Indian motorcycles market at moment offers a wide variety of offering from a simple commuter motorcycle to a high end super sportsbike. That was not how the motorcycling culture was always. Half a century ago, the options were limited and the technology was also not that advanced. One of the famous motorcycle that we used have at that time was the Rajdoot 175. But have you ever wondered about how did we got the Rajdoot 175 in India?. Well, here is a documentary video that will explain the same. The video has been uploaded by EmotoZ on his youtube channel.
It all started in 1930’s when a German manufacturer DKW made a 125-cc, 2-stroke motorcycle named RT-125. Motorcycle became popular and was a huge success for the brand. Things changed when Germany lost World War II and had to sell many German products to the ally countries as part of war reparations. War reparations is the compensation payment made after a war by the vanquished to the victors. As part of this Germany had to license the design of RT-125 to other countries.
Later Poland based manufacturer SFM manufactured the very same RT with a new name and engine. It was known as SHL M11 motorcycle and had a 175-cc engine instead of the old 125-cc unit. During that time Indian motorcycle market did not had many options to choose from. The only motorcycles during that period were the Royal Enfield Bullet and Jawa. We did not had a single motorcycle that was under 250-cc segment.
People loved the engine and performance of the Jawa whereas the Royal Enfield was known for its build quality. Both motorcycles were heavy and the cost of maintenance was also high. People started looking for a motorcycle that was easy to maintain, had great build quality and was lighter than the existing ones. Escorts a far equipment manufacturer figured out the opportunity and brought in the SHL M11 to India in 1962 and renamed it as Escorts Rajdoot 175. People were impressed with riding position, low maintenance and fuel efficiency of Rajdoot and that made it popular among the Indian buyers.
After Rajdoot 175, many other bikes made it to the market with the very same engine in different shapes and sizes but were never as popular as the original Rajdoot 175. With the entry Japanese motorcycles in the country, Rajdoot lost its charm over the the course of time as it was too simple, and even a bit crude for modern times.