The Indian motorcycle market has grown to be one of the largest in the world. Not only in terms of units sold, the average motorcyclist has also grown up and is now opting for better performance too. While back in late 1980s, the RD350 was said to be too powerful for the Indian market, it actually went on to be one of the most celebrated motorcycles we've had in our country. Here's to the motorcycles that started it all, that introduced the motorcycle to Indian consumers and which will most definitely remain to be legends.
Royal Enfield was chosen by the Indian government as a suitable motorcycle for the police and army, and ordered 800 units of the 350cc Bullet. The brand arrived in India in 1955 and went on to garner a popularity in the country that no other brand has been able to attain.
Yamaha RD 350 is by far the first performance motorcycle ever to have graced the Indian motorcycle market. It was made in India from 1983 to 1989. It came with a 349cc two-stroke, parallel-twin, air-cooled engine. While the RD350 was a great hit around the world, the version that came to India did not feature the 10.5-inch disc brake, which made it difficult for it to stop from 140 kph. And soon the RD moniker was mocked as 'Rapid Death'. Yamaha eventually stopped its production as the emission norms were tightened. Today, it is a collector's motorcycle, with enthusiasts willing to pay five times over its original price. (Image: TeamBHP)
Yezdi was one of the few motorcycle brands to have introduced motorcycling in India. Many have grown up with a Yezdi being their first motorcycle or one that was owned by their father or grand dad. The company shut in 1996 and there are now rumours doing rounds that Mahindra may bring it back to India. Pictured here is a vintage advert for the Yezdi 175-D. The Yezdi is still alive in the hearts of motorcycle enthusiasts through clubs and is a collector's delight. (Image: Yezdi)
Launched in mid 80s and produced until 1996, Yamaha RX100 succeeded the RD350 which was deemed too powerful for the Indian market. Realising that smaller displacement motorcycles would work better in India, especially after considering Suzuki AX-100's success. However, the RX100 was not a regular 100cc bike, it had Yamaha's racing DNA and was quite powerful, something that appealed to motorcycle enthusiasts. (Image: Maxabout)
Not long before the RX100 was launched, Hero Honda CD100 was introduced in the Indian market in 1985. It went on to be a preferred choice for many as a reliable two-wheeler which was also fuel efficient and delivered a mileage of a whopping 80 kmpl. (Image: Bikes4sale)
On the footsteps of the CD100, Hero Honda launched the first Splendor in 1994, which has been one of the leaders in the Indian two-wheeler market owing to its incredibly fuel efficient engine. It has now been over 20 years and the Splendor remains to be the first choice for millions looking for a two-wheeler that delivers a comfortable daily commute and excellent mileage. (Image: Carmundi)
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