Jun 30, 2008

Thunderbird Twinspark: A little late but...

Royal Enfield premieres the Thunderbird Twinspark; unveils the engines
of future growth

With the launch of the Thunderbird Twinspark 350cc, Royal Enfield has
engineered a progressive refinement in the art of motorcycling. Blending
the imperial with the practical, the new Thunderbird is Royal Enfield's
first - amongst a series of models - to feature the evolutionary Unit
Construction Engine.

The Unit construction engine (UCE) marks a dramatic shift in the
traditional Royal Enfield engine architecture. While the traditional
Royal Enfield engine is distinguished by an external clutch and gearbox;
in the UCE, both these elements are integrated within a common crankcase
space. Therefore, this new Royal Enfield engine is more compact and
offer benefits of reduced transmission losses, reduced friction, lower
maintenance and higher reliability. This platform literally is the
'engine of future growth'.

Addressing the enthused gathering, R.L. Ravichandran, CEO, Royal
Enfield, said, "With the launch of Thunderbird Twinspark 350cc, Royal
Enfield is absolutely primed for the entry of the UCE in the domestic
markets. By 2010, India will have other such twinspark models including
the Machismo, Electra and the Bullet 350. For the international markets,
we are currently test marketing the Bullet Electra EFI and in November
this year, the UCE 500 EFI, will be unveiled at auto shows in Cologne
and Birmingham. Not only will the new model be comparatively more
powerful, technically advanced and environment friendly but it will also
sport an authentic classic look that reflects original British
motorcycle styling. With the 500cc version of the UCE that powers the
Bullet Electra EFI, Royal Enfield becomes the first two-wheeler
manufacturer in India to produce and sell a Euro-III compliant motorcycle."

Speaking on the occasion, Siddhartha Lal, MD & CEO, Eicher Motors said,
"We have been working on twinspark technology for our type of motorcycle
architecture since the late-90's and have found it suitable for
mass-production with our new engine platform. All the factors which have
made the Thunderbird the favorite that it already is have been retained
or improved in the new Thunderbird. The new Thunderbird incorporates
hydraulic tappets - which is a first in India and new lean-burn
combustion technology with two spark plugs which gives class-leading
power, torque and fuel-efficiency. Moreover, the long-stroke and engine
construction ensure that the distinctive beat and cruising
characteristic are further enhanced. Add to this the twin benefits of
improved performance and engine efficiency and you have a package that
is hard to beat in terms of pure riding pleasure and visual delight.
Undoubtedly, the Thunderbird Twinspark goes beyond the envelope of
ordinary commuting to present itself as a real motorcycle."

You've got the look!
The styling and appeal of the Thunderbird Twinspark epitomise a
'practical cruiser', chiselled to offer ride delight. Its a motorcycle
that does more than just look good on an open highway or under the
brazen tones of starry floodlights.

Let's start with the purposeful 19" front-wheel that enables the
Thunderbird Twinspark to glide over any surface. The slim-line metal
mudguard is the first splash of paint that greets the eye. A genuine
ergonomic high-rise pull back handlebar puts the control in the hands of
the lucky rider. The space between the handle and ultra comfortable seat
is engaged with a beautiful teardrop fuel tank sporting the Royal
Enfield logo as a dimensional graphic. The battery is lodged below the
seat and is flanked on either side with triangular panels tapering
around air-filters. The seat, which embosoms a graceful pillion
backrest, is not only visually inviting but also comfortably snug. The
chromed headlight is as accentuating as the urbane twin-pod instrument
cluster intact with odometer, speedometer, RPM meter, fuel gauge,
resettable trip meter, and tell-tale lights for neutral, high beam, turn
signal indicators, etc. Hydraulic pushrods accord a radical singularity
to the new Thunderbird; since valve clearance is automatically adjusted
rather than manually fine-tuned, the vehicle maintains optimal valve
timing in all situations. Moreover, features like the auto decompressor,
CV carburetor; powerful disc brakes, the all new 6-plate low effort
clutch and the highest payload for any Indian motorcycle (160 kg)
distinguish the new Thunderbird as the easiest Royal Enfield to ride.

Due to its prodigious 28Nm torque, legendary Royal Enfield solidity and
tenaciously agile dynamic behavior, the new Thunderbird can take on
anything the Indian roads will throw at it ...be it the smooth tarmac of
the golden quadrilateral or the notorious potholes of battered roads,
the pyretic plains of Rajasthan or even the freezing desolate mountains
of Ladakh.

The Thunderbird Twinspark 350cc will always be more prepared than her
rider. You bet, its got what it takes!

Honda launches CBF Stunner

A new Sporty Bike by Honda

Introduces first-of-its-kind features in the mass market segment -
Integrated front body cowl, Sporty split seats, Wider Tubeless tyres &
Sporty foot step holder

High performance Honda engine with 5 speed transmission

Bike to hit the market in third week of July

New Delhi, June 30, 2008: Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.
(HMSI), the 100% owned 2-wheeler subsidiary of the Honda Motor Company,
Japan – the world's largest manufacturer of 2-wheelers, today unveiled
its latest offering "CBF Stunner" in the Indian motorcycle segment.
Targeted at youth, CBF Stunner's sharp and sporty look will
revolutionize the motorcycle market in the country.

HMSI, after the success of its 2 Motorcycles - Unicorn and Shine is all
set to charm the Indian youth with its high performance, sporty, stylish
motorcycle at an affordable price.

With increased choices, today's Indian youth is actively on a look out
for brands that have a high 'style & attitude' quotient. 'CBF Stunner'
inspired by CBR 1000 from Europe aptly fits into the category with its
design, high performance and style. The bike with its 'high-on-style'
features promises to provide its customers an ultimate experience of a
true Honda bike.

HMSI has since inception developed products that have set new benchmarks
in technology, performance, and styling to address the diversified needs
of its customers. Honda's all round quality has been a source of
enjoyment for its customers and the new offering CBF Stunner with its
style and performance is aimed at providing desired pleasure to young
Indian customer.

CBF Stunner will be available in three variants viz. Self Disc Alloy,
Self Drum Alloy & Kick Drum Alloy. Self Drum Alloy & Self Disc Alloy
will be available in four colours Sports Red, Pearl Sports Yellow, Space
Silver Metallic and Black while Kick Drum Alloy will be available in two
colours Sports Red & Black.

CBF Stunner would be available in the Indian market from third week of
July. The ex-showroom price of CBF Stunner in INR is as follows:

Cities || Kick Drum Alloy || Self Drum Alloy || Self Disc Alloy
Delhi || 47,070 || 49,820 || 51,655
Pune || 48,720 || 51,525 || 53,390
Bangalore || 48,395 || 51,545 || 52,980
Kolkata || 48,410 || 51,160 || 52,990

Salient features of CBF Stunner

Integrated Front Body Cowl:
An integrated front body cowl & voluminous fuel tank makes stunner look
muscular & sporty. It also enhances aero dynamism, thus providing an
unhindered moving stance to the rider.

Sporty Split Seat & Two Panel Sporty Rear Cowl
First of its kind in this category, sporty split seat not only adds to
the riding comfort but also enhances the overall appeal. Two panel sharp
rear cowl makes it look sporty.

Sporty Foot Step Holders
Sporty foot step holders reflecting Honda's racing bike DNA are
positioned in a way to give rider a sporty riding posture.


High Performance Honda Engine with 5 Speed Transmission
A new advanced and high performance 11 bhp Honda engine with 5 speed
transmission ensures an absolutely sensational ride. It gives an
excellent power at all speed ranges and provides superior initial
acceleration & overtaking pick up.

Wider Tubeless Tyres with Black Alloy Wheels.
First Time in its category, Tubeless tyres in front as well rear. This
enhances performance, better cornering & chances of sudden deflation of
tyres on punctures are reduced. 100/90 Wider tubeless tyre in rear adds
to the appeal. The 17" Black alloy wheels adds on to the sports
character of the bike.

Diamond Frame with Rectangular Box type Swing Arm
It adapts light weight diamond frame proven with high reliability on
Indian roads. The tough and flexible frame provides good stability in
harsh and daily use conditions. It is also equipped with harder and
stronger rectangular box type swing arm which helps in achieving high
stability, sporty performance and constant ground touch feeling.

240mm Front Disc Brake
Efficient Hydraulic 240mm front disc brake provides efficient braking
performance in all weather conditions and ensures stability at high speeds.

The riding posture of the bike is sporty yet comfortable. The shoulders
and elbows are more inclined than the competition to give the rider a
perfect sporty posture. The folding step placed slightly backwards
provides sporty posture. Pillion's leg position is nearer to rider's
bottom which is more comfortable.

The bike has small storage space under the seat which can be used for
storing small items such as gloves. The stylish console with trip meter
also provides convenience of keeping a track on the distance traveled
and mileage.

Present at launch were Mr. Kenji Kawaguchi, Operating Officer General
Manager, Planning Division Honda Motorcycle R&D Centre Japan, Mr. Shinji
Aoyama, President & CEO, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt Ltd, Mr.
Nobuhiko Takizawa, President, Honda R&D (India), Mr. Atsuhiko Takahashi,
Large Project Leader (CBF Stunner) Honda Motorcycle R&D Centre Japan,
Mr. Yuji Mizumoto, Assistant LPL, Honda Motorcycle R&D Centre, Japan
alongwith Mr. N K Rattan Head Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle &
Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.

Excepts from Company officials-

Mr. S Aoyama, President & CEO, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt
Ltd., "Honda believes and practices the philosophy of 3 joys that is
being demonstrated through our "I enjoy" campaign to deliver utmost
customer satisfaction. HMSI is committed to provide unique experience
through its innovative products and quality in every aspect of business.
The new bike being unveiled today is one of the steps to provide
exciting products at an affordable price. The bike is a reflection of
Honda's worldwide sports bikes and we hope that Indian youngster can now
enjoy Honda's sports DNA. In India we will continue to bring exciting
products and be a full line company by 2010 starting with 100cc
motorcycles and fun bikes."

Mr. Kenji Kawaguchi, Operating Officer General Manager, Planning
Division Honda Motorcycle R&D centre, Japan, "Honda is today the world's
largest motorcycle manufacturer and one of the leading automakers. India
is an important market for Honda Motor Co. Honda is committed to the
Indian market and will go all out in providing exciting products to the
Indian market. Honda has always been in forefront in strengthening
technologies for environment conservation, safety riding and enhancing
product attributes. The newer technologies like Honda's Programmed Fuel
injection – PGM-F1 and ABS (Antilock Brake System) will soon be
installed on all Honda Motorcycles worldwide soon."

Mr. N.K Rattan, Head Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India
Pvt Ltd., "CBF Stunner is Honda's answer to Youngsters desire to own a
affordable sports bike. This new bike carries Honda's Sports DNA with
Sharp, Muscular style & high performance 11 bhp Honda engine that Indian
youth expect from Honda. This bike will be available at all dealers by
third week of July for sales. Along with this new bike, HMSI's all model
sales shall touch 10 lac units in 2008-09."

Jun 12, 2008

Official specs for the Yamaha YZF-R15

Yamaha R15. 1995mm x 670mm x 1070mm. 1290mm wheelbase. 120 kg dry. 131 kg wet. 149.8cc. 10.4:1 compression. Liquid cooled 4 valve SOHC. 12 litre fuel tank. 6 speed gearbox. Steel deltabox frame. 80/90-17 tubeless front tyre. 100/80-17 tubeless rear. Monoshock rear. 17ps/8500 rpm. 15nm/7500 rpm. 140 kph top speed (60 kg rider, prone). Rs 97500 exshowroom. On sale now

Jun 9, 2008

Yamaha R15: Out on 12th!

How much power does the Yamaha R15 make?

Jun 4, 2008

They never learn

Came over the crest of a flyover as usual. Streetlights never work here and good headlights and a thorough familiarity with the road surface here are a great asset. On that night, it was invaluable. God'd been going nuts with his new camera for a while now and the repeated flashes could only mean one thing. A developing rain storm. And as we started climbing the flyover, the pitter patter began to turn into the surprisingly violent roar that's heavy rain. Through the roar of heavy drops on vinyl – yellow roof over my head – I heard the distinctive skreee-scrawshhhhhh that means a biker is down. We came over the crest into a rash of red tail lights as traffic braked hard for what looked like a snarl. I've seen snarls here before, they last a kilometre. Even as I began to dread the forty minutes it would take to get through, I saw the anonymous tail lamp of a Hero Honda Splendor leaning over like a MotoGP god. And then it was down, rider flapping uselessly along behind the bike, as both slid inevitable forward, down the slope.

For the umpteenth time, the first rains brought down temperatures, tempers and a heck of a lot of bikers. The rash of tail lamps, you see was created by at least four bikers who were down. Two Pulsars, one Thunderbird and another Splendor, apart from the one I saw tipping over. My autorickshaw driver was very much into rubber necking, but I heckled him into gently negotiating the fallen bikes – all the bikers were yelling about, 'Who the f**k dropped oil?' and seemed just a little worse for the wear – tatty shirt elbows and holed knees but nothing serious.

Oil? How would you trace the drops of oil left behind by literally thousands of trucks, SUVs and cars since what, August last year?

Further down the road, I got the rick to slow down to a slippery 35 kph, buzzing nervously along the pavement on the extreme left of the road. And I spotted at least another six bikes with bent stuff on them, parked on the side. Riders on the phones, 'Er... Honey, I'll be late... No, I fell off the bike... oil... f**ckers!'

It happens every single year, so you think they'd figure it out and learn. The first rains, wash up the oil and dirt on the road, before they wash it off. That means that first wet hour is properly lethal. Like riding on ice. On walking on a freshly polished floor wearing silk moccasins. As slippery as a freshly caught fish... The hour where it's probably safer to just leave the bike parked safely and take a four-wheeled thing home. But, no, they never learn.

I'm at Alltop

Alltop.com has added my RSS feed to this page. I've always wondered if there wasn't a, um, more elegant way to look up the latest news from my favourite motorcycle blogs. Google Reader is efficient, but it needed something more... well, when I saw the motorcycles.alltop.com page, I knew it was exactly what I needed. And I'm happy to report that my blog has also been added to that list.

Jun 2, 2008

TVS set to make a racket in the scooter market

In keeping with its intention to introduce seasonal limited editions every year, and in an effort to ring in the spirit of tennis in India, TVS Motor Company has signed up a one year agreement with the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) as the official licensee for Wimbledon Tournaments. As part of this association, TVS Motor Company will bring out two excitingly designed, limited edition scooters, which are inspired by the contemporary, classic and sporty imagery of 'the spirit of Wimbledon'.

The TVS Scooty Wimbledon Collection, namely, Wimbledon Class and Wimbledon Xtreme will be launched to coincide with the Wimbledon season, beginning June. While the former is a classic rendition of the Wimbledon colours, pristine white with purple and green flow-strokes, the latter is an exciting red bike with 'never-before' graffiti art that captures the sheer excitement of tennis!

"At TVS, we constantly study the leading style and fashion trends in India and abroad to assist the development of our themes every season. We observed that there is a growing trend of sports and fitness consciousness amongst young girls that is being reflected in fashion trends. They tend to identify with the tennis stars, who continue a long legacy of being style and fashion icons" said S Srinivas, General Manager Marketing, TVS Motor Company.

"The TVS Scooty Wimbledon Collection, comprising of 10,000 scooters is being brought out as a tribute to women with sporty attitude. Buyers of the Scooty Pep+ Wimbledon collection will get a complementary Scooty-Wimbledon sweatshirt and a sporty sling bag. Being a limited edition, the Wimbledon collection will retail at a premium of Rs.1599 over regular colors. " he added.

The Wimbledon Collection endorses the fact that Scooty Pep+ is a brand that is known for style innovations and remains the most exciting two-wheeler brand for young girls. Each color in its repertoire allows the girl to express her unique style and personality. Girls can choose from Perky Pink, or Mystic Mauve or from our range of 99 colours that are customized just for her!
Heh heh, sorry, but I just had to post that. Although I should think TVS should be ringing up sales, or doing what it takes to ring up sales, rather than ring in the spirit of Wimbledon or tennis in India... damn I've already forgotten what TVS is ringing in... see what I mean?

Launch news: Bajaj & TVS

Was just reading the latest from Bajaj and TVS, both of whom are reporting growth in sales. More to the point, Bajaj has confirmed that it will launch the first of its four 125cc motorcycles in September, while TVS confirms that the RTR FI should (finally) come out this month. Also due shortly is an updated Enfield Thunderbird and the YZF-R15. TVS is also launching something else... the post above should give you a heads-up on that...