Ducati 1199

ducati 1199 spy pic.jpg

Spy picture and all we know about the next generation Duke

Ducati is developing their next generation superbike and it is already rolling on the road! Successor of the 1198, the bike is rumoured to be named ‘1199’, slated for a launch at the EICMA motorshow in Milan at the end of this year.

Ducati has given its traditional trellis frame and under seat exhausts the boot to create the most radically designed motorcycle the Italian firm has ever come up with. At heart the bike will still be a Ducati, with an all new V-twin engine producing a power output of around 200PS! As seen in the pictures, the bike is very small in size but has a reasonably sized fairing. The shark inspired nose has LED strip headlamps while the tail piece follows Japanese idealogy of sleek and short ends. The bike has a horizontally mounted monoshock rear suspension connected at a right angle to the single sided swing-arm while the stubby exhaust sticks out from under the belly. The biggest difference however, is the stressed-airbox monocoque chassis as seen in their MotoGP machine. The Desmocedici has a carbon fibre monocoque where the engine is a stressed member of the chassis, the sub-frame, front fork mount and the swing-arm all bolted on to it. The road bike will most probably have an aluminium alloy semi-monocoque.


The bike is being developed with inputs from Valentino Rossi and his MotoGP race engineer Jeremy Burgess while Ducati’s ex-WSBK rider Troy Baylis recently concluded a three day test of the bike at the Mugello circuit in Italy.

Benelli special editions launched

Benelli TNT 1130 Century Racer blackBenelli, one of the oldest motorcycles in the world, recently turned 100. To celebrate this very special occasion, the Italian manufacturer launched two special edition machines – the TNT 899 Century Racer and TNT 1130 Century Racer – both fitted with Benelli’s trademark three-cylinder engine.

The difference is that while the former churns out 122PS at 9,500 rpm, the latter makes an even more powerful 131PS at 8,500 rpm. Both bikes are equipped with a six-speed gearbox, high-spec suspension components from Marzocchi and Sachs at the front and rear respectively, Brembo brakes with radial-mount callipers and special touches like Alcantara seats and a special paint job inspired by Renzo Pasolini’s Benelli race bikes of the 1970s. In addition to these two anniversary editions, Benelli also released a high-performance version called the TNT 160R.  The 160R churns out a heady 162 PS, making it the most powerful TNT ever. It also gets a dry slipper, in place of the wet clutch in the older models, along with a much higher compression ratio. With these high-performance limited edition machines, the Qianjiang-owned Italian manufacturer hopes for a renewed interest from moneyed fans willing to shell out money for what might truly become a collector’s item in the future.

Yamaha scooters anyone?

They look good. Usually like a small aerodynamic spacecraft on 2 little wheels. But are we going to get them this time?

A few years ago, Yamaha was exploring the possibility of bringing these scooters to India. When the unofficial news spread, smiles lit up on everyone’s face who looked up them up on Yamaha’s international website. We waited …

Since then the tuning fork logo has been seen in India on the FZ series, R-15 and bigger bikes like R1 and V-Max, but there’s no scooter yet.

This time though the Japanese manufacturer is serious and has already put in 10 crores into its Surajpur plant to build the scooters which will take on the challenge presented by its rival Honda’s dominance in the sector.

No details are available yet but the scooters are to be unveiled at the 2012 Auto Expo.

Stay tuned for more updates …

Hero Honda to unveil new identity

Hero Honda logoThe firm will officially announce new brand image details next month in London

This August Hero Honda will not remain India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer… technically speaking. What we mean is that the two-wheeler giant will be changing its brand identity. Like we had disclosed earlier, after confirming to part ways with technology partner, Honda Motors Japan, the Indian company would be renamed as Hero MotoCorp Ltd and has been burning the midnight oil to create a new global brand image.

Bike India has now got details of the official unveiling that the Hero Group is planning next month. The company has chosen August 9, 2011 as the auspicious day for the introduction of the new brand identity. Interestingly, the venue for the event will be London, UK, a clear indication that Hero does not want to limit itself to just the Indian sub-continent, but wants to be recognised as a major global player in the automobile industry. The auto major had expressed its desire to venture into several emerging markets globally. This is the first major step the company will be taking from the time it  announced that it would be going solo. Hero Group and Honda had signed an agreement in March 2011, whereby the Indian firm would pay the Japanese partner around Rs 2,450 crore till 2014.

Earlier this year, the company had hired global brand and innovation specialist Wolff Olins to create its new brand identity, and Law & Kenneth (L&K) as a creative partner to launch and establish the new brand for the company.

It goes without saying that when the unveiling happens in London next month, Bike India will be there to get you the LIVE updates.


New Pulsar coming in September

Bajaj to launch a bigger Boxer next month, followed by the new Pulsar

The Bajaj Pulsar has an enviable position in the history of Indian performance biking. However, over the last few years, its shine and allure has waned considerably thanks to the competition smartening up and launching an ever-improving range of premium bikes that delivered more bang for the buck. Bajaj has also tried to keep the Pulsar fresh with regular nips and tucks, but a full-scale revamp was what was sorely needed. And it’s here finally, thus confirming the report that BIKE India has previously carried. Come September and the completely new face of the Pulsar will be launched, according to Mr. Rajiv Bajaj, MD of Bajaj Auto Limited. While engine and powertrain specifications are still under wraps, it is clear that new model will heavily feature technology and know-how that Bajaj has gained from its association with KTM.

But before the revamped Pulsar hits the streets, Bajaj will be introducing the 150cc version of its hugely popular people carrier, the Boxer, next month. Also referred to as the ‘Bharat bike’, the new Boxer will be powered by a 150cc engine that has been specially tuned for use in rural areas. This includes a highly strengthened chassis and cycle parts that has been reinforced for carrying heavy loads typical of city users. The new bike is expected to be priced around the Rs. 40,000 bracket.

Bajaj Auto is targeting monthly numbers of 4.20 lakh bikes and three-wheelers by October, which translates into approximately five million units annually. At present, the company averages 3.7 lakh units a month, of which, the Discover accounts for 1.35 lakh and the Pulsar around 85,000 units.

Ducati Diavel sold out…

Ducati Daivel red bike…until September

When the Diavel was first unveiled before the world’s press, it created a minor storm amongst the public with its love-it-or-hate-it looks. However, now it seems as if the Ducatisti have taken to the looks of this monstrous power-cruiser with the same passion that they have accorded every other Ducati sportsbike to date. According to an MCN report, almost 5,000 Diavels have been built until now, with the bike sold out in most major markets until September.

This brisk sale has enabled Ducati to rake in approximately £69 million by way of revenue from the Diavel only. Ducati aimed to make 8,000 in the bike’s first year of production but this may have to be increased as 4,700 bikes have been built in four months of full production with 3,200 officially registered around the world. Of the 4,700 Diavels built, just over 2,800 (60 per cent) are the more expensive carbon versions while the rest are standard versions.

Payback time for KTM

Bajaj Pulsar orangeAustrian firm shares marketing mantra with Bajaj in Pulsar 220 promotions

With this international JV, Bajaj might have opened the floodgates of low-cost supply chain for KTM, but the Austrian firm has taught a few tricks of the trade to the India manufacturer too, especially in terms of effective marketing.  KTM have been relying on this tried and tested sales technique for years now. It’s simple, but very effective.

If you’ve spotted the new Pulsar 220 advert, you’ll know what we’re talking about. All you need is a bike, painted in the trademark orange colour, and a model cloaked in all-black leathers riding it on the streets. No over-priced celebrity endorsement, no radical location and no skimpily clad dames. It worked in Europe and, going by Bajaj’s continuous sales jump, the advertising campaign is doing a bit of good to the Pune-based company as well.


Mahindra’s bigger displacement plans

Mahindra 2Wheelers plans to relaunch the Stallio motorcycle; 135cc and 150cc models on the anvil

Mahindra 2Wheelers’ first entry into Indian motorcycling was not a very rosy affair. Minor niggles and teething problems with the company’s very first offering, the 110cc Stallio, led Mahindra to withdraw it after a couple of months.However, the giant is now preparing for a renewed onslaught, and recently revealed that it will relaunch the Stallio later this year. In addition, the company is also planning to introduce higher-displacement motorcycles in the near future, with inputs from their Italian acquisitions.

“We will be relaunching the Stallio during the festive season this year. Earlier, we had made a soft launch of the bike. We have made some modifications and it is ready for launch,” Devendra Shinde, marketing vice president of MTWL, told reporters in Kolkata recently. The Mahindra Group company , which entered the two-wheeler market in 2008, has registered a 53 percent growth in eastern India during April-June this year over the same period last year. The company, which currently deals in 125cc scooters, is working towards expanding its portfolio. “We have a strategic intent to be an end-to-end player in the two-wheeler market. Over a period of time, we will have presence in the motorcycle segment as well,” said Shinde. “Although our major emphasis is on scooter market, with increasing demand in the rural and semi urban markets, we are also committed towards the motorcycle segment. Work is on developing 135cc and 155cc motorcycles.” He added that the company’s participation in this year’s Moto GP would go a long way in creating a brand space for itself in the motorcycle market.


Engine oils from ESCORTS

Escorts Limited, manufacturer of auto suspension products, has launched a range of engine oils for cars as well as motorcycles. Based on German additives, ‘ESCORTS TRU-GUARD’ is said to offer longer engine life, better fuel efficiency and lower emission levels. According to the press release the product resists oil thickening, prevents carbon-build-up in the engine and protects the engine from rust and corrosion thereby ensuring improved engine performance at low maintenance cost. Escorts Limited has also introduced a multi-purpose grease and telescopic front fork oil.

To encourage sales, the company has announced a special value-based introductory incentive scheme under which customers can participate in lucky draws and win fabulous prizes ranging from Honda UNICORN, Yamaha FRAZER, international trips, Sony LCDs, Philips Home Theatres…to even a Tata Nano car.  

The product is available across Escorts’ distribution network of over 700 dealerships and 1200 retail sales & service outlets. Available in one liter packs, ‘ESCORTS TRU-GUARD’ is priced at Rs.240 per litre, Rs.230 per litre and Rs.235 per litre for diesel engine oil, petrol car engine oil and motor cycle engine oil respectively.


Enfield ‘Motorclothes’

Royal Enfield go the lifestyle way with their latest merchandise

The brand which has been personified by a rugged, tough, dust-loving and sweat-smelling Adonis so far is now headed for the manicured way. Wishing to make a niche in premium cruiser segment, Royal Enfield are taking the brand name to a new platform with their latest collection of merchandise. From just helmets, T-shirts and mugs, exhausts and visors, the company has now come up with designer jackets, boots, RE branded AGV helmets, saddle bags, office bags, rain gear and bandanas, etc, to make the brand name more of a style statement. Toeing the Harley line, Royal Enfield have plans to open special counters at all their major dealerships and give Enfield owners an all-new ownership experience. Besides, plans are afoot to introduce customised boots, gloves and other accessories too. Catering to the premium buyers, the prices have been kept likewise. Along with accessories, the company is also working towards introducing custom paint workshops for Royal Enfield bikes, thus making all Indian custom bikers’ dream come true.

Words: Gasha Aeri