Two Stroke Tuesdays : 2000 Yamaha RX 135 - The Fun Workhorse
My name is Nadeem Ubaidh and I am from Bangalore. I own and operate a Cafe here in Bangalore. I ride a 2000 Yamaha RX 135 4 speed. I was born and brought up in Muscat. So as an NRI guy who came to India for my studies, I was totally unaware and uninformed about the motorcycles here. To be honest, I had no idea of what the RX was before I saw it in my college. It was in fact the very motorcycle I learnt to ride on. I still remember falling from the bike a couple of times during when I was learning to ride it. Even after learning to ride, I still had a few heart in mouth moments because of the clutch slipping from my hand. I have many such memories on the bike.
I learnt to ride a motorcycle in 2013. I am proud to say I now own the very bike I learnt to ride on. It was owned by a friend who is a Two Stroke nut himself and unlike me, he collects Two Strokes. He owns a Lambretta, Vespa, RXZ and a Shogun among others. I loved the way the bike ran and it grew on me almost instantly. It grew on me so much that I wanted to own the very same bike after spending so much time with it. It took a while but after almost a year of constantly nagging my friend to sell the bike to me, I got it and made it mine in 2014. Also, the fact that this was the very same bike on which I learnt the ropes made it quite special for me. The memories I have on this bike cover the whole spectrum when it comes to motorcycling for me. I has seen me grow from a novice to what I am now as a rider. It has been my constant and faithful companion.
I ride both two stroke and four stroke motorcycles as I own a Royal enfield Continental GT 535 and the Yamaha. However, I prefer the 135 for daily riding. I have been living in Bangalore for 3 years now and have gotten used to the traffic. It is fairly simple to run it in Bangalore and thread it through the traffic unlike the Continental GT. Also, contrary to popular belief, the motorcycle gives me a return of about 40-45kmpl in mileage which also means it is very practical as a daily driver.
The fact is in the 135-150cc class, take any four stroke motorcycle, say the contemporary FZ, you simply don’t get the power you get from these old two strokes. Riding them felt like you were being pulled hard and like someone was dragging you really fast. It felt like you were the only limiting factor here and that the bike can go faster if it can.
I bought the continental as I needed a bike with longer legs for touring. The RX was limited when it came to long distance riding. The seating position wasn’t the best and being a low displacement Two Stroke Motorycle meant that the bike vibrated like crazy when you went fast. Also 135cc meant you couldn’t go much more than 100kmph, not comfortably atleast. As for the RE, even though it isn’t reputed for long rides, I did away with the clip-ons and put in a wider bar handle and this has done the trick for me.
I bought the bike from my friend for about 30k. However, I have now spent close to one lakh rupees on top of the money it took for me to acquire it just to get it to where it is now. However, to be completely fair, It got some major damages when I had an accident in 2014 and the whole front end of the bike was trashed. I ended up with a fractured arm and my parents urged me to get rid of it and switch to a car. I just couldn’t let go of it and got it fixed after it being in a workshop for 2 months. And as soon as I got out of college, I did a complete restoration on the bike. I got the full mechanicals redone and fresh genuine parts put in wherever needed. I repainted the bike in an original maroon which was a colour option for the RX when it came out. The only modification to it compared to a fully stock one would be just the addition of a front disc brake. I took that one off an Apache RTR 135.
Funny story is that when I went to get the bike re-registered, the bike didn’t get a pass initially as they said it had to have a drum brake setup instead of the improved brakes. I ended up putting in the entire front end from my friend’s RX to get the papers done.
How long do you take the RX out on rides?
The longest I have done on the bike is riding 500kms from my hometown in Thrissur to where I stay in Bangalore. I have also done small rides within Karnataka like trips to Hampi, Agumbe among other places.
Does the fact that the bike is restored affect how much it is ridden?
It is unfortunately true. I find it heartbreaking to use the bike especially during rains. Also the bike is difficult to start when it rains and need the choke to fire it up.
Any cop troubles riding a Two Stroke Yamaha in Bangalore?
Riding an RX in Bangalore is like riding any other bike when it comes to the legalities. You will face no cop troubles as long as your papers are up to date and is free from illegal modifications. The biggest problem of riding the bike here by a country mile would have to be the environmentalists. They are just everywhere here and I have been shouted at many times by them. I have been told many time at signals to shut the bike off with them citing its too loud and too polluting. It is not as easy as pulling away on a moped from a signal, so I keep the bike in neutral and ride off ignoring their suggestions.
What is that one motorcycle you would love to own?
It would have to be an RD 350. I had even gone to check out and old RD for sale a couple of weeks back. But like most vintage Two Strokes for sale these days, it was just too expensive. I feel that the prices for these motorcycles have gone crazy recently, mostly because of the people who run this as a business. Who take bikes from up north for cheap and resell it down south for big bucks. It has just driven up the prices of these motorycles to simply crazy numbers. The RD for me is the epitomy of Two Stroke bikes in India. It feels like it has thrice the power of the RX 135 and then some. It is just a beast. An RD 350 in mint condition or near mint would me my absolute dream bike for sure. I feel it can still run rings around modern bikes like a Kawasaki Ninja 300 for example.
I would love to own a vintage Two Stroke scooter like a Lambretta or a Vespa sometime in the future. I just love these old scooters for their charm and want to own them because of it. I also would be interested in old Suzukis. The models like the Shogun, Shaolin and Samurai seem very appealing to me, maybe because of their more thunderous soundtracks. The shogun for example is a 120cc with a 5speed gearbox and like the RX 135 5-Speed, it goes like stink.
Is the Yamaha high maintenance?
A Two Stroke means I have to take it to the mechanics once every two weeks for certain, let it be a broken clutch cable or some other niggle. Many people may find this annoying but I certainly do not and like doing so on the contrary. It makes the relationship I have with the bike feel more organic and human like. It needs attention and it needs constant maintenance. It is just like any human relationship. Also, many people tell me it is logical to get a scooter in account of the Bangalore traffic but I have never felt the urge to take another motorcycle for my daily run.
Finally...If you could only take one bike from your garage?Of course, it has to be the RX. It is one bike that I would probably never sell.
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"Move over Enfields and Jawas of the world...your H'ness has arrived!"
Is it too early to gloat and make fun of those who just took deliveries of their Royal Enfield 350's and Jawas? We will try to delve into the 300-500cc pot that has been given an almighty stir with the introduction of the all new Honda CB 350 dubbed the Highness, or H'ness for short.