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Old 12th August 2008, 14:03   #1
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Default Motorcycles - Old vs. New

Note: This is taken from the Business Standard Motoring August 2003 issue. The article is by Sameer Kumar (ex-BSM now) and is courtesy & copyright Business Standard Ltd. I had initiated / tried to initiate a similar discussion on the bajajpulsar Yahoo group in 2004. Mods - please delete or move if inappropriate.


Question is: Given a choice today and given the rising fuel prices, which would you choose - old or new? Remember, this article is from 2004 and there are newer models in the market other than those mentioned below. Also, the question may be slightly unfair as many members would not have had the pleasure of experiencing the two-stroke motorcycles.


Law of Regression?

I see Shumi's and Sac's faces light up when they talk of the new 'performance bikes'. I can only feel a twinge of regret. Performance bikes? I don't ride regularly anymore, but I've tried the Pulsar and the Karizma and fail to see what the fuss is about. The 180 isn't half as invigorating as a Suzuki Shogun, whose tingling scream makes the hair on your arms stand on end. Sure, it's slightly more powerful, has better brakes and feels plusher, but the Pulsar is a fishing trawler to the lithe gunboats that were the RX100s and Shoguns.

The Karizma? With a weedy 223 CC single that makes 17 horses, it'd get blown away by the superb mid-80s Yammie RD 350 twin. Even Yezdi had a Jawa-sourced, 25 bhp 350 twin, 15 years ago. And the early-90s Zundapp Fury, 50 CC down on the Karizma, produced 1 bhp more, and had race-bred handling to die for. Even Kawasaki KB100s would show them up, when it came to handling at the limit.

It's more than numbers. These new bikes just aren't as adrenaline producing as my beloved strokers. Shrill, smoky and unrefined they might've been, but bikes that were available in India about 10 - 15 years ago were much more fun to ride.

Two-stroke or four?
Like they say, two's company. And four's a bore...
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Old 12th August 2008, 15:00   #2
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I am with you on that, A well tuned rx100 or shogun had potential to beat the Karizma , for get the RD350, that was on a different plan all together.
But forTouring , what I did most on the my bikes, I would like to have the pulsar or karizma [or somthing similar]as the ride is a bit sensible for long distance travel [read torque at lower rpm], and power band.But for that too I would love a RD350.
But if a bike for city riding [thats what I call it] shogun any time.Every RIDE on this bike was a experience, even if the ride meant going down to a corner shop.
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Old 12th August 2008, 15:21   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinar View Post
But forTouring , what I did most on the my bikes, I would like to have the pulsar or karizma [or somthing similar]as the ride is a bit sensible for long distance travel [read torque at lower rpm], and power band.But for that too I would love a RD350.
Hi Dinar: I would like to defer on the pulsar being good for touring. Im not sure about the new ones but I used to own a classic pulsar, one of the firsts in Bangalore. I have absolutely no complaints about the engine or perfomance but then the riding position is not good on your back. I did close to 1000 km in two days and that too in the niligiris terrain and my back hurt like crazy. I did the same once on a roadking and it was much better.

Cheers
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Old 12th August 2008, 16:11   #4
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Default Shogun Rocks!!

No doubt, TWO STROKE still rules the road.
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Old 12th August 2008, 19:38   #5
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The new four-stroke bikes are better bikes in every way.... they are quieter, more refined, reliable, safer, economical, easier on the environment, loads easier to maintain and use everyday and, in some cases, reasonably quick.

But they do not have the thrilling X-factor that the old 2 strokes did, which is why some people (like me) prefer to still own and use these 2 strokes on an everyday basis. I feel that the extra troubles during ownership are more than justified by the performance, some others don't see the point, and prefer the modern 4 strokers.

To each his own.
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Old 5th January 2015, 12:27   #6
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Default Re: Motorcycles - Old vs. New

I know this is a very old thread, but I had something related to the same topic in mind and didn't want to create a new thread, since a thread already exists. So decided to post here instead.
------------------------------

In 2015 context

We are enthusiasts. When we buy bikes, we don't just buy a vehicle with 2 wheels that takes us from one point to another. Deep in our mind, we want to have the satisfaction of knowing that our bike can go faster than the average bike, or can handle better than the average bike, or can do a long-distance more comfortably than the average bike.

Seven or eight years back, the average bike was 100cc to 125cc. The "enthusiast" bought 150cc/180cc/220cc bikes and the "ultimate" enthusiast bought a Bullet, with its cast iron engine and brake pedal on the left. Or a Karizma. I still remember staring at Karizma in a showroom, as if I was seeing God in person.

Forward to 2015, and 150cc is the new 100cc. Every office-goer gets a 150cc now. So obviously, we enthusiasts don't want to buy the same 150cc. Honestly, 13 or 14bhp should be all most of us would ever need in a bike, considering its ridden to work and back 90% of the time. HOWEVER, we can't be satisfied with just "what we need". We need to be unique we need to have "that something extra", derive a sense of identity from it. That's what makes us enthusiasts after all.

On one hand, it is nice to see several manufacturers now catering to enthusiast needs. The 500s from RE, the Dukes, even a small-engine offering like FZ which handles brilliantly. Ten years back, these bikes wouldn't have been appreciated by so many, and they would have been failures because of the "Whats the mileage?" question. But now, thanks to the growth of enthusiasm (and the increasing buying power? not sure), these bikes are becoming popular despite fuel prices going up.

So... in the context of "old vs new" bikes. I think the question of old vs new bikes for an enthusiast is very relevant now, in 2015. Its much more relevant than say, 8 years back. Let me explain why I say that:

Way back in 2006, I decided to sell my Passion Plus (a commuter bike) and get a Pulsar 150 (an enthusiast bike). The price difference between those bikes was there, but it wasn't a mind-blowing difference. A Passion Plus retailed for around 48K on road, and the 2nd-gen Pulsar went for around 65K if my memory is correct. The ultimate bike at that time, the Karizma, went for slightly less than 80k. Note, that was less than twice the price of a Splendor.

However, in 2015: The 150cc bikes go for around 70-80k (looking at the likes of Unicorn and Pulsar 150, the new "commuter bikes"). But... the enthusiast bikes go for what? 1.5 Lakhs to 2 Lakhs!!

Bullet 500 - around 1.5 lakhs on road
Thunderbird 500 - around 2 lakhs on road
Duke 390, CBR 250... you get my drift.

Yes, there are compromises in between... but my whole point is, we enthusiasts won't make compromises. We will find a way to buy the bikes for 2 lakhs, if we can.

Considering that, let us look at an alternative path to achieving the uniqueness, satisfaction and thrill that we crave from bikes:

Instead of buying a new Duke 390 or CBR250,
- What would it cost to buy an RX100 or RX135 in decent condition and spruce it up the way we want it? Get it good performance tyres, alloy wheels, new parts for whatever needs replacement, maybe a new paint job... how much?
- What would it cost to buy an old Yezdi in decent condition and do repairs/restorations on it?
- Hell, what would it cost to get an RD350 and restore it?
- Shogun/Samurai?

Even if we consider high cost of restoration and maintenance (for lets say 5 years), I'm inclined to think it would be a LOT less than 2 lakhs.

Maybe its an alternative we enthusiasts can consider now . Sure, at the end of it we could be left with less horsepower (depending on which bike we pick of course) than the current 150cc bikes, but we would get the uniqueness and unmatched thrill of 2-strokes.

Personally: regardless of what bike I am on, if I see a Yezdi or RD350 in good shape, I will always feel a deep envy. Even if I am riding a Ducati Diavel or a Triumph Rocket 3.

Only downside of this "alternative path" could be non-financial factors (like reliability). I could restore an RX to its full glory, but it could keep getting leaks/niggles and require frequent visits to an equally enthusiastic mechanic who does a good job.

Thoughts? This was triggered in my mind by seeing an old Suzuki bike in a showroom today .
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Old 5th January 2015, 13:58   #7
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Default Re: Motorcycles - Old vs. New

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
On one hand, it is nice to see several manufacturers now catering to enthusiast needs. The 500s from RE, the Dukes, even a small-engine offering like FZ which handles brilliantly. Ten years back, these bikes wouldn't have been appreciated by so many, and they would have been failures because of the "Whats the mileage?" question. But now, thanks to the growth of enthusiasm (and the increasing buying power? not sure), these bikes are becoming popular despite fuel prices going up.

"what's the milage" is a question I am asked by a lot of people when they see the Duke, and on hearing they suggest "Better buy a Bullet" and I just smile and move on.

Coming back to restoring old 2 strokes, that's one thing I have been contemplating ever since I came back from US. Buying a good condition Rx100 or a Shogun and pepping it up would be an awesome project. What's stopping me? Well it ain't the money, it's time which I need to make this happen.

When i hear a RX-100 (yes you don't need to see it to know that a RX100 or any other two stroke bike is in close vicinity, the sound itself makes them stand out) I still turn my head and wish I was the one driving it even though I am on the Duke 200.

Guess we have some thoughts in common and need to find some time to restore an old bike and pep it up.

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Last edited by Rudra Sen : 5th January 2015 at 20:26.
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Old 5th January 2015, 15:24   #8
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Default Re: Motorcycles - Old vs. New

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
In 2015 context

- Hell, what would it cost to get an RD350 and restore it?
- Shogun/Samurai?

Even if we consider high cost of restoration and maintenance (for lets say 5 years), I'm inclined to think it would be a LOT less than 2 lakhs.

Only downside of this "alternative path" could be non-financial factors (like reliability). I could restore an RX to its full glory, but it could keep getting leaks/niggles and require frequent visits to an equally enthusiastic mechanic who does a good job.
I somewhat agree and disagree to your thoughts sir.

If "cost" factor is considered, these 2 stroke marvels require as much cash as buying a new thrill bike. Have you seen the second hand RD market recently ? Forget RD just look up for RXZ or Yezdi second hand market and you will know bro.

Secondly the availability of parts and black marketing. I own a RX 135 (2001 5 Speed model), and am having a really tough time finding an oil pump for my bike. A new breed of sellers has cropped up who stock up these parts and sell at exorbitant prices, literally making us beggars not choosers. This is just a small example I am stating, the Shogun has become a museum model now, had to sell my shogun for the sheer frustration of not getting genuine parts or not getting parts at all. The jugaad stuff always gives dissatisfaction.

This will apply surely to the Karizma too in the near future.

So in my opinion if you talk about the bygone 2 strokes, sure they are much much more fun than any of the current bikes but maintaining them is a different ball game altogether. And as you said finding a good "tuner" is also a hassle. The 2 strokes show a significant amount of difference in performances with just a few millimeters of adjustments. But that requires deeper understanding and knowledge of 2 strokes, and the mechanics just aren't prudent enough today, like yesteryear's tuners.

Simply put the newer bikes aren't that bland too and the peace of mind is an added plus to the argument. These 2 stroke marvels (:Period) could be termed as LEISURE bikes now rather.
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Old 5th January 2015, 15:54   #9
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Quote:
Yes, there are compromises in between... but my whole point is, we enthusiasts won't make compromises. We will find a way to buy the bikes for 2 lakhs, if we can.
rajushank84 mate you nailed it with the above line. Although I don't own any two stroke motorcycles but I have ridden them and have sat pillion. Some of the two strokers (belonging to family and friends) I rode were Suzuki Samurai, Shaolin, Shogun, Jawa Yezdi Roadking, Yamaha RX 135, RD 350, and the ubiquitous RX100, I also rode the Kawasaki Bajaj KB100 and KB125 during college days. One bike which I rode last was the legendary RE Bullet 350 Standard CI and that is where the relationship started.

I today have five RE motorcycles out of which two (Standard Bullet CI 350) are very old, maybe you can call them vintage (1961 and 1969). One which is somewhat old, a 1996 CI Bullet 350. Two more out of which one is not so old a 2004 RE AVL LB Thunderbird and a brand new RE Thunderbird 500. Coming back to the thread title Old vs. New. There sure is something about them old motorcycles that still keep them ticking and you can still see them riding proudly on our roads. The X factor as islero has mentioned is missing in the new motorcycles, nevertheless they have their own charm and finds adequate buyers. Having owning both old and new I feel that it is the best of both that one gets to experience. Old has its own charm and nostalgia whereas the new has its own spirit and technology. Old is all heavy duty and mechanical with carb new is stuffed with cutting edge electronics with EFi. Both of them appeal to me. Like they say, "The best of both".
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Old 7th January 2015, 13:14   #10
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Default Re: Motorcycles - Old vs. New

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Great View Post
I somewhat agree and disagree to your thoughts sir.

If "cost" factor is considered, these 2 stroke marvels require as much cash as buying a new thrill bike. Have you seen the second hand RD market recently ? Forget RD just look up for RXZ or Yezdi second hand market and you will know bro.

Secondly the availability of parts and black marketing. I own a RX 135 (2001 5 Speed model), and am having a really tough time finding an oil pump for my bike. A new breed of sellers has cropped up who stock up these parts and sell at exorbitant prices, literally making us beggars not choosers. This is just a small example I am stating, the Shogun has become a museum model now, had to sell my shogun for the sheer frustration of not getting genuine parts or not getting parts at all. The jugaad stuff always gives dissatisfaction.

This will apply surely to the Karizma too in the near future.

So in my opinion if you talk about the bygone 2 strokes, sure they are much much more fun than any of the current bikes but maintaining them is a different ball game altogether. And as you said finding a good "tuner" is also a hassle. The 2 strokes show a significant amount of difference in performances with just a few millimeters of adjustments. But that requires deeper understanding and knowledge of 2 strokes, and the mechanics just aren't prudent enough today, like yesteryear's tuners.

Simply put the newer bikes aren't that bland too and the peace of mind is an added plus to the argument. These 2 stroke marvels (:Period) could be termed as LEISURE bikes now rather.
Agree with your point largely, but I am able to see a few RX100s for around 30k - 40k, mid-90s models. Let's say we spend as much as needed on repairs and overhauls (another 30k? 40k?). IF we can find the right person to do it well, I guess we will have a good RX for around the price of a new Unicorn.

However I guess the unknown factor is reliability after that. Any RX owners want to chime in?
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Old 7th January 2015, 17:54   #11
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Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Agree with your point largely, but I am able to see a few RX100s for around 30k - 40k, mid-90s models. Let's say we spend as much as needed on repairs and overhauls (another 30k? 40k?). IF we can find the right person to do it well, I guess we will have a good RX for around the price of a new Unicorn.

However I guess the unknown factor is reliability after that. Any RX owners want to chime in?
Rx's are largely reliable and can last for a long long time once you learn to tune it yourself as a DIY thing, also the fun factor is comparatively in a different league altogether. Rx 100's still have the company's backup with Yamaha restarting the spares supply, but for the likes of Shogun, Shaolin, Yezdis, Rd's and even Rx 135's, its a nightmare finding genuine parts at genuine prices.
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Old 7th January 2015, 21:14   #12
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Default Re: Motorcycles - Old vs. New

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Agree with your point largely, but I am able to see a few RX100s for around 30k - 40k, mid-90s models. Let's say we spend as much as needed on repairs and overhauls (another 30k? 40k?). IF we can find the right person to do it well, I guess we will have a good RX for around the price of a new Unicorn.

However I guess the unknown factor is reliability after that. Any RX owners want to chime in?
Well, I am not sure if I was lucky or if my persistence has paid off because I bought an RX100 for about 44K, bike has been completely rebuilt mechanically and looks are not bad either for a 24 year old bike. I will be spending around 10K for further restoration(including new paint job) and will be able to ride it for atleast 20K km without any major maintenance, 2stroke bikes are mechanically very simple and hence reliable, its only things like electrical bits that causes few issues now and then.
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