Mopeds – India’s favourite ride of yesteryear

Mopeds – India’s favourite ride of yesteryear

TVS Champ. Picture credit: upload.wikimedia.org

Chal meri Luna! This is a phrase many of us have grown up hearing.

When there were no fancy and high-tech motorbikes or scooters like today, the common man used to get around cities in Kinetic’s Luna or a TVS XL. People who could shell out a little more dough would opt for a Vespa, Lambretta or even a Jawa and Royal Enfield Bullet.

Easy to ride and manoeuvre, mopeds were used to get around or even transport light goods. Though mopeds are not seen that much in the big cities, there are a lot of them around in the smaller towns and villages.

There were several models to choose from over the years – the Suvega, BSA Bond, Luna, Royal Enfield Mofa, Hero Puch and the TVS range. The TVS moped is the only one still in production, while the others remain fond memories.

DH takes a look at mopeds that were once commonplace on Indian roads:

TVS XL:
The TVS moped has stood the test of time and is the only one that is still in production. The first model TVS rolled out was the XL in 1980. It was a 50cc two-stroke model. Several models were released over the years. In 2000, the TVS Sport got a 70cc engine. In 2015, the first four-stroke moped was rolled out and with a 100cc engine. The company still produces the XL 100 with several variants, including one with an electric start.

The company has sold more than 1.3 crore mopeds.

In fact, this humble moped has been involved in a lot of motorsport over the years, notably drag and track racing. The moped has scorched the tracks at Sholavaram and has been a winner in the Kolar Klassik as well.

Suvega:


Motoebecane Mobylette. Picture credit:
en.wikipedia.org/ Stahlkocher

Coimbatore-headquartered Mopeds India Limited manufactured the Suvega in technical collaboration with French company Motobecane. The factory was in Tirupati.

The first model was the Suvega Super 50, which was based on the Motobecane Mobylette. Three other models – Suvega 717, Suvega Samrat and Suvega Super Delux – were produced till Mopeds India became defunct in 1988.

This company too was into motorsport from the ‘60s to ‘80s. Their mopeds won several laurels in the under 50 cc class and was an active participant in the Sholavaram races and won many laurels.

 

Mofa:
The Mofa was produced by Royal Enfield in the ’80s. It had a 22cc engine that put out a power of 0.8 bhp.

It was more of a bicycle with a small engine and fun to ride. It did not require registration with the transport department.

The most distinctive feature of the Mofa was that it had no suspension. The fuel tank could hold just about 1.5 litres, but fuel efficiency was about 90 Km to the litre.

Kinetic Luna:
 


Luna Super. Picture credit: commons.wikimedia.org/ Cherubino

The Kinetic Luna was a 50cc moped manufactured by Indian company Kinetic Engineering from 1972.

The first Luna was a licenced version of the Piaggio Ciao. The company produced various models in India – TFR Plus, Double Plus, Wings, Magnum and Super.

The Wings was the exception with a 35 cc engine instead of the usual 50 to 60cc engines.

Production of the Luna stopped in the early 2000s.

BSA Bond:
This was a 50 cc mini motorcycle that had a monoshock rear suspension but there were dual shocks models as well.

The bike was produced by tea leaf makers Brooke Bond India. Production began in the early ’80s.

It had a four-speed gearbox and was used in motocross events in India. Despite having only a 50 cc engine, the presence of a gearbox made it popular for street use as well. It went out of production sometime in the late ’80s.

Hero Puch:
It was once commonly seen on the streets because of its agility and ease of use in traffic.

Puch, an Austrian company, sold the production line to Hero Motors after production ceased in Austria.

It had a 65 cc engine with two gears and there was a three-gear and automatic variant of the moped as well.

Production of the Hero Puch began in 1988 and ended in 2003.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox