Apr 26, 2007

Discover 135 DTSi: Specs

Bajaj Discover 135Bajaj Discover 135 DTSi

Displacement: 134.2 cc, DTSi
Maximum Power: 13.1 bhp@8500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 1.21 Kg-m@6500 rpm
Bore x Stroke: 58 x 50.8
Compression Ratio: 9.5 : 1
Carburettor: Keihin FIE NCV24
Starting: Kick and Electric Start
Ignition: Digital C.D.I with Load Sensing
Ignition timing: Variable Ignition Maps

Type: Double cradle
Brakes: 260mm240mm Hydraulic Disc/130mm Drum
Tyres: 2.75 X 17” Tubeless/100x90 X 17” Tubeless

Analogue Speedometer & Tachometer with Fuel gauge

Capacity: 10 litres
Reserve: 2.3 litres, Fuel level indication by Fuel gauge
Useable reserve: 1.5 litres

Length: 2030 mm
Width: 760mm
Height: 1065mm
Wheelbase: 1305mm
Ground clearance: 179mm

Kerb weight: 133 kg
Max. payload: 130kg

Rs 48,500 (ex-Pune)

Did you notice the tubeless tyres? I wasn't expecting those to be hiding in there... At this rate, they'll probably launch a P150 with radial tubeless tyres and then hide it in the specs... That's a great move. Tubeless tyres going down the value chain is a great, great sign. Of course, the D135 will probably have a lower sales volume than the 125, and will become the premium model offering in the 125 segment. Sort of like the TVS 160 in the 150 segment...

Other D135 post:Bajaj Discover 135: Some details

Apr 24, 2007

Rider Error 5

"Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls."

-Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, Volume 1: Technical Report, Hurt, H.H., Ouellet, J.V. and Thom, D.R., Traffic Safety Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles,

This is why racing away from a traffic light when it turns green – a very attractive thing to do – is not necessarily the best plan. Motorcycles are usually fast enough anyway. You can afford to wait for the last jackass to jump his light and then accelerate out.

The previous Rider Error post is here

Think bigger, think macro

You should already have read at some motorcycle riding tip or the other, that watching the road right in front of the front wheel is a bad idea. It speeds up your perception and makes you go slower. It also focusses your attention on a smaller patch and you lose the bigger picture.

That principle also applies to other things. Like the chap who is trying to muscle you out of your lane. In the bigger picture, it doesn't matter, does it? If he is a cager, you'll catch him and pass him soon anyway. If he is a biker, he'll soon get what he's asking for, right?

So give way. From inside a full face helmet, the next bit's hard to do, but smile and invite him into the space, almost. This has two effects. The smile will dissipate any anger/hatred you've got brewing and it averts a possible confrontation. But there's a still bigger picture – this does not slow you down one little teensy-weensy bit. You will still be quick through traffic. And because of your lower stress levels, you'll probably find yourself riding better, concentrating harder and generally feeling more upbeat.

Bajaj Discover 135: Some details

Bajaj Discover 135That's the current image at the Bajaj Discover site home page. I am told that Bajaj has already shoved the Discover 135 into showrooms, but this has been a low key affair, on the lines of what is called a soft launch. I am still waiting for more details but here's what I've dug up so far.

The motorcycle has had its valves redone, bore and stroke changed and now displaces 135cc. That brings the power up to 13 PS (Bajaj directly converts PS to bhp, so that's 13 bhp). Since the bike is only marginally (if at all; this is unconfirmed) heavier than the 125, it should prove very peppy. The bike is also making a lot more torque so it should prove to be a fun ride. From the pic, I think there is no disc on the front wheel, but I know for sure that there is a tacho.

The marketing perspective is to create a 125 that's more than a 125, so to speak. The Disco 135 will be priced close to the 125s but at a slight premium. The Disco 135 is also supposed to return phenomenal economy (which means at least at par with the 125s). More as soon as I get some...

Apr 23, 2007

Did Rossi really race at Welkom?

Rossi's outfit was identical to mine, except for a Superman cape, some kind of weird orange scarf and a Yamaha-blue crown sitting on top of his AGV. He double-checked his crown and squeezed past me through the door, headed to the victory podium via our great M1...
Check out this amazing, amazing story of devilry, deception and playful deceipt in Motogp at cycleworld.com. I got the link from rddreams.com. Photo from Yamaha Racing

TVS Apache RTR 160: In the full

TVS Apache RTR 160Yes, that's a strange angle, but that's the racing stripe and the
'aircraft-style' fuel filler cap for the TVS Apache RTR 160
TVS Apache RTR 160The front mudguard
TVS Apache RTR 160Note the grey bellypan/engine cowl. I wish it
was in colour (as in the yellow or red...)
TVS Apache RTR 160Check out the pillion footpeg
TVS Apache RTR 160Finally, aluminium finish levers!TVS Apache RTR 160
Those are the new clip on handlebars. They adjust into two riding positions. You take the plastic cover off (two allen bolts), unbolt the clip-ons and slide them into the new position.... simple.
TVS Apache RTR 160And finally, the full bike.
TVS Apache RTR 160
TVS Apache RTR 160As you can see, the head lamp remains unchanged. What is missing from this
bike (a prototype) is the pinstriping on the wheels and the final
spec meters (posted earlier; link below)

The specs:
TVS Apache RTR 160

4 Stroke, 159.7 cc, Single
Maximum Power: 11.19 KW (15.2 bhp) @ 8500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 13.1 Nm @ 6000 rpm
Bore x Stroke : 62mm x 52.9 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Carburettor: Mikuni BS-26
Valve train: 2 Valves, single cam
Valves per cylinder: 2 Valves
Power to weight ratio: 111.76 bhp / ton
Starting: Electric & Kick Start
Idle speed : 1400rpm
Ignition: IDI-Dual mode digital ignition
Engine oil capacity: 1000 ml


Clutch : Wet, Multi-Plate
Primary reduction: 65/21
Final reduction: 44/13

Type: Double Cradle

Front: Telescopic Forks, 105mm Stroke
Rear: Monotube Inverted Gas filled shox (MIG) with spring aid
Castor angle: 25.5°
Trail length: 81.3 mm


Front: 270 mm Petal Disc
Rear: 130 mm Drum

Rim size (Front): 1.85 x 17”
Rim size (Rear): 2.15 x 18”
Tyre size (Front): 90/90 x 17”
Tyre size (Rear): 100/80 x 18”
Tyre make: TVS Tyres

Fuel tank capacity: 16.0 lit
Reserve: 2.5 lit
Useable reserve: 1.7 lit


Length: 2020 mm
Width: 730 mm
Height: 1050 mm
Wheelbase: 1300 mm
Saddle height: 790 mm
Ground clearance: 180 mm


Kerb weight: 136 kg
Weight distribution: Kerb (F/R) 60/76 kg
Laden (F/R) (Solo - 65kg) 79/122 kg

0-60 kph: 4.80 seconds
0-100 kph: 17.69 seconds
0-100 m: 7.91 seconds
0-400 m: 19.70 seconds
30-80 kph (4th gear): 11.84 seconds
30-80 kph (5th gear): 15.68 seconds
Maximum speed: 118 kph

Related posts:

Apr 21, 2007

Chocolate expiry

I read it and read it again... Best before End?

Content sharing: legalised theft?

I am pretty old fashioned. I believe that books should not be copied, I sneer at traffic light fake-book sellers and I am generally convinced that intellectual property rights should be inviolate. Which is why the Internet bugs me sometimes. This blog carries a lot of content (I'd say more than 97 percent) which is mine. I create it, I research it, I attribute all the sources, but its basically something I created. In terms of photos, I mean photos I clicked, photoshopped into clarity/composition etc. When I use external content, I never use more than an excerpt (unless its a press release, but that document type is created for publishing) and I offer backlinks prominently to the full content.

Now, I'm beginning to grasp that it is considered okay to willy-nilly pick up almost any content you see on the net and post it where ever you like. As long as a backlink is provided, the 'borrower' has apparently fulfilled all his obligations and is now free to do whatever the heck he wants with the content. Which strikes me as a bit odd.

From all the advertising you see at this blog, you would realise that part of the reason why I blog so religiously is that it pays (just enough to supplement my protective motorcycle gear once a year). Now get this. I post a set of images/specs whatever of a soon-to-be-launched motorcycle. The traffic this brings has a direct impact on my revenue. So when you go and 'lift' that image or text and post it on your blog, I lose some revenue. Effectively, in a brick and mortar economy, it would be like taking my book, putting your cover on it, adding a last page that says 'whatever you read was written by Mr so and so,' and keeping the royalties. In the brick-mortar world, that would be theft.

How this becomes okay on the net I can't understand, and it bugs the crap out of me.

Then I went around hunting for ways to prevent image theft. And I realised that not only is the problem I am facing common (actually rampant), but that since the Internet was devised as a way of sharing information, there is little I can do to prevent it. Among the measures are fairly complicated things from banning right-clicks, to changing htaccess codes, javascripts and finally, images in embedded flash. All of which, in my book is too complex to do everytime I want to post an image. So I'm going to watermark the images to within an inch of their lives.

I'm sorry, regular readers, that you won't get unmolested images here anymore. But you know where to place the blame. Everytime you see a watermarked image anywhere else on the Internet, you'll know why I watermarked it. And that's whether or not it is attributed to me.

Please consider this an extended, pre-apology for the inconvenience.

In the ideal world, I think other blogs would offer excerpts from my blogs and thumbnail pics at maximum and a well highlighted backlink to my site. That way, their blogs would become indexed at search engines, and I would still have the exclusivity of having full, in-depth content and images, and not lose traffic. At least, that is what I would do if I ever came to the point where I needed to borrow content from somewhere else.

Apache 160 3: The rear end and details

Apache 160 brake pedal

Here's more TVS Apache 160 details then. Check out the
forged brake lever. Pretty eh?

Apache 160 grab rail and racing stripe
That's the new grab rail. Notice the racing stripe (black). It runs from the tail lamp, up the tank and right down to the tip of the front fender... did you notice it on the tacho dial face?
Apache 160 rear view mirrorThat's the shapely new mirror. I thought it was quite effective, but I have feeling that's not going to be the popular opinion once the bike comes out...

Apache 160 brake lightAnd that's the full tail light. The red bit is actually the reflector and the white part is the light. It houses two 'A' shaped LED clusters that're really, really bright.
Oh, and the bike is fully called the TVS Apache RTR 160. More later...

You've noticed the rather heavy watermarking, I presume... I will hold forth on that bit a bit later.

Related posts:

Apr 19, 2007

Apache 160 2: The meters

This is the meter console for the new Apache 160. As you can see, it looks pretty neat. The little black 'rectangle' at the bottom beside the key holds the various idiot lights. In addition, a battery fault, service required and low fuel lights are on the tacho face. The service indicator only lights up for the first ten seconds when you start up the bike. The service chaps will reset the light at the service. The large LCD panel holds the speedo, two trips, odo, fuel gauge and a clock. It's orange-lit like the Pulsar's unit. More soon.

Related posts:

Apr 18, 2007

TVS Apache 160

Like my friend at indian2wheels.blogspot.com is saying, TVS does have a 160cc Apache up their sleeves. The launch is expected by end-May 2007 and it will be a simultaenous, country wide launch. The rise in displacement comes because TVS wanted to raise the power output without really losing any of the torque of the Apache. I hear that the new Apache fixes all the 'flaws' of the old one and is really nice. Riding impression coming soon at this blog. I will post some pics of the bikes as soon as I can get the right permissions...

To summarise. It is, indeed, a 159.7cc, 15.5 bhp, 1.31 kgm machine. Body panels have not been changed, but the new colors (a superb yellow and a striking titanium/matte grey), loads of superb details (like aluminium pegs, well-designed peg subframes, the petal disc in the pic) make the bike look a lot more fashionable and attractive. The petal disc offers greater cooling (the surface area of the leading edge is greater in the irregular petal shape than in the circular rotor disc), but get this. That's a 270mm disc. Which should give you an ideal of the performance/stoppie potential of the bike.

TVS is expected to announce pricing soon and I, for one, am not expecting a major price rise. If you've heard a rumour that the 160 is a monoshock... that's wrong. It isn't. More soon.

Related posts:

LML reopens

I'm unable to place the source right now (was it you? email me at gmail.com@rearsetblog | reverse that, spam protection) but I'm hearing that LML is reopening its doors. The company went through a rather low phase but is beginning the climb back. I read that an agreement with workers has been reached and the company will start making scooters aimed primarily for export soon.

Harley vs Mangoes: Is this for real

Yes, I know that the story is true but the quote below is taken from here, and I swear that if I had written a sarcastic piece on the subject of Harley-Davidson and Mangoes being 'bartered,' these are exactly what I would have written... Ironic?

"We have reached an agreement... now Harley Davidson motorcycles can be imported while Indian mangoes will be available in the US markets," Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said.

"Indian mangoes are only a few days away from the shipment," US Trade Representative Susan Schwab said.

Apr 13, 2007

Updated: Yamaha.. Alba?

Yamaha Alba Poster
I've just received some info that says the aforementioned motorcycle will be launched shortly in various Indian cities on various dates and times (I kid you not). But the Pune launch is definitely on April 12. Which, imagine my surprise, was yesterday. In the international market, there appears to be an ATV that is eponymous (always wanted to use that word in my blog... there, done).

From what I can tell, that's the 100cc bike that will hopefully replace the Crux (as opposed to run harder beside it). If the market is anything to go by, expect TVS Star or Bajaj Platina matching or exceeding specs. The Alba will be interesting mostly because it represents the new Yamaha face attacking the old problem – volumes. The Alba should give us a good first hand view of how Yamaha intends to resurrect its Indian operation. If they were to come out and say something on the lines of 'the performance commuter that'll thrash the competition', and offer more power in a trade in for a little economy, I will be in their camp. If it turns out to be another template commuter...

Okay, since I typed that in, I've had a new filling in of information. The Alba will, as I feared, run parallel to Crux. Strike one. Now I'm waiting for the details to come... stay tuned.

And here, is the full press release. Now, this is a fairly hilarious document, so please try and control yourselves. Oh, and since I won't insert any comments below, I'll say my piece here. Strike Two. Strike Three. You're out. Okay sorry, I could not resist, so I've emboldened some of the stuff I found funny.

Yamaha Alba Poster

YAMAHA ALBA 106 – Got It!!!

Indian roads will soon witness yet another style statement by Yamaha Motor India Pvt. Ltd. Ranking amongst India’s leading bike makers; Yamaha today announced the launch of its latest bike – the all new Yamaha Alba 106.

The unique design of Yamaha Alba 106 blends youthful style with thoughtful decency. Overall the bike gives an image of robustness and solidity. Giving it a sturdy, macho image are the muscled tank, well-built side and rear panel. While the exciting graphics with the smooth flowing design give the bike its stylish, super cool looks.

With Alba 106, Yamaha has expanded its range beyond the hardcore bikers’ bikes. As per the company sources, the reasonably priced Alba 106 is a low maintenance bike with high fuel efficiency that enhances its value-for-money appeal manifold.
Yamaha Alba PosterSince the bike has been designed for daily commuting, special emphasis has been given on shaping it for the maximum comfort of the rider. That is why, Yamaha Alba 106 boasts of new aerodynamic cowl, well-sculptured tank, and broad seat for comfortable riding of the pillion rider too. The ideal ergonomics of seat, handlebar, and knee recess on the petrol tank – are all designed for comfortable riding by giving the right posture to the rider.

Keeping the Indian driving conditions in consideration, Alba 106 has perfectly spaced gear ratio for driving in congested conditions without changing gears repeatedly.

At the heart of the machine is the Yamaha’s ever reliable 106cc engine, which gives good combination of torque and mileage leading to less strain on the engine and therefore longer life. Adding style to Alba’s strength are its super cool features, including the innovatively designed indicators and tail light.

Yamaha Alba Poster

Apr 12, 2007

Used Motorcycle Evaluation Guide

I haven't got much to add value to this so I won't. But here is an impressively exhaustive guide to buying a used motorcycles. So exhaustive (125Kb!) that I'm sure most of us aren't going to read it for kicks. Until it's time to buy one. Then I won't have to hunt. I'll just come back to this post.

I found this link while stumbling along through the net

Apr 11, 2007

Honda Unicorn Riding Impression

Someone wanted a riding impression of the new Unicorn. So here it is.

What an amazing, outstanding, superb, Pulsar thrashing little 150 this has become. The new Unicorn, ladies and gentlemen, is nothing short of outstanding. Hell, I'd go so far as to say the upgraded Unicorn is as different from the old Unicorn as the colour red is from blue.

A quick summary of the new features first. Alloy wheels. Black engine with red Honda text on crankcase cover. Polished fins and a nice new cam cover. Tweaked fairing with chrome strip. New graphics. Chrome on middle body panel a la CBZX or Platina. Ooh, help me up if I swoon.

Going into corners, the sharp touch of chrome in your visor is a treat. It allows you to point the bike better and works as if you had a shiny crosshair to aim at the apex. The alloy wheels now bring the bike up to feature just-below-par with its competition. Why? Because now that Honda has alloys, everyone else has digital tachos, twin pilot lamps, LED tail lamps... Uh oh. The sole Honda USP is the monoshock. Which, the astute among you will note, was exactly what the USP of the old Unicorn was.

At a very fundamental level, I think Honda has miscalculated once more. Once more, the Indian manufacturers have evaded Big Red. I don't how long an aggressive, overachieving giant like Honda can countenance such insolence, but for the moment, I can't see then really reacting in any major fashion. It took then from 2005 Diwali till now to announce these 'major' upgrades... which is the sort of time frame in which people like Bajaj and TVS create new platforms (or two) from scratch.

So, how is it to ride. Same as the old one. Great motor, lovely torquey feel, slightly weak on the top end. Neutral, confident handler, overtly stiff on the ride front until you find yourself a 100 kg wife who agrees to sit pillion with you everywhere. Still a nice bike to ride and still not the best value for money, not the best 150 performer, or the most attractive 150cc buying proposition.

What would I have done? I'd have junked all the plastics for more aggro looks. I'd have the CBZX motor (14.2 bhp) in it. I'd have softened the rear shock just a little bit to make the one-up 150cc crowd happier. I would also have thrown the bikini fairing into the recyclable plastic bin and drawn up a new one. Maybe with twin headlamps. Maybe I'd put twin naked headlamps. And I'd have gone ballistic on the features. And that, was if I were being conservative. If I were willing to stick the old neck out a bit... I'd bump displacement to 180cc, keep the mileage in check, make 15.5 bhp and give everyone a headache. Sadly for you guys, I'm not Honda.

Chritstine's Story

That triggered off a ritual of me sitting on the motorcycle every birthday and stretching my feet towards the ground trying to see if i could touch the ground to plant my feet while sitting on the bike. With each passing year, Dad was constantly observing the determination with which i was just kept trying this act again and again.
Did you like that? Click here to visit la vie extraordinaire d'un homme ordinaire. A new blog that has a rather charming story about a man and his motorcycle, Christine.

Excerpt & photo from la vie extraordinaire d'un homme ordinaire

Bajaj's 250+ Plan musings

I was asked to comment on this by theslayer. All right, then, here goes. First read the original below. The article is from the Financial Express newspaper website (site | article). My comments are below.

Bajaj Auto to launch 250 cc plus bikes
Posted online: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 0000 hours IST

PANTNAGAR, APR 9: Bajaj Auto is all set to launch 250 cc-plus motorcycles in technical collaboration with its Japanese partner Kawasaki Motor shortly, Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto said. These would be branded as Bajaj and would be sold through Bajaj dealers.

He, however, declined to give further details but said that a few bikes would be launched over the next two months. Asked if the company planned to import higher capacity bikes and sell in the domestic market he replied in the negative. He also declined any move to partner with Yamaha India on any project. Bajaj Auto currently sells its bikes in export markets like the Philippines though Kawasaki’s marketing network. The upcoming motorcycles would compete with the completely built units (CBUs) of Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda.

Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Ltd (HMSI) will also launch completely built units (CBUs) of higher capacity (500 cc) motorcycles in the next few years. Recently the company had said that it may assemble these bikes in the country to avoid the high import duty of 110%
It would make sense. I think Rajiv Bajaj does mean 250+. Most of you would recall that there was a rumour floating a while ago that Bajaj was readying the Ninja 250R for a launch. With the advent of the 220 at the Auto Expo, that rumour basically took the next available exit. However, that doesn't mean that if Bajaj were doing the Ninja, they stopped. The Kawasaki name coming in to that discussion can only mean that the Ninja 250 or its ilk should be heading for India.

So far Yamaha/Honda/Suzuki etc are all planning a CBU route entry for their big machines. The story is a bit vague, but if Bajaj is planning to make/assemble these in the country (remember, the Pantnagar plant will free up the Chakan plant a bit), then they just might eke out a crucial and devastating price advantage.

In the meantime, as I've said earlier, Bajaj has also spoken earlier about a 300-400cc platform that is in development. What I don't know is whether the Kawasaki collaborated platform is the same one, or if Bajaj effectively has two bigger displacement platforms in development.

Image from kawasaki.com

Apr 9, 2007

Bajaj's new Pantnagar plant

Bajaj opened production at their third plant (fourth if you count Akurdi) today, with a Bajaj Platina. Here's the full low down:

Bajaj Auto Commissions New Plant at Pantnagar, Uttarakhand

  • Greenfield plant adds 1-million motorcycle capacity;
    commences Platina production.
  • Minimalistic Plant to represent lowest cost manufacturing
    facility of global quality.
  • Integrated mother Plant-vendor cluster structure to serve
    as overseas Plant model.
Bajaj's new Plant at PantnagarMumbai, April 9, 2007: Bajaj Auto Limited today inaugurated its Greenfield Plant with a planned capacity of one million motorcycles per annum at Pantnagar, Uttarakhand. Built on a total area of 65 acres with the balance 155 acres allocated to the vendor cluster, the Pantnagar facility would be Bajaj Auto's fourth Plant & first Plant outside Maharashtra. The unit has a plant area of 40,000 sq mtr and will employ 600 line engineers who have been trained at Chakan for 3 months.

In a pioneering manufacturer – vendor partnership, the Bajaj Auto Pantnagar Plant will be supported by manufacturing facilities of 16 auto component vendors in the immediate proximity. A part of the land area allocated to Bajaj has been taken up by vendors to set up dedicated facilities to ensure seamless integration with the mother Plant resulting in phenomenal manufacturing efficiencies.

These cluster suppliers will meet 75% of the component requirement of the new Plant. They would be operating as the extended factory of the core Bajaj Auto mother Plant. Systems and processes would make this unit the ultimate “lean” unit in terms of manufacturing efficiency. All supplies from shops and suppliers will be on e-Kanban. The Pantnagar Plant is a compact focused manufacturing facility, which despite being the lowest cost production unit would adhere to the highest global quality standards. This new manufacturing concept is expected to yield 10 times the productivity of other comparable 2-wheeler units.

This partnership will see manufacturing and supply of Key components including Speedometers from Pricol, Front Fork and suspension from Endurance, Lighting systems from Lumax, Plastic and Electrical components from Varroc, Control switches and Ignition systems from Minda group and frames from JBM, in the vicinity of the new Bajaj Auto Plant.

Another landmark has been broken in terms of the investment required to create a plant with a capacity of 1 million vehicles annually. Bajaj Auto has directly invested only Rs. 150 crores in this new manufacturing unit for an investment cost of merely Rs.1500/vehicle, a benchmark perhaps unequaled elsewhere. This will enable one of the shortest payback periods for any Plant globally.

The current Plant built up on 30 of the 65 acres retained by the company has a planned capacity of 1 million units, which can be progressively expanded to 3 million vehicles. This Plant would be completely independent of the other three manufacturing Plants of the company. As such, the Pantnagar Plant is the proving ground for this new focused manufacturing concept, which could then be carried over to international markets in the future as well.

Mr. Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto who inaugurated the plant said, “We wish to compliment the Uttarakhand State on its excellent investment environment. This is our first manufacturing foray outside Maharashtra, with the best of manufacturing technology and processes. I am proud to inaugurate this new plant which sets new benchmarks in automobile manufacturing.”

Bajaj's new Plant at PantnagarBajaj customers will now also enjoy the Excise and Income tax benefits from the new Pantnagar Plant, which coupled with superior production efficiencies enables the company to aggressively re-price the Platina. The Bajaj Platina is now available at Rs. 33,000/- ex-showroom as against Rs. 36,000/- earlier.

Said Mr. S Sridhar, VP (Marketing & Sales), Bajaj Auto, “These new standards in manufacturing efficiency together with the incentives for new investment in Uttarakhand has enabled Bajaj Auto to reduce the cost of production and offer even better value to its customers. The best-selling Bajaj Platina, which has already sold seven lakh bikes, post its April 2006 launch, will be the first product to roll out of our new Pantnagar plant. This additional capacity will enable us to meet the demand for the Platina.”

Added Mr. S Sridhar, “Over 50 per cent of our domestic two-wheeler sales comes from the northern and eastern regions. Our Pantnagar plant will also enable us to faster meet the needs of our customers in this region.”

Bajaj Platina offers a phenomenal value package for two-wheeler consumers, with its 108 kmpl mileage and a 4 years extended warranty, apart from some great features including a superior SNS suspension, premium Chrome Graphics & Alloy Wheels.

Apr 7, 2007

Hero Honda to enter motorsport?

A circular from FMSCI says that the Hero Honda CBZ X-Treme, the Glamour (normal one) and the Glamour (fuel injected) have all been cleared to participate in Indian motorsport. Okay, who said, 'what's that?' No, seriously. As of April 20, 2007, the Hero Hondas may legally line up on the grids and set apexes and straights afire. According to the ulta-brief news bit I received, and I quote

Worldwide, only those vehicles whose technical details are made available to the National motorsport federation and verified by them are only allowed to participate in motorsporting events, so as to ensure safe and fair competition.
Unquote. The Glamour (124.8cc) and the CBZX (149.2cc) will be in action at the six round 2007 Ucal Rolon NRRC. The first round is between April 27 and 29 at Coimbatore. TVS has long complained that there isn't any manufacturer interest in racing, and it seems they're getting what they want.

On the other hand, manufacturer's routinely use the racetrack to test new ideas which eventually filter down to street bikes. So it is interesting that Hero Honda (the sole motorcycle brand without its own R&D setup; it relies on Honda R&D, which works with/for both Honda and Hero Honda) is entering racing. I would have thought that Honda entering would have made a lot more sense.

But hey, this could be the reason why the CBZX gets a 14.2 bhp engine, while the other bikes from the same bloodline all make do with 13.3 bhp engine. In effect, if all of that conjecture were true, the CBZX becomes nearly a homologation special. Funneeee....

In other news, Shashi Kapoor, who used to head motorsport at Maruti, recently moved to Hero Honda.

Apr 6, 2007

Cramster Riding Gear: Details

Below are the high-res images of the new kit from Cramster (world famous in India for their line of motorcycle luggage and great aftersales service). Feast your eyes people. The stuff is gorgeous and of very high quality. When I first organised the logistics to go and see this kit, I wasn't really expecting this level of quality and I'm blown away and happy about it. If I were buying kit right now, this is the stuff I'd buy. In quality and styling terms, I think the jackets and gloves are more or less at par with many international brands. And in a price comparison, they'll beat the crap out of them.

Newenough fans, I have tough news. I was trying to order some stuff and it seems that since the site was redesigned, you can only ship items to your paypal account country. Which sucks. I've emailed them, and will post the reply here soon. It also means that the $99 jacket you were eyeing will cost you $40 to ship no matter how many people are returning from the US. Uh oh. Anyway, this makes the Cramster jackets – prices range from a little over Rs 4000 to a little over Rs 5000 – very attractive.

I saw three jackets (I've forgotten their exact monikers) but there's a cool looking mesh, a sport jacket and a full touring rig that's vented, waterproof and heavily pocketed. I loved all three. I tried on the sport jacket and it feel good and snug. The venting works, but the air doesn't really get down into the jacket, so you'll sweat a bit. The touring jacket looks smashing in the sober grey colours and is my favourite of the lot. The mesh jacket has an external waterproof liner pocket, while both of the others have a zip-our quilted liner. All three have CE armour and basic back protectors. And the slight orange tint in the pics is because of the setting sun. All three jackets are in black/grey/white combinations.

Cramster also has three gloves and the range spans a short cuff street glove with a carbon crust, boasts a warm, waterproof winter glove (Ladakh incumbents please note) and tops off with a rather likeable sport glove, again with as much carbon as you can eat. At Rs 2500 or so, I thought the last one was a particularly good deal.

Good kit, at good prices. Finally. And locally.

info@cramster.in | cramster.in

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Apr 4, 2007

Slap tickle

Today I did it. For the first time in 32 years, I hit another human. It wasn't in the heat of the moment. It was not a 'crime' of passion. I wasn't carried away. It was premeditated. Before this person walked into my house, I knew I was going to hit him. I was just waiting for the right moment. And it arrived.

He said the one thing he should not have. That was the straw. I can remember the whole thing in slow motion. I straightened up, spread my palm out, pulled the arm back and swung out. I hit square on his left cheek, flat hand making solid, hard contact, sending a shudder through my arm. And it felt good. So good that I almost hit him again. The surprised, pained and cowed look in his eyes was my reward. I loved it. It sent a raw spark of happy energy went right through me.

I loved it. It was wrong, I lost control, I should not have. But I don't regret it one bit. I wouldn't do it again, but I'm glad I did.

Apr 3, 2007

Honda Achiever: Alloy wheels!

Without further ado, here we go again... Here's the full text of the press release below. But before you go into that, here's my take. The Achiever is one of my personal favourites in the 150cc class and this can only help. I haven't swung a leg over but if the alloy wheels don't destroy the feel of the bike, this will be a honker of a bike. Too bad they didn't change the panels, then.

Strengthens Strong Presence In The Premium Segment With Three New Launches This Fiscal – CBZ X-treme, Karizma and now, Achiever
The New Achiever

  • Cast wheel now comes as standard fitment
  • 5-spoke, black matted cast wheel with disc brake
  • New set of body colors and graphics
  • Body colored painted rear grip
New Delhi, March 30, 2007: Hero Honda Motors Ltd (HHML), the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, today augmented its strong presence in the premium segment with the launch of the new Achiever. The new Achiever now comes with 5 spoke black colored cast wheel, and its new body colored rear grip and the new graphics give the 150cc bike an attractive look.

The launch of the new Achiever makes it as many as eight new product introductions (including variants) in the current financial year (2006-07) by Hero Honda.
The new Achiever comes in 5 exciting body colours namely, force silver metallic, palace maroon, candy blazing red, magnetic blue metallic and black. Front disk brake and cast wheels come as standard fitment. Achiever is available in 2 variants – kick start and self. The new motorcycle is priced at Rs 52,650/- and Rs 54,950/- respectively for two variants (ex-showroom Delhi).

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Pawan Munjal, Managing Director, HHML said, “Our effort has always been to meet customer requirements. So even within the premium segment, we now have three different brands catering specific sub-segments. Our recent launches in this segment, CBZ X-treme and the new Karizma, appeal to customers who are looking for sporty and stylish bikes to make a lifestyle statement. The new Achiever addresses the customers looking for a strong powerful bike for commuting purpose. We believe that the new Achiever snugly fits into that space within the premium segment.”

It’s a multi-pronged strategy which has seen HHML continue its strong growth momentum after beginning the year 2007 on a high note. The strategy has been to bring out products to meet customer requirements across segments, provide value-added services, support the new products with extensive 360 degrees communication, and leverage longstanding Hero Honda brand properties for brand building. While highly popular brands such as Splendor and Passion Plus continue to bring in the large volumes and keep consolidating the company’s stronghold on the deluxe segment, the newly-launched CD Deluxe has been clocking impressive numbers to build HHML’s presence in the entry segment.

The other big launch, CBZ X-treme has been clocking an impressive 15,000 to 20,000 units per month, and has already crossed the 50,000 mark in a very short time since its launch late last year.
It is the success of these new products launched during this financial year, CBZ X-treme, Glamour with alloy wheels, CD Deluxe and the new Karizma, as also the aggressive marketing campaigns, which have helped HHML register better-than-industry growth in last few months.