Two decades ago, the only two-wheeled vehicles available to the general public were scooters and uninteresting commuter bikes. Then, however, a few motorbikes appeared, freeing India and its populace to enter new markets and produce better models in the commuter category alone.
These motorcycles liberated the imaginations of Indians and introduced them to uncharted territory, inspiring manufacturers to innovate continuously. These are the legendary bikes that emancipated India and sparked a revolution on their own.
Top 10 Legendary Bikes Of All Time
1. Royal Enfield Bullet
The production of this motorcycle has been ongoing for the most extended period in the history of motorcycles. The Royal Enfield Bullet 350 is a bike that should be considered a legend. It was initially brewed for the Indian army but began to be sold in 1955. The Bullet 350’s timeless classic style and toughness haven’t changed, and they still do today.
It enjoys cult status not just in India but all over the world. A 346cc, air-cooled, four-stroke engine that produced 18 bhp and 30 Nm of power and torque was included in its initial release. One of the earliest motorcycles to help free India was this one because of its immense power and its seamless ability to traverse rugged terrain.
2. Yamaha RX100
It doesn’t need an introduction, and any kind of praise is too low for it. One Yamaha bike that freed India from sluggish coach commuters and several very heavy motorcycles was the RX100. The Yamaha RX was small, light, and packed enough power and torque to make your passengers scream in delight if you switch to beast mode. This will enable you to work with the bike’s inherent characteristics.
The RX, unquestionably regarded as an icon today, was influenced by its older and wilder sibling, the RD350. It had a 98cc engine that produced 11 horsepower and 10.45 pound-feet of torque while weighing less than 100 kg, giving it an absurd power-to-weight ratio. Although the RX wasn’t the most powerful vehicle when it was first introduced, it swiftly became the most enthusiastic ride and won the hearts of young people and enthusiasts.
3. Hero Honda Splendor
Even though we complained about how tedious the commuting segment is, we still included a commuter on this list. This is in direct opposition to what we were attempting to express. But my friend, this isn’t your typical commuter. This is the standard motorcycle, and it is, without a doubt, one of the most popular bikes in India. The main factor is the sheer volume of sales; for many years, it was the best-selling motorcycle in India and globally. We are not exaggerating when we say this motorcycle was in every home. Every home possessed this bike, from the affluent working class to the lower middle class.
Interestingly, it continues to sell in massive quantities even now, keeping Hero bikes at the top of the list of the biggest motorcycle manufacturers in the world. The vehicle’s astounding fuel efficiency numbers, ease of use, and low maintenance costs were the main factors in its strong sales. When others struggled to get even half of that, it used to provide a mileage of about 80 km per gallon. These are the primary explanations for why it sells so well now.
4. Hero Honda CBZ
After the two-stroke era, performance bikes returned with the Hero Honda CBZ. It was the first entry-level 4-stroke performance bike and the first to have a 5-speed gearbox. It had a 156cc engine that produced 12.6 horsepower of power. The fact that it could cruise at higher speeds without putting too much stress on the machine, thanks to the fifth gear, gave it a tactical edge. Every driver wanted a piece of it. This increased the top speed to more than 100 kmph.
Back then, the floating tank design, three-pod instrument cluster, fashionable headlight unit, and disc brakes all worked together to make it one of the most attractive motorcycles. It still appears better than other Hero items that were only recently released. It perfectly balances performance and aesthetics.
5. Bajaj Pulsar 150/180
The CBZ may have pioneered the performance motorcycle market, but the “Pulsar” phenomenon ultimately led to the CBZ’s short-lived dominance. Bajaj, a company that primarily makes scooters, decided to launch a product in 2001 that would compete fiercely on the market and do well in sales. They had no idea, however, that this specific product would explode the performance market into a whole community and work to leave its mark on Indian motorcycle history.
The Bajaj Pulsar is currently offered in various versions and designs to suit multiple user preferences. When you see the advertisements performed by trained stuntmen, you will understand why it became a well-known name in the stunt bike category. This demonstrates how the Pulsar was one of the motorcycles emancipated India in numerous ways and brought people to various subcultures, including stunting, racing, and performance.
6. Hero Honda Karizma
Bajaj Pulsar and Hero Honda had to create something even more significant in reaction to the new danger, and they achieved just that. They debuted India’s first and most potent 4-stroke motorcycle with an engine size greater than 200cc. Combining that with a 0-60 kmph sprint in 3.8 seconds for those seeking performance is the most viable option. Additionally, it had a bikini fairing, turn signals built into the fairing, a sculpted tank, a digital trip meter, and a long, comfy seat, all of which made it seem stunning. Every biker’s dream came true with this package, and the Karizma’s above-average fuel efficiency compelled it to pioneer the Indian touring market.
7. Honda Activa
The fact that this cheeky bike was selling in the millions could only have been accomplished by the Hero Honda Splendour. The Honda Activa even managed to outsell the Splendour in sales and repeatedly overtook it as the most popular two-wheeler in India. The Activa deserves the distinction of being the most recognizable contemporary scooter of all time because it was practically impossible to find a home without one.
This scooter was adequate for the entire family because anyone could ride it quickly, from a college student to your grandfather visiting family. Another dependable scooter that didn’t whine much and was easy to use was the Activa. Its design and engine continue to change every year. However, its dependability and simplicity remain strong points, making it a wise recommendation for anyone searching for a quality scooter. One of the motorcycles that freed India from having separate cars for the various age groups to simply one motorcycle for everyone was the Activa.
8. KTM Duke 200/390
The Pulsar, Apache, and R15 motorcycles dominated the performance motorcycle market then, and the brand defeated nearly every rival with just two offerings. With the Duke 200 and 390, KTM dropped the bomb on rival motorcycles. Although the Dukes did sell well, we won’t use sales as a criterion and will look at what the KTMs contributed to the Indian motorcycle scene. Indians were first exposed to the word “Hooliganism” (disruptive behavior or rowdy) and were released from their sense of performance thanks to the KTM Duke.
9. Royal Enfield Himalayan
The Royal Enfield Himalayan was only the second motorcycle produced after the KTM RC and the first motorcycle explicitly designed for RE. Please understand that the RC was created just for the track, while the Himalayan was created expressly for the rest of the world. Indians were freed from the tarmac and could travel wherever they pleased, thanks to the Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycle.
10. Royal Enfield Thunderbird
India was released from idling in one town because of the Royal Enfield Thunderbird, which allowed for comfortable long-distance travel. The Karizma was a sports commuter that was also useful for traveling. On the other hand, the Royal Enfield Thunderbird was a fully-fledged hard-core cruiser, making any distance a breeze.
Each of these legendary bikes has sparked a revolution in its own right and has been included in the list of motorcycles that freed India. They have liberated Indians from the stereotypes associated with motorcycles and made us aware that there are other aspects of life than commuting. Each one of them is unique and brings us many memories. Some of them are waiting in your garage to create even more treasured moments you will remember for the rest of your life.