There was a time when there were no Benellis, Harleys, MV Agusta or Ducatis. Before these motorcycles came into the Indian market, there were very few two-wheel manufacturers and some well-known bikes that were made. Even now they carry their legacy some way or the other. We bring you 10 such bikes from that era, which have made their mark in Indian bike history.
Yamaha RD 350
When we talk about legends, Yamaha RD 350 is the most renowned and respected bike of them all, and why shouldn't it be? After all, it was the first high-performance bike in India. Yamaha launched this machine in 1973 and it was powered by an air-cooled, 347cc, parallel twin, two-stroke engine that was capable of producing an amazing 40bhp along with 32.4Nm torque. Due to its popularity, the RD 350 has its own cult motorcycle status.
Yamaha RX 100
First produced in 1985, the RX100 was powered by a reed valve, air-cooled, 98cc, single cylinder, 2-stroke, gasoline 7 port torque induction engine that used to pump out 11.10 bhp of power and a peak torque of 10.38 Nm. For those who don’t know, this street hooligan once did a quarter mile race in a span of 14 seconds. So why is this impressive? It is because of the fact that the BMW S1000, which has 4 cylinder, 1000cc engine did the same race in 10.2 seconds. So now you could image the fast acceleration of this iconic 100cc bike.
The Shogun was Suzuki’s answer to Yamaha’s RX100. It was first introduced in the early 90s, with a nickname “BOSS”. It had a compact 108cc engine that produces 13.2bhp of power at 8500rpm and 11.2Nm max torque at 5500rpm. At full throttle, it could do a 110 kmph and with just 114 kgs of kerb weight, the power to weight ratio was incredible.
Hero Honda Splendor
Hero Honda Splendor was launched in 1994 as a successor of iconic CD100. In order to maintain its legacy, this bike has gone under many changes and updates. It was the mileage of this bike that made its famous among millions of its follower till date.
Hero Honda CBZ
Launched in 1999, the Hero Honda CBZ took its design cues from Honda's CB series along with Honda's original 156.8cc, Air cooled, single cylinder, four-stroke, OHC engine that provides an impressive acceleration to the rider. In Fact, this became the unique selling point for this bike. In a bid to capture the success of this bike, the Company introduced a new variant called CBZ (star) with new graphics and one minor mechanical change that actually killed this amazing machine. The only alteration that took place in the bike was its carburettor, which was changed from the Sliding Type carburettor to a conventional CV carburettor, which improved the mileage but it took its greatest feature, its Pick-up. The bike was discontinued after 2005 September.
Bajaj Pulsar 180
The most loved Indian bike brand among bike aficionados, Bajaj Auto launched its 180cc Pulsar in 2001. This bike owes its success to its advertising promotion to attract the eyeballs of its buyers, especially its “Definitely Male” campaign. Known for its raw power, Pulsar brand managed to create a huge fan following within months after its launch. Though it was quite an expensive bike to buy at that time, still roads were full of it. The very first Bajaj Pulsar at the moment is said to be worth about $ 17,000 (11 lakh approx).
Victor has been the most successful commuter from TVS Motor Company’s product portfolio. This 109.7cc bike has the company claim mileage of 76kmpl that makes it among the top fuel efficient bikes available in the country.
TVS Apache RTR 160
The TVS Apache 160 RTR (Racing throttle response) was launched in 2007 for youngsters who were speed fanatic and loved to do zig-zag in traffic. Its 160cc engine produced 15.2 bhp at 8,500 rpm and 13.1Nm of torque. Even though it was just a 160cc bike, it could easily outdo Pulsar 180 and other in its class. It was the first bike in India with petal disc brake, which offered better heat dispersion thereby allowing fewer brake fades.
The most expensive 150cc bike available in India is the Yamaha R15. Launched in 2008, this 150cc showed us what a fully faired 150cc motorcycle can actually do. It is a single cylinder, four stroke 149.8cc bike that churns out 16.3bhp of power at 8500 rpm and 15Nm of peak torque at 7,500 rpm. It was the most loved version of its series that offered practicality and performance on a single platform.
KTM Duke 200
The KTM Duke 200 redefined the meaning of street bikes in Indian history. With its unconventional looks, destructive performance, brilliant handling, it managed to attract buyers who were looking to take their biking skills to a different level. Powering its motor is a single-cylinder, 4-stroke (though it feels like a 2-stroke), 199.5cc engine it could produce 25bhp of peak power at 10,000 rpm and 19Nm of high torque. Now image these power figures on a bike that has a kerb weight of just 127 kgs.