Doped R15

Mulund lad, Gaurav custom builds an exhaust system for the YZF-R15.Adhish Alawani finds out if it performs better

Yamaha introduced the YZF-R15 with the intention of acquainting Indian bikers with hardcore performance. No doubt, the Japanese company successfully defined track performance with the R15 in India. However, most costumers in the country are going to use the bike in cities and for sport touring on highways. Like a trademark Yamaha race bike, the R15 has its power band in the higher revs, more precisely over 7500rpm. Riding the bike in such high revs is not practical on a daily basis in town. The R15 definitely feels a lot sluggish from the bottom end to the midrange making it a chore for tackling traffic.

Gaurav, an avid BIKE India reader and a hardcore sports touring fan, decided to modify his R15 so that it would deliver a better midrange performance. To start the project, he made a new exhaust system for his YZF-R15. Obviously, he was not keen on making just a new free flow canister. Gaurav decided to engineer the complete exhaust system which included the pipe as well as the end can.

Getting help from some local mechanics for the labour work, Gaurav managed to make an exhaust system for his bike which he felt was good enough to kill the stock R15 in straight line acceleration as well as top speed. So we decided to hook up our performance testing equipment on his modified bike and gauge its performance against the stock R15.

Looking at the exhaust, you can immediately make out that this one is a bit smaller than the stock exhaust. However, it has the same cap on it that is found on the stock one making it look more familiar to a layman’s eye. Leaving aside the looks, I decided to do a couple of performance runs on the bike. The second run itself gave a 0-60km/h timing of 4.5 seconds. Just a new exhaust system has trimmed off more than over half a second in the 0-60km/h acceleration run. Even the 0-100km/h run showed us that the modified R15 managed the sprint in 12.5 seconds as against 13.2 seconds of the stock bike. As far as top speed is concerned, the bike recorded a top whack of 134km/h on the equipment. A slightly longer straight with lesser traffic to bother about would have raised the top speed further is what we felt looking at the few more revs to go in the top gear.

This rise in performance of the R15 can be experienced from around 5000rpm unlike the stock bike which comes alive just after 7500rpm. The midrange of the bike was much stronger than the stock R15 which I am sure will make a positive difference for city riding. Also, the sound note from the free flow system is louder than the stock one yet much better and quieter than the other locally made exhaust systems.

 

This exhaust system for your R15 can be bought at a humble price of Rs 9000 (includes the pipe and the canister) Contact: +91 9819003637

 

Prudent commutin part ii

This month we continue with some more pointers on how you can be a socially responsible rider

 

Do not park / stop at the exit of a turn / intersection
The exit of a turn or intersection is usually a blind spot for the oncoming traffic. Parking or being stranded at such a spot is extremely hazardous and can lead to an unavoidable accident. In case of a breakdown in such a position on a turn/intersection, it is recommended to have a person stand at the entry of the turn/intersection to warn the traffic until the breakdown scenario is resolved.

Luggage and pillions have their own space
Make sure that you ride with only one pillion and that the pillion is seated on the pillion seat only and not on unconventional areas like the tank or the foot board of a scooter as these can seriously hamper the vehicle dynamics. In some cases, the rider’s vision too is hindered thus proving to be a perfect recipe for an accident. Similarly, luggage too needs to be carried only in the form of a tank bag, back pack or saddle bags not hanging from the handlebars or your shoulders.

Safe braking

Continuing with the basics, this month BIKE India teaches you how to refine your braking skills. Follow our tips on how to brake effectively without losing control over your bike

PRACTICE BRAKING UNDER VARIED CONDITIONS
Braking at curves is more critical than on a straight line. Some experts even suggest to avoid braking in corners. Nonetheless you should be prepared for unexpected circumstances. Losing speed before entering a corner is the safest way. If you ever need to brake midcorner, apply the front brake very smoothly while pushing the inner side of the handlebar. Slowly release the lever again as you reach the desired speed. Throughtout the process, you must keep the level of traction available under check. At curves, speeding vehicles can lose grip far more easily. However, a banked corner allows for safer manoeuvres than the one without it. Take care not to apply and release the brakes instantly as the front end will dip and rebound with a shocking force. Practice effective braking on different surfaces ranging from concrete roads to tarmac to gravel as well as wet surfaces. This will also help you get accustomed to your your bike’s behaviour.
On a downhill section, gravity will not forgive a mistake and you may easily lose control here. It’s better to engage a lower gear and maintain a safe speed. Allow engine braking to do the job. Keep the clutch operation subtle whenever shifting gears.
Practice braking on gravel as well, for you don’t know when you might end up facing such riding scenarios. Many evasive actions lead us to go off the tarmac. Preferably use the rear brake here with a gentle tap on the front one.
Braking becomes easier on uphill roads where gravity works in your favour. Here you can concentrate more on the line you follow and it’s easy to maintain your balance.
Refrain from going hard on the front brake on gravel. A locked front wheel can easily result in loss of traction and your steering ability.
Wet roads mean lesser traction. Don’t go for hard braking unless your bike has a specialised set of tyres. Keep your speed under check and you’ll be safe.
This is one of the worst case scenarios. Oil spill on a road can virtually defy the laws of physics if you ride on it without caution. Simply look ahead to avoid such surfaces. In case you run into this, never ever apply the brakes.

RIDE ON TYRES THAT ARE IN GOOD SHAPE
Tyres and grip play an important role during braking. A good set of tyres will add to your stability. A tyre made of fairly soft rubber compound wears and tears faster but offers very high traction/footing. Similarly, the better the tyre grips, the more effective your stopping competency will be. This is why you need to check your tyres from time to time. In contrast to an easy rider, a harsh or fast rider may have to change tyres more frequently. Note that a groove line running around the middle of a front tyre offers enhanced stopping power without skidding. During the rainys, it is recommended to go for a special set of tyres that have additional anti-skidding grips.

KEEP THE BRAKE SYSTEM UNDER CHECK
While your technique matters a lot, it will go in vain if the brake components of your bike are not in a healthy condition. Remember to check the disc brake oil level from time to time. If it falls below the indicated minimum level, get the fluid changed and refilled with the manufacturer recommended grade. Caution should be taken so that no air bubbles get trapped in the pipe which could dampen braking effect. Check if your rear brake setting feels adequate to your ankle movement. If not, adjust it accordingly. In case you experience a lack of feel from your brakes despite all requisite settings, check the brake shoes and the disc pads. Get them replaced, if required.

SIT TIGHT TO DEAL WITH RETARDING FORCE
Your sitting position largely determines if you can safely reduce speed without losing control. If you need to brake while riding in a straight line, shift back a little and sit securely with a firm grip on the handlebar. In addition, grip the fuel tank with your knees. This way you can tackle the retardation force even under a hard braking screnario. While the rear brake is quite effective at slow speeds, it’s the front brake that works better at higher speeds. Squeeze the front brake lever progressively in conjunction with the rear brake which should be pressed gently to avoid the rear wheel from locking up. Remember to keep the handlebar straight during hard braking.

DON’T GO HARD ON THE REAR BRAKE
Emergencies are followed by panic braking which locks the wheels thus setting you off balance. Remember not to go hard on the rear brake. Practice to gently release and apply brakes successively if the wheels get locked

SYNCHRONISED BRAKING
Progressively applying the front brake with your index and middle fingers will result in effective braking while also allowing a good grip on the handlebar. Follow it by applying the rear brake in sync for added stopping force. Keep your fingers on the clutch lever but don’t apply them while braking and losing speed. As soon as you reach your desired speed, shift gears accordingly so that the engine doesn’t stall.

AVOID ANY MANOEUVRE CALLING FOR A STOPPIE
Without a firm sitting position, emergency braking with the front brake could result in a stoppie. Refrain from shifting too much weight to the front so that the rear wheel remains grounded to aid braking.

Fast not furious

Saeed Akhtar is in a stupor as he goes one up on Vin Diesel with a steroid injected Karizma
Photography by Sanjay Raikar

 

A few decades back, performance enhancement was a term very few bikers in India were familiar with. The racing community was in its nascent stage and most bikers were satisfied with whatever miniscule performance was on offer. But as time progressed, bikers – like all humans – began demanding more from their steeds and started getting familiar with acronyms like NFS, TFATF and thus NOS.

Nitrous oxide systems are still regarded as an arcane art even in most tuning circles. Movies like the Fast and the Furious series, Dhoom and the Need for Speed games franchise have elevated the NOS acronym to something of a cult yet they are also notorious for wrecked powertrains and giant fireballs. First used during World War II in Luftwaffe aircrafts to boost the power output, Nitrous Oxide or N20 is a colourless non-flammable gas with a pleasant, slightly sweet odour and taste. It is popularly known as laughing gas because of the euphoria it induces in humans. Amongst petrolheads too, it induces euphoria but of a slightly different sort. Although it is not flammable in itself, its ability to deliver more oxygen by breaking down at elevated temperatures makes it an excellent catalyst for burning Saudi Arabia’s finest in the fastest possible time. The gas is stored in liquid form and injected either into the intake manifold or right before the cylinder (direct port injection) whereupon its expansion causes more air/fuel mixture to enter the cylinder. By this simple expedient of burning more fuel, very large power gains are possible provided you know how much stress your machine can handle. The increased cylinder pressures caused by nitrous induction have to be harnessed very carefully otherwise you risk blowing off your valves or melting the piston to a molten lump in your enthusiasm. No kidding.

BIKE India has tested NOS kits fitted on the Yamaha Enticer pseudo-cruiser as well as on the screaming Pulsar 180 third gen in the past. This misty morning we ushered in Diwali with the best firecracker we could lay our hands on – a modified Hero Honda Karizma with NOS and a reworked, longer gearing. The blue Karizma featured here is fitted with a 300ml nitrous oxide can that is sufficient to propel the 223cc bike forward for 15 short bursts. Harish Chellani, the owner, importer and installer of the NOS kit, will happily supply you bigger containers for more bursts if you don’t fancy visiting the refill shop too often. Speaking of refills, a 300ml refill will cost you only 150 bucks – a fair bargain considering the power that’s on offer. Harish has found a convenient location for the cylinder in the sari guard, from where a silver coated pipe carries the gas to the inlet manifold. Call it direct injection if you will. A toggle switch, resembling the ones used in old spy movies, that controls the NOX induction is mounted inside the fairing. With it, in the on position, the horn switch ditches its usual duty as a traffic shredder and assumes the role of a catapult. Harish hasn’t fiddled with the carb yet but he has two jets of different sizes for varying amounts of nitrous boost, depending on your craving. The smaller one was on the bike and the bigger one was, well, in his friend’s pocket. Bugger!

The rules are clear and simple, you can employ nitrous boost in every gear provided the rpm is above 4000 and the throttle is fully wrung to the stop. On my first run on the expressway, I gingerly pressed the horn button while in the second gear and braced myself for the kick in the back. Although it didn’t quite qualify as a kick, the tacho needle went berserk and raced up the limiter very fast – too fast for a 223cc bike! Approaching the limiter, the engine roared like it was going to blast its innards out if I persisted anymore. Hmmm. . . . must be time to wind up another gear. A momentary slowing down of pace and it was mayhem again as I pressed the horn button hard enough to snap it off its mounting. No time for glancing down at the speedo or tacho, my eyes were too busy watching out for innocent and beautiful belles with pitchers straying on the tarmac as well as four-legged creatures answering nature’s call right in the middle of NHAI’s crowning glory. If you have not ridden anything on the far side of a Ninja 250 or a RD350, the acceleration even with the smaller jet and longer gearing (14 teeth front/38 teeth rear sprocket a opposed to 13/40 stock sprockets) is astounding. The noise too! Even in higher gears, the bike pulls with such alacrity, that it is very easy to cross sane speeds unless you are also keeping an eye on the speedo. Which frankly, we won’t recommend. Whereas this Karizma (with a reworked gearing) does the 0-60km/h run in 4.77sec sans the laughing gas, it does the same run in 3.87sec flat with it. The 100km/h mark was done and dusted in 10.06sec with NOS. Without it, the bike touches the ton at a relatively slow 13.10sec. Lack of saddle time and horrendous traffic prevented us from taking the top speed estimate, although it must be fairly high up on the stock bike. Sorry.

The downsides of this manic exercise are that it becomes very difficult to resist a dab on the horn button every time you see an open stretch of tarmac. If you are ready to compromise a fair bit on the longevity front for some adrenalin, go right ahead and install it – it’s worth every precious penny. Whether it should be used on public roads is an issue only your heart can decide. However, continuous high revving will eventually take its toll on the bike. A small price to pay, we reckon, considering the excitement that’s on offer.

The NOS cylinder finds a convenient home in the saree guard

The sprocketing has been revised for a higher top speed

Faster acceleration and higher top speed hand in hand, gimme more.

Group riding

Monsoon clouds are giving way to clear skies but leaving behind lush green landscapes with seasonal waterfalls here and there. It’s the right time to appreciate Mother Nature before the scene changes. Just the perfect time we reckon to get together with friends and ride by those beautiful mountains, spectacular riversides and breathtakingly picturesque views. Sawan S Hembram gives you some tips on how to ride in and as a group
photography: sanjay raikar

When a few people come forward for a group ride, the motive must be clear – whether it is a leisure ride or the emphasis is on reaching a particular destination. This plays a major role for all other issues associated with group riding. Accordingly, planning the ride becomes easier.

Group riding may involve individuals with different levels of riding skills, experiences as well as mentalities. It’s quite possible that only a few are familiar with the route to be followed. In such case, routes should be discussed beforehand. All riders need to know about checkpoints such as refuelling stops or food joints, etc. If the group is fairly large, it is recommended to split in smaller groups, each with at least one experienced rider and with a sense of responsibility. Sub-grouping may be done according to riding skills so that slower bikers remain in each others’ company. Exchanging cell phone numbers with fellow riders is a good idea to deal with any eventuality. It is also important to discuss beforehand how to deal with any possible crisis.

Once a biker group takes to the road, the state of affairs could become quite complex and chaotic. However, sticking to a previously discussed formation is the best idea. It is always recommended to maintain safe distance from fellow riders. If a rider in front finds a challenging situation and slams the brakes, others behind him should have enough room to react safely. Similarly, formation must be such that all riders get the maximum view of the road ahead. This is easier said than done. Remember, a rider on a bike would cover much less view (due to the helmet) in comparison to a four wheeler and further more, a bunch of riders in front of you could block the entire view of road ahead. A diagonal formation with sufficient gaps in between solves this problem to a large extent.

Another usual occurrence during group riding is that skilled riders with powerful bikes zip ahead fast. Invariably other followers push themselves hard just to keep up. Many a times this results in accidents. Less skilled riders in order to keep up enter corners at high speeds, fail to exit properly and end up biting dust, literally! You can avoid this by looking at the road ahead instead of the taillight of the bike in front of you. If there are sub-groups of faster and slower riders, such occurrences can be completely evaded.

Overtaking becomes another major issue while riding in a group. Adrenaline seekers love to overtake each other often forgetting the whole idea of a joyride. This could translate into a crisis if it involves a large group. It is better to lay out rules regarding overtaking (whether it is allowed or not) for all the riders within a group. Similarly, overtaking other bigger vehicles in a row must be avoided. While the bike in front may instantly react to any critical situation, those closely following it have little chance to do that. Also refrain from showing off while in a group.

Remember to slowdown while passing through populated areas such as towns and villages especially when there is a road sign implicating a school ahead. Even at a reasonable speed, a large group of bikers can be seen as rowdy fellows by others. If passing through populated areas at night, you must use the low beam in order to not blind other oncoming vehicles and locals on the road.

A proper interaction among all the riders results in riding as a group rather than just riding with a group. This will further increase team spirit and the joy of riding. Remember to care for yourself as well as your fellow riders. If have a pillion rider, be considerate to him/her and be extra careful. Don’t forget to wear adequate riding gear and carry a first aid kit. Enjoy your ride.

 

Free flow performance

The leading performance parts maker from U.S.A, Two Brothers Racing introduce a special exhaust system designed specifically for the Yamaha R15. Adhish Alawani finds out just how good it is

The YZF-R15 was launched in the Indian market more than a year ago and it raised the standard of sport biking in the country to a new level. The country’s performance motorcycle scene has been scaling new heights ever since. An appreciable change that is currently being witnessed in the Indian biker is that he has started preferring performance upgrades to the cosmetic ones these days. As a result, various options along these lines are being explored today.

After testing the performance kit from Daytona and a locally made exhaust system for the R15 in our previous issues, what we have here is the latest offering from Two Brothers Racing (TBR), USA. Specially designed for the YZF-R15, this exhaust system comes from the US manufacturer who has been making high performance racing canisters and full exhaust systems across the global range of street motorcycles, motocrossers and ATVs.

The end can of the exhaust system offered by TBR features their patented lightweight, thin wall die-cast aluminum inlets and outlets. The vertical oval canister from the M-2 series comes with the V.A.L.E. (Variable Axis Locking Exhaust) system – a method in which the muffler canister is attached to the exhaust tube without the use of welding. With the V.A.L.E. systems, the muffler assembly – the exhaust tube and canister – can be positioned perfectly on the bike before all the mounting hardware is fully tightened. Once the canister and exhaust tubes are properly aligned, the V.A.L.E. assembly locks the muffler canister to the exhaust tube assuring a perfect, leak free fit. A lot of technical science, is it? Okay, let’s talk the language a biker understands. Performance. With the data logging equipment mounted on the R15, we decided to do 0-100km/h runs on the stock bike as well as the one with the TBR system. Very frankly, we didn’t need the data logger to tell us that there was a noticeable rise in the performance of the Yammie. The R15 started pulling pretty strongly right from 5000rpm unlike the stock model which does the job from around 7000rpm. The midrange of the bike feels much stronger than the stock one making it a more tractable machine for city use. If one has to speak in terms of accurate timings then with the TBR exhaust system, the R15 managed 0-60km/h in 4.15 seconds as against 4.9 seconds of the stock bike. The R15 crossed the three digit mark in a mere 11.76 seconds with TBR which is much quicker as compared to 13.04 seconds with the stock exhaust. With an improvement of 1.28 seconds in the 0-100km/h run, the TBR system definitely does the job it is intended to do. The weight of the new exhaust system is just 2.09 kg, almost a whopping 3.5 kg lesser than the stock one, which helps in boosting performance to a considerable extent.

Apart from the fantastic performance offered by the exhaust system, there is no doubt about the cosmetics of the canister. The brilliant finishing and the upmarket styling of the muffler, like the ones on Fireblades and R1s, will definitely add glamour to your bike. However, being a pure racing product, the TBR system is loud and can technically be used only on the racetrack. Riding the R15 with this system on a daily basis in the city is not really going to be comfortable for anyone’s ears. The company claims that they will soon be coming out with the Power Tip accessory for the exhaust that will help in suppressing the sound emission to a great extent with a negligible reduction in the performance. Apart from the loud nature of the exhaust, the price is going to be another negative aspect. At Rs 19,990, the exhaust is quite expensive but then, it’s the racing performance that we are talking about and every bit of it comes at a price – especially when it is from the masters who have been delivering amazing products for quite some time in the international market. The TBR exhaust for the R15 will also be available with csarbon or titanium canisters (Rs 27,500).

Full System
The kit will include the pipe as well as the canister along with all the nuts and bolts and accessories for fitment

Muffler Cap
The canister comes with a neatly crafted magnesium cap

Winter riding

This is the best touring season when a rider may not be able to resist the temptation of going on a long ride. BIKE India tells you how to brace yourself against the chill while riding in cold weather

 

LAYERED CLOTHING
If you are going on a long ride, arm yourself with multiple layers of warm clothes. This way you can deal well with varied temperatures across various places and at different times of the day. Most textile riding jackets come with a detachable inner layer. Use it during winters for added warmth. Inner thermals are a cheaper option to keep you warm inside the jacket.

PAPER IS A GOOD INSULATOR
In case you fall short of warm clothing, grab some sheets of a newspaper and tuck it into your jacket. It acts as an excellent heat insulator and keeps the cold away. Similarly, if you are carrying a back sack along, you may carry it in front of you as a shield. Do make sure the sack doesn’t hinder your control on the bike.

NECK INSULATION
Most riders leave their neck portion uncovered and exposed to the elements hoping that the jacket collar and helmet will provide sufficient protection from the wind. Only after riding in cold weather do they realize that they were wrong. Remember that the main arteries supplying blood to the brain pass through your neck. With constant exposure to cold wind, you might start feeling dizzy pretty soon. Besides, it might stiffen your neck. It’s best to invest in a good quality balaclava. Top end products like the featured Alpinestars balaclava come with a waterproofing layer as well. You can also wrap a muffler to protect your neck.

 


 

GO FOR LONG WRIST GLOVES
The main idea is not to have any parts of your skin exposed. If you have a pair of long wrist gloves, you can tuck your jacket sleeves into it. On the other hand if you wear gloves with short wrist, cold air will enter right into your arms while riding. If the weather is extremely cold, it is also advisable to wear a pair of surgical gloves under the riding gloves.

DRINK HOT BEVERAGES
A cup of hot tea or coffee can certainly help you warm up. They can be a good source of heat for your palms as well. However, they are not the best liquids to rehydrate your body as the diuretrics actually make you urinate more frequently and you end up losing water fast. On the other hand, you can count on hot soups as excellent energy sources as well as rehydration agents. Stay away from drinking any amount of alcohol.

MAINTAIN CLEAR VISION
Besides atmospheric fog, cold weather also results in fogging inside your helmet. This could be disastrous at night and equally disturbing during day rides. Usually you are left with no choice but to open up the visor a bit and let the chilly wind hit your face. An anti-fogging visor is the best solution here. If you cannot lay your hands on such a product, clean both the inside and outside of your existing visor with a mild soap solution such as Colin. Then spray some more of it on the inside of the visor and let it dry without wiping it off. The dried layer will help prevent fogging to an extent.

DEALING WITH FOG
Fog is the worst nightmare of a rider in the winter. If you encounter mild fog, switch on your headlight with low beam. Use high beam and turn on the left indicator if the fog is thick. However, never use high beam during foggy nights as it will further reduce your visibility. Use low beam along with the indicator. Whether day or night, if the visibility level falls significantly, slow down to a speed that is comfortable for you to react in case of an eventuality. If you need to park your bike by the roadside, leave the indicator on so that other approaching vehicles can notice you.

TRACTION ON MOIST ROAD
Mist and fog can often moisten roads and consequently tyres.The probability of loss of traction increases during the wee hours of the morning. This becomes even more dangerous in snowy areas where skidding is common. Preferably go for a set of specialized tyres. Reduce your speed and avoid leaning at extreme angles. For riding on snow covered roads, find sections such as tracks of bigger vehicles on the road that offer better traction and go gentle on the throttle and brakes.

 

OTHER PRECAUTIONS
If the weather is really extreme, take frequent breaks to regain body heat. Temperatures slightly below normal can play havoc if you ride fast. A very important factor called the wind chill factor should never be ignored. As speeds ride, the apparent temperature or the wind chill factor felt on exposed skin due to the wind can surprisingly be very low. Even when the outside air temperatue is around 15 degrees, at 50km/h, the wind hitting your body feels very chilly. Learn to recognize symptoms of hypothermia. Feeling dizzy, seemingly funny mistakes in vehicle manoeuvre, etc. are primitive symptoms. If your shivering stops even when it’s cold outside you must take immediate action to warm yourself up. If you can find a warm place, take off your jacket so that your body can soak in some heat. If riding through a snowy area, make sure that your external clothing is waterproof. You must get rid of any wet cloth inside while riding in cold weather. While we suggest you wear enough warm clothes, you must enusure that the clothing doesn’t hinder your vehicle manoeuvring ability. Don’t forget to carry along high energy snacks including chocolates and rehydrating liquids such as Gatorade.

Vulcan God of Fire

A cool, custom built cruiser based on the RD350
Story Mihir Gadre

Shirish Kakatikar, a young lad from Belgaum and a jeweler by profession, has a passion for big cruiser bikes. He has always dreamt of owning a big cruising machine. His dream seemed to be materializing when he approached AMC (Amit Moto Co) run by Amit Sawant, a mechanic who specializes in modifying bikes. At AMC, Amit and his team started working on a Yamaha RD350.

Selecting the RD as the donor bike was definitely the right choice as the 32bhp, two-stroke engine had more than enough power to propel a heavy cruiser. Moreover, the sonorous exhaust note of the twin cylinders would make sure that the finished product would grab attention on the road with ease. The Vulcan, as Shirish calls his customized bike, is full of exquisitely detailed, eye catching features. It features a custom made tank with twin lids like the Indian Chief, a chrome plated instrument panel and a flame paint job, which is a common sight on most custom bikes.

A lot of modifications had to be made in order to fit a wide Bridgestone 190/17R tyre at the rear. A rim that could house this wide tyre was sourced from the Tata Sumo and was altered by taking off the center portion and making a provision for the hub and spokes. A special swingarm that was wide enough to house the wheel along with a custom made wide fender had to be fabricated. Even the chassis had to be widened at the rear to house the huge rear fender. The paint job on both the fenders and the tank is another center of attraction. The flame job on the bike is the reason it is named after the Roman God of Fire, Vulcan. The chrome plated engine, the rims, the forks, the footrest assembly, the rear shocks and the wide handlebar make the bike more attractive.

The Vulcan features a host of other modifications as well. The clutch operation system is changed from a normal cable system to a hydraulic one, using the hydraulic pump of a Honda bought from a junkyard, which was found to be working fine on the RD. The same bike’s front disc’s hydraulic pump was picked up to do duty here. The ignition system has been changed from the normal point setting type to an electronic ignition using separate coils for each cylinder. The front and rear discs are taken from the Honda Unicorn, the front caliper is of a Pulsar and the rear caliper is of some sports bike, bought from a junkyard.

The twin exhaust pipes are merged into a single pipe, firing out sound notes somewhat similar to a Harley. But using the exhaust of a four-stroke motorcycle on a two-stroke engine doesn’t make it a technically sound proposition. The front footrests, the brakes and the gearshift paddle have been sourced from the Yamaha Enticer. The stock front forks have been raised by two inches. The rear suspension is taken from the Bajaj Eliminator. The front tyre is a Dunlop with a 120mm wide section. The head lamp and the speedometer are taken from the Bajaj Eliminator. The Vulcan, like all custom motorcycles, offers the ultimate poser value and guarantees exclusivity that can’t be had with any mass produced bike.

RD350 engine with electronic ignition

Rear disc from the Unicorn

RD350 engine with electronic ignition

Prudent Commuting

This month we bring you guidelines on how to be responsible in city environs

You may be the type of rider who would want to keep the speed and lean angles for the racetrack or a weekend ride and would rather be slow while on city streets. Or you could simply be the kind who is not attracted to speed and looks at a motorcycle as a convenient way to travel from point A to point B. Either way, you prefer maintaining slow speeds in city environs. But going slow is not the only way to being safe or responsible. In fact, going slow can be hazardous if not implemented in a proper manner. So this time around we are compiling a few tips on how to be a socially responsible commuter.

Do not use your mobile phones while riding
Use of mobile phones while riding is dangerous as it leads to a lack of concentration on the road and traffic. Some people who do away with the use of a hands free device tend to adopt different techniques of placing the mobile in the helmet or hold it between the ear and shoulder further increasing the chances of an accident. Hence it is recommended that you pull over to the side of the road while not disturbing the traffic flow and completing your conversation.

Restrict use of high beam
In most cities, street lighting is enough for clear visibility at night. Where it isn’t adequate, the headlights of your vehicle as well as the ones around you make up for it. There are very rare situations when you really need to have the bike’s high beam activated in city environs for visibility. These beams can blind the oncoming traffic and can make the oncoming vehicles steer straight towards you, resulting in a fatal accident.

Carry necessary documents
As per the RTO rules, it is mandatory to carry valid documents like your driving license, bike registration and tax papers/smartcard, insurance and P.U.C certificate at all times. In most cities, photocopies are allowed too, however, failure to carry any of these necessary documents may lead to monetary fines.

Be patient in traffic jams
Traffic jams usually happen due to an accident, broken down vehicle or the lack of proper traffic signals at an intersection. It gets worse when vehicles try to slot themselves into each and every inch of space available, thus making the jam even more difficult to declog. The easiest solution is to stick to your lane and maintain enough distance for the vehicles in front to move around and negotiate the jam easily.

Do not ride with objects hanging from the bike
As mentioned earlier, it is not recommended to hang bags or other luggage from the handlebar or your shoulder when riding. Such hanging objects can swing around while riding, can unsettle your balance and can obstruct the view for the riders or drivers following your vehicle. Such objects can even get entangled with the handlebars or rear view mirrors of bikes around you, thus causing an accident. Other such examples are helmets hung around the elbow, open zippers of riding jackets, holy cloth/threads on the handlebars, etc.

 

Give proper indications
While it is one of the most basic rules, most people tend to ignore it in day-to-day traffic. Showing hand signals and indicators while turning is not mandatory only at the license test but also while commuting on the street. Make sure you give proper signals to the traffic with regard to turning, overtaking and any other riding maneuver you are about to attempt. This will not only help the traffic behind you to understand your manoeuvre, but will also avoid chances of an accident.

Stop that noise
Do not unnecessarily honk. Be it a signal turning green or a traffic jam, continuous honking won’t do any good. The traffic will still move at its own pace and hence it’s better to move along than cause nuisance and sound pollution.

Bullet Veed!

No, that’s not a new Royal Enfield model for the overseas market but the result of a passionate biker’s dream of making a V-twin

 

For Aniket Vardhan, it was his love and passion for Harley-Davidsons (and their awesome V sound) together with a dream to visit the legendary bike maker’s homeland that lured this Delhi-born bike nut to the States. But before he left India, he had enough time to toy around with his own bike, a Bullet and try to gather whatever information he could on V-twins. In 2002, he went to the States finally to pursue a Masters in Industrial Design. The idea of picking up an old Bullet engine, while on a trip back home in 2003 helped him kick off the whole V-twin dream project – the final result of which you see on these pages. Yes, that an actual working V-twin motor made by using, well, two 350cc Royal Enfield engines!

After months of patience, hard work as well as a few minor setbacks, Aniket was about to give up when he thought of getting back to the basics. For instance, he kept the engine stock – same old tappets, stock piston, oil pump, etc. Tweaking the oil filter slightly, having external copper oil pipes and keeping the same single downtube frame were some of the things that were essential for Aniket. He also had to learn machining and thus sought the help of Mr. Boggs who was kind enough to let him use his workshop. After a year of machining, one fine day, unbelievably, the lump of metal, err, the V-twin fired up on the very first try! Mild Bullet cams have been retained and the compression ratio is a low 7:1. Power modifications are in the pipeline but even without them, the bike pulls cleanly from as low as 30km/h with the stock four-speed gearbox which Aniket intends to replace with a new five-speed one. The second piston also helps cut the vibes to an extent which means that this bike makes fewer vibs than Aniket’s Triumph Bonny!

On the mechanical front, the two cylinders share the same crank and transmission. The oil pumps are stock but the flow rate has gone up by four times. Aniket is looking at raising the compression ratio, fitting lumpier cams, some porting job and of course bigger carburetors. All these changes should make the new engine churn out around 50 horses!

The Musket, as he lovingly calls his bike, is a rare outcome of a biker’s dream and passion of doing something. Words can’t describe what this bike sounds like. So log onto www.bikeindia.in and listen to the lovely beat of the two cylinders on the move.