October 2015

bike_oct2015THE RIGHT LINE

The motorcycle industry is abuzz with activity what with new motorcycles being launched every month. Last month Yamaha launched the all-new R3 and now Honda have launched the CBR 650F this month. We have the first-ride impressions for you in this issue.

On the 23rd of August Indian motorcycle racing suffered a big loss with the sad demise of M R Raj Kumar (Raju). For me Raju was not only one of the best riders India has produced but also one of the best tuners. I had the highest regard for his riding capability and also for him as a human being. He was a thorough gentleman to the core. On the racetrack we used to fight tooth and nail but off the track we were good friends with mutual respect for each other. With the passing away of Raju the motorcycle fraternity has lost a true supporter of the sport. May his soul rest in peace. I offer my sincere condolences to the bereaved family.

Every time the government wants to introduce safety norms such as the anti-lock braking system (ABS), the manufacturers start complaining, saying that the cost of motorcycles will escalate and that there will be a drop in demand. Over the years, however, the cost of motorcycles has gone up by more than five times and yet we witness all-time high sales figures month after month. If the buyers don’t have a choice, they have to pay since a twowheeler is a necessity for most Indians.

Aspi Bhathena


September 2015


Most of us were worried that Yamaha were going to go back to making fuel-efficient commuter motorcycles and scooters just like what they did when the emission norms killed the two-stroke motorcycles, RD 350 and RX 100. It has taken Yamaha seven years to launch a performance motorcycle after the R15. Their DNA and strength lie in performance motorcycles and not commuters. This month we have featured the first ride of the all new Yamaha R3.

The Union Transport Ministry is keen to enact a law making anti-lock braking systems (ABS) mandatory for motorcycles above 125 cc. At the same time manufacturers are against it, saying that such a move will make bikes very expensive. We in India are ready to compromise on safety to save money. This is one of the reasons why ABS should be made mandatory so that people do not have the option of buying a bike without ABS. Indeed, sometimes you have to protect people from themselves.

Today people put their life on the line by going down the wrong way to avoid travelling that little extra distance before making a U-turn. It is up to us to avoid an accident or hurt other road-users who tend to come down the wrong way. If you try to correct them, they become belligerent and ask you to mind your own business. In such a grim scenario it is up to all of us to set an example by obeying traffic rules. Even if the traffic happens to be sparse, please do not go through a red light — wait till the signal turns green. Do not ride on the wrong side of a road even if it means travelling that extra kilometre or two.
Aspi Bhathena


August 2015

BikeAug2015This month we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Bike India with an action packed issue that sees us circumnavigating the Golden Quadrilateral – an epic 6,000 km ride on the Triumph Speed Triple and Street Triple motorcycles. We also conquer 10 Himalayan high altitude passes that we believe should feature on every die-hard motorcycle tourer’s bucket list with the Suzuki Gixxer SF. But capping them all off is our never-before-attempted (or accomplished) feat of covering 10,000 km on Indian highways in just 10 days with the Benelli TnT 600GT.
Pick up your copy of the latest 10th anniversary issue of Bike India from a news stand near you to enjoy an action packed month of reading, or subscribe to Bike India magazine for your monthly dose of two-wheeled motoring mantra.TO SUBSCRIBE

July 2015


THE MOTORCYCLE MARKET WITNESSED A DE-GROWTH of three per cent in May 2015, and, to make matters worse, the meteorological department has forecast a below-normal monsoon; in fact, a drought-like situation. This will not augur well for the sales of new motorcycles since most manufacturers are looking towards the rural areas for growth rather than the urban market.

The traffic situation has become a serious problem in India — it is worse than the Wild West. No one gives a damn about traffic rules and if someone tries to correct them, they become aggressive and belligerent. It is high time the police took decisive action against such offenders. Some manufacturers like HMSI are making an effort to educate people about traffic rules by setting up traffic safety parks where everyone from children to adults are taught traffic rules.

The Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship has got under way with record entries in the new group ‘C’ class, and this year there will be a Gixxer Cup one-make series along with the Honda, TVS and Yamaha one-make series.

There are a couple of issues in the Indian motorcycle racing championships, the first of which is the lack of cross-manufacturer racing in the national championship. Manufacturers do not want to lose, so they stick to one-make series. The second issue is that the organisers are reluctant to introduce championship for 12- and 14-year-olds, for that is where the young talent lies, not among the 18-year-old and above since their ‘sell by’ date is over.

It’s a shame that we do not have a single rider representing India in the Dorna Honda Asia Talent Series. Countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia have three to four riders taking part in it. It is high time the FMSCI, manufacturers and the organisers of these championships rectified this lacuna. Having raced myself, it is very sad to see the standard of racing in the country even with so many manufacturers involved in racing today.