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“When what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be best in the world at and what drives your economic engine come together, not only does your work move toward greatness, but so does your life. For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.”

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Yamaha RD 350 heart in a Duke chassis



Taking a brand new bike home from off the showroom floor is one of the biggest thrills you can get as a motorcycle lover! The tight, solid feel of a brand new machine, the smell of fresh rubber and factory lube, the odometer in the single digits. Everything is so good…But how about reforming a motorcycle from old engine and parts? Yeah that’s something wild one never can feel unless he/she experiences it! Aseem Singh Pawar from the city Chandigarhmanaged to fit a Yamaha RD350 engine into a Duke chassis …. and being an amateur! Here’s how :

Birth of an idea:
It started in the 8th and final semester of my design journey in college. Two wheels have always ruled my heart, so much so that, I would indulge in endless
discussions about bikes every night in the hostel with my buddies. 2 years ago I was at the end of design schooling at MIT, Institute of Design, Pune. My last academic semester ended and I had to engage in an internship for my Graduation project for six months. I secured one at Stanley Black and Decker, and during the corporate ordeal, I realized that I was not cut out for nine to five jobs. I finished my stint at the company, graduated, and during the last few days and after much soul searching I realized what was it I really wanted to make of my life. I wanted to build things and to be specific, I wanted to build bikes.

The Plan:
Building a custom bike was never going to be easy task, first thing was convincing my parents. Believe it or not, they gave me a green signal, something most parents would be skeptical about!

I looked at all the possible bikes as a base platform for my first bike. But somehow nothing was striking the right chords, I did intensive research on all kind of bike building styles. I spent days in front of my laptop thinking and wondering until one day I came across a Yamaha RD350 at a local mechanics shop.



My love for two stroke bikes comes from my best friend Sounak because he had been riding a Yamaha RX135 since ages and I used to own a KTM Duke myself and this is when RD-Duke was born as a concept.

I bought a duke chassis and managed to find a RD crankcase. Everything seemed to be rosy till this point, but things were soon about to change.

The challenges:
It took me 3 months just to custom fabricate the engine mounts- something unimaginable for a person who is used to gaining results in good time. I was at an
all time low, under stress that I had probably undermined the hard work and patience required. I almost gave up on my dream and thought may be this was the worst decision of my life but my parents kept me going.

I could make a spaceship with MDF (Medium density fiber, wood substitute) but metal.. it was new to me. So I started searching for metal fabricators, which was futile effort at first because people don’t trust entrepreneurs and get queasy to step out of their comfort zones. Those who agreed harped on my problems, and almost everyday I had a new fabricator, Ultimately, I found someone willing to place trust and and willing to create my design of engine mounts.

The beginning:
The Engine: Earlier I had decided to stick with stock Indian spec RD350 and put more emphasis on the design part. But my love for performance was equally strong. Having lusted for U.S. specification Rd time and again, I ended up ordering almost everything from the U.S.A. I gathered all parts under one roof only after six months with the invaluable help of Mr. Avtar Singh Mann(2 stroke expert).

The list of performance parts which entered the bike and most of it imported from the US.
1. US barrels (std size)
2. Silicon coated Performance pistons
3. performance Crank Rods
4. High performance pressure plates
5. Hydraulic Clutch
6. VForce 3 Reed valve
7. VM32 Carburetors
8. k&n Filters
9. DG Head
10. CNC milled Clip ons
11. Jim Lomas SS Expansions
12. MZB Ignition (now called Powerdynamo)

The Design:
In college I never followed the right ‘steps’ for design process. I would make a model first and then make the sketch. In this project too, I did the same thing and I was heavily criticized for doing so. All the body panel design work was directly translated from my head to the raw sheet metal by the expert hands of Munna Bhai. After a long painful wait the day came when all the body panels along with the engine were bolted on to the chassis.

Twenty Fourth of July 2015 is a day I will never forget, I fired up the engine and took my first ride. I had constructed this day in my dreams a million times and on this day I cried like a five year old. It took some time to fine tune the bike. Once it was fully tuned it became a holligan. This is a one of a kind experience. The bike is so docile below 7k rpm, but once u cross that mark it breaths fire. Old school 2stroke technology at its level best. The bike was named Flying Sikh, a symbol of my Indian roots, the famous athlete Milkha Singh and the shared passion for speed.






My two bits:
After a year of agony, blood, sweat and tears I managed to conclude this seemingly outrageous project which wouldn’t be possible without the financial support of my parents. I believe our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. What’s worked for me is not quitting and being passionate about what I do and not giving up.I soon intend to open up my own custom bike building shop called the inline3 in Chandigarh. Inline3 stands for perseverance, dedication and belief. As of this day, I’m the only operator; dreamer, designer, modeler and fabricator of Inline3 and presently i am undergoing professional level MIG TIG welding and metal shaping classes.”

Source: 350cc.com


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Item Reviewed: Yamaha RD 350 heart in a Duke chassis Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sheldon Dcruz
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