Earlier this week, I was surfing an online platform – looking to buy a used motorcycle. I was hitting on all good choices I could find that’d be a “Bang for the buck”, but, still could return a good answer for the typical “Kitna dethi hain” question we’re good at asking. This was after applying all the reliability and affordability restrictions that were implied upon. Now, if you are familiar with such platforms you’d also have come across the “Featured” section where some of the best choices are displayed. Of the few that were displayed in the featured, was a pristinely maintained RX100, with an asking price of INR 70,000.
No, I am not cracking up any joke here. Believe me, though it sounds ridiculous, there is still a cult following for this Japanese Masterpiece of two strokes.
“Yamaha has got a solid engine in the FZ-S. All that has to be done is to build a classic looking bodywork on the chassis and they have got themselves a buyer in many of us – I included”
Enter the RX 100
The Year was 1985. Yamaha was in deep concern about the RD350 owing to its dismal sales. Not that there is anything to complain about the bike. It was a brilliant piece of Machine with a Two-Stroke, Parallel-Twin. It was the destitute service network of the Escorts India that brought the RD350 to India and even less trained technicians that could handle a parallel-twin – a rarity in India at that time. Add to it – the low fuel efficiency figure which makes a perfect recipe to disaster. Suzuki, on the other hand, was crunching the sales numbers with the AX100 motorcycle. Yamaha had to think fast and bring a new product to the battle.
Size doesn’t matter – Performance does.
The solution was the RX100 – a 98 cc, two-stroke engined motorcycle that developed about 11 bhp. It was a motorcycle that would turn the table in Yamaha’s favor and would establish Yamaha as a performance bike manufacturer. If you still don’t get the hang of it, picture this. What Yamaha did to the Indian Motorcycling was something similar to what KTM did with the Duke 200. The RX 100 soon took the nation’s youth by storm and swept them off their feet and it still continues to do so.
The RX-100 weighed about 95kgs dry, much less than what most of the scooters weigh nowadays and developed an 11 Horses from its two-stroke engine. From a performance perspective, the power to weight ratio is 115 bhp/tonne. That was more than enough to put a wide grin on a common man’s face in India – back in the 80s. It was a rev-happy motor too – redlining at 8500 rpm. The bike quickly found it’s way in the hands of the throttle happy petrolheads and racers alike.
“Look at the Jawa. It is modern, with the Mojo’s engine block at heart – refined and powerful, yet retro in its looks. A perfect balance as Thanos would have preferred”
Various modifications were done – Engine tuning, cylinder porting, expansion chambers, to name a few – to improve the performance of the bike. Other modifications included sprocketing, bigger carburetter to further improve the performance of the motor. The RX 100 tasted success until 1996 – when stricter emission norms made the production impossible. The RX 100 was succeeded by RX 135 (the RX-G) with a 135 cc two-stroke engine. The RX-G made a decent 11.8 bhp and was followed by the RX-Z in the year 1997 with the same 135cc engine, but with sportier bodywork. Then came the RX-135, sporting the same engine as in the RXG, on the same chassis as the RX100 making 14 horses. This was a 4 speed one, whereas the company launched the 5 speed RX-135 in the year 2000 before it was discontinued 2 years later.
Though the bike may be out of production for close to two decades now, it never ceases to amaze us with its brutal acceleration and the sheer performance it has to offer from the two-stroke motor. A No-nonsense electricals and the absence of complicated electronics made the life easier. No wonder that petrolheads stick by its performance even now. The RX has developed a cult following for itself in the Indian Motorcycling scenario and has an undeniable place. We could only wish if Yamaha brought back the RX. Yamaha has got a solid engine in the FZ-S. All that has to be done is to build a classic looking bodywork on the chassis and they have got themselves a buyer in many of us – I included. I mean, look at the Jawa. It is modern, with the Mojo’s engine block at heart – refined and powerful, yet retro in its looks. A perfect balance as Thanos would have wanted it. With many manufacturers taking the retro-modern route, it is high time that Yamaha considered bringing the RX moniker back.
Please bring back the RX,
A Two-Stroke fanboy!
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Picture, courtesy of Team-Bhp.com