The Indian Muscle Car Hindustan Motor’s Contessa to Indian Automobile Queen Premier Padmini, these automobile legends stay in my heart forever. Many people don’t know about Indian made cars, and bikes. Even I was one of them. I knew about the Indian made cars Premier and Contessa, but I really didn’t know that India had a very own Motorcycle company too in earlier days.
I felt very sad on hearing that, like Premier, this manufacturer stopped production and became history now. The brand which was once known for its great tagline “ForEver Bike ForEver Value” – Yezdi Roadking. When I searched about this bike, I was surprised to see that, it was once compared with one of the most sought bikes in automobile history “Royal Enfield Bullet” and “Rajdoot”. This bike has a glorious history and a dramatic downfall. So, let’s find out some of the interesting aspects of our very own Indian motorcycle.
Image Source: photobucket.com
History and Origin:
The Yezdi Roadking was a motorcycle which was produced in India by Ideal Jawa during 1978-1996. Ideal jawa is a Mysore based company which produced its motorcycles with a “Yezdi” signature. Like Padmini was produced under the license from FIAT, this motorcycle was also produced under the license of a Czechoslovakian company JAWA. Jawa was the biggest Eastern motorcycle manufacturing unit, producing a top capacity of 1,00,000 motorcycles annually, but unfortunately many peoples don’t know about this amazing fact and consider it as a small one.
It is also considered as one of the companies who participate in GP and Enduro Competitions till now at present too. The Jawa motorcycles were first introduced in India in 1960’s when it first released the oil king to the market. It a separate oil lube system via an oil pump, but unfortunately this model is considered as failure. The failure of this leads to the birth of road king. Yezdi Roadking was the one of the most successful and predominant model in Ideal Jawa’s History. It was based on CZ 250 ridden by rider Jaroslav Falta. With this he won runner-up spot in the 1974 motocross world championship. It also won several rallies across India. I have to quote one racing situation in the history.
CZ-250 Image Source: vintagebike.co.uk
Yezdi Castrol Continental Ride:
In October 1942, Deepak Kamath and G.H.Basavaraj from Bangalore undertook an expedition to travel 6 continents on this bike. Their goal is to achieve 42,038 km ride and they initially planned that, it will take around 119 days to complete it. But, what was happened was amazing. They completed the race within 47 days and thus they became the first to circumnavigate the globe in the shortest period of time. It’s really amazing. It shows how powerful the road king in reality.
After that this expedition was famed as “Yezdi Castrol Continental Ride”.
They are no specific reason for this bike’s downfall in particular, they are several. One of the main reason for the downfall is the vigorous competition and the Yezdi bikes was actually designed for youngsters, and those are slowly opted out from buying this bike due to the release of new models from Yamaha, and Royal Enfield. This coupled with emission norms, lack of engine upgrades lead to the company downfall in 1996.
These are some technical specification of Road king.
Yezdi Roadking, the name itself has the royalty embeded in it. The masculine look of Roadking will surely attract you in the first glance itself. The most attractive part of this bike is its large unique shaped tanks, which has the monogram ‘YEZDI’ embedded on it. The two silencers at the back of the bike look very attractive and appealing. In fact this maneuver has made this bike to look like a sport material. The standard handlebar offers a comfort ride even on long travels.
The above continental ride example will prove this for sure. The only drawback in handling the bike was that the grips are hard and felt too plastic, however we could manage them by adding some good handle accessories. One of the worst case scenarios of this bike is that it is quite easily exposed to corrosion, as the internal parts have less tendency towards the environmental issues. Hence the corrosion of this bike becomes a head ache for most of the Yezdi users. Coming to seats, the seats of Roadking was real classy. It decreases the styling quotient for sure, but in the matter of comfort, these seats were better than any other bikes of that time.
Engine and Performance:
The Roadking is equipped with a 250 cc Air-cooled, two-stroke cycle, single cylinder, twin exhaust engine system. With CB point ignition system and 4-speed gearbox the road king can achieve a total power output up to 17.00 hp @ 5250 rpm and a peak torque ranging up to 2.43 Kgm at 4250 RPM.
This bike also has some unique features, the kick-starter and the gear shared the same rod and another feature is the Primary Kick can be started in any gear by just depressing the Clutch. With these unique engine and transmission features the road king could achieve higher speed up to 120KMPH.
Image Source: wikimedia.org
Handling and Braking:
The handling of this bike was very good at average speeds i.e. up to 60-65Kmph. But, while going for top speeds such as 80-90, the bike shaked sometime. This happened because the engine was directly fitted onto the bike’s chassis without any supportive elements. Hence the strain occurred on the engine that affected the bike’s handling. Road king is said to have good handling aspects while cornering and it also tends to have highest road grip. The Road king was accommodated with drum brakes at front and rear as well. Though they are not so reliable like the present disc brakes, these brakes could stop the bike without any failure at speed ranging up to 60-75Mph.
Chassis and Suspension:
As it is a motocross type, the bike was accommodated with a square tube, in a single frame type chassis work which suits for both on road and off road traveling. Coming to the suspension, Road king was accommodated with a Telescopic suspension at front & with Hydraulic Travel up to 130 mm, and in rear Hydraulic Shock Absorbers were used.
This Road king was a true classic and surely deserves the name “King Of Indian Road”. As a true Indian, everybody should know about this bike for sure. It is my utmost pleasure to write a review on one of the most outrageous motorbike in Indian history. I feel very proud in paying tribute to this Indian pride and it will stay in my heart forever. This is a “true road king”