Two Stroke Tuesdays E02 : 1991 Yamaha RD 350 - Taming the Unicorn
Vijay Krishnan April 23, 2019
Two Stroke Tuesdays are all about the love for blue smoke motorcycles. We are fans and fanatics, and we are featuring the stories of individuals and their beloved Two Stroke machines to pique your interest.
This week, we get to know what is it like to live with the legendary Yamaha RD 350 as we take a look at Sohib Solomon and his beloved Yamaha RD dubbed 'Unicorn'.
“Unicorn is a mystical creature that cannot be captured, and, that is the reason I named her Unicorn!”
Why the RD 350?
So, I read this somewhere, that in the UK, that every RD 350, that was a liquid cooled version was stolen, at least twice. It is an amazing feeling to have any motorcycle, especially an old one, because you get attached to it.
Of course, it is not easy to maintain an old motorcycle, as they have their own emotions, their own ups and downs. So, you have to spend a lot of time working on them, getting them tuned perfectly. The RD 350 is a mysterious machine. Sometimes it has its own tantrums but once you have the bike tuned right, then it is an absolute pleasure to ride!
How did you personalize your motorcycle?
So I had the bike stock when I bought it but as and when I got the time, I wanted to customize it. I was really inspired by café racers and I thought a two stroke is a perfect platform to build it into a café racer and that is the reason I customized it.
Of course, with the performance that it gives out, I had to get discs and a few items done on it to make sure I have enough stopping power for the performance that it delivered.
A lot of people have sentimental value attached to the motorcycle and they don’t want to really change the motorcycle and want to keep it authentic. People might have inherited the motorcycle from their family or any loved ones and that is why they want to keep it authentic.
When I had picked up my motorcycle 8 years back, it was stock. But since I was inspired, I wanted to do a few things on it and make it my own version of an RD350.
How does it feel riding the RD 350?
First of all, if you have a parallel twin, then, people notice you because it sounds different. It sounds very raw and ofcourse, while some people love the blue smoke, others don’t like it that much. But when you ride it, the feeling that it gives you, its orgasmic, which is the best way I can put it.
Do you own any other motorcycle?
So, I own a Harley-Davidson Street Rod apart from the Yamaha RD 350.
If you could only save one of your motorcycles, which would it be?
So, practically speaking, I would keep the street rod but for the emotional factor, I would keep the RD 350. I hope the Indian Govt. rules are a bit more linient towards the two strokes, so that we can keep them for a while and register a motorcycle which is really old. So, Unicorn is about 26 years old as of now!
Any Cop trouble?
The RD, while its loud, I’ve had experiences where the cops have stopped me and the first thing that they do is look at the motorcycle! A lot of cops would connect with it as the RD 350 was part of the Delhi Police Service. So a lot of old cops would connect with it and ask questions about it. A lot of new cops want to know what motorcycle it is, how old it is and in my experience they have just been distracted by the motorcycle and have never asked me they documents even though I carry them always with myself. They have always been mesmerized by the motorcycle!
It’s a great emotion to have a motorcycle that you love. I have kept the motorcycle for a very long time and like any old motorcycle, you get attached to it due to the nostalgic feeling its provides you and also because the way you get connected to the motorcycle.
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