Modern: Mahindra Mojo
Undeniably cool, the Yezdi was more than just a two-stroke bike with a lot of power. It was instead a very useable two stroke bike with a decent amount of power. It could cruise all day long, but wouldn’t disappoint you, either in the way it rode or the aural pleasure it offered. It stayed out of the limelight but is loved and cared for, even today.
In the modern scenario, that’s very much like the Mahindra Mojo, which rides well, has touring capabilities of larger bikes, but has stayed away from the glamour world. But it has enough character especially in the design that can effectively make it the modern day Roadking, don’t you think?
Royal Enfield Bullet
Modern: Royal Enfield Thunderbird
After setting its base in India, Royal Enfield went to become the easy choice for anyone who wanted to go the extra mile. Irrespective of the road or the distance, the Bullet just kept going. The CI engined bike’s thump won a lot of hearts while the good ride ensured the backsides stayed happy, too.
Fast forward to the modern day and the same is being done by the Thunderbird. While others are more of retro-styled versions (except the Continental GT and the Himalayan), the Thunderbird is the most capable tourer here. The comfortable riding position, a projector headlamp up front, and a powerful 500 cc engine underneath, it’s nimble enough for everyday riding but potent enough for more serious stuff. Much like the Bullet.
Modern: Honda Activa
Once the workhorse of many families, and the sensible scooter of choice for many individuals, the Chetak is essentially an icon now. It moved away from the Vespa-designed Bajajs of the past and that gave the Chetak a unique identity as well.
And while the interest for scooters was diminishing, Honda successfully showed with the Activa that it’s not game over yet. The Activa is popular both among youngsters as it’s reliable, easy to ride and maintain, and also in families, because the large footboard adds to its practicality as well. Far from iconic or segment-beating (in terms of desirability or performance) the Activa is, like the Chetak once was, the popular choice.
LML Select II
Modern: Vespa SXL 150
While the NV took care of the competition (mainly the Chetak), it was the Select that added premium styling to what was essentially a fun to ride scooter underneath. Miles ahead of the offering from Bajaj, the Vespa-licensed LML struck the right chord with both the enthusiast and the discerned buyer.
Now, gone are the wonderful two-stroke engines and the licence from Vespa, but there’s a new more modern Vespa in town instead. Called the SXL 150, this one, like the Select, comes with a rectangular headlamp, has a powerful engine mounted at the rear, and can make heads turn like your Select did about fifteen years ago.
Hero Honda CD100
Modern: Honda Unicorn
The ‘fill it, shut it, forget it’ philosophy might have led to the downfall of the two-stroke commuters, but the CD100 did everything well. And while it might have felt lifeless after riding a two-stroke, the CD100 had whatever it took to keep the pocket happy. It was reliable and was essentially the motorcycle equivalent of the Chetak.
Years later when Honda launched the Unicorn in the 150 cc segment, it fought against the other sporty bikes of the time. But essentially the Unicorn is the modern day CD100. It rides well, is one of the smoothest bikes on sale, and does everything so efficiently that you might start question the existence of others in the segment. And of course it has enough midrange to make progress without having to downshift.