TG's favourite Yamaha bikes in India
We kick-start this feature with the RD350, and what a kick-start it is. Though the 'RD' was widely believed to denote 'Race Developed' it may as well have stood for 'Ridiculously Dangerous', because it really was a bike that could scare you to death. Armed with a 347cc parallel-twin motor (which was actually detuned for India) and minimal bodywork, the RD was always going to be fast, but to stop, we only got drum brakes. The version sold abroad made nearly ten more horses, but the Indian RD, made by the Escorts group and sold as a Rajdoot, still produced over 30bhp. At a time when 'performance bikes' for us lot meant Royal Enfields and Jawas/Yezdis.
Twin exhausts. An iconic twin-stroke growl emanating from them. Wringing the throttle would result in a cloud of smoke, a slight chirrup from the tyres, and the RD would be off into the distance in a flash. It was all very lovely then, and even decades after it was discontinued because of our demands for a more fuel-efficient bike (led to another fun Yam, it's on the next page), it still commands respect from even the most seasoned of riders. A real handful, the RD was. And we absolutely adore it.