Bikes, they say, have character. Of course, they do. And what’s the point in enjoying that without letting your children, grand children, or even great grand children cherish the automotive masterpieces. We look at such bikes that must be passed on to the next generations.

Bullet CI


Why? Low-end torque, style

Much before Royal Enfield debuted the 411 cc Himalayan, and the Unit Construction Engine-d units, the Madras-based bike-maker used cast iron engines to power its bikes. Apart from the noticeable (and much loved) ‘thump’ noise, the heavy crank engines had the ability to develop torque very low in the rev range. So while it did take them some time to reach top speed, being in a higher gear and picking up from a very low rpm was never an issue. That made the Bullet CI an ideal companion to pootle around town. The added stability ensured it was stellar on the highway, too. And the best of it all, unlike other bikes, you could directly shift to neutral, like one would in a car.

Yamaha RD350

RD350 Yamaha

Why? Most powerful bike for the longest period/6-speed

With the increased love for superbikes in the country, it makes all the right sense to enjoy something front the past. The Yamaha RD350 made about 32 hp, which was less than what it made internationally, and Yamaha further detuned it to about 29 hp, but even then, the RD stayed one of the most powerful bikes in the country. Finding one is tough if you’re on a budget, but if you own one, do not sell yours.



Why? Semi-Auto clutch, high torque

The Yezdi was, and still is, in a class of its own. The high-torque, two-stroke engine makes it a great companion both in the city and on the highway. Perfectly restored examples aren’t cheap to procure but they certainly look better than most retro-styled modern bikes. The semi-automatic clutch in some models let the riders change gears without using the clutch, which increases its appeal even further.

Kawasaki Bajaj Eliminator


Why? First affordable cruiser

The Kawasaki Bajaj connection wasn’t confined to the Caliber, the Boxer, or the KBs alone. We also got the country’s first cruiser, the Eliminator. The precursor the current Avenger went on achieve legendary status in the country, thanks to its relatively low price (sub-1 lakh) and modern mechanicals. The comfortable ride won many hearts and so did the styling.



Why? Rugged

TVS’s great past with two-strokes included the almost indestructible Max 100, but the modern avatar of it — four-stroke engined — was no less capable. The bike gets a proper ability to carry loads instead of a pillion, which works great especially if you’re need to traverse bad roads and have to carry luggage at the same time. The scooters of course don’t cut it, and other bikes can only have a makeshift arrangement to carry something. But the Max 4R shines, and the powerful engine doesn’t disappoint, either.

Kinetic Blaze


Why? India’s first maxi-scooter — a powerful one at that

Brought into India by Kinetic, made by Italjet, the Blaze was a stonker of a scooter. It could outrun bikes more powerful than it, handle like no other scooter in the past, and to top it all, do all of it while looking cool. The 165 cc engine made about 11.6 hp, which still remains to be bettered by new-age entrants in the segment. Wow!

Sources: 4, 6