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|Engine||Two-stroke parallel twin|
It features a reliable aircooled, parallel twin, 6 speed (in some markets, such as the UK, the first model was sold in 5-speed form), reed valve equipped intake tract two-stroke engine. Available in either a dark green or brandy red with white and black side details with metal emblem "Yamaha" on the tank RD350 (1973), the RD350A (1974), simple purple tank with "Yamaha" decal on the tank, and the orange with white RD350B (1975). The B model (in the UK at least) also features a silver and black colour scheme.
Rim sizes are 18" WM2 (1.85") front and 18" WM3 (2.15"), both being of chromed, wire spoked steel construction. In the UK, rim sizes are 1.60 front and 1.85 rear.
The frame dimensions of the street 350 are very similar to the famous Yamaha TZ250 and TZ350 series factory road race bikes, differing mainly in weight and front fork rake - the RD being ~27 degrees and the TZ being ~25 degrees. The frames appear similar, side by side, with the street frame adorned with many brackets for the street equipment. The weight difference is substantial though, with the street-going RD frame weighing almost twice as much as the "TZ" roadrace race frame.
The stock bike made about 39 to 41 true rear-wheel HP at about 7500 rpm - very fast for the time. A contemporary of the RD is the Kawasaki H2 750cc Triple, said to make 72 to 75 true HP (tested by Cycle Magazine at 55 bhp).
The 350 evolved into the more refined and cleaner running RD400C in 1976, the "D" and "E" in 77-78 and the final model, the white 1979 RD400F.
The RD350B in India
A licensed version of the RD350B was assembled in India between 1983-1990 by Escorts group under the brand name Rajdoot 350. It did not repeat the success of the RD350B in the Indian market, which some attribute to a high purchase price and poor fuel efficiency. However, it established Rajdoot/Yamaha as a performance bike manufacturer in India. There were two models for the Rajdoot 350 - High Torque and Low Torque. Compared to the Yamaha RD350B that made 39 crankshaft bhp, the 'High Torque' version made 30.5 bhp (22.7 kW) and the later 'Low Torque' made only 27 bhp (20 kW), the engine being detuned in the quest for better fuel economy. By the time the production ended in 1990, the bike was nearly 100% sourced in India, with very little Japanese parts content.
The RD350 was the first sporting motorcycle built in India, and it still enjoys cult status, with many RD clubs around the country.
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