Friday, January 13, 2006

Yezdi (1961-1995) : RIP

Brand: Yezdi
Company: Ideal Jawa India Ltd

A brand that was once the heartthrob of Indian urban Youth is now resting in peace...

A case of marketing myopia...

I am not sure why I chose this brand , may be because of nostalgia. During my school days me and my brother used to argue as to whether Yezdi or Bullet is the best.

This bike was manufactured by Ideal Jawa Ltd with technical collaboration with Jawa of Czechoslovakia. Ideal Jawa started its operations in 1960 .Yezdi ( that time Jawa ) was in Indian roads from 1961. During 1960's Indian roads were ruled by scooters. Bikes were not at all popular due to mechanical issues and low mileage.

During that period , there were only three serious players in the Indian motorcycles market. Bullet, Rajdoot and Ideal Jawa. Rajdoot was popular in rural areas because of sturdy suspension. Bullet and Jawa were popular in the urban market.
Yezdi was targeting the youth with the positioning of " Forever Bike Forever Value" . Since it was a seller's market, what ever that was produced were lapped up by Indian consumers.

1980's saw a sea change in the Indian two wheeler market. Japanese technology entered the Indian market through joint ventures. The market saw lot of new 100 cc bikes which were more fuel efficient and easy to ride.
Ideal Jawa was having a blind eye. It refused to accept the realities. When the consumer attitudes changed, Jawa refused to change . Customers wanted Bikes that offered mileage, style and comfort. Japanese bikes provided all that. This period also showed the shift of Indian consumers from scooters to motorcycles.
Yezdi had serious mechanical issues, especially the starting trouble. One had to pump about 20 times to get that machine started. It had no chance before the peppy new generation Japanese bikes.
Yezdi realised this late and came out with some design changes and new launches like Roadking which had a new styling. But it was too late.
Failing market and labour problems took its toll on Ideal Jawa . Yezdi was laid to rest in 1995. Had Yezdi changed its products in tune with the customer needs, we would have seen a lot of this bike on Indian roads. but alas ....
Once an Icon, Yezdi has now faded in to the annals of history.


  1. Anonymous7:15 PM

    Those who are nostalgic, can view these classics at

  2. if thats the reason why Yezdi failed.. then what about Bullet, it also did not changed untill 2000, and was in demand before 2000 also.

    1. The Royal Enfield had come to the state of bankruptcy and depleting sales in 90's till Eicher group supported the bike, Ideal jawa (Yezdi) had no collaboration with any such motor giant. Also Yezdi spent least on advertisement which bullet at least did better (youtube "ye bullet meri jaan manzilo ki nishan 90's" ). The manufacturers did not realize that it's just not a machine but also a commercial product. If I ever meet any gentleman who rode bikes in 80's has always confessed that Yezdi was far better a bike in performance be it pickup or maintenance or top speed.
      I know that you are unaware that back then in 80's a bullet would not even kick start if the battery is down while Yezdi could. It was the favorite bike of Indian racer and automobile Engineer Somendar Singh, who had developed a microlight aircraft from the Yezdi Engine and has many other patents.
      Yezdi was built on Jarsolav Falta's CZ 250 of Czechoslovakia with which he had won Moto cross champion ship.Yezdi was exported to more than 60 countries for military , para military and civil purpose from Indian and it had productions in many other countries as well in the name of Jawa like canadian jawa and Jawa Tukeya (Turkish).Bullet had always been a political motorbike because it was used by British and poor Indians could only follow what British did after they left them to crawl. It just had a political base like ambassador was originally Morris oxford (again a British and has same place as bullet ).People thought ki jo angrez officer chalate they wahi sabse achchi bike hoti hogi those who have slightest doubt if the yezdi was better than bullet or not are actually the one's who don't try it themselves but just admire and follow :)

  3. I own a 1974 Yezdi Type B. Always starts in second kick. Runs without battery. If clutch fails it can still be driven thanks to auto clutch. Both front and rear tyres are interchangeable. Name a bike which can do all this now. You spoke about Jap bikes coming and lapping up the whole market. It even happened in Europe, read Triumph, Norton, BSA, even Royal Enfield's death thanks to arrival of Jap bikes. But now the reverse is happening. There revived cos like Norton, Triumph, Ducati, BMW are back with a bounce. The same is happening here too i.e. royal enfield boom. Most kids now either man RE Classic or Thunderbird. Honda, Yamaha are no match for them!!!

    1. YEzdi 1983 D250 classic here :) bro!

  4. My Jawa ,which is now 40 years of age still starts with one or two kicks.Yes oil mixed with petrol emits white exhaust smoke is one thing with all two stroke machines otherwise the machine is still fantastic with almost all original parts.Tell me a single brand of two wheeler which is 10 years old and has all original parts.

  5. Anonymous2:46 PM

    I had a third-hand Yezdi back in the early 2000s. Starting troubles aplenty.. Once, I had to start at least twenty times. This thing belongs in a museum not the road.

  6. I own a Yezdi Classic 1981 model still in its original shape, I tell you the way it roars is enough to turn heads on the road. May not be economical but the pleasure of riding yezdi & attention you get is unmatchable


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