VOLUME 1 ISSUE 004
WE TEST HOW FAST YOU CAN GO ON THESE MACHINES IN THE REAL WORLD
EXCLUSIVE: SIX HUSQVARNAS RAID THE HIMALAYAS DARK KNIGHT: ANOTHER VARDENCHI MASTERPIECE
BICYCLES TO LEH
MOTOROIDS AT MOTOgp MALAYSIA
This month, we get the distinction of bringing to you the detailed review of the Ninja 250 after riding it on the road, before anyone else
e have done it again. Last month we were the first magazine to have put the Ninja 250 R on the cover with an exhaustive performance test on the track. This month, we get the distinction of bringing to you the detailed review of the bike after riding it on the road, before anyone else. Enjoy the characteristically unusual Motoroids comparo of the bike with the ZMR and the Hayabusa. We took the three bikes on an extensive ride to quantifiably measure how much time you save on each bike in the real world, and whether the massive price difference is really justified. For the lovers of exquisitely crafted machinery, we have good news. India’s very own master chopper craftsman Akhshai Varde is back with another of his masterpieces. Dark Knight – the menacing new machine that can bring the traffic on any street to a standstill by virtue of its visuals alone is Vardenchi’s latest creation. Pradeb Biswas narrates his ecstatic experience on the bike in his first major feature for the magazine. Then we have the stories about two extreme varieties of riders attacking the Himalayas and coming back victorious. While one bunch of riders went to the mountains relying entirely on pedal power, the second group accomplished the feat on their Husqvarnas, arguably the best off-roading machines available on the planet. We’re sure you’d love the breathtaking imagery and vivid experiences narrated by the respective riders. Clutch Tales is there as well, with Clutch and Katt doing something that’s going to sweep you off your feet. Brace yourselves for the surprise! After receiving complaints from readers about the heavy size of the pdfs for three consecutive months, we have finally decided to bring the file size down, by resorting to the only way possible – reducing the number of pages. We know it’s a little disheartening for those who enjoy a high-bandwidth connection and don’t have any issues with the mag’s size, but we have to consider those using slower connections as well. Do let us know how you liked this issue. Rev freely,
Amit Chhangani firstname.lastname@example.org
Tarpedos 11 21 24 32 37 40
BRAKING NEWS LETTERS BIKERS
News with a pinch of salt Your bouquets and brickbats You, your bikes and your moments
Karizma v/s Ninja v/s Busa
MotoGP Special Dark Knight
04 07 08 44 46 47 48 55 57 58
Motoroids at the Malaysian MotoGP Vardenchi’s latest Custom Chopper
You, the Biker
Husqvarnas to Leh
You, the Biker
CBR 1000RR on the Kari Speedway
Bicycles to Leh
MOTO CLUBZ ACID TEST
Long term tests
Conquering the Himalayas on pedal power
Team 360 Biking
Amit Chhangani Rohit Paradkar Mihir Gadre
CLUTCH TALES 09 10 10 HISTORY
India’s first biking superhero The ‘classic story’ of Royal Enfield
THE FAT BIKER MOTOMUSINGS
MEN AT WORK
Motoroids behind the scenes
CRAZY, CRAZY, WORLD!!
The maddest pictures on the planet
BRAKING NEWS: STOPPIE
News that makes our heart skip a beat
Wall-E en route India
2009: What a year for Yamaha!
It’s not unusual that a particular team or constructor dominates an entire season in MotoGP. But what’s unusual is Rossi’s own team mate graduating to a level where he can push Rossi to his limit to save his position! 2009 has been one such season with the RossiLorenzo fight having gone almost to the end of the season. Yamaha has every reason to smile then, for Rossi’s dominance not only earned him his 9th world championship but the duo’s dogfights got Yamaha a points total that’s eons ahead of their arch-rivals Honda and Ducati. And that’s not all! Every Tom Dick and Harry will tell you that the Yamaha YZF-R1, ever since its first appearance in 1998, has been trying and failing to take the top spot at the World Superbike Championship. But this blot in the Yamaha books was erased this year as the crossplane-cranked 2009 R1 took the top honors. even more surprising is the fact surprise comes in the fact that the Championship was brought home by a rookie in Ben Spies! Now Yamaha have not only the MotoGP Chamiobship, but the WSBK title under its belt as well to boost the sales of its product lineup. Speaking of which, the latest Yamaha R1 which is a quantum leap over the model available in India is slated to be launched in the country at the Expo
No we ain’t endorsing the Disney/Pixar flick; what we are talking about is the bug-eyed 2009 YZF-R1 which is completing its legal formalities to land in India. Yes, you read it right! Come Auto Expo 2010, and a particular exhibit embellished with triple tuning forks will play the sweet orchestra of the crossplane crankshaft. It’s a no brainer that the new YZF-R1 will replace the current model in India and will make its entry into India with the 2010 clothing, particularly the European schemes shown in the photos. Price is expected to be a lakh of rupees higher than the outgoing model, which will still make the R1 the cheapest litre-class super sport bike in the country. For more photos and wallpapers, visit the gallery section on www.motoroids.com
In the inaugural issue of this magazine, we told you that the VFR1200 was coming along with the exclusive scoop pictures of the bike. And the bike is here, and it’s exactly the same as we predicted it to be - huge and radical. The VFR’s biggest highlight is the DCT (Dual-Clutch Transmission) variant which essentially is an automatic tranny. However an ‘S’ mode will allow the rider to change gears with a switch on the handlebars instead of the conventional toe shifter – a feature that hardcore old school bikers will never ever want to use! Fortunately though, there is a standard version as well which is a just like a conventional bike. This new 1200cc V4 powered vehicle will replace the 1100cc CBR Blackbird and the 800cc VFR Interceptor. We feel that the radical design aptly suits the decade to come, but do we need a 1200cc motor in today’s world where the permissible speed and emission limits are getting tighter by the day? We guess the VFR800 was good enough for the touring job…
Colours coming to India:
BRAKING NEWS: SLIDE
News that’s neither here nor there
New age Classics arrive in India
Activa lends its heart
The frugal 110cc single cylinder engine form the Activa has found another home – the Aviator. When the Activa 110 came out earlier this year, it was quite obvious that the Aviator too would borrow the new engine, but we didn’t expect it to take such a long time. Anyway, now that the scooter is here, let’s list down the greasy bits. The new Aviator gets two new colours – a metallic orange and a metallic blue. Both these combos feature a chrome nose-job which usually comes in an aluminium finish for the other colours. Another highlight is the combined braking system, which unlike the Activa’s combined drum brakes, distributes the braking between the disc up front and the drum brake on the rear wheel. The new scooter is available in Delhi at an ex-showroom price of Rs. 42,160 and Rs. 47,160 for the Standard and Deluxe models respectively. We think the new engine on the Aviator is a welcome move, though it should have been done much earlier.
Royal Enfield launched the all new Bullet Classic on the 4th of November in Delhi. Until now the single seater Bullet was being manufactured at RE’s plant in Chennai and exported to the European countries. But with a lot of queries about the bike knocking RE’s doors, the company finally launched the bike in its home country as well. India however gets a 500cc AND a 350cc variant unlike the export model which is only sold with a 500cc engine. Both the variants use RE’s ‘unit construction’ mechanism, however, only the 500 employs fuel injection to comply with the ever tightening emission norms. The 350cc version retains the age-old carburetor. This move however has enraged a lot of hardcore Bulletiers, for they believe that the electronic gizmos are stripping the Bullet off its old-world charm. Some have gone ahead to the extent of ranting that they would rather fix smoked clutches and clogged carbs than being stranded on the highway with blown electronics! We think that it’s an issue that has more to do with an individual’s taste and choice than technical correctness. For us, the 350cc Classic is still a rather out-dated machine. Those who like greasy hands always have the option of embracing the model.
BRAKING NEWS: CRASH
News that SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN NEWS
Buell shuts down!
HMSI workers’ agitation ends
The omnipresent labor unrest in the Haryana region which affected production at the Hero Honda and Honda Motorcycles and Scooters plant has been finally resolved. A new wage agreement was signed between the management of the companies and the workers union on the 29th of October. The workers had started their agitation around three months back. The new wage agreement states that workers will be entitled to a fixed basic pay of Rs. 4,400 which will be stable for the next three years irrespective of the company’s performance. As per the terms of the earlier agreement which was signed in August 2006 workers were raking in about Rs. 2,900 till July this year. We personally believe that the recession did not have a major hit on Hero Honda/ Honda, so the companies will be in a position to bear the increase in labor payments. However, its really appalling to see how the age old labor laws in our country give the unions the power to hold the manufacture at ransom and affect the economy as a whole. There needs to be a new system in place that can protect the rights of the laborers, while preventing any loss of production. Sigh, if only wishes were horses….
As a part of the restructuring process of Harley Davidson in the economic slowdown, the American marquee has shut down its sister arm – Buell Motorcycle. No matter how big or small, when a motorcycle brand shuts down, it’s bound to pain a lot of bikers out there. But the guy who has taken the most amount of pain in this regard is Mr. Erik Buell himself, who in an emotional goodbye speech, thanked all Buell customers, employees and
dealers for an unforgettable 26-year old ride. Its hearting for us to see USA’s only sport bike maker wither this way. There have been a lot of letters written by bikers to HD, to reconsider their decision. But it seems the iconic brand has no other option left but to shut operations. We are honestly praying that some investment firm comes along and lifts Buell back from the ashes. We request you to pray too…
Your bouquets and brickbats for the October issue of Motoroids2
I got a bit worried as to why the Motorids2 October issue was taking time to go online. Once i saw the cover, I knew the reason! Congratulations guys for being the first automobile magazine in India to have the Ninja 250 on cover. As a motorcycle enthusiast, I was waiting to know how riding the baby Kwacker feels. Thank you Motoroids2 for providing me with all the neccessary information, As usual, I liked the layout and design on every single page. The writing style is still fresh and reading every article is a pleasure! Keep up the great work.
I have been reading all Indian automobile magazines since 2002. Most of these auto mags have been carrying out a shootout or comparison between a few 100cc bikes. I have always avoided reading or looking at the pictures in features that have anything to do with motorcycles below 150cc engine. The reason being the pathetic writing style and plain jane photography. The 100cc motorcycle comparo in your October issue came as a breath of fresh air. I like the fact the you guys genuinely highlited the negative aspects of each motorcycle. Your reviews are not at all biased. Motoroids2 is currently India’s best bike magazine in terms of honestly reviewing motorcycles, layouts and content. I have become a devout fan and eagerly await your next issue.
One fine evening I checked my mail (which I rarely do) and found an unread e-mail from Motoroids. That reminded me of this new auto e-magazine of yours. I clicked the link and was left astonished after seeing what I saw. A small website which only had a link to its e-magazine was now a full fledged automotive portal, replete with a forum equipped with latest news as well as other amazing stories. That too in such a small span of time! This assured me that Motoroids was more than just another auto blog. I am sure you guys are gowing to grow big very soon. The October issue was totally fun packed. My favorite story from the October issue was “The Haulay Haulay Bikes.” I really loved the dramatic photos of the three working class people aspiring for commuter bikes. It was a very well executed idea! It felt like you people at Motoroids not only get a few bikes and test it, but also manage to inject a great amount of fun and energy into your stories. The way you guys put up a story really brings out the subdued smile on my face. Motoroids has the professionalism, but it also has a huge amount of humor which really makes the reading experience more enjoyable. After reading the October issue, I have regularly been checking your website for the latest news and upcoming stories. I have been waiting very eagerly to get my cursor upon the November issue. I know it’s going to be even better and even more fun filled. Keep up the good work friends.
- Rohit Tawade
Fun Package Kwacker Cracker
Finally I got the October issue after a long wait. I wondered why it took so long for you guys to get the October issue online. It was when I went through the pages of the magazine that I realized that you guys were waiting for the Quarter Litre Kwacker to hit the roads. I guess yours was the first review of the 250cc twin cylinder “Green Goblin” as you call it. Yet another great job done by the Motoroids team. The review was quite interesting and gave me a clear view of what the bike would be like, in terms of performance. Also realizing that you are partners with the Testing Dynamics India, I was assured that your performance figures have to be accurate and error free. The pictorial representation of the various features of the bike was quite a good job. The pictures made me feel as if I was looking at a Ninja parked at a Probiking Showroom. I wish! Great job done by the photographer too! Amit, through his “Mindrevvin” column made me realise why the Ninja needs to sell for more such bikes to hit the block. However, for that price, the console is not at all impressive. I was expecting a full digital console along with all the high end technologies packed in the Ninja. The shootout between Discover 100 DTS-SI, Splendor NXG and the TVS Star City was a great read. The title itself was mind blowing (The Haulay Haulay Bikes). And as known by everyone, a job well begun is half done. The title itself convinced me that the story is going to be fun, and it indeed was. I also appreciate the initiative taken by you guys to feature various motoring clubs in your magazine (MOTO CLUBZ). It is really very inspiring after one reads about these clubs in a country so devoid of any performance machines . The October issue was a great experience over all. The Biking God (I believe there is one) might truly be delighted. Rohit Paradkar is a blessed soul for having got the chance to ride the Blade for such a long distance. I’m also sure that God will forgive him for the bird he killed. I really pity all those poseurs who have a superbike and never ride it for any other purpose than showing their pretty faces while being perched on it. It was heartening to see Rohit taking the CBR to the racetrack and giving it the treatment it deserved. I hope to see more such liter class monsters on our Indian race tracks in the form of shootouts. “Veteran Warrior” was a very inspiring story. Our country needs many more Shreekant Aptes for motorsport to sttarct more attention from the public as well as the media. I totally agree with Rohit Paradkar that cricket has taken away the limelight from all other sports including motorsports and I also agree that it is us who are at fault. I really appreciate the initiative taken by Motoroids to feature people who make an inspiring difference in the world of motorsports. I’m sure Motoroids will hunt for all the likes of Shreekant Aptes and expose them to the motoring community so that they can inspire the youth to be motorsport stars. Clutch Tales since the first issue itself has been an impressive work of creativity. It also seems to be like you guys enjoy working a lot (Men at Work) and I guess it is the fun factor within the Motoroids team which is making Motoroids a totally different breed. The whole magazine itself is a package of fun and I would want it to continue in the same way. My heartfelt congratulations to the entire Motoroids team for creating the wonderful “Free Revving Species.”
- Jaiveer Singh
- Aditya Sawant
Send us your letters at email@example.com If you wish to contribute to the magazine, in any way by providing content, have a look at the last page for the exact email addresses to send the mail to.
- Shrey Sunil
- Shrikant V
Share with the world your great adventures on your bike. Send us your pictures along with a small description at firstname.lastname@example.org
(1st and 2nd row) The members of Team 360 biking show off their one wheel balancing skills on geared and gearless motorcycles. This motorcycle group is based in Navi Mumbai. We could select only a few photographs from the whole lot sent to us owing to space constraint
(Bottom Left to right) Pranil pulls off a stand-up wheelie on the Karizma, Bhuvan Chaudhry performs a half old-school wheelie on the Pulsar 200, Amit Rane makes the Honda Dio roll on one wheel. All three guys belong to the Pune based biking group Rubber Smokin Angels
If a bike is meant to be appraised by more than one publication, then it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to curb the machine’s abuse
It’s important for the manufacturers to make sure their test bikes are not degraded just because someone wanted to have ‘fun’
ow interested are you in finding out whether you can pull off a rolling burnout on a brand new bike? Is that really what you read an auto mag for? Okay, probably you are a stunter, and would actually want to know, but then, if a magazine really tests a bike for its rolling burnout or donkey wheelie performance, shouldn’t it do it religiously? More importantly, shouldn’t a magazine at least enlighten its readers the findings of their staffers after they roasted the clutch? Destroying a bike’s cycle parts entirely, for no evaluative purpose seems like the latest craze among auto journalists in India, and the sad part is that they do it without letting the manufacturer know about it. These antics of some of the journos are oriented more towards getting some conceited pictures to embellish their social networking profiles than deriving any evaluative value. But as you would like to point out, that’s really none of my concerns. My point is, the auto scribes who are awaiting their turn after these photogenic heroes, get the machinery in such dilapidated form that it really doesn’t make any sense for an honest evaluator to test that bike. Unfortunately, in some of the cases, that’s the only bike the manufacturers have allotted for the media and you have to live with whatever state it is in. So what do you do? Just take some good pictures, and write whatever fancy thoughts pop in your mind at that juncture? Those who really want to be objective and factually correct with their review may go fly a kite. And it’s not just the journos who are to
blame. Even the manufacturers sometimes don’t ensure that the bike offered for a test ride is functioning perfectly before it’s presented for an evaluation. If a bike is meant to be appraised by more than one publication, then it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to curb the machine’s abuse beyond a point. Of course, a little consideration from the poseur journos will help, but if a manufacturer has given them the leeway to screw the bike up, it cannot really be termed as their fault. Very recently I went to test ride a bike. The same bike was used by some other publications before it was presented to me. The amount of hammering that the machine had withstood in 500 short kilometers of running was incredible. The clutch plates of the contraption were absolutely finished. There wasn’t any life left in the engine, and it simply refused to move even with the tacho needle nudging red line in higher gears. Pulling clutch wheelies and performing burnouts had made the bike absolutely unusable for evaluation. Were we to write an honest review about the bike, we would have run it down with relentless disdain. However, having a fair idea of what the real performance of the machine was like, we requested another test ride on a ‘proper’ machine, which the manufacturer very kindly agreed to. As we had assumed, the difference between the two bikes was gargantuan. The story has repeated itself with more than one manufacturer, and that’s what forces me to write about it here. It’s entirely up to a publication to decide how it wishes to test and photograph a vehicle. But if you are planning to rape the machine, and think you are justified in doing it then you should be brave enough to mention the same to the manufacturers as well. The manufacturers, on their part should make it a point to ensure that they supply journalists a vehicle which is representative of that model’s real performance and is not degraded by the heroics of a Facebook junkie.
ROHIT PARADKAR THE FAT BIKER
the arrogance part was a bit ironic, considering they initiated the conversation themselves. As we downed more drinks and squid rings, the conversation became more of a comparison between the bikes they ride and the bikes available in India. This may not be the first time you have heard it, but once again the word ‘lawnmower’ raised its head. This is the word that is used to describe the puny single cylinder mills that power the bikes in our country. Allan, as his name was, concluded the conversation saying, “I know there is not much you bikers can do in this country with these lawn-mower engined bikes. I have been riding a rented one for the last couple of days, and my god it’s terrible! Whenever you come to London, drop me a call and I’ll let you have a taste of the REAL bikes…” Though I had ridden a vast array of multi-cylinders already, back then the R1, Fireblade or the Busa weren’t officially sold in the country; so there wasn’t much I could say in defense. I ended the conversation saying “I’ll look forward to it. But don’t under estimate our puny lawn-mowers, there is a lot they can do…” Fast forward to October 2008. Honda, the biggest two-wheeler manufacturer in the world, launched two interesting vehicles at the Intermot show – the V4 Concept and the CBF125 which was nothing but a fuelinjected version of the Stunner sold in India. Exactly one year after that, i.e October 2009, Honda has now unveiled the VFR1200 – one of the mightiest bikes the company ever created. So what’s the connection? Well, after reading the comments from various media and bikers around the world, you will be amazed to know that these ‘developed’ countries are not fascinated by these humongous machines anymore! What they want is something like a Ninja 250 for their trackdays and the Stunner for their everyday commutes! And it is justified too, with the recession hitting these countries in the face and fuel costs escalating alongside, people have been forced to rethink about the need of gas guzzling monsters for commuting and expensive, impractical litre-class bikes for learning their way around the track. Just because they had the dough, they have been bragging about the biggies they own. But now with the recession having taught them a lesson, OUR puny lawn-mower engined bikes are finally making sense to these developed blokes! And with all major bikemakers making a beeline to India with their big machines, seems like we Indians have turned the tables on our European friends. ver since the bratty little Ninja started hogging the limelight, it quickly became the star of every Indian biker’s dreams. But Bajaj jolted us out of our lucid dream when it announced the heart-breaking price tag of 3 lakh rupees. Kwacker junior is not only India’s solitary 250cc twin, but it is also the best quarter-litre bike in the world. Kawasaki is the only manufacturer out of the ‘Japanese Big Four’ to have capitalized on the 250cc sport segment, and Bajaj knows that a ‘real’ rival is atleast a year away. Once the YZF R25, 250cc ‘blade or the Gixxer 250 arrive, all Bajaj has to do is drop the Ninja’s price to match the competitor’s. Chances of getting our hands on a race-bred quarter-litre bike for anything below 2.5 lakh rupees look meek. But what if we are willing to compromise? What if, we are willing to settle for a bike which is 95% as good? I would be fine with carburetors instead of fuel injection, a simple unicorn-like monoshock instead of a complex link type unit, a sturdy tubular frame instead of a ‘deltabox’ (hell, even the Ninja 250 doesn’t have a ‘deltabox’). Especially, if such a bike could be mine for less than a lakh! Let’s do a case study of the Pulsar 220 to get a perspective. The Pulsar 220 retails for 79 grand (OnRoad, Pune). Now in theory if Bajaj were to chuck out the nice but expensive stuff like projected head-light, pilots, LED tail lamps, funky gauges, clip-ons and replace all this with crisp, conventional units that work almost as well, the price would easily drop by about 5 grand, which takes the tally to 74,000. What the Pulsar needs in order to aspire to the Ninja is basically a stronger, well sorted chassis, a rear monoshock suspension and most importantly an extra cylinder. Earlier, the Pulsar 180 and the 200 ran different frames. The price difference between the two was six thousand rupees. Assuming that half of it was incurred for the chassis strengthening and the new swing-arm, the cost of a reasonably sorted and strengthened Pulsar 220 chassis won’t be more than Rs. 3000. The Unicorn sports a monoshock at the rear, but it is actually cheaper than its conventionally sprung step-siblings, the CBZ Xtreme and the Hunk. So a simple non-link type monoshock shouldn’t be very expensive. But owing to the rampant lack of monoshock ‘know-how’ lets allot another 3000 Rs. for it. That still leaves a good 15 grand
Seems like the idea of frugal commuting has finally dawned onto the smug Europeans
It’s been a year since the 2008 Intermot Motor Show in Cologne, Germany was held. And it’s been two years to an incident I’m going to narrate to you. How these two are related, is something that I’ll save for the end of this column. It was a typically pleasant October evening in Goa. I was out there, enjoying my time as a vagabond biker; checking out the varied beaches and hangouts. Since I was to be joined by a bunch of friends riding down from Bangalore, I decided to spend my time at this wonderful shack in Palolim. Since a non-alcoholic is considered a freak in a place like Goa, I decided to order myself a glass of port wine. Within a few sips of the sweet maroon drink, a firangi couple, who until now had been perched on a table opposite mine, came to me and asked me if they could join me. I had no reason to say no, but at the same time I had no clue why out of the blue they wanted to join me. As the conversation got going, I realized that these love birds were bikers themselves and had initiated the conversation after they saw the safety gear lying around me. They were Brits, and I could sense that characteristics hont of pride, mild arrogance and humour in the way they expressed themselves. Though not offensive,
of our 95,000 rupee budget for the engine. As we have never had a twin-cylinder motorcycle in India, in recent history, we don’t really have a yardstick to compare it with. But hey, even the Nano comes with a 624 cc, two cylinder, 33 horsepower, and fuel injected engine. Not to forget a complete 4 wheeled, 4 seater, 4 door car along with it and all of that retails precisely for 1.44 lakh (on-road, Pune).Could it be so damn difficult to develop a quarter litre twin for 15 grand apiece development cost? Surely not. Who’s up for the challenge? TVS? Honda? Yamaha? Suzuki? Anyone?
One of the ‘hopeful’ illustrations floating around on the world-wide-web
95 Percent Ninja for Rs. 95,000/-
So just how fast do these land-to-land missiles cover ground in the real world?
The mission, for each one of These conTrapTions is To swallow and spiT miles as quickly as They can wiThouT looking bloaTed or nauseous
ven we know these bikes are from three totally different segments, so please hold your horses before troubling your eyebrows. Think of this feature as the first documented attempt to quantifiably assert the relative difference in the average speed of these bikes over a distance of 500km. At the end of this comparo, we would have evaluated what practical speeds these bikes can manage on a reasonably good Indian highway. While we’ll
ride them primarily through smooth highways, we’ll also throw in some lunar craters, some hilly sections and some heavy traffic conditions to understand their practicality and speed in various environments better. The mission, for each one of these contraptions is to swallow and spit miles as quickly as they could without looking bloated or nauseous. The time they save in the process should ideally be proportional to their price tag, but just to make it fair, we’ll discuss the intangibles as
well before concluding the debate. Hope me make a bit of sense now, so let’s proceed. The Karizma has to be the first bike we start with. The exploits of its earlier iteration as regards touring, have been legendary to say the least. One crazy nut namely Arnob Gupta even rode it for 36 continuous hours to travel a distance of more than 2500km, and the bike didn’t sound any different from how it sounded when he
The Ninja packs in a lot of firepower. Given an open stretch (which unfortunately isn’t the case in India) it offers a substantial advantage over the ZMR
started. The inclusion of clip-ons and the new seat are the most important incorporations on the ZMR to aid long distance riding. The upright handlebars and the rather hard seat of the previous version were not very conducive for the spines and bums of endurance enthusiasts. The new handlebars distribute slightly more weight onto your shoulders and wrists, and facilitate more comfort in the longer run. The seat of the earlier ZMA needed to be modified by most seasoned long distance runners, but the new version is more butt-friendly with better, slightly softer cushioning. The vibes at the foot-pegs and the handlebars of the old ZMA were never a problem, and they aren’t in the new version either. In fact the FI has made the engine a tiny bit smoother, so basically you are now running a bike with better cushioned seat, lesser vibes and a better positioned handlebar. It also features FI, so you are more insulated to the variations in altitudes, but that shouldn’t matter much unless you’re travelling across huge geographies. The engine doesn’t have any more poke than the one on the ZMA R, so your top and average speeds won’t differ much. In the longer run, you’ll get slightly less fatigued though. Those tubeless tyres will make you less prone to punctures, and will be repaired in one fifth the time required to mend the tubed version. The ZMR headlamps are a major improvement over the ones on its predecessor. The bike has a stronger beam and facilitates much better illumination in the dark. We really think the new headlight will make a significant difference in the average speed of the bike on badly lit two-lane roads during the night. The difference in average speeds can be as much as 20km/h for those who prefer night riding. During the day, however there isn’t much to choose between the two machines. Both have identical engine characteristics and performance. The ZMR accelerates with great reassurance, making you aware of every unit of its plentiful toque as it surges ahead. The bike cruises happily at 115-118 km/h after which the engine becomes slightly gruff and shows some resistance before maxing out at 125km/h on the speedo. But those who tour long distance never push the engines of their bikes out of their pleasant zones. That sort of a treatment on well surfaced open highways with fairly disciplined traffic should result in average speeds of 95-100 km/h. Mind that we are calculating only the ‘on-saddle’ time here as the time consumed during breaks is going to remain constant for all three bikes. Then there is the ability to take the rough with
The only limiting factor to the Busa’s blistering speed on the highway is its relatively low fuel efficiency and lesser range, which makes it stop more frequently on fuel pumps
the smooth. Any doubts about the ZMA’s abilities to deal with testing terrain should be laid to rest with the mere mention of one Ashish Maudgil. The lad has won Raid-de-Himalaya on his Karizma numerous times. The chassis and suspension of this HH can take any amount of bashing without making the slightest squeak. However, with the newly incorporated full fairing, the ability to tread the untrodden territory has been rather subdued. It’s not a particularly pleasing feeling when you hear the sound of stones flying off the front wheel and hitting the fairing of your bike. The underpinnings of the ZMR, however, have the stuff to skim over broken roads and make you feel like an MX champ in the process. So if a scratched / cracked fairing isn’t your concern, the ZMR is still very much the intrepid roamer of the wilderness that it always used to be. It can pretty much take almost any terrain in its stride, and fast.
All in all, the Karizma is still pretty much ‘the’ tourer machine you need in India as long as you are riding on a good mix of road conditions which don’t allow you to go too fast. If, however, you are one of the luckier souls who travel mostly on well surfaced, wide sections, the equation changes drastically. The ZMR isn’t rapid enough on open highways and its top speed becomes a bit of an irritant when you know that you can make good time with some more speed. The newly introduced Ninja has a substantial advantage there. Not just the new Kwacker is supremely poised and at ease doing 135km/h, it has plenty in store at that point, were you really in a mood to grab it by the collar. The most amazing aspect of the bike is its incredible smoothness and muffled exhaust note even at the peak of its rev range. There are absolutely no vibes or noises emanating from the contraption even when it’s pushed to the limit. Given an open stretch, the Ninja will leave the ZMR behind by miles by virtue of its decidedly
01. Not only is the Busa fast on straights, its as planted as a mountain. 02. The ZMR suffers with a lack of top speed, but bring in a good mix of sharp turns, rough roads and it claws back lost time. The ZMR also has the best range of the three bikes here
better acceleration and top speed. The Ninja is an incredible easy and comfortable bike to ride too, and contrary to the R tag which hints at an extreme riding position, its very rider friendly and relaxed in terms of footpeg-seathandlebar combination. The ultra smooth engine loves revving and runs delightfully without any resentment across the rev range. The step-seat isn’t the best option for a pillion rider, but the problem figures in only when you intend to carry one. In identical conditions, we managed an average speed of 105km/h on the Ninja over the ZMR’s 95. The difference, however will further broaden if the two bikes are pushed to the limit, as the Ninja is capable of doing some really serious top speeds. The Ninja’s engine is peakier in its character when compared with the ZMR. Rough roads require good low and mid range, nice clearance and light weight more than outright power. The ZMR scores over the Ninja in that aspect, and makes for a better option on rough terrain. We’re also not very satisfied with the Ninja’s headlight. The much cheaper Pulsar 220 which can arguably be termed as the bike from the same stable dons a much
better headlamp. After paying a whopping price of Rs 300,000 you won’t relish the fact that a much cheaper bike zooms past you in the night, solely by virtue of its better illumination. The real deal, however, is the Busa. Give her an open stretch and she’ll make absolute mincemeat of the other two bikes. In fact, the Busa will massacre any other bike over a long haul. The globally acclaimed super tourer is unlike any other large capacity bike that you may have ever come across. While every other sportsbike tries to look as lean, mean and aesthetically appealing as possible, each and every body panel on the Busa is built for a purpose – to let the air slip around its surface and help it slither through with minimum resistance. So when you wring the throttle, your worry isn’t whether the bike can go fast enough, for it can do higher speeds than what you can handle – you need to worry more about your health and life. There are three performance modes to choose from, depending on whether you want to feel like a bullet, missile or arrow. In either case, you’re going to travel at a very, very fast pace. Specs in the horizon take no longer than the blink of an eye to turn into the posterior of a truck.
All it takes to experience the NFS blur from as close as possible in real life is holding on with the twisted throttle for a few seconds. The world around you transforms when you look at it from the seat of the Busa, things happen at an unprecedentedly mad pace. No matter what one has to say, there isn’t a faster way to travel via road than the Busa. The design of the front fairing is such that the wind resistance is reduced to the absolute minimum levels and ducking down slightly means that you dodge all that air that’s such a big irritant while riding fast on any other superbike. The soft, wide seat is supremely comfortable. The riding position is still a bit too extreme for the liking and comfort of Indian riders, so you need to ride the crazy falcon for a couple of days before you could set out without running the risk of having to give up mid-way owing to aching wrists and worn-out shoulders. Having said that, the Busa is still by far the most comfortable high-performance bike that you would come across in the country. On good fourlane open highways, average speeds of more than 125km/h are manageable without having to hang your pair of family jewels off the saddle too much. While that may not sound very impressive for the incredible capabilities of the Busa, seasoned tourers would know how high an average speed that is. The Hayabusa is unquestionably the fastest machine you can
buy on the planet to travel long distances fast via road. The only Achilles heel of the machine is its heavy weight, enormous front fairing and thus the inability to take rough, broken roads in its stride with confidence. Also, it’s not a very convenient bike to handle around sharp hairpins owing to its enormous length and girth. But if it’s a freeway flight you’re looking at, there isn’t a better option than this Japanese contraption. So let’s quantify things. Our test over a reasonably smooth four-lane highway yielded average speeds of 95km/h, 105km/h and 125km/h for the three bikes in increasing order of cubic capacity. While we agree that the attainable average speed may vary depending on the skill of the rider and his willingness to risk his life, the speeds indicated above are representative of what a reasonably skillful rider should be able to achieve. Throughout our tests, we made it a point to never take the engines of the respective bikes to their limit, and made sure that we were a good distance away from speeds which looked hazardous for that situation. Based on the above deductions, if we try an calculate the time taken by each bike to cover a distance of 500km, (if ridden nonstop, as the time spent off the bike will remain constant) the ZMR, the Ninja and the Busa will roughly take 5 hours 20 minutes, 4 hours 45 minutes and 4 hours respectively. The
The ninja is an incredible easy and comforTable bike To ride. conTrary To The r Tag which hinTs aT an exTreme riding posiTion, iTs very rider friendly and relaxed
notable things here is that while the ZMR and the Ninja are running at about eighty to ninety percent of their peak capacity to achieve those speeds and times, the Busa is hardly running at fifty percent of its potential. Which means that given an empty straight road, the ZMR and Ninja may not be able to post much improvement over their real-world times, but the Busa will cut down its time almost by half. A 35 minutes advantage over a 500 km run is what you get with the Ninja over the ZMR. If you ride safely and sensibly that is. Whether you think the saved time is worth the extra two lakh rupees depends entirely on the depth of your pockets. The Busa, however, we think is worth every penny you spend on it. On the right road, and under an able rider, this crotch rocket is capable of disposing the aforementioned distance more quickly than a Bullet Train. The falcon is the fastest thing you can rest your bum on with those 14lakh rupees. Go on, indulge! Every penny would be well spent…
The Ninja holds its own even in the company of the Busa. The ZMR looks slim, even disproportionate from certain angles
The noses of the three bikes are uncannily similar
Unless you are in a mood to swallow miles at a mad pace, the ZMR makes for almost the perfect tourer for Indian conditions
The falcon is The fasTesT Thing you can resT your bum on wiTh Those 14lakh rupees
e road ome off th letely at h p feels com The ZMR
Ninja’s tail lamp looks puny when compared with that of the other two
The Ninja has just the right amount of power and handles sweetly. It’s a delightful bike to ride around twisties
The ZMR is no match for the Ninja around corners
Jidhar in log ka top speed khatam hota hai, uskay baad mera doosra gear chalu hota hai...kya?
1000cc/4 = 250 cc 14 lakh/4 = 3.5 lakh Sasti hee hai
Ah, the pleasures of being the editor... I’m still ahead!
Neeraj Walia - a succesful businessman and a geltleman biker. Rode all the way down from Mumbai to help us with the shoot Mithilesh Panchal - owns a 220 as well. Been busy knee-scrapping ever since he got the Ninja Sujat Nair - dentist by profession, and a thoroughbread biker at heart, Sujat is gearing up for a Saddlesore attempt
Visiting the Doctor
Motoroids’ lensman Aditya Bedre was at Malaysia, cheering for Rossi at the top of his voice as the Italian took his ninth world championship
ur motorsports photographer, Aditya Bedre, never misses an opportunity to capture the Indian adction through his Nikon. This time however, his shutterbug antics were not restricted to just the Indian tracks. Our boy followed the Indian racers all the way to Sepang circuit for photographing them at the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) support race for the 16th Round of the MotoGP championship. He arrived in Malaysia on Thursday and from then on, he got busy with the camera. As he narrates, the Thursday practice was nothing short of a
tricky puzzle. Most riders ride out in black leathers and a black bike – completely crude, without any sponsor decals or race numbers. So its difficult to tell who is who, unless you are too familiar with the varied riding styles of the MotoGP warriors. The best an average fan can do is tell an M1 and a GP9 from a RC212V and a GSV-R. Once the Friday proceedings begin, is when the liveries start making their public appearance. The highlight obviously was the race. But like many others, Aditya too was caught unawares as a hot and humid morning was suddenly
washed out by heavy rain. The gloomy atmosphere didn’t allow Aditya to take the kind of shots he generally is an expert at. However, his disappointment turned into utmost excitement as he saw the Doctor cross the finish line and take the ninth world championship! It was one of the most exhilarating feelings for Aditya as he witnessed one of Rossi’s iconic celebrations with the chicken and the egg. He had completely forgotten by now that he had a camera; Aditya was hypnotized by the aura of the Doctor! Scroll down to see what he lived through before getting mesmerized…
The Doctor as usual was fast throughout the practice and was looking as confident as ever Casey Stoner was one of the early guys out for the practice laps on Friday Capirex, the ageing veteran has been one of the biggest boons for Suzuki in recent years
Casey Stoner scrapes his elbow during qualifying! Talk about riding the Ducati hard...
Lorenzo had everything to fight for, especially after his dreadful crash at Philip Island
Rossi displays his new found obsessionsticking the leg out when pushing hard
Simonch better elli tried hard, bu t Aoyama was
James Toseland - MotoGP won’t see him again in 2010
Aditya and Alisha pose with Jorge Lorenzo
Marco Melandri, the wonder boy!
Alex De Angelis won’t don the Gresini outfit next year
Aditya and his friends forced Nicky to come out of his trailer
Chris will move to WSBK next year; Aditya got that hat!
Tiny Tornedo! Aditya stoops to fit in the frame with Dani
Vardenchi captivates the mythical soul of the Dark Knight in his latest creation. Pradeb Biswas takes it on a tour through the urban jungle
ies, for veloped countr nlike in the de journalist in India, an automotive nerally om chopper ge reviewing a cust nt assignment. The sa isn’t a very plea ity of desi custom e major for th a unique reason being, idea starts with ble off e builders, the motorcycl parts availa ends with body e. In most cases, paint job and or cal accessory st or the shelf at a lo modification or engineering e has to ot much t. So, on there is n be written abou ch customization to y language and figures of spee worthy ing flower on appear rely on us orcycle in questi to make the mot spending your money on. es t or of reading abou , when the assignment involv owever tion, we H stom crea i kshai Varde cu reviewing an A ng for the story. A Vardench orcycle ers fighti have staff average mot ld r is not your custom choppe grand to produce and gets so kh price s twenty or one la that take s for a 60 grand its across showroom ite and extravagant that even ! so exquis tag. It is for himself ord to keep one few details creator can’t aff kshai to know a e shape We called up A the bike, th r like color of uld be of this choppe e photo shoot co the theme for th aled that the color was etc so that ingly. He reve look. His planned accord e had a stealth this new d the motorcycl black an us believe that n almost made of an earlier creation. descriptio i rbon copy chopper was a ca ality and looks of a Vardench The person mundane of any ake the work ur chopper can m unning and commendable. O e always appear st lensman unique lik i k wanted to be camera maveric pturing this creation of Aksha the idea ded on ca and deci e up with on. Eshan cam ed on a new locati ctures of the motorcycle park action of g a few pi of takin ith the re ing lot along w in in a college park reaching St.Andrews College hai about ers. Upon on look form Aks was made to in Bandra, a call ud and our arrival. the uniquely lo We first heard haust note of a Vardenchi thumpy ex d. characteristically lled in with its creator on boar dropped before it ro chopper . Frankies ose immediately ere All hell broke lo eet pretty young things w ground, sw to the
forgotten and listening to ipod’s seemed like a thing of the past, while cries of Harley Davidson started gaining prominence along with clicks from mobile phone cameras. Guys wanted to know if OCC had set up shop in Bandra while girls were merely interested in knowing the owner of the motorcycle. Talking of the owner, the buyer of this motorcycle wanted it to be extremely low, long and devoid a of anything jazzy. When Akshai started working on the chopper, he wanted the final outcome to be nothing short of a phenomenon. And what a rolling phenomenon it is! Christened ‘Dark Knight’ the engine and chassis of this chopper are from a Bullet Machismo 500cc. A typical Vardenchi trademark, the motorcycle features a belt-drive instead of the ordinary chain and sprocket setup for transferring power from the engine to the rear wheel. The belt drive system allows the incorporation of a single sided swingarm apart from reducing mechanical loss of torque. The rear wheel comprises of a 17 inch car alloy allowing it to be mounted on the swingarm’s hub from one side. The rear end setup also includes a Pricol disc brake system. The front wheel might look familiar to some as it has been borrowed from the Pulsar 220 while the front forks belong to a stock Bullet 500. The electric starter motor and battery have been borrowed over from the donor bike. The rake angle and steering geometry have been heavily altered to lengthen the wheelbase of the motorcycle. Every Vardenchi chopper employs a novel mechanism with respect to its start-up system. This bike comes equipped with a remote starter! Onlookers surrounding the bike were caught unawares when the chopper came to life with no one around it. I have witnessed the effect that superbikes and cruisers have on the big bike starved masses of our country. But the effect that a Vardenchi chopper can produce needs to seen to be believed. Akshai’s voice was forever etched in my mind as he replied to a businessman smitten by the bike, and said “This is a custom chopper made in India by an Indian and is based on a Royal Enfield Bullet” One cannot deny the fact that overall it is a very well engineered motorcycle with a unique charm and aura though one gripe exists. With a price tag of 7 lakh rupees, a Vardenchi chopper is an indulgence which not many motorcycle enthusiasts can afford. Even with all the exquisite craftsmanship, the price of this custom chopper is on the higher side. We really think that a V-twin under the tank will not just make the price look more reasonable but will also add to the oomph of the V machines. At current levels, Vardenchi machines are accessible only to the people who are genuinely interested in exclusively machinery and have pockets deep enough to afford the indulgence. As we went out for a spin on the
The 17 inch rear rim taken from a car allows it to be mounted from one side on the single section swingarm
The exhhaust lets out a characteristic Vardenchi chopper thump
Well, that’s how wide a 200 section rear tyre looks like
Already started imagining yourself posing with it?
Dark Knight, necks started twisting dramatically in our direction. From the Civic driver vying for corporate success, to the gentleman in the backseat of his Merc S class, to the dude out for a morning ride on his CBR 600RR everyone was taking envy to our presence. One could easily spot the ‘Damn, I want that bike look in their eyes.’ A custom chopper is not for those motorcyclists seeking top speed bragging rights or winning traffic light drag starts. It is for those who want all eyeballs to focus on them irrespective of which road they ride on. If you are single, male and been trying your luck desperately and futilely with ladies, don’t despair. We recommended you getting a Vardenchi Custom chopper. Have a look at the photographs once again. An Akshai Varde creation can even make a hairy caveman appear dateable to the ladies.
The positioning of the rear no plate adheres to traditional chopper design school
The indicators have been integrated into the outer ends of the handelbar
The exhaust is the only part that gets Chrome, rather non black treatment
The engine transfers power to the rear using a belt drive, in signature Vardenchi style!
The tiny twin headlamps give the Dark Knight its characteristic face
From the Civic driver vying for corporate success, to the gentleman in the backseat of his Merc S class, to the dude out for a morning stroll on his CBR 600RR, everyone was taking envy to our presence
Yes, they are puny but are in sync with the overall design flow of the motorcycle
The street presence of a Vardenchi chopper needs to be witnessed to be believed
The engine is borrrowed from a Royal Enfield Machismo 500 which was the donor bike
Getting awed by it is the easy part. Taking your eyes and attention away from it is difficult.
In profile and from the rear, the exhaust and the snipped swingarm look like the openings of a deadly slug-slinger
Along with a loud thumpy exhaust beat the chopper gets two horns too! Jaywalkers will stop dead in their tracks
Vardenchi is undoubtedly the best custom bike builder in India currently
(left-right) Pritam Upadhay is the Head of Operations at Vardenchi Akshai Varde-the man behind Vardenchi choppers
Akshai’s voice was forever etched in my mind as he replied to a businessman smitten by the bike “This is a custom chopper made in India by an Indian and is based on a Royal Enfield Bullet”
You, the biker!
If you have a wacky travel story of your own, mail it to us at email@example.com.
Low Altitude Sickness
Anand Dharmaraj did what all of us dream of. He took five of the world’s best off-road machines to the Himalayas. Here’s a log of this rare adventure
The terrain demands a lot from the rider and the bike
The Husquies are undoubtedly some of the best machines out there to tackle such terrain
The riders wait by a stream to regroup with the rest of the pack
The KTM 990 Adventure kicks some serious dirt. However this is not the model Bajaj will get for you
The author of this write-up, Anand Dharmaraj, astride a Husqvarna TE510
rganizing motorcycle road trips for friends always seems so easy, but organizing the same for customers requires a completely different visor. So I learned! Hoping that the words which follow are able to capture the spirit of our exciting voyage through the mightiest mountain passes in the country. The machines, back up vehicles, support crew and the riders had arrived as per schedule at The Peterhoff in Shimla. With some last minute checks and fuel top ups, all the riders stepped outdoors into the crisp morning air of Shimla. The plan for Day One was to reach Rampur. We were expecting easy, great and beautiful roads. Little did we know what lay in store ahead! We decided to take a slightly longer scenic route to avoid the chaos of typical Indian hill station. This meant more kms, but less traffic and more twisties. Reality hits us hard though as soon as we hit the twisties. Smooth tarmac greeted us; but slick rain washed mud on a smooth tarmac doesn’t quite make for “safe” riding. As we climbed towards Kufri (another “hill station” that’s been bastardized for tourism) rain, fog and broken tarmac made the riding slow and painful. I could feel the group burning that thought on the back of my helmet. Soaked to the bones in spite of fancy gear, we stopped for lunch at Narkhanda at 4pm which somewhat warmed our souls. But soon enough, we were out again to be hugged by more rains, broken roads and yet more 80kms to clock in before our pit stop. Much to everyone’s relief the day ended at 6:30pm with bikes parked in front of a ‘More Plains’ is a mystical world in itself. You have to ride there to experience the magic hotel, hot cuppa chai and comfy rooms. Day 2 started on a much better note with clear weather. We left Rampur and headed towards the Indian border in East Himachal to arrive at Sangla Valley for the night halt. We had a brief stop at Sarahan to visit the 800 year old Bhimkali Temple which is surrounded by legends & stories of Goddess and vanquished demons. Making our way through the twisted roads that had been carved out of rocky mountain faces and riding along the might Sutlej River, the Day Two ended at one of the most serene settings in the Sangla Valley. Luxury tents set by the riverbed, barbeque and campfire put us to rest under the stars. We head out the following day towards Chitkul, the last village on the Indian border. Breathtaking views of mountains, steep ascents into nothingness, water falls cascading off the face of mountain slopes, unveiled past us. As soon as wet met the tarmac, we sped through to hit Rekong Peo and then to Kalpa. Our stay at Kalpa was at the beautiful Kinnaur Kalpa run by HPTDC and the views were more
No matter what season, the Himalayas will always look stunning
Burning Gas with:
5 ’09 Husqvarna 2009 SM610 1 ’09 Husqvarna 2006 TE510 1 ’08 KTM 990 adventure 1 Royal Enfield 500 1 Yamaha RX135 1 Hero Honda Hunk
For your general knowledge....
than enough to quench the thirst of any traveler. We had the evening to ourselves and the trip down to the village market highly held my interest. Old slate houses with wooden roofs piled with hemp stems, acting as insulation to keep the cold out, doorways that you would have to crouch into, a gushing stream of water right through the village gulley and the “chital”, a delicacy made from the local grain that is shaped like a diamond and only grows in this part of the world. All this and the views from the village made the evening a peaceful one and left me longing to stay on. 240kms to reach to Kaza in the next three nights called for an early morning start. The long stretches of gravel filled twisty roads made the ride a mini paris-dakkar run. The confluence of Spiti and Sutlej rivers at Khab, one dirty white from the molten snow and the other brownish red from the silt made for a quick photo-op. The winding ascent of roads led us to a quick stop at Nako Monastery and Tabo Monastery (both over a 1000 years old) and Husqvarna - a name often associated with endurance! the final leg of the ride to Kaza was uneventfully magical. Kaza, standing at 12,500ft is a small village-town that is cut off from the rest of the world for the better part of the year and has plenty to offer for the “soul”. Villages, century old Monasteries, the Spiti River dividing at had been e twisted roads th mountains and dwarfing them, the call of the wind r way through th along the Making ou in faces and riding and the glisten of the sun kissing the snow and ice t of rocky Mounta e of the Most carved ou y two ended at on were just few of them. tlej river, the da Might su the sangla valley The following two days were spent with day trips serene settings in to Kee Monastery, Kibber the highest road connected village in Asia (14,500feet), Tashiganj for a sighting of the blue sheep and a trip to Dhankar monastery. Sadly, no blue sheep was sighted. The toughest two days of riding were yet to come. The ride to the sacred Chandertal (12000ft) lake from Kaza through the treacherous Kunzum Pass, awaited us. I knew that in spite of all the briefing the ride wasn’t going to an easy one. Roads were non existent and the last 13kms to Chandertal was tough to say the least. Rough sharp jagged edges of rock, fine silt & river crossings left everyone bushed. To top it all the access to the lake itself had been cut off for environment reasons and we had to trudge our luggage to the campsite by the lake. The freezing cold night under the stars was probably enjoyed by only some. The next morning ride through Batal, Chathru Bridge and Gramphoo was pure torture. 90kms of gravel on a river bed isn’t exactly every riders dream. Having done this stretch at the pace of a rally, I had not realized how bad the roads really were. The slower pace contributed to the pain followed by “when is The brave riders pose alongside their wonderful steeds this going to end?” The night halt at Bamboo
You don’t see such well-carved roads everyday, do you?
Huts at Tandi was a welcome change for the whole group. We still had 365kms to Leh to go and our next stop was Sarchu for the night. Good roads, chai stops and photo-ops at Suraj-Tal, Nakeela pass and Barlachla (16500feet) made for an excellent ride. Tents, chai, dinner and the cold put everyone at rest. Our last leg of the journey from Sarchu to Leh awaited us. But what started off an easy ride turned into a tough one. “More plains” with its vastness captured everyone’s imagination and the ride through Tang-lang-la was probably the most brutal, given the state of the roads and the urgency to cross the pass without running into trouble or rough weather. The torturous climb to the second highest pass in the world at 17500ft was grueling on the body in spite of the upside down forks and long
travel suspension. The ride down was through series of bends that were slick with fine silt. Apart from a flat tire on one of the bikes, the whole group was relieved as we hit tarmac at Upse and even more relieved when the eyes met civilization at Leh. The ceremonial ride to Khardung-la top at 18380ft and photo-op was brief and memorable. Leh was a cause for celebration for all and as the group departed in the next few days. Some of us stayed back to enjoy the sights and sounds of Leh and to attend the four day music festival (Confluence 09) on the banks of the Indus River. Even though the majority of the line-up didn’t show up, we still had our hippie wood-stock moment under the sun, moon and the stars. We wrapped up and I found my way to Bangalore after almost a month and that’s when it hit meLow Altitude Sickness.
Get in touch with Anand Dharmaraj on www.indimotard.com
You, the biker!
If you have a wacky travel story of your own, mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- the ‘09 Honda Fireblade Review!
y heart was pounding so hard against my chest it felt like it was going to burst out any minute. My arms were aching as I tried to hold on to the handlebar. My head was pulsating inside the helmet like a rattlesnake owing to the wind blast until I finally crouched behind the wind screen. Even between all this mayhem, I had this wide smile plastered across my face. I was riding a beast, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more!
The place was the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore and the bike, the ‘09 Honda Fireblade CBR 1000RR. I cracked open the throttle on the start finish straight and the Blade ripped apart its docile facade and plunged forward with the aggression of a wild cat. Linear, usable power delivery has always been the highlight of the Blade, but this machine has the manic acceleration above 4500rpm to silence the critics who tried tagging its predecessor as “boring”. The long straight at Kari encourages one to carry a lot of speed into the first right hander and I was doing well over 200kmph when I started braking hard to take my line. The Tokicos offer beautiful feel and pack enough bite to shed speed in a flash. So the plan was simple – brake hard using the front twins, dip the bike towards the right line and when the tyre is about to lock up, get off the brake to dive the bike into the corner. But that was not to be. Before the front tyre could emanate the slightest
squeal, the C-ABS kicked in and sent some of the braking force to the rear tyre. As a result, the Blade’s nose suddenly rose up. Not being used to such behaviour by a bike, I almost ran off the track. So caution was the key word over the next few laps and it bought me the time I needed to understand and appreciate the ingenuity of the new braking system. After dazzling me with its braking prowess, the Blade left me astonished with its cornering capabilities too. The bike’s nimble handling and propensity to inspire confidence even with my knee sliders scrubbing the track at crazy speeds had me baffled in amazement. Extremely agile and flickable for a litre class bike, she allowed me to attack even the highly technical corners at Kari with surprising ease. The Blade is an incredibly forgiving bike, but like every other superbike, it demands respect. Choose to abuse her power and patience around corners on street spec tyres and she will spit you out. After testing her extensively at Kari for an entire day, I was convinced that the Blade will continually entice its owner into buying an apartment or at least renting one that is located right next to the track. The 1000RR is an absolute track scorcher and the perfect tool to exploit on the race track. However, this race focused DNA in some ways works against the Blade if you are interested in touring, especially with a pillion rider.
The ‘blade imparts enough confidence for quick knee downs
Sagar bounces back to reality after a lap on the RTR
My 500 kilometre commute from Coimbatore to Chennai made me learn why the pillion
0-100 in less than 4 seconds? Hell yeah!!
A content Sagar Sheldekar poses on his new found love
seat on a bike should always be considered as a nonfunctional showpiece. It was the fatigue or probably the food we ate which led me and Rohit to come up with the “brilliant plan” of riding all the way to Chennai. We had conveniently forgotten to take into account the fact, that between the two of us, we were carrying a month’s worth of luggage which the pillion rider would have to carry. I made the mistake of willingly accepting the challenge and the small 10km ride from our hotel to the petrol pump was enough to slap me out of my misconception. When I got down from the bike, it felt like my tail bone had been dislocated, my shoulders were about fall off and my butt was probably redder than derrière of a buffoon. The rear foot pegs on the Blade are placed really high. This is great to get your thighs and lower back in shape but excruciatingly painful in terms of comfort. All that could have still been bearable were we to ride on a smooth piece of tar. Unfortunately, that was not to be. If I had the slightest idea about the craters we were about to encounter, I would have called it quits right there at the fuel pump and taken the next bus to Chennai. Out of the 500kms, commuting on the first 300 was an absolute nightmare, thanks to the heavy traffic and the sorry state of the two lane highway. It was the most difficult ride of our lives on a bike. Our backs, thighs and feet took a heavy beating because of the stop-go traffic and potholed roads. As riders, our wrists bore the brunt of the assault. Talking about traffic, the Blade dislikes clogged roads-perhaps even more than human beings. Keep her engine running in stationary traffic for a few mins and her temperature shoots up immediately close to the cut-off point. She needs her fill of fresh air continually. By the time we reached Chennai, the hellish temperature had taken its toll on the bike. The gears had become rock hard and the clutch was slipping far too often. But on an open highway and without a pillion, the Blade makes for a reasonably potent tourer. All she needs are some luggage panniers and a decent stretch of tarmac and she’ll munch miles without breaking a sweat. On the whole, the Blade screams Honda in everything she does, whether it is her linear, usable power delivery, top-of-the-line safety technology or mind-numbing handling characteristics. She is the perfect track tool and an impressive tourer as well, provided you are travelling alone. But as all good things in life, the Blade comes at a price and you need Rs. 14 lakhs to own this set of wings. Yet, if you have the dough, let me assure you there’s hardly a better way of spending it.
The Blade is an incrediBly forgiving Bike, BuT like every oTher superBike, iT demands respecT. choose To aBuse her power and paTience around corners on sTreeT spec Tyres and she will spiT you ouT
You, the biker!
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Pedaling to a pedestal
A crazy group of cyclists pedaled their way from Manali Leh. Here's a log of their enduring and courageous journey
Words & Photographs
fleet of 28 cyclists, pedaled for 10 days, to cover over 580kms as they made their way through one of the world’s most treacherous road conditions- from Manali to Leh. They embarked on this epic journey as a group and returned as a family, together sustaining and surviving the harsh conditions and ordeal only to rise above each personal limitation. The expedition which was planned by Mr. Ulhas Joshi and captioned by Mr. Sachin Sharangapani, indulged the participants in practice sessions, prior to the expedition, which was scheduled for every Sunday. We used to cycle to places like Mahabaleshwar, Tamhini Ghat, Sinhgad (two times a day!), Lonavla, etc. to build up stamina and pace. For the rest of the week the members were advised to hit the gym, swimming pool and paddle through the city whenever possible. Countryside, an adventure company in Mumbai provided us with the needed logistic support which included back-up vehicles (3 SUV’s & a truck) support staff, food, tents, sleeping bags, etc.
With months of preparation behind us, we were finally flagged off on the morning of 19th August, from Deccan Gymkhana, by around 150 cycle enthusiasts. In the first leg of our big adventure journey, we reached Mumbai from where we took a train to reach Chandigargh on the 20th. From Chandigargh we traveled by bus to reach a beautiful place, a little further from Manali called Solang where we were first exposed to high altitude. To get acclimatized, we camped here for two days and also hiked to a place called Anjani Mahadev, 6kms away from Solang. We began our expedition the following day, which was 23rd of August. We were greeted with 30kms of relentless climb to the base of Rohtang Pass called Marrhi. Enthusiasm was bubbling up in everyone, but with that anxiety too cropped in, haunting us with questions of self-doubt. A drop in the level of self confidence was vivid in the group. But all that soon changed. After stocking energy bars and water on our backpacks, we started our climb at 6.45am. The first person to reach Marrhi clocked in at 8.25am and the last one reached at 11.15am! This was a real boost as everyone managed to finish the climb in a respectable time period with no issues whatsoever. Having acclaimed a 30kms up hill ride with a jump from 6500ft to 11200ft, was an achievement in itself which made every member believe, that they would be able to complete this expedition. At the end of the day, we camped on a cliff overlooking the valley into Manali. Next Day, everyone woke up raring to climb the next 15 kms to Rohtang Pass which stands at 3500ft. This was first of the six passes which we were going to ascend. We began riding at 7am and before it was 10:30am, the whole group reached the top! That was quite an achievement. Barring two people who used a support vehicle, everybody rode atop Rohtang. Rolling down Rohtang was quite difficult as the roads were still under construction but we managed to reach Sissu by afternoon and camped there. On the morning of the 25th we headed from Sissu to Jispa where we were greeted with rigid roads. The sudden up- hills and down-
hills, made sure we never got into any rhythm. The road conditions only kept worsening further. After pedaling almost 60kms we finally managed to reach Jispa by 2pm. Most of the members experienced sore muscles and fatigue, owing to the treacherous ride, but the morale continued to soar high. That, evening, we celebrated the birthday of one of our members. We had a birthday cake too for the occasion, prepared by our in-house cook staff. The next leg of the expedition was much easier compared to the previous day. We were faced with gradual up-hills and then sudden plain roads and descent. Within two hours from the start time, the fastest member of the group had covered more than 75% of the day’s route and was waiting at our assembling point, Patseo. From Patseo we headed for Zingzingbar and climbed the next 5kms to the base of Baralacha La which stands at 14200ft. This was the first time in our itinerary, where we had to camp at a high altitude. This brought out the AMS (Acute Mountain Sixkness) symptoms like headache, sore muscles, cold, nausea, etc. in most of the
members. But everyone knew the toughest leg was yet to come in the next two days where we had to surpass three passes- Baralacha La, Nakee La and Lachunlang La Next day, we started a little late than usual, at about 7am, because of the extreme cold conditions. We were looking forward to acclaim Baralacha La, at about 16000ft! And so we did! The fastest member
of our group reached the top before 9am! That was quite a feat. From Baralacha La, we cycled for the next 60kms of which 25kms were just descents, and majestic plains of Sarchu. We camped at a place called Brandy Nullah, at about 13500ft, where turquoise blue rapids of the Bhaga river, enchanted us with it’s streaming sound. Soon the stars peeped out and there was still a visible line of day light.
The 28th of August, we had to meet with two more passes and the famous 21 Gata Loops. As we were climbing Gata Loops, we saw a small hut with a lot of flags mounted to it. Generally, this would be the indication, of arriving at the top of a pass, and we gladly thought that we had reached Nakee La. Not much to our delight, a SUV driver enlightened us that is it more 12kms away. So we kept pedaling
further. It was definitely not easy but once we reached at top, our joy was boundless. But all the joy was short lived, when from the top of Nakee La, we saw an imposing mountain with a very steep climb to the top of LachungLa. So, we got back on the descend and pedaled through to acclaim LachungLa. It was a grueling climb of 12kms at the end of which we were so exhausted that we didn’t want to ride down to our camp! After some much needed rest we rode down to about 16200ft and retired for the night accompanied with bad headaches. On the morning of 29th, post breakfast we began at about 7.30am. Today’ ride was less intense as we had 15kms of down hill ride, 7kms up hill until Pang and then the never ending More Plains onto our next camp site near Tso Kar Lake. Everyone was taking it easy so as not to get tired as we had to surpass the world’s 2nd highest motorable road, Tanglang La, at about 17355ft the next day. So we pedaled through 70kms, and reached the salt water lake, only to be greeted with pouring cold rain which showered on us for one whole hour. Soon as the Rain God spared us, the Sun God shined his light upon us. And with that, a beautiful rainbow emerged, of which one end seemed to be very close to our campsite and the other end dived into the blue mystique waters of the lake. It was a sight which still
warms our heart with delight. Next day, we pedaled up to Tangalang La with ease and waited there till all the members arrived. After a round of group snaps, we geared up the 40kms descend to head towards Rumtse. The route was beautiful as ever with picturesque locales, wild horses hopping freely, the lush green fields and the small villages. Our camp was set up besides a small flowing river, in which we bathed in the cold waters. Following warm soup and dinner, we retired for the day. On the 31st, as we pedaled besides the River Indus, we swiftly and finally pedaled into Leh! For the first time in eight days, we got an access to running hot water bath! After resting well for a day, we geared up once again to acclaim the mighty
Khardung La- The world’s highest motorable road at 18380ft. The joy and the feeling of achievement were boundless! The last two days in Leh, we hung out at German cafes, indulged in shopping, went for river rafting and visited the nearby monasteries. On the 4th of August, we headed for the airport in Leh, and boarded a flight back home and while on the flight, as the daunting and majestic Himalayas stood there we could see small lines along the mountains. They were roads. Roads on which we had pedaled for over days. We wondered who built these roads and how? It taught us that even in the toughest of conditions, humans can not only prevail, but excel. We all have that spirit, belief and resilience. This expedition was all about realizing this fact!
Snehal Chavan follows a simple philosophy. He slogs at work six days a week, practices motocross riding on Sundays and ends the year by winning a national championship!
Pradeb Biswas Eshan Shetty
majority of professional racers have a mentor to seek guidance from and learn the finer nuances of the sport. Snehal Chavan didn’t have that privilege from day one. By his own admission, he has achieved motocross success by observing the techniques of other racers and emulating it. Since 2005, he has been practicing religiously every Sunday at an open ground near his house which has a few table-tops that were constructed a decade back. The effort taken by him has been worth it. He has humbled professional motocross racers who comprise the cream at national level. Snehal first expressed his desire to pursue a career in racing to his elder brother Shrikant. His brother had taken part in a few races but had to quit the sport untimely owing to financial issues. Shrikant undertook all possible measures to ensure that Snehal’s motorsport dreams didn’t end on the same note as his. He bought a secondhand Sunny Zip and modified it so that Snehal could start practicing and get familiar with the techniques of motocross racing. Shrikant even approached a professional racer whom he knew with a request to teach his younger brother the basics. The racer declined to guide Snehal in treading the motocross path saying that he rode only in the foreign class on imported motorcycles. The indifferent attitude and ego shown by the racer angered Snehal. He reined his anger constructively by practicing on weekends and learning from every crash. With no one available for guidance he wasn’t aware about riding gear and ended up learning the hard way. His face lights up while recalling that he first bought chest pads after bruising his chest region owing to a fall, gloves after the skin on his knuckles got peeled off and boots after spraining an ankle! Snehal admits he was lucky that his helmet flew off due to the impact after he successfully landed his first jump on the Sunny Zip. It scared him into researching on good helmets and he bought one before the next practice session.
Taking a turn on a dirt spec RX135 at a high velocity is not as easy as this picture suggests.Please no not attempt this without wearing full riding gear
Snehal strikes a one-off pose for the camera
The first motocross race that Snehal took part was in 2005 at Goa. It was a forgettable debut as he didn’t even qualify for the race. He saw that the entire race revolved around five Yamaha and TVS factory riders battling for top honors. He utilized the opportunity of viewing a live race by observing the riding techniques and body positioning adopted by the professional motocross racers. He started practicing hard every Sunday while applying the techniques and analyzing them. In 2006, TVS factory team sent out a word that they were looking for motocross enthusiasts with no previous racing experience to represent them in the Novice class at the National Championship. Snehal approached the team and got selected. Under the guidance of a factory racing team he got to learn and practice everything related to motocross. In short, his career took off with a 2nd place finish in 2stroke Novice class at the 2005/06 Gulf Dirt Track National Championship. In 2006/07 he graduated to the foreign motorcycle class and claimed 3rd position while he ended the 2007/08 season by finishing 3rd in the Indian expert class at the National Dirt Track Championship. In the 2008/09 season he finished 1st in the Indian expert class at the Gulf Autocross National Championship. In his motocross/ autocross racing career till date he has occupied the top spot on the podium 23 times. While he has bagged a second place finish 25 times and managed to round off the podium 22 times. Inspite of having won national championship titles he still has his feet on the ground. At every motocross event, regular followers walk up to Snehal and tell him that he is talented. It does not bloat up his ego for he is generally busy with the thought of how he will meet the monetary requirements for the next race. Since 2008 he has receiving part sponsorship from Pashankar racing and is grateful to them. Snehal frankly admits that the only factor limiting his motocross exploits is the lack of training facilities and riding schools in India. Irrespective of all the hardships, he religiously practices all by himself every Sunday and yearns to claim more motocross victories. It was his dream to become a motocross racer which he has realized with the support of his brother, family and uncle Raju Yende. One does not need to be a genius to understand that Snehal won’t let his dream wither away easily.
This picture should give you an idea about how high Snehal can make his motorcycle jump. Btw, it was clicked moments before his landing on terra firma.
We were unable to accommodate all the trophies he has won till date in a single photograph! There are around 15 trophies which are not a part of this picture.
This month Motoroids caught up with ‘Team 360 Biking’ -based in Navi Mumbai. Here’s all the important information about this club.
1. When and where was the club formed? Team 360 Biking has no definitive date of when it was coined as a team. The team is still in its first year of existence after naming itself officially. 2. How often do members meet up? The members meet up at least twice a week. 3. Which aspect of riding is the group more into? Our approach for the team formation is exactly how the name suggests.We are into all aspects of biking from stunting to photography to doing campaigns for companies to teaching people about stunting to designing and tuning. 4. What distinguishes this biking group from others? We believe in sharing opportunities with others and make sure the clan is closely knit with the other groups as well. 5. How many riders are currently associated with the group? We are 30 odd riders affiliated and associated. We are associated with another stunting clan, and on combining numbers, its 53 riders. 6. Where is one most likely to see the group in action? The team usually practices in and around Khargar at either kharghar Hills or Parshik Hills. Stunting sessions happen anytime between 7 am to 1 pm. The unwinding sessions always happen during late evenings like post 7pm. 7. Is there any biking hierarchy within the group? No. Each member has his own place of importance in the group. 8. Are there any requisites to joining the group? We do have a full screening system, but nothing that will scare a prospective member away. We generally look into qualities like riding skills and road sense. Plus we look out for individuals who are good enough to be included in our family.
If you are interested in joining this group, drop in a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org If you want your biking group to be featured on this page, drop in a mail to email@example.com with your group’s pictures and answers to all the questions above.
2,000 kms old now, the R15 seldom fails to impress me. But the last couple of months have been really disappointing! As I have been mentioning earlier, my yellow baby has been my weekend machine for those sport riding stints at the ghats around Pune. But thanks to the strike at the Madras Rubber Factory, I haven’t been able to find a replacement for my baby’s worn out Zapper. More so, the rim is so thin that none of the other tyres available in the country can fit onto it. How bad can a tyre be at 12,000 kms, you may ask? Well, pictures speak a thousand words, so I have attached a photo of my tyre with this report. It may not look all that bad, but in reality, this breed of the Zapper has a tendency to attract punctures once the centrl grooves wear off. I am not exaggerating, my R15 has lately been catching a puncture every 4-5 kms. So till the new tyre comes in, she has to remain parked – and that’s really a shame considering it’s a premium bike. There is a need of an alternative tyre brand which can replace the MRF Zapper without affecting the dynamics of the bike in any way. If the aftermarket importers are reading this, then believe me guys, there is big money in importing the 100,110 and 120-section Bridgestone Battleaxe range of tyres. If anyone imports these, drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org...
Rohit’s Yamaha YZF R15
Both Rohit, and his machine’s rear tyre are getting bald
y first paid service of the Hunk made me fall in love with my bike all over again. Busy college schedule along with innumerable projects and assignments had almost made me forget how to take the pains to wash and polish my own bike. After the recent service, I am back on the job. I have logged 13400km on the Hunk thus far and the bike has been consistent and reliable throughout. Apart from offering respectable performance, it has also returned a decent fuel efficiency of about 45-50 kmpl (City). Although the performance has deteriorated a wee bit since I bought the bike new, the bike still feels adequately punchy. It has been a perfect all rounder, and has proved its mettle as a comfortable city machine as well as a decent long distance tourer. I’ve tried my hadn at stunting with the tool as well, but I realized it’s not as good as the Pulsar or Apache at the job. The rims are now painted silver, the sprockets and chain replaced by those of Pulsar 200 (rear sprocket and chain) and Karizma (front sprocket), the chain guard has been removed to reveal the thick chain, the front tyre has been replaced by a MRF Zapper FM which has better grooves for more grip and the seat cover has been changed as well. A few stickering jobs have also made their way on my bike. The sprocketing work now helps
Shrey’s Hero Honda Hunk
me achieve a speed of 60 kmph at 4500 rpm which was initially achieved at about 5100 rpm. The top speed has increased and with it has increased the time needed to achieve it. The bike has faced only one major accident where the bike had run over a series of very deep potholes late in the night in bad lighting conditions. But fortunately, a disaster was averted and I did not fall off the bike. The impact was so hard that the front rim cracked and the rear one got bent. The front wheel had to be replaced and the rear one had to be repaired. But it took almost a month for the job to be completed. The engine has been performing rather well thus far. But the availability of spare parts and the quality of service at the Hero Honda service station I go to isn’t up to the mark. I had to replace my rear brake liners twice after using them for not more than 3500 kms each. After replacing them with a set of aftermarket liners, I have clocked about 6000 km and they are still doing the job rather well. I seriously think that the quality of service at the HH service stations can improve drastically. A lot of their customers are turning towards local mechanics to take better care of their machines, which I think isn’t a very good thing, knowing that the company’s products are absolutely fabulous.
* Check out the August issue of Motoroids2 to get introduced to the characters of Clutch Tales and to catch up with the story thus far.
THE ‘CLASSIC’ STORY OF
biking world by surprise by introducing a small 2.25 hp V twin-engined bike at the motorcycle show that year. This was followed by a slightly larger 2.75 hp model in 1911 which continued until 1914. During the First World War, Royal Enfield was called on to supply motorcycles to the British and Russian Governments. Enfield started using its own 225cc two-stroke and 425cc V-twin engines around this time. In 1924 RE launched the first four-stroke 350 cc single using a JAP engine. Royal Enfield adopted saddle tanks and center-sprung girder front forks in 1928, making it one of the first companies to do so. Thanks to their modern appearance and comprehensive range, RE managed to survive the dark days of depression of 1929 with non-stop sales. RE added a host of models to it line-up consisting of a 488cc bike with a 4-speed gearbox in 1927, a new 225cc side-valve bike in 1928, a four-
The sole surviving Englishman is the Indian, they say, we find out if it’s true for motorcycles as well.
The logo is almost as big as the tank!
Interestingly, Royal Enfield didn’t start out as a Motorcycle manufacturer at all. It started out as a firm specializing in sewing needles and machine parts in the mid 19th century in small town near Redditch, England as George Townsend & Co. In search of more profitable avenues, the company started manufacturing bicycles under the ‘Enfield’ marque in 1893. ‘Royal’ tag was added a year later. The company branched out into quadricycles powered by De-Dion engines in 1899. Buoyed by the success of the quadricycles, Royal Enfield started production of motorcars in 1901! Sadly the car-making venture didn’t survive for long. Royal Enfield built their first motorcycle in 1901 with a 239 cc engine which was an experimental heavy bicycle frame fitted with an engine clamped to the front downtube. In 1909, Royal Enfield took the
The spring-seat 500 from 1951
The 1913 425cc v-twin
The Zundapp 175 of the ‘80s, note the disc brake n alloys
The Royal Enfield Constellation
The Electra 5S
stroke single in 1931, a tiny two-stroke 146cc Cycar and an 1140cc V-twin in 1937. By then, Royal Enfield’s range of bikes consisted of 13 models, which is even greater than its current line-up. The 4-valve single cylinder bike was christened as the ‘Bullet’ in 1932. This was the first time that the ‘Bullet’ moniker was used. The 1939 Bullet 350 was introduced with the swinging arm rear suspension system with hydraulic dampers and was the highlight of RE’s post-war line-up. In 1949, the 350cc Bullet was launched in India, when Madras Motors won an order from the Indian Army for “immediate service” on the Pakistani border. This order placed an incredible burden on the factory, but it was met. The Bullet proved very successful in India, and the government placed orders for 1955 and 1956 of a similar magnitude. The Madras Motor Company started off by receiving the Bullet as CKD kits and simply assembling them. Gradually, they began making the frames and eventually manufacturing the engines as well. For the next thirty years, the design of their bike remained largely unchanged! The Enfield India Bullet of the late fifties was quite a different motorcycle from the one we are used to today. The 1955 Bullet underwent many changes in the frame, electricals, chassis and bodywork to evolve into the Bullet as we know it. By 1970, Enfield India was a established company in its own right, and with a production line going full steam, the need for collaboration with Enfield of the UK was no longer necessary. Enfield India attempted to reach out to the young market, providing them wit a 200cc entry-level bike in 1973, the Mini Bullet (based on 173cc Villiers Crusader). The 80s saw introduction of light and handy
Japanese bikes into the market. Enfield tried to check this growth by collaborating with Zundapp. It also tried its hand at a 50cc step-through and a motorcycle. RE also launched the 175 cc two-stroke Zundapp Fury, but to no avail. These attempts by RE gave us the first taste of things like hydraulic disc brakes and alloy wheels on motorcycles. But RE’s lightweight products were no match to the Japanese invader and only the ‘old-hat’ Bullet was able to survive through the ages. Infact Enfield India started exporting the Bullet to the UK and other overseas markets around this time. The 1990s saw some fresh thinking from Enfield when it launched the whimsical Taurus, world’s first production diesel motorcycle. The Taurus didn’t succeed but the second bike definitely did. The Bullet 500 was launched in June 1993 and went on to become the flagship model of the brand. The ailing company got a new lease of life when Eicher group acquired Enfield India Company and changed its name to Royal Enfield Motors Limited. After a decade of lull, the ‘Thuderbird’ cruiser was introduced in 2002, followed by the Machismo the following year. 2004 saw the introduction of the Electra. RE’s model range was growing and improving in terms of reliability giving a major push to its popularity. The Electra was followed by the launch of the LB (LeanBurn) models in the UK and later into India as well. This month RE made big news by finally launching the Bullet Classic 500 and the Classic 350 as a celebrating it’s long and glorious History of over a century. Royal Enfield deserves a lot of credit for being one of the only three British motorcycle manufacturers, apart from Triumph and Norton to have survived the test of time. Hopefully one day RE will rise to challenge their might in the international arena.
The cheapest way to go thumping, Bullet 350, Rs. 80,000/-
Latest rage among the Bulleteers, The ‘Classic’
The ‘Thunderbird’, one that turned RE’s fortunes around
The Bullet fitted with a rustic ‘side-car’ somewhere in Britain.
Just in case you thought we ever work...
A photog ra guy who to pher photographed . In ok this pic ture doing side out! But wha tw down the re?? Yuck! as the
Tell them to po heat! And Am se, and they’ll happily pu to it doesn’t min d even the glo n their jackets even in swel tering ves on!
look otoroids just by inions about M nt form any op Ahem! Please do was deliberate, promise! at that picture. Th
Thats was a la pictured is me attempt, Eshan an doctored. B d etter luck n Pradeb. Everyone kn ext time. ows that th
That’s the sort of face you make when you’re made to ride on humid Mumbai streets in 40 degree celcius temperature
Eshan tries to take a good picture, even as Rash tries to topple the car.
It’s the wedding of Saas’s Bahu. A national event not to be missed. Anyone showing willingness to watch cricket will be driven out like the head of the family in the background
Latest in personal mobility. Runs on fodder, steered by legs, has liberal seating space and works on land as well as in the water. Available only in one colour - Matt Black
Even Newton couldn’t have managed to be so ingenious to have found such a unique use of an umbrella
Wow! How do they manage to afford it?
The problem is, it runs inside. Just make sure it doesn’t and you’re good
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