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Old 24th December 2012, 13:54   #1
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Default Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 17th Year

Hi All,
Would like to share my ownership thrills and woes with my most trusted and beloved steed the 'Yamaha RD 350'. Would put these in 3 parts for an easy understanding as I have owned 3 Bikes in various stages.

PART -1

It all began during one of my chat with my cousin who was boasting of a bike that was capable of doing 90+ KMPH in its 3rd Cog; was a small school kid in my 7th Standard way back in 1991. A bike which was in my hazy memory called as Rajdoot. Flash Forward into my degree days the urge grew stronger to solve the riddle called Rajdoot which i was told was faster than Shogun the boss or RX100 or Roadking which were the talk of town. Thus began the search of a Rajdoot that would satisfy my urge for speed, the one which the layman calls as double engine, double silencer. Rambling on in my Lambretta I finally ended up in a workshop off Krumbigal Road, Mavalli where there was a Delhi Registered Bike for sale. Looking at my puny frame the owner shunned me away stating that this bike is not for me. Upon further insistence got to know that the bike was for sale, re-registration for Karnataka was completed. Coaxed and convinced the seller to part the bike for 15K (Circa Nov 1998). Payments made, Rajdoot was mine. On my way back home I was wondering, wow i bought the bike without even starting her or riding her. All that i remember was the mechanic mentioning that it required a re-bore and a connecting rod to be replaced. Spoke to my dad and he said that the last time his lambretta was rebored, it costed him around 600 Rs. He was not sure on the cost of connecting rod. Since this was a double engine my calculations were that it might cost me around 2000 Rs and expecting the connecting rod to be around 400 Rs.

Next day finished college and head to the garage with an eagerness to listen her and a small ride but was utterly disappointed to see her dismantled completely. The mechanic had a huge list of spares that were to be procured which got me wildly upset. Why would they need packing material, oil seals, engine oil and etc etc. Was thinking that I was being cheated and when explained to my Dad he literally rolled over the floor at my predicament. He was very kind enough to explain me how it works and all that he was keen was the numbers on the bike matching the RC Book.

The Next couple of weeks efforts were fully into Engine Rebuild. I was left wondering why it was necessary when all that was required was a plain Jane Connecting Rod replacement and getting the barrels rebored to 0.5 as they lacked compression. Money flowed through all possible pores and I ended up with a bill of around 17K. Guess now I had reached the stage of no return, Was a big laughing stock amongst my friends (15K for bike but 17K for the repairs). Was completely puzzled when the mechanic gave me a huge list as bill and was wondering where all the spares went into. D Day arrived, bunked college and went to the workshop to inspect the bike as I was supposed to be given the delivery of bike nearly 3 weeks post me buying it. Wait...the RD came with chambers and did not have silencers. Went to Gujuri searching for silencers for the first time. Was a terrifying place initially but then reconciled that this was it where I would need to search for GOLD. Managed to get 2 beaten silencers and fitted them onto the Rajdoot. Heard the bike for the first time in life and wow it was pure ectasy listening to it.

Over the days had grown quite close to the mechanic; he was a limping man in his middle years, father of 3. Dug a bit deeper into his background and found his racing credentials which were too hot to be believed. Backed his claims with certificates including riding a TVS 50 at 101.50 KMPH at the sholavaram track which made me respect the man even more. He jokingly asked me as to why I refer the bike as Rajdoot. My retort was that since it badgered as Rajdoot on the petrol tank to which he laughed heartily followed with a couple of slangs. He gave me a brief history of the bike and the cult status it had. He pointed to the stamping 'Made in Japan' on the engine cover and explained that this bike is a true HT with sleeved barrels. When bugged further what he meant by sleeved barrels, he explained further trying to make a microbiologist understand it better. All that mattered to me at that point in time was, will the bike run? Will it do 90 KMPH in 3rd Gear. Slotted the bike into first gear and headed my way back home to show the bike to Mom n Dad who were unsure what their beloved son got into.

Next few days saw me riding the bike very carefully as i was supposed to break in the engine post the re-bore. First tryst on the highway came while travelling to Hoskote for attending an autocross event on the outskirts. Petrol filled with additional oil as it was a highway, me all excited so that i can check if the bike can do a 90 KMPH in 3rd gear. Hit the highway, after a proper temp climb unleashed those huge twists to throttle. To my utter dismay the bike could manage only a true 70 KMPH on the 3rd gear even after me opening it fully. When queried further with mechanic, his retort was this is a Sleeved Barrel and cannot be achieved further. He however did mention about advancing the points for some more kick. All that i got was very strong recoils when trying to start the bike. The ride was also not smooth and the bike would shudder a lot which was then rectified by putting the bike back to its old state. Thus began my search for Original Bores and in the meanwhile post the first service, main-shaft bearing gave way. The whining sound was too loud and pronounced and the rides were getting very painful. The engine stripped again, the wait was harrowing. In the meanwhile spent my time to learn Rajdoot RD 350 a bit more. Got to know of its rich racing history. Internet was in its infancy stages way back in 99 and with me spending a lot of time in a cyber cafe. Quickly realized that am infact staring at a devil which can deliver around 30.5 BHP attain top ends of 160 KPH. Urge for speed grew. The Keeda growing up. In between got to know there was a bike which was for sale and supposed to have Standard Original Barrels. Could not open up the heads to reconfirm my understanding. Papers were nonexistent. Made a decision to buy the bike & make it as a donor to stock up spares as a standby. Little did i realize what was actually in store for me ahead.

Transaction confirmed, the bike was bought for 5500 Rs(Circa June 99) including the transportation which the owner was very kind enough to accommodate in one of his goods auto. Amidst all hope began dismantling the bike only to find out that the sleeves were replaced, they were sleeve standard with me exclaiming Oh God what rotten luck. Luckily the bike had original ART Pistons which were hardly run and appeared like new ones without any stress marks or signs of seizures. Got in touch with Zen Engineering Works, located in Kalasipalyam, with a request to resleeve the cylinders as the ports were virgin. Tempering of the metal was ensured to the highest standards to ensure that the material does not lose integrity because of the consistent high temperatures it would be exposed to. In the meanwhile the bike got a crash guard, carrier and a LML Sensation Box. The bores fitted again, the break in was done in the right earnest. Power seems to have improved by leaps and bounds, 90 KMPH was very much doable in 3rd gear.

Got the bike serviced, had its front fork overhauling done, replaced the front wheel rim as the old one was out of shape and no amount of wheel thruing would fix it. Life was very much peaceful and happening until one day with many rides when a stranger met me and offered 45K for the bike. This sum was unheard of during the 99 and with my ever growing keeda for a standard bike in original paint gave away my bike. Later realized that after 2-3 hands the bike is now with a fellow team BHPian.
Shall attach the expenses in an excel sheet for your kind reference. Am not quite sure if I would still have the photographs of her, need to dig out the family archives for it.

PS: Apologies for the long write up without any Photos. Appreciate your spending of valuable time.
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Old 24th December 2012, 14:06   #2
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

What a lovely story about a beautiful bike! I am trying to find a fixer-uper 350 myself. The asking price for ones in good condition puts it in stupid money category! any suggestions on where/how I can find such a bike?
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Old 24th December 2012, 14:30   #3
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

Awesome write Ku69rd, I too was lusting after an RD during my BE days, could not convince Dad ended up with a Discover. I still dream of owning a shogun and will have one soon.
The prices of RD now has reached the sky, bikes in any condition being sold for a lakh plus.
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Old 25th December 2012, 09:48   #4
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

Quote:
Originally Posted by imp! View Post
What a lovely story about a beautiful bike! I am trying to find a fixer-uper 350 myself. The asking price for ones in good condition puts it in stupid money category! any suggestions on where/how I can find such a bike?
Thanks mate, well it's very true that prices have sky rocketed it's extremely difficult to find good bred ones these days. Even good examples are lapped up quite easily in the market in no time. Shall keep you posted if I come across any. If you are on Facebook then you will have many groups which might help you find one quickly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by motorpsycho View Post
Awesome write Ku69rd, I too was lusting after an RD during my BE days, could not convince Dad ended up with a Discover. I still dream of owning a shogun and will have one soon.
The prices of RD now has reached the sky, bikes in any condition being sold for a lakh plus.
Well shogun is a very good bike but am unsure if you can get good low mileage bikes these days. Have heard horror stories for the spares when compared to RD. True there are quite a lot of people who wanna make a fast buck out of the rd cult.
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Old 26th December 2012, 15:10   #5
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

Excellent start, looking forward for other parts of the ownership review. Do you have the pictures of the bike ?
Personally, its been still a dream of owning one.
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Old 26th December 2012, 16:03   #6
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

Quote:
Originally Posted by ku69rd View Post
Hi All,
Would like to share my ownership thrills and woes with my most trusted and beloved steed the 'Yamaha RD 350'. Would put these in 3 parts for an easy understanding as I have owned 3 Bikes in various stages.

Lovely writeupI understand the true feeling associated with the RD 350. I bought mine (1984 HT) way back in 1999 from an English gentleman who was a teacher at a school in Ooty. He had maintained it immaculately, having sourced all the parts from England including the ceramic coated pistons and rings. At 25k, it was the best bargain of my life today, she's kept as well as she was back in 1999 in the hands of my brother (Yes, I gifted her to my younger brother 2 years ago).
PS: Can't wait to read the next part of your RD Story!

Last edited by n_aditya : 2nd January 2013 at 12:19. Reason: quote tags fixed
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Old 26th December 2012, 17:35   #7
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

Part -2

Many thanks for your feedback and comments on my previous post and as mentioned will be carrying forward my second part. The previous bike was very reliable even though it ran on sleeve barrels. Together we clocked close to 20K in a span of lil over 18 months. She was my daily runner though. We did Mangalore and back in a single day, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hassan in search of those ever elusive spare parts.

The search for RD grew intense over the next couple of weeks. Was keen on picking up any version irrespective of it being a High Torque or Low Torque or the early 90’s model. Did inspect many bikes but none meeting my basic expectations. Finally got to hear that there was a bike for sale in Mathikere which was for sale. 1987 was the year registered found out that it met all my requirements except that it has a poor front mudguard and some weird decal work around the switches. Unfortunately the Owner had taken off the Rajdoot Decals and had put in Yamaha instead. The vehicle was the racing blue shade which had aged gracefully. The deal was settled and the bike was bought home. On my way back home I was busy making a few mental notes on the things the bike would require apart from the front mudguard. This bike had a genuine 23K when I picked it up and it required a fork overhaul. The tires were pretty good and could clock many more kilometers by tons. Was unhappy with the front ribbed tire as a couple of times over a curve could feel it give way and front braking lacked bite with the front tending to lock up. Life was a lot easier when I made the switch to MRF Nylogrip (3.00*18) make.

Bike required a service very badly as the cables were hard, brakes lacking bite, general greasing work and tires required attention. Steering the bike was not a smooth affair. Cups & Cones were the culprit here. The cups were having a minor pit which was eased out by polishing and replacing the balls which were a tad bigger. With all of these issues ironed out the bike behaved more promisingly and true to its books. The ignition timing was remapped to company specifications along with the carburetor. The Air Fuel mixture was left a bit richer as the barrels were beginning to show some signs of aging(rings noise). This was left out from the service as it was way too early for getting them replaced.

With my many small jaunts; the trust on my bike increasing, she was now ripe for some service on highway riding. First trip on my new ride was to Chamarajnagar to see a motocross event. She did perform well but it was apparent that she lacked outright top end. 140 Kays was the maximum before she would bottom out with no further zip except wild ramblings from the engine. A couple of trips one to Shimoga and Mysore also reaffirmed the same thoughts.

The Odometer close to 39K, a rings change was necessary as the noise was more audible. Opening the Cylinder Heads was very reassuring as both Pistons were stamped with STD. Removing the cylinders to observe for any lines/scratches were again soothing as they were indeed in original sleeves. Spent around 1250 for the rings and a few odd rupees for the packing kit, the job was completed to my satisfaction. Arduous task of riding in at a limited RPM was done. Bike was performing well but then the top end was not quite satisfactory as it was limiting itself to 140. With the odometer nearing 49K Rings noise was getting unbearably loud and performance on the wane. Mileage which was at a healthy 20-22 within city had begun to drop to 18-19. First indications of a pending partial engine rebuild. Did try Nulon and other engine additives with no luck; mind was suggesting me to sell the bike as my finances were not great to accommodate a comprehensive rebuild. Heart as usual was against it as the bike had everything original in it. Not knowing what to do next or which bike to buy decided to sell this bike with a heavy heart. Reconciled myself that the recovery of engine would cost me another bomb which I was not in a position to accommodate; finally found a buyer for 44K. Have attached a few photos of my second bike and service expenses of it.
Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 17th Year-img2012122600071.jpg

Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 17th Year-img2012122600072.jpg

Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 17th Year-img2012122600073.jpg

Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 17th Year-img2012122600074.jpg
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Old 26th December 2012, 20:47   #8
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

Ok! Why do all the good threads take such a long time to be completed!

Eagerly waiting for the next part and more in detail information on the builds from the microbiologist !
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Old 27th December 2012, 06:10   #9
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

Lovely write up. A very passionate relationship with RD. Eagerly waiting for the next part.
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Old 27th December 2012, 11:39   #10
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

Aaah! Beautiful story.. go on.
Not intending to hijack your thread, but a short hello from me and my RD.
My saga started in the 90s too when my elder brought home his friend's blue RD (was a CAR registration) and took me for a spin. Phew. Fast forward 2006, I bought my silver RD. I still own and love her.

Cheers from a fellow RD enthusiast!
Kapil
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Old 27th December 2012, 12:23   #11
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

Thanks all for your kind words of encouragements.

Before I divulge on the 3rd part, it would be apt to put in my small notes on the differences which was observed between the 2 bikes.

The first bike was a proper HT with all the razzmatazz & second bike was a LT.

1) Speedometer Console: HT Bikes came along with Yenkay Console. The needles were a bit more retro compared to the LT Bikes which came along with Pricol Console. These photos were taken off team bhp website (from the thread of Brutus).Name:  Yenkay Console.jpg
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Size:  91.0 KB Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 17th Year-pricol-console.jpg
2) Engine Cases: Left HT Engine case which covers the final gear had a stamping of ‘Made in Japan’ unlike the LT Engine case which had ‘Made in India’. The insides of HT Engine cases were stamped with the tuning fork logo and LT Engine Cases had Rajdoot logo instead. HT Engine Cases had the sticker for the gear pattern; where as the LT Engine Cases were stamped instead. (Some Local Jugaad)Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 17th Year-japanese-engine-cover-left.jpgYamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 17th Year-img2012122700076-large.jpg
3) Silencers: HT Silencers tapered off with an abrupt end to it compared to the gradual tapering of LT Silencers. There would be variations on the mid-cone which can be measured using a simple nylon cord. To the trained/experience eye it will be very easy to identify the end of mid-cone and start of baffle.Name:  RD HT Silencer.jpg
Views: 23572
Size:  36.6 KBYamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 17th Year-322347_417629288274089_342219334_o.jpg
4) Barrels/Cylinders: HT Made 30.5 BHP which was possible because of the high clearance on the exhaust port. Exhaust port was at 32 MM from the top with a timing of 35.5 Diameter on a HT whereas the LT made 27 BHP which was at 36 MM from the top with the exhaust port having a dimension of 31.5 MM Diameter. This retarded port reading was achieved by adding in a metal chip of 4MM thickness. Photos attached for your easy reference; (Pic Courtesy rssarma website)
Name:  stk350ht.jpg
Views: 20572
Size:  15.2 KBName:  stk350lt.jpg
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Size:  14.9 KB
5) Carburetor: Both the HT & LT came with Mikuni VM28SC. However there was a difference between the main jets. The HT came with 140 size main jets with LT carbs being fitted with 160 sized main jets.
6) Timing Variation: HT were generally timed at 2.00 MM from BDC & LT were generally timed at a slight advance of 2.4 MM from BDC. However my LT Ran on 2.2 MM and HT ran on 2.1 MM

Last edited by ku69rd : 27th December 2012 at 12:28. Reason: Timing Update
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Old 28th December 2012, 13:49   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ku69rd
Thanks mate, well it's very true that prices have sky rocketed it's extremely difficult to find good bred ones these days. Even good examples are lapped up quite easily in the market in no time. Shall keep you posted if I come across any. If you are on Facebook then you will have many groups which might help you find one quickly.

Well shogun is a very good bike but am unsure if you can get good low mileage bikes these days. Have heard horror stories for the spares when compared to RD. True there are quite a lot of people who wanna make a fast buck out of the rd cult.
Thanks a ton man! I'm keeping an eye on Facebook, but at this point it feels like a lost cause. The prices are just too highly inflated, especially since I want to convert it to a cafe racer. Your story is incredible, please keep the details coming!!
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Old 28th December 2012, 17:13   #13
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

Part-3

With my decision to bid adieu to the world of RD, life was very much on slow pace. In between I picked up the Kawasaki Eliminator paying a whooping 96K. Travelling being my main motive took her out for a stroll to Tumkur on the then newly inaugurated 4 laner. The Eliminator could not go beyond 110 KMPH on a level road with a max speed of 115 Kays achieved on a downhill. Highly frustrated and with a deep thought knew that eliminator would never satisfy my speed urges. Post the trip I was sure of disposing the bike and managed to sell it for 60K loosing quite a lot of money in the process. Back in the drawing room; my thought process was 2 bikes.
1) BMW F650: Many might be aware of the initial Hero-BMW tie up in the 90’s where they had launched their enduro bikes at around 5L Change. They were the single Cylinder thumper with adequate power on tap. Met a couple of owners and by their feedback knew it would be a tough ask to get a bike in decent condition as it sold in a few hundreds and spares were even more tough. Agree today they are freely available courtesy internet & e-commerce. Also had read about its below par performances with poor quality fuel. This for sure was not the bike for me.
2) Good Ol RD 350: More mature with my previous experiences decided that RD would be the answer to my mid 20 crisis in life. Was very clear that I wanted a High Torque which had a better power curve, preference was a CDI as the technology had matured quite a lot in the 2004-5 time scale. Earlier days CDI was basically a compromise. You would either have good initial & mid range but top end would end in a jiffy. RD’s made more linear power delivery compared to any other bike. Also have seen many of my friend’s bike being the sacrificial goat for developing CDI by many mechanics in town. Blown Pistons, Bearings get worn out made me turn a blind eye for CDI for my older bikes. But it would have to start from scratch as all my accumulated spares were sold. All that remained was a brand new front mudguard & shiny tail lamp console which somehow were lost in one of the house attics and mysteriously resurfaced when I was searching for something else.

Armed with my decision the search began and to my horror the asking prices were too high. Having seen many bikes being traded within 25K during my college days it was a bit of shock for me. Prices ranging from 35 to 75K for examples which were hardly worth 15-20K were the order of the day. My search went across towns, started looking at B Towns and far off places like Belgaum and even Raichur.

One fine day sipping on a Masala Soda in Shivananda Stores off VV Puram Street, noticed a Blue RD parked in a dinghy corner. It was uncared, unkept, cob webs spun around the wheel bearing a disc in the front, missing speedometer console, no accessories like Crash Guard, Carrier or Saree Guard. Approached the shopkeeper and was responded that the bike carried a price tag of 45K which was way too much for the bike considering its condition. Armed with an acquaintance who knew the guy pretty well, finally clinched the deal for 24K and an additional 500 Rs as brokerage charges. The bike was kept as collateral and owner could not repay the money hence the sale.

Few basic observations on the bike from my first detailed view

1) Non Existent Seat Plate
2) Front Disc Break: Nissin Make, Oh God what do I do for the oil seals, brake lever which was bent/ broken
3) Engine Bay: The Engine Bay was very neat, which meant that the engine must have been very recently made up. Looking at the quality of finishing this was surely done by a good quality technician
4) Indicators: Bike was shod with Shogun indicators
5) Front Mudguard: had a plastic mudguard which was obviously locally made
6) Tail Lamp: was missing the original round tail lamp but instead shod with RD 175.
7) Ignition: Bike came with CDI Ignition needed further citation
8) Dead Battery
9) Good rear tire even though it was the CEAT Secura with the button thread
10) Shogun Switch Gear
11) RD 175 Handle Bar

As the bike required a much detailed thorough check up it was left with the trusted hands of Mohd Yousuf. He was my trusted technician from the past 8 years and did not see any reason to look beyond him. Detailed analysis of front disc proved that it required a major overhaul with rubber over rings being hardened over a period of non usage. We decided to change the entire setup to something which was more robust and readily available in Indian Market. Started with my research on the net and I was stunned to see that US had a very similar model excepting that it had a front disc setup and a host of other minor changes. The front disc was at 267 mm for the US Spec ones. Having deliberated over the Pulsar, Karisma, CBZ & Unicorn disc break we finally decided to settle in on Kawasaki Eliminator Disc. Reason being simple, Karisma came with Alloy Wheels and I was not prepared to sacrifice the wire wheeled looks. Unicorn was at 240mm, pulsar was at 254mm & CBZ measures 240mm.

Eliminator Disc measures a good 260mm and with its dual piston setup it was very much a potent setup. Unfortunately Eliminators were no longer in production and it meant that I had to use Avenger setup which I was averse to using as the make was from Pricol. As Eliminator Discs were made by Kalyani who in turn are the OEM Suppliers for a host of Car Companies and other Bike Manufacturers was assured of its quality & reliability. Seeking help from a friend was able to source parts from Bajaj Pune with some discount. The total spend was nearing 7K. Aluminum was used to map the clamp to house the Disc Caliper as per its shape. A bit concerned here as a bit of heat in excess can actually spoil the shape of fork legs. Sufficient checks later revealed that all was well and now the braking was very lethal. You could overshoot your entry to the corner but can still break at the apex to restore sanity. Life was good bike was being used irregularly for office and weekend rides out of town when a harmless chat turned things topsy turvy on its head.
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Old 31st December 2012, 15:54   #14
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

Restoration or Rejuvenation

With the dawn of 2006, things were pretty much normal with my RD. It gave me huge grins whilst riding in city but highway cruising was barely satisfactory. With her excellent handling and penchant for late braking, weaving in and out of traffic was a breeze. She had an excellent mid-range and lacked outright top end. 130 Kays was all she could manage and would fizzle out soon. Being a regular in the Yahoo Chat-room ‘Automobile’ caught up with a gentleman Dennis Lukes. Explaining him the motorcycling stages in India, current mass motorcycles and more importantly about my RD 350 shod with Eliminator Discs. He was pretty much impressed with the work and the fitment done and suggestion was made to repaint the motorcycle and build it to US Specs with all works in it. Over a due course of time was able to list out the differences between Indian Spec & US Spec. Realized that the RD in US makes out a whooping 39 BHP at the Crank compared to the 35 BHP that our Maruti Omni makes. Also adding in the fact of exclusivity that will be tagged to my RD when completely done.

Decision made to source spares from US and with it arose the question on how do we go ahead with it. Ebay was still in its infancy and a website where I could not trust to part with my hard earned money only after looking at a few pictures. Queried Dennis with the same question, he laughed over it and sent me a few pictures to drool over. He then introduced himself and made me realize that he was a motorcycle scavenger by profession and a bunch of RD’s in his scrap yard. One Wine Red RD was very appealing with the speedometer reading a genuine 10851 Miles. Observed the bodyline and must say Dennis was very kind hearted person to send me a lot photos in all possible views and angles. To check his integrity initially agreed to buy the complete set of indicators from him. This process was completely new to me as never ever in my life I had received greeting card let alone a parcel sent to me from high seas. Finally all that I got was a notice from Customs stating that they have received a consignment and wanted me to submit a few documents (???) for them to clear it. Headed to customs office in museum road seeking clarification on the next step. Unbelievable but true, they were very helpful and spent good quality time in explaining the process and relevant documents that would be required for them to clear the package. In other words they required the cash transaction details & a recorded statement stating that they were meant to be for personal use. Met all their requirements and was told that the package would extract 26% Customs Duty and 1.5% as postal charges. Having cleared this obstacle the consignment finally reached home on a Thursday and it was bang on target; the exact way which Dennis had explained and sent Via Photographs.

With this small step, it gave me huge confidence in Dennis & our Indian Customs. Parts trickled down from the same Red Bike, which was incidentally a 74 Model. Barrels & Clutch Bell/Primary gear came in the first batch. Front Fork Assembly complete with Speedometer Console; Silencers which were still factory chrome; front & rear bumpers; Chain-guard & Rear Tail Lamp Console; front & rear foot pegs; Oil Tank & Side Plastic Shield must thank Dennis for his kind efforts & patience with me as it took nearly 18 months to get all of these in with my Indian Salary.

Brand New Indicator Covers (Orange for front, Red for rear), Reflectors; Handle Bar & NOS levers, Grip covers were sourced from other dealers via internet. Few rubber items were procured from Singapore when I had been there on an official trip. Finally with all stuff in house, the bike was stripped for complete make-over. Would need help from experts to classify if this is a restoration or make-over project. Reason was simple; parts came in from various years of manufacturing instead of single year with a few dating to 80’s as well. So please do put in your comments.

There was an arduous task of rebuilding the front foot rest to house the US foot rests. The photos depict differences between US & Indian Chassis, along with the alteration work that was required to house it. Took a lazy 4 weeks to get the seating right. Once the front was taken care of, rear footrest sat in seamlessly after chopping off the factory fitted ones.
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Chassis ready, was sent for painting to a guy whom I have known right from the days of me owning RD. In between all the parts were ordered off the net reached home safely, since the bike was running in CDI, procured the switches of RD350LC from Malaysia. Clutch Plates, Oil Seal Kits, Packing Kits were procured from Singapore, Brand New Foot Rest Rubbers both front & rear was procured from Bangkok. New main shaft bearings & connecting rods were procured locally as the prices were really a steal. Cylinder jugs were bored out to its first oversize; Wiseco Forged Pistons were used instead of ART pistons for better performance due to which the tolerance had to be increased when compared to standard. This was a gamble as with increased tolerance the cold engine would have slight piston clap as compared to when it is fully heated up. Engine assembly was finally finished.
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Rear suspension was procured from Mysore. Bike was shod with birla & Michelin Sirac for front & rear respectively. Honda Unicorn rims were used as design matches RD rims(original being Escorts Mandap) to a T, and its build was streets ahead of other available rims. They were a bit expensive but I do not get to rebuild a bike like this again for many more years to come.
Decided to color the bike in its trademark Portuguese Orange shade which was released only on RD 350B and worked on getting the corresponding matching shade with Dupont. The decals were procured from motorcycle replicas. Painting took quite some toll as the tinkering work was not satisfactory. Had to endure 3 rounds of painting to get rid of waves post which decal application was completed & 2 coats of lacquer were applied.
The rest of assembly work was done laboriously and finally the bike was delivered on the auspicious Ganesh Chaturthi, 2011. The whole exercise of rebuilding costed me 15 months. Many of which can be put down to indiscipline and myself for not following up.
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Have attached the photos of the complete build but pardon me as a few video including the first were lost when some wretched soul robbed my BB .
Attached Images
 

Last edited by ku69rd : 31st December 2012 at 16:02. Reason: Edited to fit in the Photos
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Old 31st December 2012, 17:58   #15
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Default Re: Yamaha RD 350 - A travail on its 15th Year

Mahesh, that's a detailed review of your RD350 and the bike looks superb in this color combo.
When i saw your bike during the Krishnagiri dam drive few months back, I Didn't realize so much of work and parts through overseas shipping has gone into this bike. Kudos to your attention in detail and the efforts you put in to bring it in the current shape.

Wish you thousands of hassle free ride in it
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