A long time ago, when loud, smoke emitting bikes were the norm, a Japanese manufacturer ruled the hearts of Indian bikers. Yamaha had the Indian 2-stroke market in their pocket with the RX-100. But Japanese rival Suzuki wasn’t quite happy with this arrangement, understandably! First they brought in the AX100 and then the Supra to challenge the RX, but the two 100cc motorcycles were unable to mount a proper challenge. That was when they declared war with ‘The Boss’, the English translation of the Japanese word ‘Shogun’. And what a war cry the Shogun had. Anybody who has heard the Shogun screaming past at full tilt will not forget the sound or the Goosebumps that it left in its wake.
Suzuki wanted to be top Boss in the Indian market and with the 1993 launch, the ‘Gun bested the RX100 in most performance parameters. With a 108.2cc engine, the bike produced a whopping 14Bhp at a relatively peaky 8500RPM. The bike was a bit slower than its arch-rival the RX100 in low and mid-range, but once things got moving, the roads would be left with a smokin‘gun!
In our search for #100Motorcycles we found this 1994 model Shogun, which is still used to this day for daily commuting! A 22 year old bike, still going through the daily grind without a fuss. Wow! That is incredible. This is despite the Shogun, having built up a bit of a reputation of being a ‘difficult to maintain’ motorcycle vis-à-vis the RX. And if you think that commuting to work on a 22 year old bike is cool, then you will drool at the ‘how’! Even now after 2 long decades the ‘Gun pops impromptu wheelies in first and second gear. Hooliganism at its best! Move over orange auto-rickshaws, you are about to be smoked in the fun department!
And if you’re someone who would either like to relive or experience what it felt like to own one of the best 2-stroke motorcycles that was sold in India, you might find some luck on OLX.
Talking about orange and colours, the Shogun is probably one of the few bikes to be able to convincingly carry off the colour pink on its graphic stickers. We haven’t seen pink on two wheels look cool anywhere else, except maybe on a Vespa. But that’s a different story entirely! The bike we rode was modified for participating in rallies, with an extended front fork, a front disc brake and a different rear suspension. And the owner has used his ‘Gun in a few competitive events.
The first Shoguns had the same instrument cluster as the AX100, a speedo in a rather drab box. Based on customer feedback, it later got a twin pod cluster with a speedo and a tacho. Beat that for being cool in the 90s! The speedo would show a rather optimistic 120kmph, though true speed was probably 10 kays less than the readout.
This was a proper performance bike of the 90s, with the bike being fast out of the box. It was built to be a RX beater and it sure did that with élan. It was a bike which was tuned very close to its limits, so much so that aftermarket tinkerers couldn’t pull out more than a couple of ponies from its heart. The RXs on the other hand had a lot left in the bag for the modifiers to play around with. But straight out of the showroom, the Shogun was truly special. And a lot of that special feeling came from the exhaust, which didn’t just give it that fantastic booming sound, but also the massive bump in power. Remove the exhaust, and the bike will probably potter around like a lame duck.
We sincerely thank Mr. Unmesh Uday Dounde for taking out his time and letting us ride his motorcycle.
Unfortunately that is exactly what happened, due to pollution norms getting more stringent, the Shogun came fitted with a Cat Con in its exhaust from 1997, when it was re-launched after a gap. This was in complete contrast to what the enthusiasts were looking for, the promised 16Bhp ‘Shadow’, which the audience had been teased with at the Auto Expo. Unfortunately, the Shogun would never go on to get the kind of fame as the RX series in India. But the bike left an indelible mark on every single enthusiast who ever got a chance to ride one! Even today a ‘Gun ripping through the streets, will get your heart racing, making you weak in your knees and feel like a hapless teenager.