Bikes that revolutionized the Indian Sports bike market

Modified On Oct 26, 2018 By Sameer Sheikh

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There was a time when two-wheelers were only meant for transportation. But then came some motorcycles that changed this completely. The launch of such motorcycles made the people realise that India is now ready for more than just commuters. The revolution of the high powered two-wheelers started when the Indian Army ordered Royal Enfield motorcycles for the border patrolling back in 1955. During that time, such motorcycles were not more than a distant dream for the middle-class Indian family. With changing times, Indians have welcomed the two-wheeler giants like Ducati, Indian Motorcycles and Harley-Davidson with open arms. But this wasn’t the beginning of new era in the Indian two-wheeler market. Let’s find out what all motorcycles that revolutionised the Indian sports bike market.

Yamaha RD 350:

Whenever we talk about revolution in Indian two-wheeler market, one name we cannot miss which is Yamaha’s iconic motorbike, the RD350. The RD350 is also one of those motorcycles which were way ahead of their time. Introduced in 1972, the heart of the motorcycle was a 347cc, air-cooled, two-stroke, parallel twin engine that was able to produce impressive 40bhp and 32.4Nm. It still gets love for itself from the bike enthusiasts in the country.

Bajaj Pulsar Series:

With the launch itself, the Bajaj Pulsar series took the market by storm. The first-gen Bajaj Pulsar was launched in 2001 and within a few weeks, it created a huge fan following. Though it was a bit expensive as compared to the other bikes at that time, still you could see them everywhere. This was a time when other manufacturers realised the potential of Indian two-wheeler market and the companies like Yamaha, Hero MotoCorp (Hero Honda) brought their 150cc machines. The company has given it updates as and when required, this is the reason why it still gets the same appreciation from the buyers. Presently, the ‘Pulsar’ brand is wide enough and covers the motorcycles having a displacement capacity of 135cc to 200cc. Apart from that, the company is working on 400cc Pulsar, which might arrive sometime this year.

Hero Honda CBZ:


During the end of the 20th century, the joint venture of Hero and Honda again delivered a motorcycle that was so important for the industry - the CBZ. Launched in 1999, the Hero Honda CBZ was the most stunning motorcycle of that time. Besides numbers, the motorcycle was nothing short of the pure magnificence. More so, it would be right to say that every motorcycle aficionado in the country wanted one and turned the company’s image to a performance segment motorcycle manufacturer. Later, Hero and Honda parted their ways, but we wanted or hoped that Hero will maintain its legacy or will even make it better. However, the company had different plans for it. Hero tried to impress the enthusiasts by bringing updates to it and rival the Bajaj Pulsar, but that did not happen. As a result, the sales of the motorcycle fell rapidly and at last, the company had to transform it completely. Though, the bike is presently available in the market with a different name with the complete transformation (Xtreme Sports), the original one is still missed.

Hero Honda Karizma:


When launched, the bike was meant to do two jobs. First, setting up a benchmark so that its competitors know what actually the Indian market needs and second, it had to raise the standard for the market. It was not just the gift for the bike enthusiasts, but also was amongst the first motorcycles to carve the outline of performance segment in India. It was the Hero Honda Karizma, which challenged other manufacturers to try their hands in the upper motorcycle segment. But, the launch of Pulsar series and Apache series, Karizma was not the talk of the town anymore. Realising the fact, Hero upgraded the machine to fulfill the market demands. Though, the new Karizma had everything needed, however, it lacks the attitude and charm of old Karizma.

KTM Duke Twins:

The Pune-based auto maker entered into a partnership with the Austrian motorcycle giant KTM to take performance motorcycles onto the next level in India. The KTM Duke twins were the first outcome of the partnership and took the market by storm. By helping the KTM to establish in the Indian two-wheeler market, the Bajaj put their own foot on the axe and as a result, its first-gen 200cc Pulsar did not achieve much success. The Duke is available in 200 and 390cc engines and an impressive price tag is like icing on the ‘orange’ cake. Thanks to their unmatched performance and the smooth power delivery, both the orange machines deserve to be on the list.

Yamaha YZF-R15:


Designed especially for developing markets like India and Indonesia, the Yamaha YZF-R15 brought the drastic change in the two-wheeler market. The bike not just took the Yamaha’s ‘R’ DNA ahead, but also helped the company to strengthen its diminishing faith. Based on the platform of Yamaha YZF-R1, the bike is still enjoying a healthy fan following in the country. More so, it is amongst highest selling fully faired motorcycles. Thanks to Its impressive power and the attractive price, it is one of those bikes that revolutionised the Indian sports bike market.

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