Indian had a such a gem motorcycles in the ’80s and ’90s. The parallel-twins were very common in India back then. Nevertheless, time passes and the thing gets changed according to the trend. In the blog, we will see if the Yamaha RD350 was really a KTM 390 of the ’80s or something more? Well, let’s find it out.
Two-Strokes were such powerful things that engineers back then didn’t really want to move towards the four-stroke. Great power output from the small engines boosted the sporting community around the globe, while manufacturers were pushing their limits by producing fast machines. The ’80s and ’90s are considered a golden era for motorsport. One such motorcycle that changed the view of sports biking in India was the Yamaha RD350.
The reason, we are saying it as a KTM 390 Duke of the ’80s is because what KTM 390 Duke does today with the Indian audience, In a similar way Yamaha did it in ’80s. The bike that was quite accessible as well as showed the thrill of a bigger racing motorcycle.
Top Speed and Power
The Yamaha RD350 came with a 347 cc parallel-twin, twin carbureted, air-cooled engine. The International spec Yamaha RD350 produced about 39 bhp max power and had a top speed of 169 km/hr. However, in India to have improved mileage, the bike was detuned to return better mileage by reducing the power output. In India, it was available with High Torque and Low Torque version. The High Torque produced about 30.5 bhp max power while the low torque version produced about 27 bhp max power. Even with the detune, the bike still offered a good power output. Many motorcycle enthusiasts in India tuned it for delivering more power than the stock even more than the international spec. Even in today’s period, these tuned motorcycles challenge some of the mid-displacement motorcycles in the drag races.
The India spec model was derived from the Japanese model. It was manufactured by the Escort Group under the brand name of Rajdoot 350. It was first manufactured with the help of imported spare parts from Japan. However, later, Rajdoot completely manufactured the bike with 100% made in India parts.
Also read: 2020 KTM 125 Duke – Things We Love and Hate
The Indian version missed out on front disc brake which was present on the Japanese model, in terms of cost-cutting. This proved very fatal for this bike. The bike had all the power that we can access on the KTM 250 right now. The chassis was lightweight. being a two-stroke most of the power was in the higher end of the rev band. This bike had a very hooligan vibe to it. Due to weak brake, a lot of accidents were caused of due to this bike and slowly this lead to the discontinuation of this bike. Although the RD was discontinued the RX 100 ruled the market till now. Even after the discontinuation of the bike, it is sold second hand at a good premium sometimes even 3 times its original cost.
Nevertheless, RD350 was the first built in India sports bike. Due to that reason, it was quite an accessible motorcycle. In similar ways, KTM 390 Duke is manufactured in India which makes it quite affordable in India. We are quite sure that in coming years many Indian manufacturers will push their boundaries to make something unusual for India. Some of recent India made motorcycles have crossed the boundaries and are now set to fire the International market as well. We are talking about RE 650 twins, Himalayan, TVS RR310 and of course some of the KTM bikes.