October 10th, 2006
They had apparently hoped that Karizma would grab the CBZ market. I guess with it being a 225cc bike in the 70+k range, and availability of 150cc category bikes from Bajaj in the 50k+ range, they had some trouble doing so.
I had bought CBZ in October 2000. It was my first big purchase with my earned money. The only reason I had bought CBZ at that time was because it was, at that time, the best indian-made 2-wheeler in the market, especially for a 22-year old guy. I had initially planned to buy a LML scooter since before then I had been driving one loaned from my brother-in-law. A few weeks before I was to make the purchase, I was talking to one of my friends in the parking lot and just happened to sit down on a 2-wheeler. I felt so comfortable that I had to mention it to my friend and inquired about the bike I was sitting on (and believe me, I didn’t know squat about bikes at that time; not even what was available in the market). Once I knew the name, I knew what I was going to buy.
My mind made up, I bought the bike as September turned into October. I remember I did not know how to start it. That surely drew a few smiles from the assembly of people just outside the showroom, marvelling at the contours of this fine silver piece of machinery which at that time was not only a symbol of the well-to-do but generally considered the best looking 2-wheeler on the road. It showed the fuel needle at empty and I was told it had enough to go to the petrol pump. I filled up the tank there once I made it across, learning how to change gears with my foot instead of my hand and not really accustomed to the raw power it gave me. Boy! Did it have an awesome pickup! The vroom and the hum of the CBZ engine, the vibrations of the body under me, the balance, the seat moulding as it seemed to adjust to my body’s shape, the clear “O master! I am thine” message that it gave me, the experience! made me realise what those bikers felt that I had so often seen in the biker Hollywood movies, and those seemingly insane guys I knew who would rattle off bike specs and drool at the mention of Yamahas and Hondas, and those who would groan when somebody said ‘Harley-Davidson’.
Yes I know CBZ was nothing compared to those bikes but it was the best in India then in any respect, and it was mine, and it was purring below me, gently coaxing me to let it unleash the power it held.
I love that bike. Anybody who knows me will probably smile at that statement for after driving it for 5 years the petrol tank sprang a leak as my so-called lack of time let me lull myself into an excuse for not maintaining it. I’ve been telling everybody I will get it repaired and most likely in November I actually will.
Meanwhile, i will look at all the classic CBZs on the road, and the vinyl-covered abominations Hero Honda launched a couple of years after I bought mine which probably drove the last nail in the bike’s coffin anyway, and remember the beauty that stands at my home.
I am hoping the new CBZ avatar titled “CBZ Xtreme” is going to go back to the roots and launch the bike in its glory, reminding all bikers in India that even now, no other bike in the country packs the power, the grace, the looks, and the sensuality of a true CBZ.
Update: I took my CBZ to the show-room today. It is so messed up (apparently) that the mechanic there called me at 6pm and told me he will continue working on it tomorrow. I don’t know how much the current bill is, but it crossed 5k around 4:30pm.