Spotted a RD350 yesterday, being lovingly bought back to life. Was in a workshop the size of a security guard’s cabin in Mumbai, but that didn’t matter. There it was sitting majestically in the classic Red livery. It managed to stop me right in my tracks. The brain drained out all other thoughts. The heart began beating faster. A full five minutes of staring, drooling and sighing later, the moment began to pass. The blood-rush began to subside, and some sense of normalcy returned. A silent prayer for the owner and the mechanic was said, a customary snap was clicked as keepsake and off I went.
Over the years, I’ve spent time with the boys from the Bombay RD350 Club and even ridden along with them on my RX on a few occasions. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet up with the likes of the TheFatBastard & TheGhostRider31 whose exploits on the RD350 are part of folklore as I pass them on to the coming generations. I’ve even managed to sit pillion on one and they’ve been the best 30 kilometres of my life. For a 2Stroke on pipe, and an RD350 at that, is a visceral treat that’s best experienced, for no amount of explaining shall be enough!
A sighting, the faint strains of the growl coming to the ears and I turn into an over-excited puppy. Every time I spot one on the road, I end up grinning in envy at the owner. Those classic twin pipes are perfect, the ride-height among the most accessible out there, and just the right amount of power to keep me on a near-permanent high.
The RD350 is an addiction never to be put into rehab! True, I’ll always have my RX135’s, the Shaolin and my Royal Enfields. I’ll find my head turning at Yezdi-Jawa’s and run after the prospect of the many Adventure Tourers to be launched in the coming years.
As motorcyclists, we all have our ‘Dream Garage’. Exotic motors we always lust after, with dreams of swinging our leg over them some day and riding off into the distance. To most, they are the hyper-quick, superbikes – litre class machines, the full-faired look, exotic stuff. To me, the RD350 will always be the one I’ll lust after, that’ll freeze time for me. Which is why, there’s no giving up on the dream – even when the economics of owning and riding an RD350 today, means that only the true moneybags can enjoy it.