Vespa VX: First Ride

The just launched Vespa VX gets the Bike India test

The just launched Vespa VX

Piaggio India have launched a premium variant of the iconic Vespa, a scooter that has become hugely popular in the Indian market for its timeless styling and its performance as well. The new Vespa VX has been brought in within a year of the first scooter’s launch, as there were areas which could be improved upon and the company was quick to take action.

So, the new Vespa VX now features a front disc brake, tubeless tyres and revised styling details – a silver-finish speedo cluster, ‘VX’ badging on the left rear panel and a more substantial grab-rail. The company has also added two new colours to the palette: Portovenere Verde (Metallic Green) and Vibrante Rosa (Pearl-effect Pink/Red). These colours replace the earlier black and maroon options for the VX. There’s also a new beige-coloured seat option, which is offered as standard for the red- and dark blue-coloured models.

 

The 200-mm front disc , the most important addition here

The 200-mm front disc , the most important addition here

Take the new Vespa VX for a spin and straight away the elevated levels of handling, braking and grip become evident. The 200-mm front disc is the most important addition, decreasing braking distance and providing a more sure-footed feel. Another big change is the tyres. While the old MRF Nylogrips were in tune with the retro image, their performance was not too confidence-inspiring. The new MRF Zappers are of the tubeless variety and also offer superior grip. In our 60-0 km/h brake test, the new Vespa VX came to a halt in just 2.93 seconds over a distance of 22.46 metres. That’s quite an improvement over the standard Vespa, which, with its drum brakes, took 3.09 seconds and 25.51 metres respectively to do so.

The standard Vespa LX 125 will continue to be sold alongside the Vespa VX. Piaggio India are offering the VX with a premium price tag of Rs 71,700 (ex-showroom, Delhi) keeping to their lifestyle product positioning strategy.

 

A distinct 'VX' badging and a more substantial grab-rail

A distinct ‘VX’ badging and a more substantial grab-rail

 

Vespa VX launched

Vespa VX 1 webWe test rode the new Vespa VX last month and now it’s finally launched in the market. The new premium variant of this retro styled scooter features a front disc brake, tubeless Zapper tyres and revised styling details – a silver-finish speedo cluster, ‘VX’ badging on the left rear panel and a more substantial grab-rail. The company has also added two new colours to the palette: Portovenere Verde (Metallic Green) and Vibrante Rosa (Pearl-effect Pink/Red). These colours replace the earlier black and maroon options for the VX. There’s also a new beige-coloured seat option, which is offered as standard for the red- and dark blue-coloured models.

The addition of the 200mm front disc brake, together with the grippier tyres improves the stopping ability of the scooter considerably, making it more sure-footed and predictable when shedding speed.

The Vespa VX comes with a price tag just a shade over 80 grand (on road, Pune).

Story:Rommel Albuquerque Vespa VX 2 web

Honda Hands: The story of innovation

Honda Hands web1Honda “Hands” celebrates the curiosity of Honda engineers, which has led to some of the most successful Honda innovations over the past 65 years. The short film incorporates the Japanese marque’s philosophy of innovation, right from the very first engine produced by the brand to iconic creations like the Honda Cub. Viewers are catered to by an array of diversified products from the Honda stable, both past masterpieces and future offerings which make the viewer speechless. The simplicity of this short film is quite credible as it takes you through the journey of one of the most successful technological conglomerates in the world today.

Story: Sayem Syed

Click to watch the video.

Honda Hands web2

Honda Hands web3

Spied: Liquid-cooled Ducati Monster 1198?

Ducati Monster 1198 1 web

Ducati could be working on even more exciting machinery, as a recently spied bike indicates. Spotted testing a few days ago, the bike appears to be powered by a 1198cc Testastretta 11° liquid-cooled engine on a body with obvious cues from the Monster line and an exhaust reminiscent of that on the Diavel.

With an engine of this capacity, the bike should be good for over 150 PS. The biggest news of course is the change in cooling technology, as till date the Monster line has used air-cooled powerplants; emission norms though necessitate going beyond air-cooling and Ducati could be taking the bait.

Ducati recently showed a new Testastretta 11° engine for the Hyperstrada and Hypermotard, and that 821cc V-twin is likely to be part of the Monster line, with the two bikes’ predecessors also having shared engines. With the Monster providing an entry point of sorts to the Italian marque’s product range, they could have some exciting plans for 2014.

The new Monster will presumably cater to the needs of Ducati enthusiast looking for high-powered street-oriented bikes. The bike could debut at the 2013 EICMA show in November. Watch this space!

Story: Gaurav Nagpal

Source: Motociclismo.itDucati Monster 1198 3 web Ducati Monster 1198 2 web

 

KTM to unveil new Super Duke R Patriot Edition

KTM SE web5Austrian motorcycle brand KTM are well known for showcasing some of the most eye-catching creations on two wheels. The marque’s next big offering is aimed at the US market in the form of the Super Duke R Patriot Edition. The 1290 Super Duke which will soon see its official debut at forthcoming 2013 EICMA show will also be joined by this Special Edition at its stand. Featuring the Stars and Stripes and that all-American DNA, dealers at KTM USA are betting big on the Patriot Edition.

To further fuel the enthusiasts’ hunger for this new motorcycle, KTM USA have already released a new set of pictures of both the 1290 Super Duke R in factory orange livery and the US-themed Patriot Edition. The new beast might just be the most radical, wild and jaw-dropping KTM ever. For now, we think this sneak peak of the beast is more than sufficient.

Story: Sayem Syed

For more pictures, click here.

Hero MotoCorp buys stake in Erik Buell Racing

Hero EBR web

India’s leading two-wheeler manufacturer, Hero MotoCorp issued a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange stating that the company’s United States arm has agreed to buy a 49.2% stake in performance bike firm and technology partner Erik Buell Racing for a whopping $25 million. The Indian firm has already invested $15 million in Erik Buell, and the remaining $10 million would be cleared within the next nine months. Hero MotoCorp was on the look out for a dependable technology partner for their two-wheeler business, and after their fallout with long time partner Honda Japan, had earlier announced their tie-up with Eric Buell’s racing and performance bike company.

The company had showcased a performance motorcycle in the 250-cc range which we hope reaches production soon. With the added investment, we expect Hero MotoCorp to unveil new, more exciting and technologically advanced products in the near future. The company has also clearly stated their interest in overseas expansion, with their motorcycles going on sale in several Latin American and African countries.

Story: Jim Gorde

Mahi Racing back on top as Sofuoglu wins in Imola

Mahi Racing web

It was a good day in Imola for Mahi Racing Team India with their rider Kenan Sofuoglu finishing on top in the seventh leg of the 2013 World Supersport Championship, pipping leader Sam Lowes from previous race by three seconds.

The 2012 world champion, Sofuoglu began the race in second after the qualifying on Saturday, and overtook Lowes on the very first turn going on to maintain the lead throughout the race, which had its share of drama with an oil spill on the track. Until the oil incident, Sofuoglu had asserted his supremacy on the race, setting the fastest lap of 1’51.960 on the third lap to open up a considerable gap between himself and Lowes.

With 14 laps to go, the race was red flagged when Valentin Debise, the Prorace Honda rider, had an engine blow and spilled oil onto the track. Though not an immediate stop, two more incidents of riders slipping due to the oil spill forced the stewards to bring out the red flags and end the race.

Sofuoglu’s victory also meant the end of a four race winning sequence for Lowes. The team’s second rider, Fabien Foret, finished 12th in the race.

With Mahi Racing Team getting back to a winning spree, Sofuoglu is now second in the overall standings with 106 points, 35 points behind Sam Lowes. His team mate Foret is in third position with 85 points.

Arun Pandey, Chairman of Mahi Racing Team India congratulated Sofuoglu for securing top honours and said the performance on Sunday was proof that they were indeed the strongest contenders in this year’s Championship. He stated, “With half way mark, the performance of the riders are very satisfying right now and we are confident we will be only bettering ourselves hereon”.