Jul 28, 2006

Goa: Beer goggles

Get to Goa, and forget Kingfisher. Really. Try Arlem. A nice, Goan beer, with a nice bite, good taste and the ability to survive on the table. It tastes decent even after it warms up a bit. Find King's beer. Another great (sadly) local beer. Distinctive bottle and taste. And did I mention it's dirt cheap? Okay, who said Fosters?

Goa: Bem Venite

Okay, that's a really bad one. I admit it. But, Hotel Venite, in Panjim isn't. In fact, it served up some of the best Goan grub I've ever had. It's on 31 January Road and you have to have a meal there. Staff is friendly, ambience is laid back-great, food is tasty and reasonably tagged and you'll be happy to return to it for a second round of gastronomy. The Beef-Sausage fry combination is brilliant. Ask for King's beer. It's going out of fashion, I hear, but what a beer! Desert must be bebinka with ice cream.

Goa: Mum's the word

This is an expensive place and looks it. But the food, in a word, is beg-for-it good. The Beef de Goa (tastes like home made beef curry, and is superb), Sausage Pulao (Chorizo flavoured pilaf (!) with chorizo chunks) and Prawn Hooman are highly recommended. The place comes on your left as you drive along Panjim's 'Marine Drive' towards Miramar, just after Edu's Kitchen. Be prepared to loosen your wallet, though. Desert must be bebinka with ice cream.

Goa: Martins cower

The place, in Betalbatim, came highly recommended. However, it has neither the food, nor the ambience, nor the experience. It plain sucks. Surviving purely on reputation, in fact. I'm sure it's lively in the night, what with three thousand tables or so, but the food is passable, prices aren't the most reasonable, staff is snobbish to the point of being surly and there is no sea view. You look into their parking lot and watch the cab drivers, content with their daily fleece, chewing the cud. In two words, don't bother.

Goa: Off-season food hunt

The wife and I also went to Baga beach to taste the life at the famous Britto's, but it closes for the rains, as do many other places in Goa. So, if you're intent on a specific restaurant/hotel/shack, try to dig out a number and call ahead. Also, we heard that most seafood, prawns apart, is frozen in the off-season with a fishing ban enforced during this part of the year, so ask before you order. A lobster caught in May and frozen is not going to taste as good as a fresh one.

Jul 17, 2006

Busy be me 3: holiday

Dudes! I'm off on a holiday. I shall return re-charged and all of that on 26th. Until then...

Riding Mantra #266.819

'A fall into a ditch makes you wiser'
-Chinese proverb (really!)

Hero Honda Glamour FI: Riding Impression

Impression my foot! The only thing that has changed is that the throttle response has become instant, there isn't any more lag. Everything else feels the same. Actually, it doesn't. The extra fresh throttle response bring the bike within a hair of being actually enjoyable to ride. Is that worth Rs 6000 over an already overpriced Glamour? Not in my opinion.

Caught red handed

After a longish, hardish ride, take a look at your hands. If your hands are red across the bottom of the palm (the fleshy part next to the thumb), you're not sitting all right. The redness means that you were putting your weight on your wrists (which can be good), but you were putting too much weight on them (which isn't). This also means that your hands are actually 'skewed' across the grips and every motion from twisting to reaching for the lever is 'polluted.' But you won't make out the difference until you try this. Next time, hug the tank tightly with your knees, firm up your abdomen (like you would if your were doing a crunch; this takes some of the weight off your wrists and curve your back. You should actually feel your arms go light. Ride like this and you'll notice a huge jump in smoothness. Want more? Tuck your feet onto to the top of the pegs and allow your heels, calf etc to make contact with the motorcycle. Even when you hunch forward (when you're going harder), staying locked onto the bike will make it feel lighter and more responsive. A good sign is a slight pain in the thighs and the abdomen after a really hard ride. That last bit is mooched off a column written by Andy Ibbott, head of California Superbike School UK, from MCN. So sorry).

Jul 7, 2006

Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi: More images and specs

Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due Diwali
Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due Diwali
Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due Diwali
Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due Diwali
Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due Diwali

Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due Diwali

Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due Diwali

Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due Diwali
Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due Diwali
Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due Diwali

Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due DiwaliEngine
Single Cylinder Air Cooled, 4 Stroke Sohc
Valve Train
2 Valve
Bore & Stroke
Comp. Ratio
Electric Start only
Fuel injection (DTS-Fi)

  • First four stroke engine in the world employing DTS-Fi technology
    • Intelligently controlled ignition timing for each plug
    • High combustion efficiency
    • Low performance variability between engines
    • Precise metering of fuel for highest outputs and lower emissions
    • Easy engine starts in all conditions of temperature and altitude
    • Best in class fuel economy [as in beating the Karizma? Is that even a task?
  • Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due DiwaliFirst natural air-cooled 4-stroke engine in India employing a oil cooler
    • Maintains lube-oil viscosity even under extreme conditions of stress and ambient temperatures.
    • Also helps in cooling the engine internals
  • First high capacity engine in India to employ rollers at rocker arm pivits and camshaft interfaces for low friction
  • First engine in India to have electric start as the sole means of cranking
Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due DiwaliPerformance
Max. Power
20 bhp (no rpm claim)
Max. Torque
1.95 kgm (no rpm claim)
Top speed
135 kph
Fuel economy
50 kpl in 'sane riding'

Gear Box
5 Speed Constant Mesh
New. Superior to Pulsar 180/150

MF typre, 12V 9Ah
Head Light
Ellipsoidal projector 55W/parabolic 55W H7
Tail Light
High intensity LEDs

Double cradle (new frame)

Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due DiwaliSuspension
37 mm Telescopic Hydraulic Type 130 mm travel
Ellipitical section Swing Arm With twin Hydraulic
Gas-charged Shock Absorbers; 101 mm travel

260mm Disc Type
230mm Disc Type

90/90-17 tubeless
120/80-17 tubeless
  • First two wheeler in India to employ tubeless tyres for superior performance and safety
  • First vehicle in the class to employ the widest tyres
  • First vehicle in India to employ a hydraulically actuated 230 mm rear disc brake
    • Enhances braking performance and control
  • First bike in India to employ a large 37 mm front fork for class leading vehicle dynamics
  • Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due DiwaliFirst...India to employ a non-contact digital speedo drive for accuracy, simplicity and long life
  • First...India to use clip-on handlebars
  • First...India to use a unique damping method for damping high frequency vibrations in clip-on handlebars (patent applied for)
  • First...India to employ a pure sports riding position [don't agree. Thought the bars could have been still lower and more sporty. Great position for fast touring, though]
  • Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due DiwaliFirst...India to incorporate a pinch clamp for front axle
    • Ensures smooth parallel fork sliding action for lower fork stiction
    • The usual method can force the legs to flex the tubes due to non-parallelism - high stiction
  • First...India to use a 3000 combination ignition cum steering lock with a twin-track pilfer proof key
  • First...world to employ backlit handlebar switches
  • First...India to employ non-contact handlebar switches for soft touch feel and zero maintenance
  • First...world to employ non-contact 'intelligent' self-cancelling turn signals
  • Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due DiwaliFirst...India to employ 'black mask' twin headlamps in a vertical stack configuration
  • First...India to employ a high wattage (H7, 55W) ellipsoidal projector lamp for white light low beam illumination
  • First...India to employ a high wattage (H7, 55W) compact clear lens parabolic lamp for white light high beam illumination
  • First...India to employ white light pilot lamp bulbs
  • First...India to employ a large free form orange backlit LCD speedo panel, displaying among other things the vehicle speed [accurate to within 2 kph], odometer, 2 tripmeters, graphic fuel level indicator and other information icons [diagnostics: air filter choked, oil temperature, battery voltage and oil level]
  • First...India to employ a stepper motor driven tachometer needle for quick undamped response
  • First...India to incorporate a flashing over-rev warning light in the speedo console
  • First...India to have an electronic speedo console which when keyed on goes through a self-diagnostic check
  • First...India which incorporates a flashing warning light for low fuel level
  • First...India to incorporate a day-night mode for the speedo console. In day mode, the indicating lights are brighter for clear visibility in ambient sunlight. In night mode, these lights reduce their brightness to prevent glare
  • First...India to employ a battery-saving function to automatically switch off headlamps while cranking
  • First...India to employ a battery-saving function to automaticallyregulates the number of continuous cranks
  • First...India equipped with a high-capacity O ring chain for final drive - smooth operation and long life in harsh operating conditions
  • First...India employing elliptical section swingarm on needle roller pivot bearings
  • First...India to incorporate sculpted, compact, fairing mounted rear view mirrors
  • Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due DiwaliFirst...India with sporty, sculpted two-piece grab rail for sleek big bike looks
  • First...India with a split seat design for easy access to tool kit and first-aid kit
  • First...India to sport 'twin slash' high intensity LED clear lens tail lamp, requiring zero maintenance
  • First...India to sport and aggressive and stylish anti-scratch tank pad to prevent damage to petrol tank paintwork due to zippers
Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due DiwaliDimensions
Kerb Weight
150 kg
Wheel Base
1,350 mm
2,035 mm
750 mm
Overall Height
1,140 mm
Ground Clearance
177 mm

Tank Capacity
15 l

  • Forced lubrication for the transmission
  • Beefed up tranmission to handle high power and torque output
  • Engine equipped with counterbalancer for controlling vibration from large dia piston
  • Engine equipped with oil level inspection window
  • Improved fin geometry for better heat dissipation
  • DTS-Fi system is optimised for razor sharp response to throttle inputs
  • Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due DiwaliNew high strength chassis designed to handle high engine outputs and making possible precise handling traits with arrow-like straightline stability
  • Large 260 mm front disc for precise and progressive braking
  • Crystal finished clear lens blinkers to complement the clear lens tail lamp
  • DC Ignition and lighting ensures quicker engine startups and constant illumination
  • Low maintenance battery to reduce frequent top-up needs
  • A red malfunction indicator lamp in the speedo gives the error codes in order to identify any malfunctioning fuel injection components
  • Sculpted looking top clamp with pinch bolts for greater rigidity
  • New gear shifting mechanism for a positive shift feel [really works
  • ]
  • New low friction shift drum for a smoother shift feel [really works
  • ]
  • New large capacity clutch incorporating anti-judder mechanism for superior clutch performance in all conditions
  • Highest power to weight ratio: 133 PS/Tonne
  • High flow intake and exhaust ports
  • Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due DiwaliLarge bore, light slipper type piston
  • Large capacity main bearings for high output handling
  • Large capacity output shaft bearing to handle high loads
  • Equipped with a roll-over sensor to cut off fuel supply in case of a vehicle fall
  • Brake and shift lever pivots incorporated on the footpeg mounting to give a clean, uncluttered look
  • Nitrox rear shocks optimised (spring and damper ratings) for all riding conditions
  • High output 200 watt, 3-phase magneto
  • All stainless steel exhaust with a sporty aluminium clad canister
  • ExhuasTEC
Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due DiwaliEarlier post about the Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi: Here

Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc due Diwali

Jul 5, 2006

Corporate Con: Bajaj Pulsar 180 DTSi; The Reply

Image courtesy bajajauto.comHad a chat with a senior marketing person from Bajaj. Roundly criticised the Fear The Black advertisement. And in reply, I ended up with a most interesting perspective on how advertisements work.

I was told, ‘I really don’t care how aesthetically great, or otherwise, you thought the advertisement was. You object to the street bike jumping, crossing dams and all of that. Other people have told me the star of the ad was the pair of sunglasses. Still others have called it a failure…’

‘But, we didn’t make the ad to please aesthetes. We made the advertisement to get people to come to our showrooms. That has happened. From the 180 sales of roughly 1500 a month, right after the advert first aired, sales have been growing. We’re at almost 6000 units a month and growing. To me, that was not only a successful advertisement, it was one of the more successful ads we have made.’

Book review: The Kite Runner

Kite RunnerI just finished reading The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini. What a smashing, shattering and utterly engrossing work of art! The book traces the life of a boy from his peaceful infancy in Kabul, Afghanistan to the other end of it (I’m not giving any more of it away). It is very well written, and I highly recommend it. It isn’t the sort of book you read for lots of action, but it’s a brilliant, sensitive account of a man’s life. I loved it. Definitely one for my read again (and again) list.

Book review: On Mexican Time

On Mexican Time by Tom CohanTom Cohan’s On Mexican Time was a impulse purchase on the wife’s part at Stand’s annual sale. It’s a sort of pilgrimage for us… The book is about a successful arty couple from LA, who slowly let go of big city life for a slower, more relaxed style of life. Yes, in Mexico. Cohan’s writing is simple, but deeply felt and that’s what makes the book great. People like the wife, who read very quickly, will enjoy the entire novel. Me, I read slowly, so I began to lose steam about forty pages from the end. But in hindsight, it’s still a great read.


How to use clutch and gears

This is in response to a request from one of my readers, so advanced riders can just skip this post. We'’re going to talk about the clutch and the gears. Some parts I have already discussed before, see How to match revs, Clutchless upshifts.

The clutch is a mechanism that allows the engine to run without affecting the rear wheel. In effect, it is used to isolate the engine and the rear wheel. The beauty of it is that it allows an infinite amount of adjustment of how isolated they are. And that adjustment is made by you, the rider. Without becoming too technical, here'’s the basic process. When you pull the clutch lever in, you disconnect the engine from the rear wheel. Try it on your bike. If it does not disconnect, you need to get your clutch adjusted. Now, with your bike on a main stand (resting on the front wheel and the stand, rear wheel off the ground), try releasing the clutch lever slowly. You should feel a point where the lever becomes '‘harder.'’ At this point, the rear wheel should start turning slowly. We call this the friction point. This is where the smallest link between the engine and the rear wheel is formed. From the friction point onwards, the further you let the clutch lever out, the stronger the link should become. When the lever is out, if your clutch is adjusted properly, the link should be complete.

We use the clutch to smoothen shifting gears. We use it to roll off from a standing start in first gear. We use it stop the engine from stalling (shutting off) just before we stop. And sometimes, in very slow traffic, we use it as a sort of soft brake to keep the bike rolling at very slow speed without the jerks that come from rolling on and off the throttle in first gear. Remember, apart from the last use, each clutch use is a finite event. It begins and ends and you should never find yourself with a half-depressed clutch lever except in the last situation.

The gears '‘convert'’ the engine'’s power into a more useable form. For instance, your engine speed (see your tacho) is 2500 rpm. If directly connected to your rear wheel, it would make the wheel turn that fast. At 2500 rpm, your average motorcycle will be travelling nearly 2 km on its 18-inch wheels every second. Which, as you can tell, would be scary and uncontrollable. The gearbox turns the 2500 rpm engine speed to a more reasonable and controllable speed of rotation for the rear wheel of a motorcycle. Again, without taking on the mechanical complexity of gearboxes, here'’s how to use them.

Your motorcycle will usually have four to five gears. First if primarily to get rolling. You shift into first (down on most motorcycles, up on Hero Hondas and some TVSs) with the clutch in. then, holding the throttle steady, you let the clutch out to get the bike rolling. At about fifteen-twenty kph, shift up into second (up on most bikes, up on Hero Hondas and TVSs, down on some Bajajs). If you have a tachometer, the idea is to keep the revs in the green band (that'’s good enough for beginners). If it drops below the green, shift down to a lower gear. If rises above the green, shift up to a higher gear. Basically, select a gear in the same direction as the needle is. Lower for below green and higher for above green.

Once you get more experienced, you can use the tachometer and the gears to control how much power you motorcycle is making. As you ride outside the green band, for instance, you will find a sweet spot, where the motorcycle seems most comfortable, most powerful. All you have to do now, is to keep the bike in that zone, again, using the same rule as in the previous paragraph.

When you are shifting down, advanced rides do something called matching revs (see this post), but donĂ‚’t worry about that for now. Once you get comfortable with using the gears, you can worry about finesse.

When slowing down, you will want to bring the bike down the gears as well. Usually, motorcycle transmissions hate to be shifted click-click-click down from fourth to first. So give them a break. Let the clutch in to just past friction point between shifts to ease the pressure on the system. That, more or less, is the gist of it. The rest is the art of clutchwork and gearwork. More on that later...

Jul 1, 2006

Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi official image

Here, drool over this... more later... heh heh

Offical image of the launch spec Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi
Okay, here's some more info
220cc. 20 bhp. 135 kph. 50 kpl (sane riding)
five figure price tag. Diwali-ish (guess).