The iconic Yamaha RX100 went out of production more than a 25 years ago, even as the Indian two wheeler market moved away from two stroke motorcycles in favour of the more fuel efficient, lower polluting four stroke engined two wheelers. While the Yamaha RX100 was succeeded by the RX135 – another two stroke motorcycle – the latter never really captured the imagination of Indians. Now though, Yamaha may just bring back the RX100 brand, in a brand new avatar. Chairman of Yamaha Motor India – Eishin Chihana – has revealed to the HinduBusinessline that the Yamaha RX100’s comeback is on the table, but it won’t be before 2026 when the motorcycle actually makes it to the production line.
Here’s what Mr. Chihana said,
We want to bring back the RX100 brand but there are two points — RX100 is two-stroke engine and complying BS6 engine in it is impossible now. But, certainly giving the name to a new model is in our plan. Having said that, once we put the RX100 on a brand/some aspiring model … the reincarnation with modern styling/ flavour, is a big challenge. We have a plan, but we should not use RX100 name so easily … it will ruin the image. RX100 cannot be a quick plan/decision … it should be an impactful package with powerful engine and design.
As the Chairman of Yamaha Motor India has clearly said, the RX100 brand may make a comeback in the years to come, but in a completely different form. Around the world, two stroke engined motorcycles are nearly extinct except for a clutch of boutique brands persisting with direct injection two strokes. However, these boutique brands building two stroke motorcycles have prices their products at a steep premium, making them inaccessible to most buyers. A four stroke engined Yamaha RX100 may not really have the same zing as the original. This leaves us with electric powertrains for the future RX100.
This is something that Yamaha Motor India is likely to be seriously considering given the pace at which new electric two wheelers are hitting the Indian market. By 2030, the majority of two wheelers sold in India are expected to use electric powertrains. A Yamaha RX100 of the future – with a powerful electric powertrain – may just do justice to the legendary brand that many have grown up with.
Some history now!
The Yamaha RX100 was first introduced in India during 1986, when Yamaha Japan was in collaboration with Escorts India. The first motorcycle to come out of this collaboration, the RX100 stood head and shoulders over its peers in terms of the performance it offered. The two stroke motorcycle was powered by a 98cc engine that produced about 11 Bhp of peak power.
While this may sound piddly now, 11 Bhp in a motorcycle weighing 100 kilograms was a fast one in the India of the 80s. The RX100’s supreme reliability, sharp power delivery and high quality levels made it an icon among motorcycle buyers of the 80s and 90s. Despite this legacy, it won’t be easy for Yamaha Motor India to resurrect the brand as most young buyers in the 18-25 age group would have hardly seen a RX100 on the road, leave alone riding one.
Featured image courtesy Team-BHP