Jan 28, 2006

Two Wheels at Auto Expo 2006

Oh boy, did Bajaj put the monkey on everyone's back or what. I went to the Expo expecting to see either a lot of launch-ready bikes. Or none.

I got both! Yamaha and Suzuki both lay waste acres and acres of prime exhibition real estate with all manner of exciting machinery. Each one labeled 'Reference Exhibit.' Which translates loosely to 'You can see, drool, dream and eventually beg, but you are not getting any.'

Suzuki went on to show the Heat and Zeus (in pic) twins as launch prospects during the show. And Yamaha put two rather over-the-top Gladiator monikered things on their stand as well.

Here's the problem. The Heat and Zeus look too anonymous from the word go and I doubt that exceptional quality is going to pull in the customers. Because quality aside, they offer nothing new. More importantly, I can imagine customers not buying a model due to low quality (perception or reality), but I cannot imagine people flocking to a product only for its exceptional quality. I could be wrong, though, what do you think?

The Gladiators were supposed to be concepts, showing two directions Yamaha could take. And they were interesting too, but Bajaj literally yanked the rug right out from under their sidetands.

On the Bajaj stand was a Pulsar, due June 2006 (guessing), which sported fuel injection, projector lamps, twin discs (front and rear), tubeless tyres on alloy rims, split seat and grab rail, evolved styling... Jesus, I think I asked the chap manning the stand over and over whether they were sure they were going to launch it. I even recall one very worried looking Yamaha official reading the spec sheet next to the stand. Heh heh!

While Bajaj's men at the stall refused to say what capacity the bike will be, I believe it should be a 225cc or so, not the 250 everyone really wants. The Pulsar engine platform, I think, won't allow that big a capacity jump.

Then again, Rajiv Bajaj was clear that they were only letting out information that they wanted to, so there could be more to the DTS-Fi than meets the eye. I sure am hoping there is, of course.

Not content with blowing the socks of everyone within 200 m of the bike, Bajaj also showed their slashy new Pulsar 180 (expect a launch 150cc also, say April? Guesstimate.).

The Sonic will be another superb addition to the range. It looks modern, stylish and with a 125cc engine, it will be fast enough to excite.

Ditto the Blade scooter.

These, remember, are all set for a 2006 calendar year launch. My word, they've been busy.

And more power to them, I say.

Photos posted

Other posts about
Bajaj Pulsar (220) DTS-Fi: Basic information Detailed specs and photos
All the 125s: Table
Yamaha Gladiator: Images Launch Expo photos Expo text Compared to the Shine
Suzuki Heat: Expo text Expo photos Zeus Ride Report
Honda Shine: Mumbai launch TVC criticism Launch Compared to the Gladiator
TVS Victor Edge/GLX: Launch