Somewhat reviving the legacy of the RD 350 legend.

In the ’80s, Yamaha came in with a motorcycle that was going to obliterate the records on any performance charts available at that time. The RD 350. Made for the Asian markets and later for Europe, this midweight classic was the fastest motorcycle in its segment.

If reports from the Japanese blog are to be believed, a magazine known as YoungMachine has indicated that Yamaha has finally answered our calls. They are prepping up a brand-new avatar for the RD 350 and might call it the XSR 300 that will take up cues from the elder siblings, the XSR 900 and the brand new XSR 700.

After the XSR 900 and 700, is Yamaha under works with the baby 300? Exterior
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After the XSR 900 and 700, is Yamaha under works with the baby 300? Exterior
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Yamaha RD 350 Yamaha XSR 300

By the end of the ‘80s, the RD 350 was completely manufactured in India and went on to become the high accelerating, two stroke engine that could churn out 39.5 hp with its 347cc power mill. It was also the first motorcycle to feature a twin barrel exhaust and the famous “Torque Induction” ignition technology of Yamaha that could propel the bike to a cool 105 mph and sprint to a 60 mph in under 6 seconds. It became the undisputed king of uncharted territory.

It was also notoriously infamous for being very dangerous as it had skinny tires and small 150mm drum brakes to haul it down, and hence it was christened as the ‘Racing Death’ by a few average blokes who did not yet know how to handle that much power. Then came the competition with commuter motorcycles offering lesser running costs, better emission standards and the RD just could not cope with.

After the XSR 900 and 700, is Yamaha under works with the baby 300? Exterior
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Yamaha RD 350

Although it was a bike way ahead of its time, we saw its demise in the 90’s for the same reason it was glorified for: its mind wrenching power. No other manufacturer has been able to produce such a powerful bike in the segment even 25 years after the last of the 7000 motorcycles rolled out of the plant. KTM with the Duke 390 came close to it but could not register the respect in the eyes of anybody like the RD’s command.

Now though, after two and a half decades, Yamaha has finally answered our calls and busy with repeating their XSR success and expanding the bandwagon with a 300 cc motorcycle touted to be called as the XSR 300.

2018 Yamaha XSR700
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Yamaha XSR 700

Coming from a brand-new sports heritage lineage, the XSR 300 will be the smaller chap of the XSR 700 and the XSR 900 that are currently in production and sold in the UK and now the USA. The 300 will be a modern-retro outfit that will supposedly be built around the MT-03 frame, engine, and chassis. The bodywork and equipment will, however, resemble the other siblings in the XSR series with various tweaks around the ergonomics to make it feel like the behemoth RD350.

The MT-03 is the naked cousin of the YZF-R3. We believe the XSR 300 will make use of the same engine setup as the MT-03. The power mill is a 321cc, parallel twin, liquid cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valves engine with fuel injection and returns 41.4 hp at 10750 rpm with 21.8 lb-ft at 9000 rpm. A 6-speed constant mesh gearbox delivers power to the rear wheel through a chain.

2016 - 2018 Yamaha XSR900
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Yamaha XSR 900

This engine also has an electronic fuel injected engine, and since it is a high revving unit, a majority of the power band lies in the mid and upper revs of the rev range. This will make the XSR 300 a spirited motorcycle to ride on, showing enough zest to quickly zip through the roads ahead of it.

Since the engine layout is a twin cylinder format and four-stroked, the refinement levels are very high, with the engine showing no signs of vibrations even on the higher end of the usable rev range. This makes us purists a little grumpy and unsettled because this then will not be able to mimic anything how the RD’s engine felt under the belly or even heard. You will definitely not get that essence of a 2-stroke powerhouse amidst all the modern electronics and technology masking it.

After the XSR 900 and 700, is Yamaha under works with the baby 300? Exterior
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Yamaha MT-03

The XSR 300 is expected to be built around the Bridge Tubular frame chassis as on the MT-03 and be equipped with similar suspension and braking setups and will also run on similar spec wheels and tires.

However, we won’t be seeing any of it until 2018 when it is scheduled to be showcased to the general folks. Yamaha has made no official announcements till date about the RD replacement, but if anything has to be believed, we are on high hopes of Yamaha making it a point to get the XSR 300 to the American soil and give people a reminiscence of the greatest emperor in the pages of the brand’s history books.

After the XSR 900 and 700, is Yamaha under works with the baby 300? Exterior
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Source: TMC

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