For the last few years, the Indian Motorcycle Industry has shown an exceptional growth in terms of new models and types of bikes sold. We now have almost every type of bike available at every price point. Enthusiasts also have been kept happy by the companies with enough affordable performance oriented bikes.
Rewinding to 2-3 decades, there were many more interesting bikes that were available at that time. So today we bring you eight such legendary bikes which paved way for the industry we are seeing today.
Royal Enfield Cast Iron 500
Royal Enfield has kept the old world charm intact even in their latest motorcycles. This is one of the main reasons why purists and fans are still loyal too the brand. However, some things have changed due to modern technology. Because of this, many enthusiasts still swear by the the cast iron Bullet and consider it to be an absolute masterpiece.
One of the quirky element of the bike was its right-hand side gear shifter. Newbie riders always find it hard to remember this configurations and often pressed brakes instead of gear and vice versa. The cast iron Bullet also had the hand painted pinstripe logo of Royal Enfield and also has few immaculate, properly nerd-only features like CB point ignition. Even though the cast iron Bullets are not as sturdy or dependent as the modern ones and were infamous for breaking down unexpectedly, they sure have a charm that can’t be replicated with the new generation of Royal Enfield motorcycles.
Yamaha RD 350
The Yamaha RD 350 is one of the most iconic bikes of its time. It can be credited with starting the performance biking segment in India without being very expensive (it was a bit on the higher side though). The RD in its name stands for Rajdoot and it was known as that only upon launching (Rajdoot 350). Predecessor to the later launched RX 100, the Rajdoot 350 was powered by a parallel-twin, two-stroke motor that made 28 Bhp in Low Torque variant and 31 Bhp in the High Torque variant. The bike became a rage in India due to its performance.
This motorcycle is a collectors delight in modern times and adorns many enthusiasts garages in India. Many famous celebrities like John Abraham and M.S. Dhoni are proud owners of the RD 350. A well restored example can fetch around Rs. 2 lakh or more in the used market.
The RX-Z was based on the RX 135 and was launched as a sportier alternative to it. However, the standards set by RX-100 were way too high to be achieved and while the RX-Z was a good bike, it could never taste the same success. The bike was launched in 1990 and got power from a 132cc, air-cooled, 2-stroke engine. It was the same unit as in RX-135 and RXG but it produced more power in RXZ. The high revving engine churned out around 14 Bhp at 7,500 rpm and 12 Nm at 6,500 rpm. It could go up to 120 km/h.
The bike offered low resonating exhaust mufflers, disc brake at front and telescopic suspension at the front and dual shocks at the rear. The bike was considered as a scaled down RD350. The five-speed transmission allowed it to cruise at high speeds while returning a decent fuel economy.
The Yezdi Roadking was a powerful, 2 strokebike which was a popular choice of masses during the 1990s. The bike gave a tough competition to the Royal Enfield Bullet and had good performance along with good handling too. The Roadking was powered by a 250cc two-stroke engine that generated a maximum of 16 Bhp of power and 24 Nm of torque. The 140 kg motorcycle was sprightly on its feet thanks to the good power to weight ratio.
In fact, the Roadking was one of the most powerful 2-stroke bikes available in India and gained even more attention after the Yamaha RD 350 was discontinued. It could reach a top speed of 120, which was quite something in the 90s. Parts for this motorcycle can be tough to find but can be sourced from various enthusiast and old garages in India.
For those people who wanted thrills of motorcycle riding but were on a budget, the Yezdi 350 came as a savior. The Yezdi 350 was much cheaper than the RD 350 but also had lower power output than the Yamaha. The bike was powered by a 2-stroke parallel twin engine that did not become as famous as it should have been in that era but it has become an icon in the modern world. Any Yezdi 350 in running condition nowadays is a collector’s envy.
The name itself is a legend, so much so that there is even a movie with the same name. The RX100 was launched to tap into the budget conscious enthusiasts. It had a very low kerb weight of 96 kg bike powered by a 98.2cc two-stroke engine, this bike literally flew on the roads. The engine turned out a maximum of 11 Bhp power which was enough for the bike.
The quick acceleration of the bike made it pop wheelies even in the second gear. It was one of the few bikes that could achieve 100 km/h, though it was not very comfortable at that speed. The RX 100 had a CDI ignition system, which made it more reliable. RX 100 in the present day have many modified versions and the parts are not that difficult to source. It is especially a rage among college students in various parts of our country.
Bajaj Pulsar 180
If you are from that era, you will remember the “Definitely Male” advertisements that took over the television. In 2001, Bajaj launched the Pulsar 150 and the 180 and it became extremely popular in the market. The 180cc variant was quite popular in the market because of its performance and the way it looked. The 178cc engine of the bike produced a maximum of 14.8 Bhp and 13.2 Nm, which made it one of the most powerful four-stroke bikes in the country.
The Jawa 250 was a gorgeous motorcycle and commands high respect even today. The Jawa brand has made a comeback and will be launching three bikes on 15 November. We hope that the company makes the new bikes as beautiful as the one here.
The Yezdi 250 featured a 250cc two-stroke engine. The engine was quite uncomplicated and many enthusiasts keep it for its unique feature. It had a side-kick that doubled up as a gear-lever, quite a nifty feature we say. The bike has a legendary status among the bike collectors.