Mar 26, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside...

I could not help but use the words from that Tom Jones/Catatonia song to open this post. Blog reader JOSH's been out riding and it was lovely, although it didn't go to plan...

I just did a 1200 mile ride to Memphis and a few surrounding places over the weekend when the weather looked really promising. The minute I left Atlanta though, it took a turn, so here's...

...Ten reasons why 1200 miles should never be completed in three sub-10 degree days.
  1. A negative windchill factor makes the 'thrill' of the isolated twisting back roads being remembered as 'chill'

  2. It's not longer the red nosed reindeer, people now call me the bluenose idiot

  3. Blue fingers linger... long, long after that 3 hour soak in the hot tub

  4. If you talk to the guy on the K1200 at the gas station, he thinks you're gonna steal his heated jacket, his bike with heated grips and leave him with the crappy mesh jacket you're wearing

  5. Purple skies can be seen in summer too

  6. Cold weather makes you think hot chocolate isn't all that hot, until your mouth tells you so

  7. Moving in the saddle to relieve your numb backside has the wind reaching places it ought not to

  8. So what if Elvis lived in Memphis Tennessee, he's dead and a few more hours out there would have see me on my way to meet the king

  9. 700 motorcycles in a museum in Birmingham, halfway to Memphis doesn't make it any warmer

  10. It's impossible to wipe a leaky nose at 90mph with a really snug lid and gloves on

The Top 10: rearset on braking:

Have seen all the posts at my blog on the subject of braking? Don't worry about it. Neither have I. No, wait, I must have... I wrote the lot. Anyhoo, browsing through the 800-odd posts, I came with the top 10 posts I've written that talk extensively about braking technique and practice.

Mar 25, 2008

Why make a silly mistake?

Okay, this is a bit of a rant, so bear with me.

I am more than a little surprised by this. In the recent past, I've had the pleasure of meeting three people who read this blog on a regular basis. One of them asked me a question about helmets which I posted here not so long ago. You know, the one about dropping a lid and 'denting' it.

Recently, I met this chap again for a drink at a lounge bar close to both our houses. The second member of the reader troika joined us there. Since Gentleman 2 turned up in an auto and that's how he went back, so how many drinks he had does not, in the least, concern me. What does concern me is that Gentleman Number 1, who lives ten minutes away, took the precaution of carrying the selfsame dented lid to the bar, and here's where it becomes a the equivalent of sand in a swimsuit... he rode back home when we were done bantering about bikes.

The third gentleman and I also met at a watering hole, and yes, we watered. I, again, was off the motorcycle for obvious reasons and cabbed it home. Gentleman 3 person rode home, wearing a helmet. And I must – I'm OCD remember – point out that this lid is the exactly the sort of item that we like to laugh at – an imitation hard hat.

Now, I know from this person's photographs that he is in possession of a fine helmet and from what I've heard from him, and read about him, sound judgement as well. On the face of it, the former was obviously missing, and the latter chose not to make an appearance. The watering hole and the cab stand are, at this watering hole, separated by a yawning gap. So the gentleman thoughtfully offered to let me ride pillion to the cab stand. Ah but you see, I've not got my kit. That's condition one and it means I cannot get on a motorcycle, in either seat. Besides, not only am I well-watered (far from inebriated, I must freely admit though), you're three drinks down as well. Forget me riding pillion, you shouldn't be riding either. You, my friend, should have left the bike at your place and cabbed it as well. If nothing else, the walk to the cab stand would have been very pleasant. And it would have given us another twenty minutes to prolong the lovely bike banter.

It strikes me as strange that two motorcyclists, both seriously into two wheels and both deeply in love with our countersteered world would make such an obvious error in judgement. As far as I can tell, both ride safely and within their limits. Both are aware enough to either already (or aspire to) own good riding kit. Both are good men, nice to chat with, knowledgeable about motorcycling and have clear logical and rational thought processes. And yet.

I don't know if Gentleman 2 cabbed it home because he planned to drink, or it just turned out that way. But the point is, that this is a serious, even potentially fatal mistake. One that shouldn't be taken lightly. That alcohol impairs your judgement and slows your reaction time is known beyond any hint of a doubt. That alcohol in your bloodstream causes other problems is public knowledge too.

Statistically, you should already know that it close to your origin or destination that you are more likely to crash. You should also know that short, routine rides figure in far greater numbers in all manner of crash stats than the odd long tour (related links: 1 | 2| 3).

But more important is the fact that the chap driving blissfully while yakking away on his handphone doesn't care. When he hits you, the damage is the same. But if there's alcohol in your blood, it becomes your fault (see this. Look at point #7 in the Claims section). If you die, your family loses all hope of getting any aid from insurance. If you live, the car driver, who was probably at fault skips away scot free because you tippled.

A long time ago, I was a lot more militant about motorcycle safety. Oh yeah, I mean that in the past tense. I used to tell everyone to be careful, to wear helmets and so forth. I used to insist, insist and when I could, I would force people into line.

I don't do that no more. It isn't worth my time and effort. I like you, and if something were to happen to you, I'd be sorry – no matter who was at fault. But I will only try to ensure that you have all the information you need to make your own decisions. I will hope that you make the right decision.

But at the end of the day, it's your life. You can strive to preserve and enrich it. Or you can throw it away.

Jhansi Rani Laxmibai's ride to be commemorated by women scooter riders

Bipasha Basu from kineticI'm sorry, but I just had to post this... It's kind of funny, you have to admit.

Jhansi Rani Laxmibai's ride to be commemorated by women scooter riders

Chennai, March 25, 2008: 150 years ago, Jhansi Rani Laxmibai, at the young age of 22, undertook a 24 hour, 100 mile horseback ride from Jhansi to Kalpi, in a daring escape from the British forces who had laid siege to Jhansi. Rani Laxmibai's courage has earned her an unforgettable place in India's history, serving as inspiration to freedom fighters. Her legacy of valour continues to inspire India's young women to believe in themselves and strive for achievement.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of her daring escape, a group of women riders will re-enact her 100 mile journey from Jhansi to Kalpi, on scooters. The rally is being organized by Kinetic Motor Company, and the will be completed on the latest 125cc sensational scooter for women – the Kinetic SYM Flyte. The adventurous and exciting ride will happen on April 04, 2008 from Jhansi to Kalpi and training will be provided by popular Bikeguru Dilip Bam, who has decades of experience in two wheeler
adventure rides.

Announcing the unique initiative, Ms. Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Managing Director, Kinetic Motor Company said," It is my belief that today's Indian women are strong, independent and can do anything that a man can do. Rani Laxmi Bai is my personal heroine, and am sure she is for millions of other girls too. To honor the memory of her achievement, we are organizing this unique rally taking enthusiastic women to reenact Rani Laxmi Bai's journey on Kinetic-SYM "Flyte"

Advanced 125cc scooter Kinetic SYM Flyte is the new hot favorite among India's women who are looking for a set of wheels as cool as themselves. With several convenience features, a smooth 125cc engine and technology such as telescopic front suspension, front fueling and more. The Flyte, which has won two "Scooter of the Year" awards, has been brought to India by pioneering scooter manufacturer Kinetic Motor Company in association with Taiwan's $1.1 billion automotive giant SYM.

For more details, visit

Motorcycle Ballet

Sorry to do two video posts one after the other, but you have got to see this video. The skill and coordination on display is fantastic. Wish I could ride like that... Originally spotted here

Dainese Air Bag Video: What do you think of this?

What do you think of this?
Would you wear one of these (cost, for the moment, no bar?).

Mar 20, 2008

Cramster Boots: First impressions & details

Cramster Motorcycle Riding Boots
Cramster Motorcycle Riding Boots
Cramster Motorcycle Riding Boots
Cramster Motorcycle Riding Boots

Cramster Motorcycle Riding BootsCramster Motorcycle Riding Boots
Just to give you an idea of the size. That's my crash scuffed DMS Boot with the new Cramster (tall) model Size reference 2
Cramster Motorcycle Riding BootsCramster Motorcycle Riding Boots
I artifically lightened the pic, which is why it looks odd. The two flaps can almost be operated independently. I use the zipper halfway when I need to tuck my riding pants in to allow adjustability Same as pic on the left. But with the flaps open. Note that the zipper does not lock (like a trouser-fly zipper)
Cramster Motorcycle Riding BootsCramster Motorcycle Riding Boots
That's the toe slider. It's kind a big and pinches a bit at the trailing edge. But loosening that screw helped. Planning to loctite the screw down in that position. Problem solvedThat's the toe slider assembly. The boot has a 'dock' stitched in with a brass (no rust) hole to screw into. Two tabs hold the slider in position and prevent you from mounting it back to front. I do wish the rear tab was a bit longer. It would have held the rear edge of the slider just a bit away from the boot and prevented it from pinching. No matter, I just cut away the offending material with a knife. Perfect!
Cramster Motorcycle Riding BootsCramster Motorcycle Riding Boots
Calf slider. Also screws in like the toe slider. But no tabs on the back, so a lose screw will allow/cause rotationThat's the shin protection. The material feels like rubber, but the padding isn't especially thick – allows movement but won't protect all that much, then
Cramster Motorcycle Riding BootsCramster Motorcycle Riding Boots
That's a detail of the toe slider mountingThat's the shift pad. It is an extra layer of leather (on both boots, so Bullet riders can be happy). But leather wears. So eventually there will be a discoloured, slightly worn spot here
Cramster Motorcycle Riding BootsCramster Motorcycle Riding Boots
A rubber heel cup rounds out the back of the shoe. Rubber feels better than the plastic cups that are the norm. The plastic ones cause your feet to slide around when you're resting on your heels – like at your office deskToe Slider detail

Now that you know the shoe (Previous post)intimately, let me tell you how it felt. And felt, come to think of it, is what the lining material seems to be. Cramster's official spokesman said that the boot was designed to be warm and water resistant with touring riders in mind. So the felt is warm, but not comfortably so. A liner-less boot is supposedly coming up soon, and will be lighter and cooler.

I got a size 44, which fits perfectly (allowing space for a thicker sock when I return to Leh or some such). So the sizing is pretty spot on. In feel, the boot feels most unlike a sport motorcycle boot. A full-on sport boot restricts movement somewhat, but in true touring fashion, the Cramster boot has no plastic hinderances, so it feels pretty much like a normal boot would. The sole is thicker than my all-out sport boots, but return a fair amount of feel.

Here's the thing. A friend of mine spent a full day locating a pair of tall boots and finally got a pair made from Nashik. Which look, um, all right (He's reading this... gotta be careful) and he paid Rs 5,000 for them. These boots had they been on sale back then, would have been perfect. At Rs 4,600 from the tall boot, this is actually great value.

Downsides? Yes there are a few.
  • The toe slider's mouted a bit tall. I'm worried that when the time comes, the sole will grind down first, and the plastic toe slider later.
  • The outer ankle bone is unprotected, although the inner one had a hard pad over it.
  • I wish the shifter pad was moulded rubber or plastic
  • If the toe slider mounting were bigger, it would have given the toe area more strength in a crash.
  • The toe slider need not be this thick, really.
  • A half zipper instead of a full length one, will give the top of boot more flexibility in fit terms
  • Toe slider mounting should be lower. The bottom of the toe slider should clear the sole only by 5 mm or so
  • Um, colours?

MBI Press Release: 2008 Winners

Did you vote? I did. And here are the final results of the 2008 Motorcycle Bloggers International.

March 19, 2008 -- Motorcycle Bloggers International (MBI), announced the winners of the 2008 Riders Choice Awards. The awards, voted by thousands of motorcycle riders in 77 countries, recognize significant achievements and serious lapses in judgment during 2007 by motorcycle and related product manufacturers, persons and organizations. This years winners are:

MBI Riders Choice - Star Awards
  • Object of Lust -- Ducati Desmosedici RR
  • Best Concept Motorcycle or Scooter -- Honda Evo 6
  • Best Manufacturer's Website -- BMW Motorrad
  • Best New in 2007 Scooter -- Piaggio MP3 400
  • Best New in 2007 Motorcycle -- Triumph Street Triple 675
  • Most Environmentally Friendly Motorcycle - ElectricMoto Corporation Blade XT
  • Wish We'd Thought of That -- KTM Bread Toaster
  • Women Riders Booster of the Year -- Lois Pryce (20,000 mile solo ride, Alaska to the tip of South America on a 225cc bike)
  • Thumbs Up -- Ewan McGregor/Charlie Boorman ( Enhanced image of motorcycle riders)
MBI Riders Choice - Fallen Star Awards
  • Most Disappointing Motorcycle - Suzuki B-King
  • Thumbs Down -- Loud Pipes Save Lives
  • What Were They Thinking -- Babecage
  • - Worst Manufacturer's Website -- Cycleport/Motoport

The Riders Choice Awards are unique in that the nominees and winners are chosen by every day riders around the world, not by professional journalists. The awards reflect the judgment of the motorcycle buying public, not motorcycle industry insiders.

Anyone could vote, there was no restriction on age, gender or country. Even non-riders could vote. No registration, nor email addresses were required. However, a system of storing and analyzing IP addresses was put in place to minimize duplicate voting.

About MBI
MBI (whose motto is "Riding and writing is what we do") is a group of 161 international motorcycle weblog authors from China to Chile.

Membership is open to any motorcycle rider who maintains an active motorcycle-related Internet weblog or news web site with original commentary. With a combined readership over 5 million readers per month, the awards represent a true feeling what lives amongst the biker communities. The awards are not given by professional journalists, commercial publications or companies, but by the public.

More information about MBI, its members and the complete list of nominees will be found at the MBI web site.

MBI Website:
MBI Awards 2007:
Interview Contact: Mike Werner
Telephone: +33-2-35297230
Email: mwerner[at]biweb[dot]org

Yamaha R15: forged pistons

Yamaha YZF-R15Bits and pieces of the R15 coming out as press releases, it would seem...

New Delhi, March 19, 2008: Keeping up with new technology and constantly bringing it to the next level, Yamaha Motor India is set to introduce forged piston which enables lighter piston design and excellent power development, in the Indian market. The forged piston is used on the new 150cc YZF-R15, which was unveiled at Auto Expo 2008, as the first on an Indian market model and a feature that reduces the reciprocating mass of the piston by approximately 20%.

Introduced in 1997, Yamaha "controlled forging technology" has been used successfully for over a decade for the mass production of forged aluminum pistons because it utilizes a system of precise control of the piece temperature, mold temperature and the forging force. Yamaha's controlled forging technology tightly controls the forging conditions, including (1) the initial heating of the work piece, (2) controlling the temperature of the mold so that it keeps the work piece in the ideal 400 to 500 ℃ range (3) applying just the right amount of pressure to the mold in the forging process and many more factors.

According to Mr. Sanjay Tripathi, Head of Dept- Product Planning & Strategy, "Pistons for car and motorcycle engines are usually cast by pouring molten aluminum alloy into a mold. The other type of piston is the forged piston, with which the alloy is not melted but heated to the point where it can be forged into a mold under pressure. Since the
aluminum is not melted in the forging process, it retains a stronger metallurgic quality. This makes possible a thinner, and thus lighter, piston that has less reciprocating mass and also contributes to weight reduction. The result is better revving and lesser engine vibrations."

"However, there are exacting requirements involved in manufacturing a complex shaped piston and difficulties in maintaining precise temperature in the "forging" process. Due to which such pistons are expensive to produce. But Yamaha's "controlled forging technology" enables production of the forged pistons at a lower cost", he adds further.

The forged pistons made with Yamaha "controlled forging technology" have excellent strength characteristics that enable the design of a thinner, lighter piston with smaller reciprocating mass achieve higher rpm and performance as well as providing the greater reliability of the higher strength aluminum. For this reason they are used in YZF-R15 and many Yamaha motorcycles.

It's All Stir Fry

My brother Kautilya and I just started our own food blog. Of course, that does not mean I won't post the eating stuff here... so We Want Motorcycle Content Only Types should not starting cracking open the fizzy stuff yet. And here is the first post originally intended for A Grain Of Salt.

All Stir FryFood. There's a lot to be said for it. Especially when the quality – in terms of taste and, um, presentation – and the quantity – unlimited is best, are both available in spades. Then you can really shovel it down. Okay, I'm getting a bit carried away.

To return to the neighbourhood of the point, yesterday, a bunch of colleagues decided to head out for lunch. Nothing eye opening about that, of course. But we decided by a quirk of fate (20 minutes waiting at Lemon Grass Cafe) to chow down at the Noodle Bar. As restaurant moniker's go, by the way, that one sticks out as a truly creative one. It must have taken days, failing which, a committee of thousands of creative geniuses to come up with that one.

Anyway, we duly chewed our pencils up, ticking off the ingredients we wanted for the big wok job. I've already forgotten its given formal name, but in essence, you pick the veggies, meats, noodle variety, condiments and sauce(s), and they stir fry the lot (and a lot it is) and serve it in a serious looking bowl.

The thing is, most of us, took in the first forkful (or chopstick full in my case – and proud of it, I might add (you would be too, if you were clumsy, not especially motor-coordinated and still managed a full meal with smooth, slippery fake porcelain chopsticks)) and remembered wistfully, the lovely Gordon House Hotel and its glittering star, All Stir Fry. I've been there over, and over. And I love that place. And I'm about to tell you why.

The concept is simple. They have three glassed-off stir fry counters, manned ably by a trio of wiry chefs (neither of whom are in that pic, though). Outside the glass is a salad bar of sorts, with noodles (usually ramen and flat) at the corner, veggies in front and meats on the other side. You take a bowl (red ring say you're a <sneer> vegetarian and a black ringed bowl says all's right with your world) and fill it up. Or, if you're smart, you take two noodles (yes, just two noodles) and fill just a wee bit more than half the bowl with stuff, veggies first and take it to the chefs. There's a fair number of sauces on the board classified by how strong they are and you're free to experiment with them, including asking the stunned chef to add three or more sauces together. Plus condiments if you like. The result, somehow, is always extremely hot, extremely fresh and very tasty food.

Start a meal with their most excellent crackling spinach and a beer, follow it with a quick wok. Which is involved, involving and very satisfying process I just described. You can go back for as many bowls as you like. And while wasteful, should a particular bowl turn out not to your expectation, you can always skip and get a more appealing one. I've never once visited them without hurrying to the services halfway through to loosen that belt one notch or two, and I've never once managed to put together a combination that I didn't like. Even as I write this, sunbursts of flavour are going off in my head – I've taken many a long wok in there – the devil's sauce and its fiery arrogance, or the marginally milder burn of the mongolian sauce... I think I need to go back for another fix.

I do believe they now have a much bigger menu, but frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. Didn't someone already say that? Well, it applies.

Dessert? Forget it. There's never space. And they do have lovely fortune cookies that say things like, 'You're about to get lucky.' As in what? The trouser tops will suddely turn elastic and you could squeeze in a bowl or two more? Sigh, that would be nice, come to think of it.

I do believe a restaurant review is supposed to include stuff about staff friendliness, knowledge, ambience and so forth. Well, let me see. Staff is nice. They bring the menu to you. And fresh bowls when you finish the last one. And the beer also. They know where the wok bar is. Ambience. That's good too. There's place to sit. A green wall with lots of woks mounted on it. High windows so you don't look out and focus on putting the stuff away. I cannot remember the music, but there must be some. And yeah, the Quick Wok costs Rs 300.

All Stir Fry LogoAll Stir Fry | Online Menu
The Gordon House Hotel, Battery Street, Colaba
Council Hall, Mumbai - 400039
Phone: 022-22871122

Images mooched from

Mar 19, 2008

Pass or fail?

I got this video link off some blog... sorry, but I cannot remember which one. In case it doesn't play, the original video page is here. Watch it carefully. The original idea was about cyclists, but I think it applies much wider, no?

Mar 18, 2008

Holy wow! AC Farias in Bajaj commercial!

Bajaj's super-duper new commercial, evidently, had stunt god AC Farias among others in it. No wonder it looks so good. Full credit to director etc of course. And the ad's in a spot of trouble too...

Mar 17, 2008

Domain name help

Calling out to the IT savvy among you. I purchased via However, I am unable to redirect it to the blog... how to do?

First of all, thanks to everyone who wrote in to help, either via email or in the comments. Here's the problem. Sify correctly redirects to, so part one is working. If I now follow the blogger/publishing route, the whole thing gets locked in an infinite loop. Blogger simply redirects traffic to, while that domain is set up to redirect to rearset.blogspot... Gr...

What I want simply is this.

This post, for instance, is located at

I need that to change to this

So, now, more help, please!

KBC VR2: Review

I just wore my KBC helmet (VR-2 Mat Mladin Replica) the first time. First impression? Impressed. The fit-finish levels are really very good and so are the graphics designs. There's some really striking ones around, so hunt a bit. If the Vega dealer you're at shows you a helmet or two and says that's all KBC is offering, that's BS. There's a huge range of lids on offer from the KBC range. The one I have got is a VR-2, which is the top of the line helmet that KBC makes (in 2007. For 2008, the VR-2R is the top model). If your read their brochures, you will understand that the shell if made of a kevlar-aramid-frp composite, which means a light, pretty strong shell. That's a good place to start, right? The interiors of all of their helmets are removable (Sparx range included) which means stinky helmets should be a thing of the past if you're willing to put in the effort.

All the helmets come with D-rings. This has been an issue for some people I know. However, trust me, its for the better. D-rings take about two times of use to get used to, after that you won't fumble. More importantly, its nigh impossible to wear a helmet with a loose strap if you have D-rings. Which makes your helmet a whole bunch safer. Every single big name helmet model will usually use D-rings. The loose end of the D-rings snaps on to a fixed tab on the side to stop it flapping. Shoei builds this snap into the strap itself, which is a more elegant way to do it, (as do Arai) in my opinion. All three are equally functional, but I think having a short nylon flap with the snap closure is one more added to the mix, no?

The interior material feels really smooth to the skin, and the printed labels that came with the lid say they're some sort of a pseudo-suede. Whatever it is, it feels very cool. And since it is easily removable, the levels of cleaniless possible (there's always native laziness, right?) are very high.

On the move, its a pretty quiet helmet, and venting works. Not like my Shoei X-11, of course, but you'll feel it. The visor quality is pretty good (yes, it does feel a bit plasticky, but that's all right, it won't scratch easily (and don't ask how I know)) and as usual, I personally think you guys should buy a clear and a dark shield (as in one of the lid, plus one; Rs 1500 per shield) at the time of purchase itself. However, the mechanism is a pain to operate when it comes time to replace shields. The problem is, first, that the notches in the mechanism for your fingers to operate it are triangular, so they hurt. Especially because the metal spring they use is plenty stiff. I've been using my Yamaha pen knife's screwdriver to operate it!

Putting the new shield back is imposing too. While the circular pivot bit goes in easy, the notch that slots into the teeth and holds the shield in one of six or seven open positions never does. You have to force it in. I can't see a better way of doing it, but like the breaking noise that comes with taking AGV shields off, this is a bit of a bother. Especially because I have to do this twice daily. Maybe it gets easier with time, eh?

Perhaps the biggest bother I've had with the lid, surprisingly, is fogging. All the shields are supposedly anti-fog coated and stuff. But sit still in the morning for ten minutes on a muggy Mumbai morning and you'll see the work disappear rapidly into a misty haze. This happens on my mirror-finish shield, the dark shield as well as the clear one. On the move there isn't any trouble, but in the same situation, for the record, my Shoei shields (all three – mirror, dark and clear) remain crystal clear.

On the whole, I am thrilled to bits that the KBC lid is on offer in India. I already posted here, that I have issues with blindly trusting ISI marked helmets. So I am glad to say that all of KBC's range meets DOT and most crucially ECE 22.05 standards. Better still, the KBC branded helmets also meet SNELL's exacting and thoroughly implemented M2005 standard. Which does wonders for how much I am willing to trust the helmet.

The helmet I have costs Rs 12,500, while the spare shield has cost me Rs 1,500. But if there is one piece of kit on a motorcycle that I think should be above wallet constraints, it is the helmet. I think the Rs 14,000 is money well spent.

Photos: KBC Beast helmet

Swung by the Joe Rocket shop in Mumbai today and laid eyes on a rather cool looking helmet. So decided to post up some pics. Say hello, ladies and gentlemen, to the KBC Beast. Rs 11,000 + VAT. The one in stock in size Large 59-60 cm. Available here

Mar 15, 2008

New Poll: What protective kit do you own?

So, 56 per cent of those who voted have bikes that range from 150cc to 250cc. That's amazing. Another 15 per cent have even bigger ones! I do feel a bit sorry for the 15 people who voted saying they don't have bikes. I just hope y'all are between bikes, or about to turn a lucky, lucky 18.

Now I want to know about what kind of kit you own. This poll is in parts. The first part simply wants to know what protective gear you own. This is irrespective of whether you use it or not (which should give you a clue about what is coming up in future polls)

What protective kit do you own?

Domestic sales: Stats from SIAM, February 2008

I've always had trouble finding sales numbers. So I decided to post what I've got. Data is courtesy of SIAM. The graphs are OpenOffice. Any mistakes are mine, and mine alone. In case there are errors, I will try to fix the graphs, failing which, I will mark the errors in bold red in the tables below. Please excuse.

Okay, now the tables are officially too wide. However, I find that if your select and paste them into notepad, all the data appears without a problem. So I'm going to let it be. If you're really interested in seeing the numbers, just copy+paste them out. Sorry for the trouble... but these are some of the most complicated, time-consuming posts

Apr May Jun JulAugSepOctNov
Bajaj 66,91962,49356,96266,49551,21767,21769,99284,763
Hero Honda 2395,94251,965224,841178,268214,362285,539332,276233,789
Kinetic 460242201218127133270264
TVS 43,38038,39534,87526,32328,47232,65947,24744,50
Yamaha 8,0616,0495,7566,7238,1307,4469,0013,829

Apr May Jun JulAugSepOct
Hero Honda 15,81417,56713,3548,5807,17912,25314,490
Honda 15,68521,33620,74419,90620,75222,98623,307
Suzuki 4,2795,0124,5695,0805,3435,7147,006
TVS 4,6783,3295,5048,9147,66610,23911,347
Yamaha 2,1391,6582,0492,0562,3912,1403,970

Apr May Jun JulAugSepOctNov
Enfield 2,5072,6242,6102,6312,9112,8373,5063,047

Apr May Jun JulAugSepOctNov

Apr May Jun JulAugSepOctNov
Kinetic 26050853757065329039520
TVS 2,3982,9922,5183,6583,0683,5153,1712,712

AprMay JunJulAugSepOctNov
Bajaj 1,3882,3152,5062,9202,7182,0561,8661,627
Hero Honda 1,2918,1368,8427,86111,30910,76512,09911,086
Honda 42,64048,16746,72844,78245,97848,91748,28945,203
TVS 15,58321,46322,49319,50720,57623,17923,60021,210

Mar 14, 2008

Snippet: It's just numbers...

The Chandigarh-Manali road: heavenlyI came through the right hander and went over the bridge that formed the apex, just like the six Bullets ahead of me. In a perfectly timed dance, the row of Bullets leaned over again after the bridge, ready to take on the interrupted corner. Then, on the brakes into the next left, I found the space I needed to promote myself up the order. The red Thunderbird rumbled down the revs as I braked hard, hard, hard. The weird handlebars responded easily and in a fraction of an instant, we flicked left, right on to the bike's ear. I felt the footpeg rubber transmit a brief vibratory good bye as it was chewed up by the merciless tarmac. Up to number six, then.

Then going into the next sweeping right hander, I made a mistake. Aiming for a promotion to number four, I entered the turn a little faster than I would normally have. A yellow warning light went off in my head along with a strident alarm. For a long moment, I was conscious only of the blank wall of rock blurring by on the outside edging ever closer, the concrete lined gutter that marked the edge of grip and the fact that I was in it too hot. Already I the Tbird was edging closer to the wall. The rubber on the metal peg was almost all gone and any moment now, I was ready for the harsh grinding of metal on tarmac. Throttle closed, leaned fully over and waiting. Relief? Or a big bang and then earth-sky-earth-sky-earth-hospital?

Uncommon sense prevailed. I tore my eyes from the wall and looked up through the corner. The bike, almost magically, began to tighten the line. I think I missed touching the concrete gutter by a few inches. As Bullets are won't to do, I laid a desperate footpeg darkie. The road seemed to on turning right forever in my head, but under that chain of dancing Bullets, it lasted a mere instant.
With my heart throbbing wildly, I smiled inside my helmet knowing that taking number five had been special. It carried the thrill of having been to edge and returned in one piece. That skill, today, had luck on its side. That the newly demoted number six would take a few corners before he started thinking about passing me.

Then, as I flicked into the next left hander, I began to wonder how number three would feel like.

Mar 13, 2008

TVS Flame: What is this port business

TVS Flame 125 image from tvsflame.comSince Arpan wants to know, and I am sure he isn't alone, let me explain this.

Have seen the metal tube that projects out of any on the engine side? It's just a hollow metal tube with a groove at the end so that the round clamp has a footing to hold the rubber boot (intake manifold is the formal name, I think) firmly in place.

What the TVS Flame does is horizontally split the tube into two halves. If you saw the tube head-on you would see a horizontal metal plate (parallel to the ground) which neatly splits the tube into upper and lower semi-circles. If you looked down the tube, you would see the yellow metal of the carburettor slide. When the slide starts to move up as you open the throttle, the air-fuel mixture first flows into the lower chamber. When it has moved up far enough, it will start to fill the upper half as well. With me so far?

The two parts of the tube actually route the fuel into separate intake tracts, each leading to one intake valve of the three valve engine (two intakes, one exhaust). It's these two valves that TVS refers to as swirl and tumble ports. You see a swirl discussion here. Tumble is the same but it takes place vertically. As an example, most top-loading washing machines swirl the clothes around, while most front-loaders tumble them. To cut a long explanation short, swirl promotes the completeness of the burn, while tumble tends to speed it up. In effect, that means swirl will end up burning all of the gases in the chamber, while tumble will speed up the burn rate so that the four-stroke cycle can proceed faster.

So what happens inside the engine is that at slow speeds, the swirl valve operates fully, while the tumble valve opens and closes without any gases actually coming through. This should make the Flame a fuel efficient motorcycle when ridden at slow speeds. Also remember that in general, two valve engines favour torque, so it should have grunt as well. When the slide has risen far enough, the other valve now has gases to feed in as well. This time round, the three valve configuration offers more gas flow (quantity) which promotes more power once the revs are up.

The transitional space, where the tumble starts to interfere and then take over from swirl, according to TVS lasts a couple of cycles. These cycles, at say 4,000 rpm, are pretty hard to spot, so there's no hiccup in the transition at all.

While TVS did not clarify this, the two inlet tracts operate more or less the same as the ports in a two-stroke engine with the carb slide working as a piston, which is probably why TVS chooses to call the lower tube (and the associated valve) a swirl port, and the upper one (and its associated valve) a tumble port.

Related links

Yamaha to introduce DiASil cylinder in India

Yamaha said yesterday...

New Delhi, March 11, 2008: Parallel to a slew of launches, Yamaha Motor India is aiming to demonstrate its technological prowess with the launch of DiASil Cylinder in the Indian market. Yamaha "DiASil Cylinder" is used on the new 150cc YZF-R15 which was unveiled at Auto Expo 2008 and will be released in the market later this year.

Developed in 2002 by Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd, Yamaha "DiASil Cylinder" is an all-aluminum die-cast cylinder with 60% better cooling performance and 30% cheaper production cost than a conventional cylinder (*1). Yamaha "DiASil Cylinder" (*2), is the world's first all-aluminum
die-cast cylinder and it achieves cooling performance equivalent to that of a nickel-plated cylinder, which is currently recognized as the best in the industry, but at a significantly lower production cost than a nickel-plated cylinder.

DiASil", an abbreviation for "Die-casting Aluminum-Silicon", is a technology which brings together an ideal combination of material, manufacturing technology and environmental friendliness. The material used is a 20% silicon content aluminum alloy, the manufacturing
technology is the Yamaha CF Aluminum Die-cast Technology (*3), which enables the production of an all-aluminum die-cast cylinder. It is Yamaha's exclusive CF Aluminum Die-cast Technology that enables the mass production of a die-cast cylinder made completely of 20% silicon content
aluminum alloy, something that could not be done with conventional die casting methods.

According to Mr. Sanjay Tripathi, Head of Dept- Product Planning & Strategy, "Conventional engine cylinders have a steel liner to reduce the friction resulting from the piston's movement. The "DiASil" cylinder is made by the exclusive Yamaha Aluminum Controlled Forging (CF)
technology. Because the "DiASil" Cylinder is all aluminum, it has excellent heat dissipation qualities and reduces engine weight at the same time. In comparison to cast steel liner type aluminum cylinders, the DiASil cylinder has 60% better cooling performance at 30% lower
manufacturing cost and enables 30% lighter design which results in better power to weight ratio besides excellent recyclability".

"Considering the environment-friendly nature of aluminum, we have made aluminum technologies part of our core technology and actively increasing the use of aluminum in our products. Our CF Aluminum Die-cast Technology enables the mass production of die-cast aluminum parts that are both thinner and larger than was possible in the past. This same
technology has been applied to the manufacture of engine parts. This is also a technology that can be easily transferred to overseas Yamaha manufacturing bases. Yamaha also plans to apply to new areas automobile and outboard motor engine parts", he added.

This next-generation technology promises to contribute to improved function and product quality for the majority of Asian market motorcycles and automobiles that presently use conventional pistons with cast steel liners.

*1 Compared to conventional cylinder: Refers to cylinders that have a cylindrical cast steel liner (or "sleeve") inserted along the inner wall of the cylinder to reduce friction resulting from the piston's movement. Used on many motorcycle engines.
*2 "DiASil": A name created as an abbreviation of Die-casting Aluminum-Silicon
*3 Yamaha CF Aluminum Die-cast Technology = Yamaha Controlled Filling Die Casting. This is a die-casting technology that utilizes precise control of the casting conditions (degree of vacuum in the die, die temperature, injection speed of the molten aluminum) to reduce the amount of gas bubbles in the finished cast piece to just 20% of conventional methods in order to produce higher quality cast parts. Introduced in Feb. 2002.

Pulsar Mania advert!


Mar 11, 2008

TVS Flame: Second front

Here you are, the official word

Chennai 10 March 2008: TVS today launched its hottest looking motorcycle
with a hottest riding experience – TVS Flame.

The new TVS Flame has innovative DeltaEdge styling: The Embedded DeltaEdge trafficators give the bike a sporty finish. The chic DeltaEdge exhaust is not only unique but also enhances performance and is designed to deliver the smoothest of sounds and low emissions. The bike flaunts an elegant backlit LCD digital console that prominently displays a fitness check indicator, and low fuel warning. This motorcycle also features an intelligent mileage indicator (IMI) that provides instantaneous mileage per litre data to the rider. The rear end of the bike sports a dual lens tail lamp that is best in its class. The DeltaEdge styling coupled with snazzy dual tone graphics translates into an amazing road presence with an exceptional combination of power, mileage and stunning looks.

At the focal point of stunning and aerodynamic styling of TVS Flame sits a revolutionary four stroke 125 cc three-valve engine, which is propelled by unique dual induction system, coupled with a universally accepted and traditionally proven single spark plug ignition system. This combination enables the bike to deliver the best performance in its class without any compromise on fuel economy.

The engine employs two separate induction ports called power port and swirl port to achieve this outstanding "no compromise" performance. The power port creates tumble motion to the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber delivering excellent throttle response and power for quick acceleration.

The swirl port achieves extraordinary efficiency by utilizing the unique flow of air- fuel mixture to burn extremely lean air-fuel mixtures in the combustion chamber, providing high efficiency in city riding conditions.

Calling this the "Hottest biking experience in India" Mr. Srinivasan said, "TVS in keeping with its tradition of breaking new ground in two-wheelers is proud to have brought this world class engine technology into India with the CCVTi engine. This engine has been developed and patented by AVL and licensed to TVS in India. AVL, Austria is the world leader in Internal Combustion Engine technology".

AVL is the world's largest privately owned independent company, which develops power train systems and internal combustion engines. AVL is a leading provider of technology to the global engine and automotive industry. AVL has developed engines for most of the major automotive companies in the world.

"When it comes to styling and special features, we are particularly proud of the styling of this motorcycle. For too long, international and contemporary styling has been restricted to motorcycles that are over-priced for today's young, aggressive and professional customers"

Now, Flame allows the consumers to break all compromises that they so far have been forced to make, whether on style, performance, mileage or price"

TVS is delighted to offer the hottest riding experience to all our customers in India from today.