Dec 30, 2006

Happy New Year!

Here we go. Goodbye 2006.
Roll on 2007.
Hope it all goes your way next year.
Until then...

This blog will close for holidays for December 31, 2006. And will return on January 1, 2007
with its 301th post. Regulars please note that the count now tallies with the blog archive navigation bar on your right.

Rearset's Annual Motorcycle Awards: List One

Design Of The Year
Apple iPod

Sorry, none of our bikes deserve this award.

Deserving Bike of the Year
Yamaha Gladiator
Every year I come across one bike that's got it all. But does not win any awards. So I created a category for it. The Yamaha Gladiator, truly, is the best all-round 125 launched in India so far. I'd go so far as to say, one of the completest motorcycles on sale in India today.

Scooter Of The Year
Nothing out there worth it, dude. Honourable mentions to Kinetic Blaze and Hero Honda Pleasure.

Bike Of The Year Hero
Honda CBZ X-Treme

The only serious award of the lot. rearset's Bike Of The Year goes to the CBZ X-Treme. It's one of the most emotive bikes I've ridden this year. It isn't perfect (goitre) but everytime I've ridden a perfect bike, I've almost fallen asleep (various Hondas, including a Super Blackbird and late Fireblades). I remember all the imperfect ones though (first Fiero, first Pulsar).

The CBZ X-Treme, is the most exciting motorcycle to ride launched this year. I do wish it had more to offer - more power, a lot more style and I would have loved a 156cc engine upgrade (15 bhp!). Still, it rocks and is the best motorcycle this year.

Rearset's Annual Motorcycle Awards: List Two

Worst Bike of the Year
Kinetic Stryker
Wins this award for its all round excellence [sic]. The great looking motorcycle [sic] blew everyone at this blog away (me) with its superb attention to detail [sic], brand new technology [resonator, sic]. It also impressed [sic] by selling in single digits right from its launch onwards. Brilliant.

Flimsiest Bike of the Year
Kinetic Blaze and Stryker
Kinetic scores a double from the far touchline! The Blaze appears to have a engine that actually rotates around the suspension, a plethora of a unmatched [as in not fitting, as opposed to unequalled] panels, produces a bagful of screws when you undo them, requires at least four types of spanners to change the rear wheel (only three included in tool kit). Plus the new disc brake version appears to have been hacksawed to make a hole for the master cylinder. For Stryker refer WBOTY.

Worst named Bike of the Year
Hero Honda Pleasure
Here is a name that straddles the erotic, homo-erotic and the simplistic in one, optimistic, far-reaching lunge. Sorry for any sexual innuendo in there, it's all unintended. Just like the scooter's name.

Least Original Bike of the Year
Hero Honda CD-Deluxe
Labelled all-new, the Hero Honda bike 'tackled friction' issues to produce that latest in a string of all-new products from the Haryana-based manufacturer. Plus new details.

Disaster of the Year
LML Limited
The near-demise of LML was mourned by one and all. And a few of us even missed the manufacturer a little. Unfortunately, the scooter to motorcycle manufacturer transition did not go well for the Kanpur-based manufacturer, which is really sad. The CRD100 and the Freedom both promised likeable, if funny looking, motorcycles to come. Not.

Product of the Year
Sony PS3
Still to be launched in India, the game console has already generated serious buzz in the international markets with the long queues, much speculation, few games and the Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD war. But the cool black one won us over. Now, when I can get one for this gratuitous plug?

Ugliest Bike of the Year
Hero Honda CBZ X-Treme and Suzuki Heat
What an exciting and close contest? At rearset's blog we were all astounded by how close my voting went. The sheer poke in the eye goitre-bikini on the CBZ versus the sheer pedestrian rustic-slap look of the Heat. Ultimately rearset gave the CBZ X-Treme 9.9 out of ten for ugliness and then, suprise, gave 9.9 on ten for ugliness to the Suzuki Heat as well!

Too Late Bike of the Year
Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi
This is how you nearly kill the most exciting bike of the year. Delay the launch. And again. And then some more. And a little more after that. And then some more for good measure. Why not a little more while we're at it. And finally, you do launch it. All 22 of them. At a superb (no, really) price. In one showroom in the country.... Aaargh.

Did Not Notice It Only of the Year
Suzuki Heat/Zeus
The dull, uninspiring Suzuki's were the easy winners of this hotly contested category. Of all the launches we did not notice in the country, the two russian girls ensured that the two forgettable motorcycles had the most memorable of the least memorable launches in the country.
NB: We'd have given the award to Yo Bikes, but we didn't notice the launch at all...

Most Improved Bike of the Year
Honda Unicorn
What have they done? Well, since the launch, they've fixed the tail piece. They've got new stickers. They've got electric start too. Great job. Honda is also likely to win next year's award, when they introduce alloy wheels. Wow!

Best Sticker Job of the Year
Hero Honda Glamour and TVS Apache
I decided to give this award to two bikes, instead of one (fits in with my everyone gets one guarantee, and is cool). The Hero Honda Glamour wins for having garish stickers EVERYWHERE (except handlebar grips, over the meter faces, footpegs, wheel rims and tyres). The TVS Apache wins for not having any.

Best Cosmetic Upgrade of the Year
TVS Victor GLX
If the bike were a beauty queen, the GLX would be guilty/proud of polishing off the entire range of Shahnaz's herbal goos. And don't it look smashing now?

Overemployed Platform of the Year
Bajaj Pulsar
150, 180, 200, 220. It's got it all. Rumours are floating about of a new BYP (Build Your Pulsar) program where you can order yourself a Pulsar built to your own custom displacement (166.81cc for me, please). Guaranteed to look exactly like any of the others.

Manufacturer Of The Year
For launching the Apache too late
Not launching an upgraded Apache in time
Not launching anything significant this year at all

Indian Riding Gear

Fieldsheer Mag 1 jacketSuddenly, at the cusp of the new year, I seem to find a whole bunch of people selling riding kit in India. So I thought I'd post a link set. I will update this post with kit reviews as and when I manage to get my hands of some of their kit.

Angels Racing
The two young boys who run Angels Racing are pretty enthusiastic. Having first called up Spidi into India and then launching their own brand. Personally, I think their own logos are too large, although the kit appears up to snuff. Haven't tried it, though. Detailed information is in the talkies section. Please search with google or through the website's search.
253, Samarthaprasad, Navi Peth, Pune
Bhuvan Chowdhary : +91-9881445704
Rohit Paradkar : +91-9822217198

Dream Sport Gear
They've been around for a year or so, although on the quiet, it must be said. However, goes have a fair amount of kit, including a recently introduced line of own-branded kit (probably manufactured in Pakistan/China - that's how almost everyone does it now including big Euro and US brands). Prices seem reasonalble, although I am yet to check out how prompt they are. Since I posted this, DSG has been in touch to inform me that in fact, they are the official distributors for A'Stars in India. So noted, chaps!
6, M.G. Road, MH - Pune (411001), India (91)
+91-9860086862 Fax: +91-20-30523555

Kaulson Racing Products has long been selling motorcycle kit to us. Both for our bikes and for us. Brands include ProGrip. The ProGrip Superbike grips (Rs 250) are some of the best I have ever used.
B-101, Nariana Indl. Area, Phase-1, New Delhi - 110028, INDIA
+91-11-25893-777, 25896-777, 3058-7777 & 5576-7777;
PRS sells a whole bunch of car and motorcycle stuff, including motorcycle riding kit from big brands like Alpinestars. The prices seem a bit steep, but the store is an official dealer for Alpinestars and Laser exhausts and the prices should be legit. Click above for link.

Spidi/Angels Racing
The Angels Racing boys have a Spidi dealership and sell quality kit. However, the branded kit is almost haute couture abroad and expensive here... you've been warned.
253, Samarthaprasad, Navi Peth, Pune
Bhuvan Chowdhary : +91-9881445704
Rohit Paradkar : +91-9822217198

CBZ X-Treme: BSM Bike of the Year 2007

The chaps at BSMotoring just announced their awards at And its the Hero Honda CBZ X-Treme is their winner. Click here for more

Rearset's Annual Motorcycle Awards: Logos

Here they are. I thought they were pretty self-explanatory, but I added a note anyway.

This is the logo awarded to the underachievers of the year. The trophy, should you choose to construct it, will look exactly like the winner's beer mug trophy, but will be solid, so you will not be able to pour celebratory beer into it.
Moral: Try harder, bubba

This is the logo awarded to the achievers of the year. The trophy, should you choose to construct it, will look exactly like the loser's beer mug trophy, but will be hollow, so you will be able to pour celebratory beer into it.
Moral: Good job bubba!

Q&A: The local mechanic

rearset: 'So, now that Bajaj is launching the 220cc Pulsar with fuel injection, what will you do?'

Sanju: 'How do you mean?'

'As in you will need a computer and fairly sophisticated skills to hack into the FI control system, no? How will you tune the bike, then?'

'Oh, you can always do all of the other jobs, they don't need comps, right?'

'Yes, but service is a major job you make money on, right? How will you do that?'

Sanju: 'This is India. There's nothing we cannot figure out a way into or around...'

Vardenchi: Site Launched

Like I posted before, Vardenchi's website has been under development for a while. But now, it's live. Check it out! I quite like the neat navigation scheme. Especially the way Akshai Varde's eyes light up on the mouseover.

Hero Honda CD-Deluxe Release

This is the full press release of the launch of the new Hero Honda CD-Deluxe. Sorry for posting it so late.


New CD Deluxe comes with:
  • A new 100cc engine for improved performance.
    [Supposedly almost all-new. Means intake/exhaust header tuning plus minor tweaks, mostly involving upgrading the bike in terms of roller-rocker followers and stuff]

  • Body colored full rear cowl & sporty 3D graphics

  • New stylish visor with trapezoidal multi reflector head light
    [Yeah, cool. Whatever]

  • New fuel tank with knee grip & unique 3d graphics

  • Aluminium die cast rear grip
    [As in cool grab rail]

  • Multi reflector tail light

  • User friendly 2 step adjustable rear shock absorbers
    [Since five-step were too hard for us to grasp, evidently]

  • Lockable main stand - added anti-theft feature
    [Simple: Carry a 7-lever Nav Tal lock wherever you go. But no space on the bike for it and not included in the price]

  • Stylish muffler protector for the safety of the co-rider
    [Translation: We even gave it a heat shield. Aren't we great?]

  • New console with fuel gauge
    [Sticker guys not having enough to do eh?]

  • Broad seat for enhanced riding comfort

  • More ground clearance, 165mm - to take on all type of roads

New Delhi, December 1, 2006: In keeping with its track record of bringing in path-breaking innovations, Hero Honda, the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, is yet again set to redefine the 100cc entry segment with the launch of its New CD Deluxe & New CD Dawn which come with stunningly attractive looks, and a new engine.

Close on the heels of the blockbuster 150cc CBZ X-treme, the launch of New CD Deluxe & CD Dawn, with a new 100cc engine here today, is in line with Hero Honda’s strategy to augment the momentum of top line growth and consolidate the company’s overall superiority across categories.

The new 100cc engine has been perfected after a series of refinements, achieving an unprecedented combination of functional utility and aesthetics. So the customer can look forward to getting top-class fuel-efficiency along with power. The New CD Deluxe has a higher ground clearance at 165mm, to take on all type of roads without compromising on rider’s comfort.

The aesthetics of the motorcycle have also been designed keeping in mind the likes and desires of customers in this segment. The New CD Deluxe sports a new stylish visor, which lends it a stylish persona and contemporary looks, further strengthened by the contemporary shape of New Trapezoidal Multi-Reflector Headlight.

The motorcycle comes equipped with a big and elegantly contoured new fuel-tank with Knee grip & unique 3 D Graphics. The New Multi reflector tail light accompanied with Body-colored Full Rear Cowl & Aluminum Die Cast Rear Grip gives CD Deluxe a complete rejuvenated look. The 3D graphics lend the bike a distinct shape and a sporty look that gel perfectly well with the overall body design of the motorcycle.

The seat of the CD Deluxe is also broadened to offer enhanced comfort to the rider. CD Deluxe comes with a User friendly “Adjustable” Rear Shock Absorbers. The stylish Muffler protector adds to the safety of the co-rider, while also adding to the beauty of this latest to-be trend-setter in its segment.

Unveiling the new motorcycle, Mr. Brijmohan Lall, Chairman, Hero Honda Motors Ltd. said “We at Hero Honda have always believed in setting standards for the industry by offering products which do not just meet, but go beyond customers’ needs and desires. Every aspect of the motorcycle – from technology, to its looks and rider comfort – has been addressed keeping in mind customer requirements and feedback. It is a perfect amalgamation of style, endurance and performance. The bike is a result of dedicated market research focusing on the requirements of customers who want value for money.

Mr. Pawan Munjal, Managing Director, Hero Honda Motors Ltd., said, “These two new launches are reiteration of our trust and belief in the 100cc entry segment. We believe that as new customers come into our fold, many of them will be looking for value-for-money products in the 100cc segment combined with attractive looks. These to new launches fill that need gap, and I am sure the New CD Delux and CD Dawn are going to infuse a lot of fun and excitement into this segment.”

The New CD Dawn comes with a completely new engine with improved performance, large and powerful round multi-reflector head light, new fuel tank with knee grip and striking graphics, multi reflector tail light, user-friendly 2-step adjustable rear shock absorbers, matte black full rear cowl and matte black rear shock absorber spring, lockable man stand-added anti-theft feature and broad seat.

With this, Hero Honda has already launched as many as six new models including variants. With two more new launches in the offing in the following months, the company is set to strengthen its position across segments.

CD Deluxe and CD Dawn will be available in four vibrant colours and 5 Stripe combinations – Black (2 stripe combinations), Candy Blazing Red, Classy Maroon Metallic & Boon Silver Metallic.

  • The CD Deluxe is attractively priced at Rs 34,900/- (Delhi ex-showroom).
  • The CD Dawn is attractively priced at Rs 31, 900/- (Delhi ex-showroom).

Ceat Tyres: Safety Campaign

Ceat just launched a New Year's Eve/Night safety campaign. I thought I'd pitch in by posting the full release here

Drive Safely into the New Year
CEAT Ltd. partners with the Mumbai Traffic Police to promote safe driving

Mumbai, December 28, 2006
: Mr. Satish Mathur, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) together with Mr. Arnab Banerjee, Vice- President – Sales & Marketing, CEAT Ltd launched an Educational Campaign to promote safe driving at the Traffic Police Headquarters today. Indian tyre major - CEAT Ltd. has partnered with the Mumbai Traffic Police with an aim to prevent drunken driving in the city this New Years.

Mr. Satish Mathur, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) said “The Mumbai traffic Police over the years has done some pioneering work in promoting road safety in Mumbai. This year we have partnered with CEAT Ltd for further strengthening this cause”.

Mr. Arnab Banerjee, Vice- President – Sales & Marketing, CEAT Ltd. said “CEAT Ltd is proud to be associated with the Mumbai Traffic Police for the cause of road safety. We are a part of Mumbai and it is our pleasure to be associated with this cause. Let us have a great fun without making our fellow Mumbaikars unsafe”

The main objective of taking on this Campaign is to create awareness and emphasize the importance of safe driving thereby attempting to address the safety aspects of vulnerable road users – pedestrians and fellow motorists. Drunken driving is a menace, which needs to be countered swiftly. Youngsters need to be educated instead of putting undue pressure on them.

Riding Mantra #911.01

"Lightspeed does not mean the speed of light.
It means riding as fast as the light available allows you"
-rearset on night riding

Dec 29, 2006

Rearset's Annual Motorcycle Awards

As a self-respecting motorcycle 'publication,' I am now mulling over whether or not I should be having an annual awards thing at the end of year.

Arguments in favour:

  • Everyone has one. So why not me?
  • Allows me to celebrate my favourite launches and decry those I didn't like at all
  • One more post for the old blog. Ideally with loads of ads
  • Will give the blog a semblance of real authority
  • People will flock to my blog and I'll make a pot of money
  • Bike makers will advertise 'rearset's Bike of the Year 2007'
  • Rearset has officially lost touch with reality and will back in a moment... where's that can of Heienken?
Arguments against:
  • Everyone has one. So why not me?
  • It's a lot of work
  • Will give the blog a semblance of real authority... do we want that?
  • People will mock my blog
  • Bike makers won't advertise 'rearset's Bike of the Year 2007'
  • Rearset has officially found that can of Heienken...
Oh well. I'll take the plunge.

Rearset's Bike Of The Year Awards...

Coming soon...

Awards for everyone! Guaranteed!

In association with:
No one at all

All are invited.

Please await the logo release which will happen right here, at your favourite blog...

Stay tuned...

Watch this space...

Come back here for more...

More after the break...

Coming up next...

X-51: Speed kills?

Image from Popular MechanicsIsn't that just the coolest thing on Earth? Er... no it isn't. But it does sound great. Meet the X-51, US's latest weapon in development. Billed as the successor to the super-successful and ultra-accurate Tomahawk, the X-51 will be much, much faster. 5 mach. 3600 mph. The Popular Mechanics/Gizmodo posts suggest that the missle won't actually need any explosive content, since crashing into anything at 3600 mph is a guaranteed result. Lovely.