6 Indian Two-Wheelers Way Ahead of Their Time
Modified On Oct 30, 2018 By Sameer Sheikh
Being among the largest two-wheeler markets in the world, and constantly growing, there is no dearth of two-wheeler offerings India. Manufacturers work hard to bring cutting edge features, design and technology to customers, but there are times when all their hard work does not pay off as planned. Many a time, manufacturers here have ditched the ‘tried and tested’ product formula and introduced something revolutionary, which was too advanced and hence tasted failure. On the one hand, we have the Splendor and Activa that have enjoyed tremendous success in the market while, on the other, was the powerful Kinetic Blaze scooter that did not appeal to a majority of the buyers here, despite being way ahead of its time. Here, we have listed six such vehicles, which turned the tables for the Indian market.
LML Adreno is one of those bikes which were ahead of its time, not technologically, but visually. However, it failed to leave a lasting impression on the market. Launched in 2000, the bike featured a fixed mask, half fairing, masculine touch and dual colour scheme offering a unique impression to the customers, but its 109cc power plant wasn’t able to deliver the desired performance. The Indian market wasn’t ready for such designs at that time, resulting in sales figures inadequate for competing with its contemporaries. Hence, the company decided to take it off the market.
Hero Honda Karizma
Hero Honda Karizma was one of the first performance motorcycles in the country. The bike was launched during the early 2000s with proper faired styling, smooth power delivery and most importantly the trusted Hero Honda brand. Its 223cc engine was enough to impress young motorcyclists and their power and performance needs. It still remains one of the bikes that revolutionized the Indian sports bike market and had everything one could ask for.
Though it was in production for a very short time, this legendary motorcycle definitely deserves to be on the list. When it was launched, people used to commute on two-wheelers like Bajaj scooters and Kinetic mopeds and this bike suddenly raised the power and performance quotient on the roads by multitudes. Its 347cc, air-cooled two-stroke parallel twin engine was connected to a 6-speed transmission and was capable of 39bhp of power. The RD350 remained the most powerful bike made and sold here for decades.
In 2006, Kinetic took the experimental route and introduced the 165cc Italiano Blaze. This was one of the first automatic scooters in the country to get a 150cc plus engine. Its 165.12cc power plant had enough power to produce 11.5bhp and 12Nm. Despite having European styling and a power packed engine, the scooter wasn’t able to return decent economy. While it grabbed all the attention and clocked decent sales initially, the scooter wasn’t able to hold those numbers for too long.
KTM 390 Duke
With the launch of 390 Duke, KTM took the affordable performance motorcycle segment in the country to the next level. Thanks to its middleweight superbike-like performance, the Austrian company’s first launch in India made it to the list. In addition, it also boasts a long list of features that includes ABS as Standard, upside down forks, Metzeler tyres and a trellis frame, apart from a stonker of a digital read-out console. The price point of under Rs. 2 lac is like icing on this ‘orange’ cake.
Hero Splendor iSmart
In India, commuter motorcycles serve only one purpose - stretching every drop of fuel. Manufacturers spend large sums on R&D to beat the best in the market in terms of mileage. In this direction, Hero introduced the i3s technology in the Splendor iSmart, which it claims to be the most fuel-efficient motorcycle in the country. The bike automatically switches off the engine when idling and switches on as soon as you press the clutch. The technology has already been seen in many cars, but Hero is the first manufacturer to use it in two-wheelers in India.