because
Ladies are mostly found on bullets, a 4 stroke machine. Anyone who has ridden a 2 stroke can describe them as the faster bikes. A 2 stroke engine produces twice the amount of power and twice the amount of sound too than a 4 stroke engine of the same size. It has a real kick to the motor and has more power in motor size. It gives a higher torque at higher RPM. This has a lot to do with the fuel efficiency as the fuel consumption is quite high. 2 stroke engines require a mix of oil in with the fuel to lubricate the crankshaft, connecting rod and cylinder walls.
All these factors make the Yamaha RD350 a high maintenance bike. Not to mention the mechanics who need to be specialists just to touch any RD, let alone fix it. Anyone can buy other bikes, but you need to earn a Yamaha RD350 and not simply buy it. One needs to be aware of this motorcycle first as it has tremendous power. It is good for motorcyclists who can handle the kick and the jolt while shifting gears.
The nomenclature ‘RD’ is ‘Race-Derived’ or ‘Race-Developed’, it caught up with the unofficial abbreviation – Rapid Death. The RD350 could easily hit the ton in just under six seconds. If pushed, the two-stroke powerhouse could go past the 150km/h mark too.