World Motorcycle Day 2023: Top 10 Bikes And Scooters That Changed The Indian Two-wheeler Industry From 2000-2023

  • Jun 21, 2023
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ADVs, streetfighters, sport tourers & even scooters, this list has it all

Motorcycles will always be special for us. They’re fun, exciting and honestly they’re therapeutic. Some of them, though, revolutionized the market by changing our perspective as to how bikes or scooters in that genre could be. Be it performance, design, features or even something else, these two-wheelers will forever be remembered. 

So on the auspicious occasion of World Motorcycle Day, let’s have a look at 10 two-wheelers that were not only impressive, but also brought around a revolution, something that had never been seen before:

Yamaha YZF-R15

Full fairing, a liquid-cooled, rev-happy engine, premium componentry and gorgeous looks, the Yamaha YZF-R15 had it all when it first arrived in India in 2011 and there was nothing else quite like it back then. With excellent handling, grin-inducing performance, It practically kickstarted the affordable supersport segment in India. The bike impressed us then, and in its fourth iteration, the Yamaha R15 V4, it continues to be the perfect entry-level supersport, the perfect bike to learn the art of cornering on. 

Yamaha FZ16

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The first generation Yamaha FZ16 was quite an iconic bike that kickstarted the 160cc sporty commuter segment. With muscular streetfighter styling, chunky rear tyre, it looked attention-grabbing and how! It also gave enthusiasts a proper sporty motorcycle that not only looked unique at the time, but was also practical enough for daily commutes. Of course, with just enough power, gunning it up and down the corners of places like Lavasa was also quite a hoot for many. 

Royal Enfield Classic 350

What an iconic bike this one is! The Royal Enfield Classic 350 has dominated the small capacity retro bike segment like no other bike with a thumpy engine, classic looks and solid road presence. And with the J-series model, Royal Enfield has modernised all the right aspects of the bike without compromising what it has always stood for - an easygoing, retro single-cylinder bike. It not only single-handedly created the retro segment in India but also practically saved Royal Enfield from being lost into oblivion in a world of irrelevance. 

Bajaj Pulsar 150 And 180

These Pulsars packed exciting performance at an accessible price point Its design turned heads, the ‘Definitely Male’ commercials left us enthusiasts starry-eyed, and it was also the weapon of choice to perfect the nuances of riding back at a time when there was barely anything else exciting for the ‘riders’ among men. A lot of the veterans at ZigWheels started their motorcycling journey on a Pulsar and it hence holds an iconic place in their hearts. 

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Royal Enfield blew us away with the Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650 back in 2018, for they both were nothing quite like the other Royal Enfield bikes on sale in India. Smooth like a Honda, torquey like a Triumph, it redefined what Royal Enfield can do. The icing on the cake is that Royal Enfield brought a sweet twin-cylinder experience at an extremely accessible price tag. In fact, the Interceptor 650 is still the most affordable twin-cylinder bike on sale in India. 

KTM Dukes - 200 & 390

While the R15 stood for the pinnacle of handling and the Pulsar 220F for performance in the sub 250cc segment, the KTM 200 Duke rewrote the rulebooks when it came to brute performance. With the 200 Duke, it was almost like KTM brought back the 2-stroke era. Shortly after, the KTM 390 Duke arrived, blowing the socks of the enthusiast's expectation of what an affordable performance bike can do.

Hero Karizma

Hero’s first attempt at a semi-faired bike turned out to be a legendary one. The Hero Karizma, with its 223cc engine, was impressive! Exciting enough to learn corner-carving on and sensible enough to relax comfortably at triple digit speeds. The Karizma was India’s OG sport tourer and it’s now coming back in a more modern avatar

Ather 450

Ather 450 Electric Scooter: First Ride Review

When discussing scooters that have made a significant impact on the automotive industry, it is impossible to overlook the Ather 450. This electric scooter boasted of technologies that were years ahead of their time. Not only did it redefine the sporty electric two-wheeler segment in its home country, but it also posed a serious challenge to conventional petrol-powered scooters in terms of the sheer performance and bike-like handling on offer. With subsequent updates over the years, the scooter continues to excel in its segment and is widely regarded as one of the best options available. 

Royal Enfield Himalayan

The Classic 350 and the Bullet 350 were pretty much the only bikes to tour Leh Ladakh on but with the arrival of the Himalayan, Indians got a purpose-driven bike to finally get Leh’d. The Royal Enfield Himalayan finally gave the Indian market an all-round bike that you could commute on, take out on the highway, to the trails and come back at the end of the day, all in comfort. 

Honda Activa

The Honda Activa, widely recognized as one of the most legendary scooters ever produced, made its debut in India at the beginning of the 21st century. Remarkably, even after 22 years, the Activa continues to hold the title of the world's best-selling scooter. Its unparalleled success is mainly down to its reliability and a gender-neutral design that everyone in the family can ride. With the Honda Activa Electric coming soon, we sure are very excited!

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