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History Of Motorcycles In India

Since most of India still travels on two wheels, bikes and scooters are far more common than automobiles. There have been some very unique bikes over the years that have changed the face of Indian roads. Their story of being iconic motorcycles in India is here.

5 Old and Iconic Motorcycles in India

1. Royal Enfield Bullet (1955-Present)

Iconic Two Wheelers

A 60-year-old Indian icon, the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 is still standing strong today. The Bullet 350 was initially imported for the Indian army, but as Royal Enfield started making the motorcycle home, it quickly became a mainstay for affluent Indians. Due mainly to the demand for the Bullet 350, Royal Enfield’s Indian division managed to survive even after its UK parent company declared bankruptcy. The motorcycle is revered nationally and is now a recognized icon on Indian highways.

2. Bajaj Chetak (1972-2010)

indian motorcycle

The Bajaj Chetak, a family-moving scooter that served as India’s equivalent of the Volkswagen Beetle, is thought to have inspired Ratan Tata to create the Nano. When the “quota controls” were in force, waiting times for the Chetak once reached more than a year. The 150cc, two-stroke engine in the Chetak, a two-wheeler MUV for thousands of Indian families, had plenty of torque. By receiving a four-stroke heart transplant, the scooter continued to run even after two-stroke engines stopped working, although, by that time, the market had switched to ungeared scooters.

3. Yezdi Roadking (1978-1996)

history of two-wheeler industry in india

Yezdi Roadking is a sporty replacement for the Royal Enfield Bullet with superior performance and road grip. A powerful 250cc two-stroke engine, the Roadking outperformed the Royal Enfields with its 140 kg weight, 16 Bhp peak power, and 24 Nm peak torque. Given that the RD was still half a decade away, the bike effectively introduced India to the world of powerful two-stroke engines. Additionally, it persisted after the company stopped the RD.

4. Yamaha RD350 (1983-1989)

motorcycle industry in india

Escorts partnered with Yamaha to provide India with the RD350, the forefather of the nation’s high-performance bikes. The Yezdi Roadking was a simple two-stroke, whereas the RD350 had more sophisticated engine ports, making it the first motorcycle with a twin engine. The 346 cc two-stroke engine that powered the RD350 could be modified to produce either 28 Bhp (low torque trim) or 32 Bhp (high torque trim). The motorcycle had six gears and was the fastest in the nation.

5. Suzuki AX100 IND (1984-2008)

Evolution of Two Wheelers in India

Early in the 1980s, several Indian businesses partnered with Japanese motorcycle manufacturers to import a number of Indo-Jap motorcycles. The first of these motorcycles were the Indian Suzuki AX100. The bike was produced by a joint venture between TVS Motors and Suzuki and had a 100 cc engine that produced roughly 8.25 bhp. It quickly commanded a sizable market because, when compared to models like the Royal Enfields and Yezdis, it was incredibly reliable. The Max 100R, India’s final two-stroke commuter motorcycle, carried on the Ind Suzuki’s core concept until 2008.

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