Forgotten Bikes of India #1- TVS – Suzuki Supra
Last month, I was traveling to Coimbatore for some official work. The trip was supposed to be only for a couple of days, but work load being tremendous a week slipped by without a notice. After a long tiring week, I decided to visit Ooty to get some relaxation. Thus said, I took the keys, hopped into my car and started my journey towards the wonderful hill station of Ooty. It took me 4 hours to reach uphill and boy, was the view amazing! I was hunting for a decent hotel to crash in for the night. Finally, I checked into a small, but cosy hotel room from where I could see the hills. Just before I could take the baggage out of my car, I heard something, and I started scanning the surroundings to figure out where the sound was coming from. It wasn’t that difficult to find the source, as I knew I had to follow the scent of burnt 2T oil and a puff of blue smoke. And there she was… a beautiful Supra, in an all original form!
I, being a huge 2 stroke fan couldn’t help but drool over that amazing piece of engineering. The bike was white in colour with all the original stickers and monograms still present and carefully preserved. Now! Now! Now! For those who do not know anything about the bike I am talking about, allow me to introduce you to the TVS-Suzuki Supra. The AX100 from Ind-Suzuki got a lukewarm response from the beginning, as the market at that time was crowded with the fuel-efficient Hero Honda CD100, the peppy little Yamaha RX100 and a rugged offering from Kawasaki Bajaj the KB100. To attract the buyers back to the TVS showrooms, they had to come up with something, something which would not only help them propel their sales, but also fight tooth and nail with the likes of Yamaha RXs and the KB100s. Thus, was born a new breed of motorcycles called the TVS Suzuki Supra. It had an uncanny resemblance to the older AX100, barring the seat fairing which was a new add on. Other than the looks, the engine was the same single cylinder reed valve air cooled motor, but the engineers at TVS- Suzuki managed to extract 9.65 Bhp out of the engine. The increase in power was evident by the way it pulled effortlessly through all gears. The fuel efficiency, which many people thought might reduce due to the increase in power was not affected much, returning 5 to 8 kmpl lesser than the AX100.
A shorter wheel base of 1208 mm, wider tyres 3 x 18 rear and 2.75 x 18 at the front and beefed up suspension setup, made the bike a good performer. All in all, the bike was a winner by every means. The owner of the bike, a young lad, came up to me when he saw me staring at the bike for a long time and asked me “Can you guess which bike is it?” to which I answered within a second “Undoubtedly it is the TVS Suzuki Supra”. It didn’t take much time for us to get acquainted and then the stories started rolling out. He told me about his bike collection and I told him about mine. We spent a good amount of time at a small coffee shop sipping freshly brewed coffee and having some baked cookies. It is very rare that we engage in a conversation with a complete stranger, but in this case the bike brought two like-minded individuals together. I went to Ooty to get some much-needed relaxation and what could be more relaxing than listening to some interesting stories from a complete stranger while sitting in a small café sipping a hot cup of coffee. My Ooty trip ended with a bunch of photographs, packets of freshly ground coffee and special memory of that beautiful machine called the Supra.
Words by Aseem Joshi, our resident expert and vintage motorcycles fanatic,
Automobile Engineer by profession and a die hard vintage automobile enthusiast.
Aseem still rides his dad’s 35 year old Yezdi that gives him more joy than any modern bike could ever give him.
Supra Owners Manual Pic Credit – Alok Balsekar