India is currently on of the largest market for two-wheeler manufacturers. There are a variety of models available in the market. There are simple commuter motorcycle to a high end super sports bike. Motorcycling culture has grown in India over the decades. If we look back 50 years, the number of motorcycle manufacturers present in India were limited and even they offered limited number of products only. 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 get the Rajdoot 175 in India. Here we have video that explains how this motorcycle made its way to Indian shores.
The video has been uploaded by EmotoZ on his YouTube channel. In 1930s 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. After the second World War, things changed as Germany lost it. The country had to sell many German products to its allies as part of war reparations. It is the compensation payment made after a war by the vanquished to the victors. During reparations, the license to the design of RT-125 was also handed over 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. Indian two-wheeler market was still not very active at this point of time. We did not have a single motorcycle under 250-cc and motorcycles like Royal Enfield and Jawa were available in the market at that time.
Both Royal Enfield Bullet and Jawa had their own pros and cons. People like Royal Enfield for its build quality while Jawa was famous for its engine and performance. 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. It was at this time that Escorts, a farm 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 the entry of Rajdoot to Indian market, we saw many more manufacturer entering Indian market with similar products. Many of the motorcycles that came to India had the same engine as Escorts Rajdoot 175. The only differentiating factor in those motorcycles were the design. None of these motorcycle were as popular as Rajdoot 175. After some time Japanese manufacturers like Yamaha entered and captured the Indian market. With more and more modern motorcycles entering the Indian market, Rajdoot slowly started losing its charm. Rajdoot 175 felt a lot more crude and had a very simple design when compared with Japanese motorcycles that were capturing Indian market during that time. There are still some well-kept examples of Rajdoot 175 available in India.