Yes, Yamaha is prepping up a new motorcycle that we think will revive the spirit of RD 350. The new motorcycle will be known as XSR 300 and here’s what is it all about.
OK, maybe this is the first time you hear the name of this motorcycle because it is an all-new range of models incepted by Yamaha recently. Yamaha showcased the XSR 700 in 2015, and the production started in 2016. Last year, Yamaha also launched the XSR 900 in the UK market.
Now coming to XSR 300, it is a retro-modern motorcycle that is still on paper. A Japanese motorcycle magazine, YoungMachine has revealed that Yamaha is working on an all-new motorcycle that will take the place of the RD 350. The XSR300 is powered by a parallel-twin, liquid-cooled engine that also powers the Yamaha YZF-R3 in India.
The engine churns out a maximum of 41.5 BHP along with 29.6 Nm of torque. The XSR 300 will also get the diamond frame skeleton of the Yamaha R3. The motorcycle looks pumped up with huge bulges on its tank. The vintage sports motorcycle has a comfortable riding position and all the safety features like ABS in place. The XSR 300 sure looks like a resurrected RD 350.
The legacy of RD350 in India
Seen above: UK version RD350 LC in similar colours as the leaked image
The Yamaha RD350 was made in India from 1983 to 1989. The 2-stroke motorcycle was unarguably India’s first performance machine. The RD 350 came with 349cc, parallel twin, air-cooled engine that came in two states of tunes, LT or low torque and HT or high torque. The LT model churned out a maximum of 27 BHP while the HT had a power output o 30.5 BHP.
The RD 350 was the first true performance motorcycle of India. It was well ahead of its time and was too potent for the Indian market. The motorcycle was derived from the street motorcycle Yamaha R5C and was the most accessible performance machine in its time. The RD 350 that came to India was a huge success elsewhere in the world, but the Indian market did not realise how well-engineered the motorcycle is.
While homologating for the Indian market, Yamaha missed out a crucial feature from the motorcycle. The Indian version of the RD 350 did not feature 10.5-inch disc brake. Instead, the motorcycle came with drum brake, which was not up to the task to stop the 140 km/h machine in time.
Soon the RD moniker was mocked as “Rapid Death”, and the motorcycle became infamous for its low fuel efficiency and too much of power. Later, Yamaha stopped the production of the RD 350 completely due to the gripping emission norms, which the two-stroke engines were unable to meet.
At present, the Yamaha RD 350 has become collector’s motorcycle with many enthusiasts buying and selling the vintage motorcycle at about five times the original market price.
So? What’s the connection?
Seen above: Yamaha XSR 900
Well, there are. To start with, the retro design of the XSR 300 that has been leaked brings back the memories of the Yamaha RD350. The retro design of the XSR 300 is nostalgic enough to make you think twice about the RD 350. The motorcycle churns out 41.5 BHP of maximum power, which in our opinion would have the same as modern RD 350 if its was continued.
The XSR 300 also offers an upright seating posture, which is similar to the RD 350. The XSR 350’s brilliant retro design blended with the twin-parallel engine, which is similarly powered as the RD 350 is stable enough connection to make it the spiritual successor of the legend, RD 350.
OK, convinced. But India launch?
The motorcycle is yet to go into production. Yamaha India is betting big on the Indian market in 2017. The Japanese giant is ready to launch the FZ250 on 24th of January. Also, their fully faired version, the R3 is doing well in the market, beating the archrival, Ninja 300 when it comes to sales.
Yamaha has all the right reasons to launch the XSR 300 in India when it goes to production. Globally, the production is scheduled to start by early 2018. We want the bike in India as well. So, can you please do the needful, Yamaha?
Image Source: TMC