One fine day when I was visiting my friend, I came across 2 bikes standing side by side in front of a small garage. These bikes were left unattended and needed a rescue operation urgently. I decided to enquire about them and rescue them if possible. When I asked the garage owner about them he said “Sir, these bikes are useless, why do you want to buy something like this?” to which I swiftly replied “I cannot let them rot here, I will restore them.” The mechanic, who was still trying to digest the fact that I wanted to restore something which he thought is junk, told me that among the two bikes present, there only one can be legally owned as the other bike was an orphan with no documents. I took the one which had the necessary documents and let the other one go, with a heavy heart, of course!
After a little bit of investigation, I found out that this was indeed a rare bike called as KB100 RTZ. A new spark plug and some petrol brought the bike back to life. Instantly I fell in love with this,a then 25-year-old, rusty piece of metal. I took up the challenge of restoring this old girl back to its former glory.
The Yamaha RX100 rocked our markets when it was first introduced in the 80s. It had all the ingredients to make the bike a huge success. A peppy little engine and throaty exhaust note attracted a lot of young buyers. Kawasaki Bajaj introduced the KB100 as a direct competitor to the RX. KB100 was a simple bike with a rectangular head light and a long sleek tank.
After the initial run, an updated version of KB100 was released, which was called the KB100 RTZ with a DeltaSuper Tuned Engine. It had a rotary valve instead of the reed valve, which was pretty usual in other bikes at that point of time. With a wheel base of 1260mm, it was a long bike providing good stability while riding. It used a 2.75×18 tyre at the front and 3.00×18 tyre at the rear.
The most important part of this bike was the resonator, which helped in delivering more power in part throttle operation, which in turn increased the initial pickup. This bike had a busy looking speedometer console with a tachometer, a fuel gauge, neutral lights, turn lights and high beam indicator integrated in the same unit. It had a long list of features to offer, which were absent in most of the bikes available at that time.
I collected all the spare parts required to restore this bike and, believe me… it was not an easy job. Original spares were very difficult to come by, and at times I had to call up dealers from Pune, Sangli and Karad. It took me approximately 9 long months to gather all the spares and get the bike on the road.
This KB100 is the one of the best bikes I own and it is worth all the efforts I took to restore it. I am happy that I am an owner of a rare bike which couldn’t be at par with the Yamaha RX100s or the Suzuki Shoguns with respect to performance levels,but this humble motorcycle has truly won my heart!
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.