Recently, Yamaha brought back the previous generation R15, and now calls it the R15 S. That’s great news for a lot of loyalists (including myself) and those who find the new bike’s pillion a bit out of reach (erm, including myself). But the R15 S isn’t the only modern bike that could still make a lot of sense, in the present day and age. We take a look at five such bikes.
Excuse the nostalgia and the ridiculously small images.
Before the multi-spark and later chiselled variants came along, the Pulsar was all muscle, slightly curvaceous, and even sported a round headlamp. And that might be a decade old now, but come to think of it, leave the bigger nakeds, and there’s no such bike in the market.
Spoke wheels, a round headlamp, and even a twin-pod meter console won’t go amiss even today. Give it better mechanicals, maybe the same platform as the 200NS, and we’ll have a winner. Bajaj, are you listening?
Hero Honda Karizma
Back when Hero and Honda were together – the engine architecture hasn’t really changed since the break-up, so don’t worry – the Karizma was easily the best long distance tourer one could find without following the Bullet route.
The 223cc engine didn’t look like a big deal on paper, but in reality, it was very capable. The fixed fairing helped it stand out from the crowd, while the comfortable riding position ensured long rides weren’t taxing. Hero Moto Corp still sells the ‘ZMA’ but its design is an acquired taste. And nowhere as good looking as the original or the Karizma R that followed.
The original Honda Unicorn (and not one of the snazzy versions that followed) is still missed by a lot of previous owners and enthusiasts. A no-nonsense bike, the Unicorn handled both everyday commutes and weekend getaways well.
The Honda engine had a very strong midrange, which enabled overtakes without a lot of downshifts, and the monoshock coped most road surfaces well. The understated styling backed with Honda reliability made the Unicorn very special. So much so that it’s still missed today.
TVS Suzuki Fiero
This one made way for the Apache much earlier than any of these bikes were taken off the showroom floors. Attaining legendary status might have difficult, but the Fiero managed to. Available in a couple of variants, the Fiero was first launched in a very sleek looking avatar, but it was soon followed by slightly fuller looking Fiero F2 and FX.
One of the first few 150cc bikes in India, the Fiero stood out, and being a true TVS, it had a good reputation in the dirt racing circuit, too.
TVS Max 100
It’s true that the RD, the RX, and the Shogun will always be enthusiasts’ choice. Heck, even the 5-speed Suzuki Shaolin is going to entice you more than the Max 100, but the latter offers the best of both worlds. Okay, being a 2-stroke, it offered fulsome pulling capacity and, er, white smoke.
But it was super refined, too, which meant, if tuned right, the bike could run as silent as any regular four-stroke. And only a twist of throttle later, the bike’s character would change…
You don’t get that in bikes these days, do you?