The RD350, launched in 1983, was ahead of its time, featuring a seven-port two-stroke parallel-twin engine that employed reed valves and a six-speed gearbox. The bike in the picture has undergone restoration work. To date, many bike enthusiasts maintain that the air-cooled RD350 is the best two-stroke bike to hit Indian shores.
Despite tipping the scales at 143 kg plus fuel and oil, it does not throw you around, given the right set of tyres.
The six-speed gearbox with a one-down, five-up shift pattern helps the bike tackle highway blasts just as well as crawling in urban traffic. You’ll notice a second’s lag for the 347 cc motor to respond but as soon as the power kicks in, the twin-cylinder two-stroke beast howls its way to its 8500 rpm red line.
But the bike’s share of problems included lack of maintenance knowledge, its reputation of spending more time at the workshop than on the road and the single-digit mileage.
Recently, RD diehards began learning how to restore their machines, spreading the know-how through the Internet. Original RD spares are rare in India and anybody with something of value will demand a fortune for it. A few websites deliver parts from the US right to your doorstep. This one is hugely popular among power addicts.