This might be the wickedest scrambler we’ve ever seen. Nicknamed “Eight,” she’s a 2-stroke, 210-pound RD350 scrambler built by Arjun Raina of India’s Moto Exotica. As you may know, the now-legendary Yamaha RD350 was produced only from 1973-1975. In stock form, the screaming little parallel twin made 39 horsepower, and the bike shared many similarities with the famous TZ350 road racer. In India, the RD has risen to nothing short of cult status, as it was the first sport bike built in the country.
2-Stroke Scrambler: RD350 Build Details
The nickname “Eight” derives simply from the fact that this is Arjun’s eighth build. Hailing from the foothills of the Himalayas, Arjun loves to ride through the mountains.
The forks were sourced from a KTM 200, though they were revalved for better handling on dirt and gravel. The rear shocks are also KTM, though the mounting angle was changed for better off-road geometry. The tires are TKC 80s Continental — dual sport rubber.
The motor has been tweaked for more power, now peaking at around 9000 rpm instead of the stock 7500. Top speed is reported now 125 mph — about 20 mph more than stock. It also helps that the bike now weighs just 210 pounds–whereas the stock machine weighed about 350!
The swingarm is completely custom, extended 6 inches from stock in an effort to keep the front wheel down with the extra power. The brakes have also been upgraded. The front rotor is from a CBR 250, with a 4-pot caliper, and the rear brake is also CBR.
Arjan designed the seat and tank to allow the rider easy movement forward and backward, in order to keep traction off-road and in tight corners.
Without a doubt, the most striking aspect of this build is the exhaust, with those twin stainless steel expansion chambers. Each pipe was TIG-welded from 45 different sections! Says Arjun:
“This is not mild-steel, this is stainless steel and it’s even more difficult to work with. We get limited by the processes that are used to work with it. This is TIG weld and there is only a certain way in which you can finish them. The upside is that this is much stronger. Some people say that performance wise, stainless steel is poor; but whatever we’ve done so far, in our experience, we’ve always had superior performance with stainless steel.”
Photos by Lakshya Khanduri.