World Motorcycle Day: 5 modern two-wheelers that changed the game
Indian motorcycling scene is at its most dynamic state yet. There’s an influx of all kinds of new motorcycles, and the pie is just getting bigger by the day. From humble everyday commuters to affordable middleweights to balls-out performance motorcycles — Indian motorcyclists want it all. However, it was never the case. Every era did have something or the other that was so edgy, it changed the way motorcycling was looked at. The RD350, TVS-Suzuki Shogun, Hero-Honda CBZ and Karizma, Bajaj Eliminator, et al. These machines broke the norms and made accessible a world only seen in posters, magazines, and other pop culture.
On this World Motorcycle Day, we take a look at 5 modern motorcycles that have changed the game.
The Yamaha R15 gave budding enthusiasts a proper track-bike experience, at a relatively affordable price. Ever since its launch in 2008, it has periodically evolved while staying true to its ethos. In its current avatar, dubbed, R15 V4, it offers features like VVA, traction control, quickshifter, and slipper clutch, features that were previously only seen in motorcycles a few segments higher. The R15 still remains to be the beginner supersport in India because of its forgiving nature. There’s a whole lot about track riding that new and experienced riders can learn from this, which is the reason why it still strongly marks its presence at track days all over the country.
Bajaj opened the proverbial floodgates with the Pulsar. It was a bike that offered all the performance budding enthusiasts wanted all while being a versatile everyday motorcycle, and it still continues to do so. What started out as just two motorcycles, Pulsar has now become an entire range complete with 11 models from 125cc to 250cc, each with its own set of variants. Pick what suits your fancy.
KTM 125/200/250/390 Duke
The KTM Duke radicalized not just the Indian motorcycling scene but the entire Indian motoring scene. It made the entire country go crazy over it and planted the motorcycling bug in the younglings. Something last seen when the Yamaha RD350 came out at the peak of the two-stroke era. However, the KTM Duke has calmed down over the years, so to speak. The Dukes have matured over the years, but they still have the same DNA locked in them, which only a skilled rider can harness to the fullest. For an untrained wrist, it’s now more of a knife than a scalpel – easy to use on an everyday basis, but not hard to hurt yourself with it.
Hero XPulse 200
A spiritual successor to the Hero-Honda Impulse, the XPulse 200, is a very capable off-roader (especially in the Pro variant with the factory-installed rally kit), a good beginner ADV, and most importantly, a good beginner bike. And like a typical Hero MotoCorp motorcycle, there’s nothing that can go wrong with it so easily. And even if something does, Hero’s wide service network has your back.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, Continental GT 650, Super Meteor 650
Royal Enfield gave us the most affordable 650cc twin-cylinder motorcycles. Period. And fantastic ones too at that. The Interceptor, the Continental GT, now the Super Meteor, and many more to come, of which we have seen countless spyshots. A fantastic platform developed in conjunction with the UK-based Harris performance. So well done that RE decided to eke out the most from it in a dedicated one-make racing series called the Continental GT Cup
However, these are motorcycles, and we can’t ignore the scooters. Scooters like the TVS Jupiter and the Suzuki Access, that have gone past the expectations set by the Honda Activa – the most-sold two-wheeler in India. The Yamaha Aerox that brought us a proper affordable maxi-scooter experience, after the Kinetic Blaze (Anyone remembers this? Let us know in the comments). And we can’t forget the EVs like the Ather, Ola, Chetak, IQube, Revolt, Ultraviolette, Tork and the lot which are paving the way for the future of two-wheelers in India.
Is there any other modern motorcycle or scooter that you think has changed the game? Comment below!