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#Memories: 5 forgotten Indian bikes

By Sameer Sheikh
Last updated on: October 15, 2015 13:21 IST
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All iconic and very rare to find now, they are still high in demand among the youth

It is rightly said 'Old is Gold', and the increasing demand among the youngsters for old bikes these days reinforces this fact. If you are curious to know about the legendary machines which are high in demand, here we list '5 forgotten heroes' in the two-wheeler automotive history, which are remembered as icon and are now very rare to find.

Let's have a look at the uniqueness of these old machines which have created a long-lasting impression on the masses.

5. Yamaha RX 100

During the years between 1976 to 2006, Yamaha had produced a ranger, RX100, which became a milestone. Known for its powerful engine and attractive grunt, this vehicle managed to attract more bike freaks than was expected of it. 'Panther' as we call it now was launched in India in late 1985 shortly after Kawasaki-Bajaj KB-100.

Known as the most reliable bike then, the Yamaha RX was rumoured to have a bigger engine from what the company claimed. As reported from various sources online, to make sure that the engine is 100cc, few authorities opened it and double checked it.

To make the impact strong in races, few upgradations like air filters, quick throttle, disc brakes, fifth gear, race pistons, racing CDI systems were incorporated in the model.

Yamaha RX100

The Yamaha RX carried rough and tempting classifications like:

  • Engine: 98cc 2-stroke, reed valve, air-cooled, single-cylinder, gasoline 7 port torque induction
  • Power: 11HP
  • Torque: 10.39Nm
  • Transmission: 4-speed constant mesh, multiplate clutch

4. Hero Honda Splendour

There was a time when if a person wanted to own a two-wheeler at a reasonable price, the first suggestion everybody made was Hero Honda Splendour. The motorcycle manufactured by Hero Honda created a record sale of one million units in a year 2009. This normal budget bike was product of a successful joint venture. This bike was later upgraded to Splendour+ before both the manufacturers decided to part ways.

The Splendour+ was later enhanced to Splendour iSmart in 2014.

Hero Honda Splendour

The original specifications of the Hero Honda Splendour were:

  • Engine: 97.2 cc, 4-stroke, single-cylinder air-cooled, OHC
  • Power: 8HP
  • Torque: 8.04Nm
  • Transmission: 4-speed constant mesh

3. Rajdoot 350

The years between 1983 and1986 was when Escorts Group manufactured Rajdoot 350 or RD 350, a two stroke muscular machine whose initials 'RD' also stands for Race Developed series and it was promoted in India as Rajdoot in collaboration with Yamaha Japan.

Rajdoot came into India when Yamaha RD350B stopped selling in Japan in the mid 1970s due to regulatory issues. It was launched in the Indian market in 1983 and was considered an advanced motorcycle on Indian land.

The competition at that time for Rajdoot was Royal Enfield Bullet 350 and Yezdi Roadking 250cc, but Rajdoot was unsuccessful in becoming a commercial vehicle due to high fuel consumption and expensive spare parts.

Rajdoot 350

Rajdoot's production was stopped in 1990 and the last model was reportedly sold in 1991. The launch of Yamaha RX100 in 1985 took over the market while Rajdoot continued as a flagship model.

  • Rajdoot 350 specifications at the time of production were:
  • Engine: 347 cc (21.2 cu in) Two stroke, Air-cooled, Parallel twin, twin carburetor, 7 port torque induction with reed valves
  • Power: 39 bhp
  • Torque: Rajdoot 350 was made in two models - 'High Torque (HT)' and 'Low Torque (LT)'.
  • Transmission: 6-Speed

2. Yezdi Roadking 250

Yezdi was based on the CZ 250 ridden by driver Jaroslav Falta who won Motocross World Championship in 1974. Yezdi Roadking was produced in India by Ideal Jawa Ltd. at Mysore. This bike, produced mainly between 1978 to 1996, had a 250cc engine with twin exhausts and a semi-automatic clutch. It won many road rallies and races in India.

As a result, Yezdi Roadking is in huge demand among youngsters even today, as it gives a heritage and royal look after few modifications and upgradations.

A nominal price can be paid for the old machine and the look can be elevated with new body setup, finish and touch.

Yezdi Roadking 250

Yezdi Roadking 250cc specifications at the time of production were:

  • Engine: 250 cc (15 cu in) Air-cooled, two-stroke cycle, single cylinder, twin exhaust, kick start
  • Power: 16 bhp
  • Torque: 2.43 Kgm at 4250 RPM
  • Transmission: 4-gears

1. Royal Enfield Mini Bullet 200cc

After the production of Enfield was stopped in England in 1971, its Indian counterpart (now Royal Enfield) started manufacturing Mini Bullet from 1973. It was first named Enfield 200 but later the name was changed to Mini Bullet 200 as a marketing strategy.

Mini bullet was developed as an advanced version of 173cc Villiers powered Crusader and was a first choice of racing enthusiasts. It also carried various generic British and Bullet 350 parts which itself defines the heritage of this ultimate 200cc machine.

Now the time has come where it is very rare to spot any Mini Bullet and if you will search for them, you may find a few units dumped away and covered in a coat of rust.

Mini Bullet represents the history of the company 'Royal Enfield', its survival and development of the Enfield brand in India. Enfield is also the oldest motorcycle production company in the world.

Royal Enfield Mini Bullet 200cc

Mini Bullet 200cc specifications at the time of production were:

Engine: Villers type 25 Carb, 2 stroke 197cc motor

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Sameer Sheikh