Yamaha RD350, a name every motorcycle enthusiast will know of all around the world but especially in India. The RD350 was the first powerful motorcycle that the country ever saw, too powerful in fact. While it was powerful enough to propel itself to 160 km/h in days when speeds above 90 km/h were considered hazardous, Yamaha RD350 built itself a frightful reputation as well. It was eventually called the 'Widowmaker'! The RD350 had a parallel twin two-stroke engine which at times could seize at speeds above 130 km/h and that was obviously a hazard. And besides, it had drum brakes - quite insufficient for stopping from 160 km/h.
Yamaha RD350 was so popular among motorcyclists that a lot many from Australia bought them for India for racing purposes in their home country. Rectifying the statement written before, the RD350 still is very popular and a very sought after the motorcycle. If you have one, know that there will be several motorcyclists willing to buy it. We love the Yamaha RD350 just as much and here we take a look at the enthusiasm shared by custom bike builder around the world:
Peter Rowland's Yamaha RD350
A vintage motocross and dirt track racer by day and a customiser by night, Peter Rowland handled everything about the motorcycle with his own hands. The head angle was pulled back that shortened the wheelbase quite considerably, so Peter made a new swingarm a little longer than the original RD350. The forks are borrowed from a Kawasaki KLX250 and the engine is the same 347cc air-cooled, two-stroke parallel twin. The custom dirt track ready package was christened 'RDT350'.
Yamaha RD350 Streak by Brew Bikes
Master craftsman Steve ‘Brewdude’ Garn customised a Yamaha RD350 to look like this and produce 60 hp which is considerably higher than the 35 horses from the stock engine. The tank and front end have been lifted from an R5, with Hagon shocks bringing up the rear. The custom build tips the scale at 110 kg and has a cooler name – 'Streak'.
Yamaha RD350 by Analog
Called 'S2RD', this custom Yamaha RD350 was built by Tony Prust of Illinois-based Analog Motorcycles. The work started with a 1973 Yamaha RD350 which was halfway towards its conversion into a Cafe Racer by its current owner. Analog stepped in after to finish the job and what a job it is - a sleek and gorgeous two-stroke Cafe Racer.
Howard Lee's Ultimate Yamaha RD350
This air-cooled Yamaha RD350 B was purchased new in 1975 by the late British racer Howard Lees and didn't spend much time staying stock. Lees added wheels, forks, brakes and engine covers from an RD400 a year or two later, along with a race fairing. FOr performance upgrades, Lees turned to US tuning house Denco that gave its part replacement that helped this RD350 B do about 200 km/h easily.
Twinline Motorcycles' Sleek Yamaha RD350
Seattle-based Twinline Motorcycles worked on this customised Yamaha RD350 calling it the Project Goldhead. Twinline made the stock motorcycle shed as much as weight possible and focussed on detail work.