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Yamaha RX 100, the bike loved by Bollywood, bike enthusiasts and thieves alike

Launched in 1985, the RX 100’s sound, agility, reliability and lean beauty made it one of the most iconic bikes to hit the road.

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A sequence in the 2016 action drama Laal Rang, starring Randeep Hooda, is perhaps the best example of where to witness the magic of the Yamaha RX 100 in less than a minute. In one scene, Randeep Hooda’s Shankar, who runs an illegal blood bank, takes the young, impressionable Rajesh (Akshay Oberoi) out on a spin on his bike. On the road, they’re met with the longing gazes of women and envious glares of men who pass by.

Shankar gives the handlebars to Rajesh while he lights a cigarette, concluding the scene with “Uss din se pehle, RX 100 pe bas sapnon mein baitha. Sunte the agar chhora chhori se bas bol de na, ke uske paas RX 100 hai, toh samajh lo ki chhori chori” (Before that day, I had only ever dreamed of sitting on an RX100. We used to hear that a boy just had to tell a girl that he owned an RX100 – that was enough to win her over.)

That sexist line would not fly for a lot of people, but it perfectly encapsulates the macho appeal of the RX100, once seen as the ultimate symbol of masculinity, popular among the youth, bike enthusiasts, Bollywood and criminals alike.


The racing favourite

Ajay Verma, managing partner at advertising agency Enormous Brands, has had an RX 100 for over 25 years.“Even today, whenever I take it out for a spin or ride it to my office, I feel I’m the same college-going boy once again,” the avid bike collector tells ThePrint.

According to Verma, the reason behind bike’s reliability was its 100cc clean engine that didn’t require a lot of maintenance. “I haven’t had to worry about the bike’s engine or open it to get it repaired all this time,” he enthuses.

It is because of this dependability, coupled with its fast pick-up and light weight (98 kgs) that the bike became instantly popular among street criminals, gangsters, drag racers and stunt artists, earning it the nickname Pocket Rocket.

“Just like kidnappers actually started using Maruti vans after movies made it the perfect kidnapping vehicle trope, other criminals started doing the same with the Yamaha RX100,” notes Sarabjit Singh, creative head at MullenLowe, an advertising and marketing agency. Singh recalls how the youth back then, again taking their cue from movies, would organise informal races on empty streets and corners with the bike, often fixing bigger carburetor on it. The bike then became the ‘macho’ bike for college kids. “What Royal Enfield was for adults, RX100 became for the youth.”

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The bike’s clean and simple two-stroke engine is what gave it its power and speed, according to Samrat Motilal an MBA student in Noida. “Two-stroke engines provide higher torque, a much faster pick-up, making the bike the perfect fit to perform in races,” he explains. Bhrigu Dwivedi, a visual communication artist, adds the bike’s “low maintenance, light chassis and rugged build, plus the fact that its exhaust note was similar to that of a dirt bike, all made RX100 an ideal bike to race on.”

Ahead of the 100s 

The RX100 was launched in 1985, when 100cc engines were becoming increasingly popular, with the Suzuki AX100 and Honda CD100. So Yamaha launched its bike with tagline “Ahead of the 100s”, a not-so-subtle dig at the competition.

“The power, just the feeling you get while you’re riding it is a rush for any biker,” Verma says. “Another thing the bike is known for is the unique sound it makes, unmatched even by a Harley Davidson or Royal Enfield.”

The sound the bike made had such an impression that when Telugu filmmaker Ajay Bhupathi was looking to name his 2018 film based on an arrogant young man, he decided to name it RX100 – he felt the sound of the bike embodied arrogance, attitude and exclusivity.

The RX100 continues to remain popular in the second-hand market, and its name is enough to excite next-gen bike lovers – some of whom were perhaps learning how to walk when the bike was discontinued in 1996.

​Also read: Vijai Super — the scooter that became popular way before Hamara Bajaj

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  1. Am a proud owner of RX135 2002 model, till date I used it to commute. No problem what so ever. Stock conditions even after lac n half kms on it.

  2. Clean engine and less maintenance? Really?

    Let me tell you something,
    Two-stroke engines tend to have a shorter life due to the lack of a dedicated lubrication system which makes the parts wear out frequently. The cost of a two-stroke engine’s oil is much more expensive compared to a four-stroke one. Furthermore, it requires a little more lubricating oil as it often gets burned with the fuel. A two-stroke engine also emits a lot more pollution compared to a four-stroke engine as they are equipped with ports instead of valves.

    Shows the writer knows nothing about automobiles. Automobile or automotive journalism isn’t a joke. On one hand, we are trying to take it forward whereas you are pulling it down.

  3. It’s carburetor and not carbonator. Happens when the writer doesn’t know anything about automobiles but needs a “story” on it

  4. mere pas bhi hai rx100 in good condition mere papa ki 1993 model such me wo college days yad agae..

  5. 1990 mein jab maine ssc paas kiya tha tab mere dad ne gift ki thi mujhe meri 1st 100 aur 90s ka hi woh dor tha jab main college jata tha aur jo baat laal rang movie mein kahi gai hai woh bilkul sahi hai qki main handsome bilkul bhi ni hu par fyjc mein 2 aai thi aur syjc mein 5 gf ho gai thi sirf meri 100 ki wajah se aaj bhi hai mere paas 100 bhi aur 135 5speed bhi

  6. Bhai tuney dil ke taaar hila diye, I used to have this bike in my college days I love this bike a lot, and also love this film. Lal rang.
    After watching this movie I reminded ma old days of ma college, that cigarette on bike and all that. Loved it. And thanks to randeep Hooda to have this movie. Great, no words to explain.

  7. Yamaha RX 100 beats increases the heart beats of any person when he rides! Instant power and Grand prix sound is enough for other motobikes rider’s to reduce their bikes acceleration!

  8. Aray bhaiya, there is a blockbuster Telugu Movie RX 100 made in 2018. Must watch even one doesn’t understand language.


  10. Brilliant article…RX 100 ..that starting sound..just amazing 🙂🙂….like thanda matlab matlab yamaha 😀😀

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