INCE GETTING OUT AND riding new motorcycles isn’t an option with the ongoing nationwide lockdown, we take a trip down memory lane to my very first motorcycle, a 1991 Yamaha RX-100
I have been fascinated by two-wheeled devices for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories include being held up at the window of our first-floor flat in Dadar Parsi Colony, peering at the outside world and watching these things whizz by, wondering how they stay upright. I also remember lying awake in bed at night listening to the area’s teens ripping around on their RXs, RDs, and Shoguns. To me, they were heroes and, while my parents complained about the ruckus created by the screaming two-strokes, I swore to myself that I, too, would one day keep the neighbourhood awake on my own two-wheeled rocket.
My dream was finally realised around the turn of the century, when, at the tender age of 16, I became the proud owner of a sparingly used, 10-year-old Yamaha RX-100 with the registration number MH-04 AB 9940, introduced to me by a local mechanic and bought for the princely sum of Rs 16,500. While I often borrowed bikes from friends and regularly sneaked out my mum’s 50-cc Bajaj Sunny, this was my very first own bike and I couldn’t have been happier.
Many people wish to get into motorcycling for the perceived independence and freedom associated with life on two wheels, but for me, I just wanted to go fast; and my first motorcycle fulfilled this need for speed.
The RX-100 is a simple machine, with a 11-hp, 98-cc air-cooled two-stroke single nestled within a steel double-cradle frame, drum brakes at both ends, and instrumentation that was limited to a speedometer. But for a teenage me, I couldn’t have asked for more. In retrospect, having a young, brash, and careless teen on what was a fast motorcycle for the time seemed like a recipe for disaster, but I guess luck was on my side. I survived countless late-night rides to Lonavala, simply for a cup of with friends, street racing along Marine Drive till the wee hours, and abusing the clutch mercilessly learning to wheelie.
This was the machine on which I saw my first 100 km/h, had my first crash when a careless driver pushed me off the road, and had innumerable close calls that could have ended extremely badly; but my love for motorcycles only grew and continues to grow to this day.
Today I am privileged that I get to travel the world test-riding so many of the latest and greatest motorcycles as soon as they are launched. However, my first bike will always have a special place in my heart. It gave me my first taste of freedom, satisfied my need for speed, and put me face-to-face with my mortality at an early age. Even now, so many years later, the sound of a screaming two-stroke and the sight of its white smoke leave me smiling nostalgically, yearning for those simpler days.
— Anosh Khumbatta