The Yamaha RD350 is one of our favorite two-stroke street bikes, a 39-horsepower parallel twin that featured Autolube oil injection and a similar frame to the Yamaha TZ350 racer. In most countries, the bike was available from 1973-1975, replaced by the RD400 in 1976. However, few riders realize the RD350 had a much longer and more involved history in India. Here, Escorts Group collaborated with Yamaha Japan to build a licensed version of the RD350B from 1983-1990, where it was marketed as the Rajdoot 350 and became legendary as the country’s first sport bike. Says BikeAdvice.in:
“Back in the 1980s, the RD350 was the very first super performance offering for the Indian motorcycling enthusiasts at a time (1983) when the only bikes we had were the Bullet 350, the Jawa (Yezdi) 250 2 stroke and Rajdoot 175 2 stroke.”
Enter Arjun Raina and the small team of craftsmen behind one of our favorite workshops, Moto Exotica, located in the far north of India, in the mountain state of Uttarakhand — a region known as the “Land of the Gods.” Here, in the shadows of the Himalayas, the self-sufficient crew of Moto Exotica builds some of the most innovative, interesting customs on the planet — many of them two-strokes.
Now they are back with this Yamaha RD350 track bike, built for a client who wanted a functional, reliable, and beautiful machine for the track. Arjun and the team made substantial changes to the frame, added lightness with lots of carbon fiber, set up the geometry for the track, and went with trick suspension and brakes on both ends of the bike. Our favorite is the custom trellis swingarm — a piece of performance art.
Below, we get the full story on this RD350 track racer!
Yamaha RD350 Track Bike: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Motoexotica is art engineered; the bikes we build are fast, handle well, and look great — they are examples followed by others.
The idea has been to push beyond the envelope always. Our dream to build these lightweight led us to build bikes in a certain way. We follow world-class design processes; things start simple with a digital sketch, then specific CAD drawings, and then a real-world prototype and production.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
• Why was this bike built?
A customer project. The request was to build a reliable track bike, functional yet beautiful.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
This is custom track bike, minimalist styling, geometry setup for the track, runs slicks as well.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Substantial changes to the chassis, custom tuned expansion chambers, uprated suspension and brakes all round, trellis custom swingarm.
• How would you classify this bike?
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The bike received the usual treatment at exotic — a lot of weight shedding, quite a bit of carbon fibre, trick brakes and suspension, and the rear swingarm is a piece of art.