Well, the great HH CD100 SS was launched a million years ago, perhaps. For the reason that I have driven it only recently, I have put pen to paper to share the incident. Never mind.
You see, this bike was launched in a time when the market was ruled by dazzling two stroke vehicles. This I can state is the first victorious four stroke model to be launched in India.
Naturally, as it was designed to be cheap and efficient it was not quite a looker. There are some better looking kangaroos than this.
And then there is the seating position. Doing man-love to a Taliban would be more relaxing. The heel shift was unreachable. Instead of fitting it with a clutch they have fitted it with a paper clip, so you get about two millimetres of movement. Instead of a speedometer they have given it a ruler.
I could comprehend that it did not come with an electric starter, as it was launched long ago. But they should have given a hammer to start it. I had to stand on the kick start lever and vigorously jump to get it started. Then it will produce a bass filled, dog-frightening exhaust note.
After fiddling with the clutch for about fifteen minutes, I eventually got it going. And god was I thrilled when I had to slow down for a narrow path. The front brakes were entirely gone. So, you have to use only the rear one which works like a binary apparatus. You either go at the same speed or lock the wheels completely and go sideways and crash.
And in traffic, the clutch was so annoying it kept on stalling and broke down in the middle of the road. After spending some time looking at it, it wheezed into life again and I drove at a snail’s pace and reached the freeway.
The gear shifts were solely based on instincts and luck. On fourth gear it hit forty-ish and that was it. I can’t tell exactly because the speedo wasn’t bothered to show me. But trust me that was too fast considering the fact that the wheels were sort of out of shape, so you don’t go in a straight line and there was only two millimetre of tyre left which can provide as much grip as walking on oil wearing sandals.
When the road was broken and bad, the bike started to disintegrate, atleast sounded like it would. Avoiding the patches and driving on sand would not help either.
Mercifully the road became all right. When I gave it some beans, it started making farting noises. But the speed was pretty much unaffected. I would say it is a stable bike.
That bike is a summation of the problems all the old bikes could possibly have had and makes you feel like you are living in the past. When I parked that in front of our old college hostel, it looked like it suited the place brilliantly.
Finally when I was having some warm coffee and a cigarette in a small shop located alongside the highway, a man told me that modern bikes are not as good as this one and getting one had become difficult. I should have instantly punched him in the middle of his face or poured hot coffee on his head, but somehow didn’t.
Yes, the bike was uglier than a Mexican farmer’s arse, it was slower than the pope, was less comfortable than being stabbed and as composed as a drunk old man after having sex with a Vietnamese prostitute. But all things considered, I absolutely adored it.
I loved all the faults in it. Modern bikes are better engineered and carry you with care on a motorway. But this one was completely mechanical. I had the satisfaction that the most important element of the ride was me and it was I who physically handled it like a horse and made it behave on the road properly…
It was one of the most joyous drives I have ever experience.
I; tyres; road; the end…