Yezdi Roadking: The King is dead. Long live the King! Thursday, 9 April, 2009Posted by ~uh~™ in My Past Life, Rewind.
Tags: Adrenalin, bike, Bullet, Delhi, machine, machismo, Roadking, Yezdi
This is one my favorite old post cross posted from here.
Someone said, ” When you start liking a product, they stop manufacturing it”. True ! Happened with my Nokia 3100, my Kawasaki Caliber Croma & my Yezdi. Like my reviews on few other possessions & confessions, Yezdi is also a part of my upbringing & repugnantly responsible for whatever I am today (alive & married).
The bike once campaigned “ForEver Bike ForEverValue” & ruled the roads & beyond.
Thy name is Yezdi
Ever heard about Jawa motorcycle? Am sure people who stay in Bangalore can’t miss the puny bike with two silencers zooming rut-fut-tut on Cunningham or Dispensary road ! That’s big daddy of Yezdi. The Czech company called Ideal Jawa started manufacturing motorcycles in 1960’s from their factory at Mysore. While Jawa was 250cc & more roundish in look with a “dewdrop tank”, the 250 cc Yezdi had more lines than curves. Between 1960-85 Yezdi motor cycles were a craze in India & they were almost the official feature bike of Bollywood. The popular models were Classic, CL-II, Deluxe & a Sports model. I was pleasantly surprised to see their website – www.yezdi.com still accessible with pictures, history & selling statistics!
The last Yezdi manufactured was in 1998, the model being RoadKing, which I owned for 5 years (97-02) while I struggled to live in Delhi.
Enfield vs Yezdi
Undoubtedly one can’t avoid the grand daddy of Indian bikes- Royal Enfield. While both Yezdi’s & Bullets have their own co-existing fan followings, clubs & Desi “Hell’s Angels“, there’s a philosophical difference between both chieftains. If 500/350 cc with 25/35 bhp Bullet is law, 250 cc/ 16 bhp Yezdi is rebel. Both are majestic in their own way, but Yezdi emitted a raw, untamed, rage & passion akin to a Rhino or Byson. Yezdi is one hell of a bike.
YRK is an all-metal bike. Other than the indicators, there’s no plastic or fibreglass anywhere in the chassis. If today’s tin, plastic, fiberglass & coat hanger assembled bikes can be termed as “definitely male” then YRK is “definitely beast” !
Like OM[ Old Monk Rum], Yezdi too has a cult following in India. There are numerous groups passionate about their prized possession & long hauls. Few technical reasons why Yezdi is different from other bikes-
1. The gear on the left leg is reversed to use as saddle to kick-start. The tactics needs to be learnt carefully & practiced to perfection. One wrong kick, & the reverse pressure are powerful enough to send a massive jolt to the left knee, making it numb & rider agonized.
2. Yezdi is the only bike to have single engine but twin expansions (mufflers) giving it a rocket like look & a monstrous pick-up & speed. Yamaha RD 350 had two silencers with twin engines. An yezdi without any customization can growl a cool 100kmph without disturbing the comfort of the rider.
3. It used a rather primitive “point system” for starting the bike. That means even if the battery is down or absent, you still can start the beast. YRK had the ID electronics fitted though.
4. It has 4 gears & a neutral in between each gear. It takes time to learn the art of “finding” the neutrals. Once it is mastered, the beast is tamed.
5. All important parts of the bike are exposed and boasted it’s simplicity. The two screws of the carburetor could be adjusted to ramp up the throttle & fuel consumption depending on the terrain & traffic conditions. Carrying a basic tool kit is mandatory.
6. The 250cc engine capacity is just right for middleweights. Bullet is too heavy & 175cc 3 geared Rajdoot was too uncool for urban riders.
There are other technical aspects, which may bore non-technical readers. So I will answer the FAQs, if any, on comment section.
How I owned one
I needed a vehicle to travel from Maharanibaug Hostel to college at ITO. As Delhi is infamous for public transportation or lack of it; the general trend was to travel in bikes. I was just back from Bangalore, experience of riding a modified Jawa fresh in mind. Unable to resist the irrational urge I asked my dad for 20K “loan on phone”. I had a choice between Yamaha RX100, KB 100, HH Splendor. Being a Bong mother, my mom believed bikes enticed youngsters to a cowardly accidental death. I convinced her that I will buy a heavier bike, which will keep me undead. Once the first hurdle was won, rest was smoother. I got this 95 Roadking for 16.5k from an owner who has fractured his left leg from a car accident. One can’t ride YRK without a “proper” left leg, so he sold it to me.
Five Years in D-belt: Full Throttle
The evening I got my YRK to the hostel, I felt like a hero. I spend hours with it (sometimes it’s a she, as my fiancée was never comfortable with her & vice versa) unleashing it’s power & beauty. At 11 pm I decided to surprise my fiancée. She was staying as a paying guest with some moronic conservative bong family. I will never forget the uncle’s face on my proposal to take her “for a ride” at 12. But fortune favors the brave lovers (and the Yezdi owners).
Riding a motorcycle is next best thing to sex. Robert Pirsig & Bill Aitken has written so much, I can’t really explain the metaphysics or epistemology any further.
I ruled Delhi roads (without a license, without valid papers & with a girl pillion) like a rebel.
In winters it did give starting problem, my friend Indranil pushed the bike till it fired. I must thank Indranil for his generosity to share the petrol costs. YRK was a guzzler & we spent round 4 times more than what the lighter Indo-Jap chics consumed.
I never had any major accidents (I mean I was unaffected on whatever accidents I met with). Once I hit a metal roadblock, which was shattered by the impact. Then, I hit a pizza deliveryman whose pizza box got detached from the scooter. The bottomline is YRK was invincible, so was I.
Once one traffic cop caught me jumping read light. I pleaded guilty & said I can’t afford a fine after filling petrol in it. He couldn’t believe someone can be that insane & let me go.
The pleasure of throttling a Yezdi with fiancée as a pillion on a chilly winter night on Delhi roads cannot be compared with anything earthly. Those who have done it will understand.
The difficulty was faced on Sundays. Like any relationship, my YRK demanded regular maintenance & overhauling and invariably I used to spend most of my Sundays at Amar Singh’s workshop at Madangiri.
Zen & the Art…
During my obsession with my bike I realized, that machine has a life & feelings. When one gets too close with the machine, it reciprocates. It’s something grossly unscientific & totally unexplainable, but each morning when I started the bike, the “sound” of throttle gave me an indication about its mood that day. Whenever I forced it against it’s “will”, I had problem. Our bond was so strong that I never imagined we would part with each other. Rather, I dreamt of riding the ranges & travel far off obscured by clouds places.
I got married & became a dad. I shifted to Faridabad. I was still traveling on YRK everyday to Delhi, but couldn’t afford the northbound petrol cost anymore. I was too passionate to leave it, so I bought another fuel efficient & modern Kawasaki. My YRK proudly stood on the porch, waiting for me to gather that mettle for the long awaited voyage amidst the mountains….
But life is not a best-seller & I am no hero.
I sold my YRK to a Dudhwala for 5 grands.