There are some motorcycles in the Indian market which have went on writing success stories for being pioneers in some aspect or the other. While a majority of these bikes have departed in the history books, some continue to glorify the market even today.
But there exist a class of motorcycles, which after having a successful run in the market, were shown the doors by their manufacturer. But sooner or later, the manufacturer of such bikes realized that those very products still had the potential to give the established players of the market a run for their money. Which is why, these bikes were brought back or relaunched in the Indian market.
But it has to be known that the Indian two wheeler market is not too forgiving like most of the other international markets. Once an image of a product is imprinted on the minds of the consumers here, it is very hard for the companies to revive that image, even if it’s on a positive note, so as to improve it even further. This is the reason why the respective manufacturers took the opportunity of relaunching such bikes with an all new name.
Now this class if bikes usually are the same models which were discontinued by their makers. But in most of the cases, the companies have used the opportunity to ralaunch the bikes with a couple of noticeable changes, apart from a different name. We bring to you a list of ten such bikes, which were discontinued by their parent makers for some reasons, but were brought back in the wake of some amount of customer interest still alive for them. Some of them were hits, while others proved to be duds even after being excellent packages. Here’s the list of those ten bikes.
Hero has been praised a lot in recent times for introducing the idle start stop system (i3S) technology in the world of Indian two wheeler motoring, which made its debut in the Splendor iSmart. But one look of the Splendor iSmart will tell you that it is essentially not an all new bike, as Hero MotoCorp promotes it.
The Splendor iSmart is basically the good old Splendor NXG which was the first different 100cc motorcycle based on the platform of the legendary Splendor. The 97.2cc engine, body panels and instrument cluster have been retained in the exact way as they were in the Splendor NXG, though the split pillion grab rails as well as body graphics are completely new on the Splendor iSmart. Also, the most significant addition happens to be the i3S switch on the right hand side switchgear.
Even the four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 97.2cc engine has been retained from the Splendor NXG, though in a increased state of tune. The performance figures now stand at 8.36 PS of power and 8.04 Nm of torque. The Splendor iSmart too faces the same issue which the Splendor NXG faced – the quirky styling is not to everybody’s taste. But the addition of i3S technology surely has added some zing to the otherwise bland motorcycle which the Splendor iSmart is.
When Bajaj decided to discontinue the Kawasaki Eliminator back in 2004, it raised many eyebrows as the motorcycle was one of the most distinctive motorcycles of that time. Though, it was not meant to be a permanent vacant space, as Bajaj was quick enough to come up with the Avenger in 2005.
For starters, it is easy to understand that the Bajaj Avenger is the same machine as the Kawasaki Eliminator, though with a different name, of course. The low slung unique cruiser-esque styling is a boon for a majority of cruiser aficionados, who are on a strict budget.
Even the first generation Bajaj Avenger was powered with the same four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 180cc engine, which the Kawasaki Eliminator was powered with. Though the current generation model is powered by a four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 220cc engine. Shared with the Pulsar 220F, this engine pumps out a healthy 19.03 PS of power and 17.5 Nm of torque. Though, the original styling of the Bajaj Avenger has been kept intact, even after almost ten years since its inception with the new name.
Remember the first generation model of the Yamaha YZF R15? Of course, it is too soon to forget the brilliant machinery which that R15 was. The bike which brought down the MotoGP genes at a much affordable price was surely a treat for all those motorcyclists who did crave for such a motorcycle for a very long time.
The bike was replaced with a more focused and more racy looking YZF R15 version 2.0 in 2011. Though, a majority of the ardent fans of R15 still feel that the first generation model had a slightly more focused dynamics and obviously much more pillion comfort than the R15 Version 2.0. This resulted in Yamaha bringing back the first generation model with the name YZF R15s.
The R15s basically carries the same silhouette of the erstwhile R15, though there are a couple of changes which make it look more contemporary and technically advanced than before. This time, the R15s shares the aluminium swingarm and 130mm rear radial tyre with the R15 Version 2.0, which definitely aid in its improved dynamics and ride quality. The best part of the bike is that it comes with the same unibody seat, which is much more comfortable than the split seats of the R15 Version 2.0. What is even better is that the four stroke, single cylinder, liquid cooled, fuel injected 149cc engine, which delivers 17 PS of power and 14.6 Nm of torque and is known for being technically highly advanced, has also been retained in the R15s.
Yamaha never managed to strike the gold in the lower end of the motorcycle market in India, with all of its 100-110cc four stroke offerings ending up in the same fate of being a low volume seller for the parent brand. One such motorcycle was the YBR 110, which was the last new 110cc motorcycle Yamaha introduced in the Indian market.
Though there was nothing new in the YBR 110, as the motorcycle was nothing but a slightly revamped Alba 106 – a motorcycle which it replaced. The Alba was launched as a replacement model of the Libero G5, but was not too popular in its segment. In an attempt to change its fortunes, Yamaha relaunched the motorcycle with the same body panels and powertrain with bringing some minute changes such as new body decals, basic pillion grab rail and redesigned front visor, and launched it with the name ‘YBR 110’.
The YBR 110 was powered with Yamaha’s tried and tested four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 106cc engine, which pumped out 7.6 PS of power and 7.5 Nm of torque. The YBR 110 is no longer in production now.
Much like the YBR 110, the Yamaha YBR 125 too was launched as a replacement model for the 4-speed Gladiator, which for some unknown reasons was a dud seller for Yamaha even after being an extremely brilliant motorcycle. With the YBR 125, Yamaha toned down the glitzy appeal of the Gladiator, by making the styling a bit more sober and basic. For enthusiasts, Yamaha offered the 5-speed Gladiator with the name Gladiator Type SS.
The YBR 110 did offered a couple of minute cosmetic changes at front and rear over the Alba, but the YBR 125 carried exactly the same body panels an powertrain of the 4-speed Gladiator. The YBR 125 was powered by the same four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 123cc engine, mated to a four speed gearbox. The engine, which pumped out 10.8 PS of power and 10.4 Nm of torque, was shared with the Gladiator. The YBR 125 too was discontinued along with the YBR 110 in 2015.
Perhaps the most dated looking scooter currently available in the Indian market today, the Duro DZ 125 is essentially the same good old Kinetic Nova which generated a good amount of response for its mechanical prowess, with new mechanicals under its skin. The production of this scooter was discontinued by Mahindra due to reduction in demand in the wake of its new 110cc scooter, Gusto, but has been brought again to cater to a wide audience which thinks that the Duro DZ still has the ability to take on the well heeled competition.
The Duro DZ 125 shares its skin with the previously available Kinetic Nova, though there have been some changes to the design, such as redesigned headlamp unit, new rear view mirrors, new side body decals, new exhaust pipe and pillion grab rail. The new model which has been brought back to the table also comes with a new Mahindra logo embossed in a silver back panel on the front apron.
Unlike the 135cc engine on the Kinetic Nova, the Duro DZ 125 shares its four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 124.6cc engine with its stable mate, the Rodeo UZO 125. This engine belts out 8.6 bhp of power and 9 Nm of torque.
Not too long in the early 2000s, when the era of two strokers was coming to an end, Kinetic reignited the segment of two stroke scooters by launching the young and chic looking Zing. The two stroke Zing was one of the most affordable scooters of that time, which became an instant hit, especially among the teenager girls.
But when Kinetic was taken over by the Mahindra group under Mahindra Two Wheelers, in order to remove ambiguity, the scooter was relaunched with a new name – Kine. The scooter worn the same clothes as the Zing, that means, there was absolutely no change to the overall design of the scooter, save for different body graphics.
Even the basic and puny two stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 71.5cc engine from the Kinetic Zing was carried forward for the Mahindra Kine. The puny engine was good enough for producing only 3.8 PS of power and 5 Nm of torque, thus making it only a strict city ride. The Mahindra Kine is no longer in production, thanks to the stricter emission norms which have shown the doors to all the two stroke bikes in the country.
After making a lukewarm debut in the Indian market with its scooter offerings like the Kine, Flyte, Rodeo and Duro, Mahindra started its innings in the motorcycle market of the country by launching its first ever motorcycle in the form of Stallio. Though the motorcycle had a decent engine and was quite kitted out with interesting features for its segment, the weird and bland design of the motorcycle killed the consumer interest on this motorcycle.
Though Mahindra discontinued the motorcycle much sooner than expected, it did not gave, maybe it was the emotional attachment towards the Stallio as its first ever motorcycle. This may be the reason why after an extensive research, Mahindra did relaunch the motorcycle with the name Pantero. The motorcycle though came with the same design as before, but now boasted attractive body decals, while the feature list as well as the four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 106.7cc engine were borrowed from the Stallio.
On the Pantero though, the 106.7cc engine was a much improved unit over its erstwhile version, with the power and torque outputs standing at 8.5 PS and 8.5 Nm respectively. Sadly, the Pantero too met the same fate as the Stallio, and with dying interest towards this motorcycle, Mahindra finally pulled off the plug from the Pantero in 2015.
A well known manufacturer of retro styled roadsters like the Bullet series, Royal Enfield broke the ice by launching the country’s first ever indigenously developed cruiser motorcycle, Lightning 535. The motorcycle came with a distinctive styling with high set handlebar, low slung seat and forward set foot pegs, like in a typical cruiser motorcycle. Soon after the Lightning 535, Royal Enfield launched its 350cc counterpart, the Lightning 350 as well. Sadly, the motorcycle did not lasted too long in the Indian market.
Though Royal Enfield was in no mood of giving up, and for his reason, the motorcycle was brought back to the Indian market with a new name – Thunderbird 350. This time, the motorcycle retained more or less the same design, but the powertrain was thoroughly reworked. The Thunderbird 350 debuted with a four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 346cc unit construction engine, which came with twin spark plugs. The engine, which continues to power the Thunderbird 350 even today, makes 20 PS of power and 28 Nm of torque, which makes it a delight for all those motorcyclists who want a motorcycle to cover up unlimited miles in their life.
Kinetic created quite a stir in the Indian market, when it launched a couple of Hyosung offerings back in 2001. The two motorcycles, Comet 250 roadster and Aquila 250 cruiser, were launched with the intention of selling limited numbers to scale up the brand image of Kinetic in the Indian market as a motorcycle maker as well. Sadly, due to the limitations from the manufacturer end, both the motorcycles were sold in limited numbers, though all the units sold out quickly like hot cakes.
Thankfully, Hyosung entered into the Indian market independently a few years later, and ten years down the lane, it has brought back the same cruiser motorcycle with a new name – Aquila GV 250. The Aquila GV 250 is the same V-twin Aquila 250 cruiser, though the body panels have been mildly redesigned to make it appear like a modern day motorcycle. The current generation Hyosung Aquila GV 250 is powered by a four stroke, two cylinder, oil cooled, 249cc engine, which belts out 26.4 PS of power and 21.37 Nm of torque.