Indian two-wheeler market is a star-studded affair today. World-class motorcycles are up for grabs for speed junkies in India. Yet riders long for the reappearance of two veterans - Yamaha RD 350 and RX 100.
The motorcycle models ruled Indian roads at a time when scooters and two-stroke motorcycles were the only options available. The Yamaha models were the face of the youth in the 1980s and early 1990s. Curiously, a generation swears by them even in the age of four-stroke motorcycles.
Some brands are destined to outlast their time. When the Japanese motorcycle maker teamed up with India’s Escorts Group to launch RD 350, it did not seem like an everlasting model. It was not. Old fans are not amused though.
Yamaha’s president has been sent a mass petition to bring back the iconic brand. More than 2,000 netizens have signed a petition on change.org to rekindle the old passion. Martin Zacharia, who triggered the online petition, wants a revamped RD 350 that retains its old form.
The classic look bike with a sophisticated engine would be something to cheer for the youngsters of the past.
The RD, or “Race Derived,” motorcycle was launched globally by Yamaha in the 1970s. The motorcycle served the Japanese market from 1973 to 1975. When copied to India, the RD came in high-torque and low-torque models.
Both models carried 347 cc engines. The high-torque model had 39 Bhp and the low-torque model 27 Bhp. The high-torque models went out of production in 1985, though low-torque models were available from 1983 to 1989.
The Yamaha RX 100 was a rage in the 1980s and 1990s. The Escorts-Yamaha read the market signals well and came up with a smaller-engine motorcycle in 1985.
The first models were imported from Japan and assembled in India. The RX 100 was a worthy successor of the RD 350.
The motorcycle carried a 98 cc, two-stroke, single-cylinder engine with 10.85 bhp power. It soon became the most popular motorbike from the Yamaha stable.
The RX models, however, received a setback when the Indian authorities tightened the environmental pollution rules that were tough on two-stroke engines. Yamaha stopped producing the RX 100 in 1996.