The new king

BMW S1000RR bags IMOTY

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the new king of sport biking. BMW’s groundbreaking S1000RR sportsbike recently trounced the competition to emerge the International Motorcycle of the Year in a judgement comprising an eminent international jury of motoring journalists from various motorcycling publications from around the globe. Regarding their decision to anoint the S1000RR as the winner of IBOY 2011, the jury stated, “The BMW S1000RR combines wounding edge technology, presentation and ease of use. At the same time it is a bike that works specially well on both road and track. Furthermore the BMW S1000RR represents a breakthrough for the combination of electronics to create a safer and more engaging ride.” BMW last won the IBOTY in 2004, with its grand-tourer R1200GS.

Words: Saeed Akhtar

Dream team unleashed

Rossi goes red at Wroom



Its out! Ducati Corse has released the first pictures of Valentino Rossi in their colours, posing with his Desmosedici GP11 bike at their annual pre-season ‘Wroom’ event. Rossi has retained the flouroscent green colour on his leathers but its a fashion disaster combined with Ducati’s red. And his Bike has it too! The number ’46’ on the nose is of course flouro-green along with the seat border, tank and the tail piece.

Nicky Hayden meanwhile has paired the red with black this year. The AMG logo is also present on both Rossi and Nicky hayden’s bike and leathers. The bright livery of Rossi’s bike is a reminisce of his wild paintjobs during the 125cc and 250cc days with Aprilia. Hope he rides so too.


Words: Piyush Sonsale

Dream team unleashed

Rossi goes red at Wroom



Its out! Ducati Corse has released the first pictures of Valentino Rossi in their colours, posing with his Desmosedici GP11 bike at their annual pre-season ‘Wroom’ event. Rossi has retained the flouroscent green colour on his leathers but its a fashion disaster combined with Ducati’s red. And his Bike has it too! The number ’46’ on the nose is of course flouro-green along with the seat border, tank and the tail piece.

Nicky Hayden meanwhile has paired the red with black this year. The AMG logo is also present on both Rossi and Nicky hayden’s bike and leathers. The bright livery of Rossi’s bike is a reminisce of his wild paintjobs during the 125cc and 250cc days with Aprilia. Hope he rides so too.


Words: Piyush Sonsale

Hamara Pulsar, Hamara Discover

Bajaj to drop its name; retain only the core models’ names


 The brand that gave India the slogan ‘Hamara Bajaj’, a catchphrase synonymous with a whole generation, will cease to exist come April this year. Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj recently stated his intention to remove the Bajaj brand and, in its place, establish its top-selling Pulsar and Discover as separate brands in their their own light. This is not an unusual move for brands in European and foreign countries but will certainly be a first for Indian automotive manufacturers who rely on family names for their product range (read TVS, Mahindra and Tata).

“Actually I don’t want that (Bajaj) name. We have already started the process so today on a Pulsar, the Bajaj name is seen only on the engine. The same is the case with Discover. Our three-wheeler has Bajaj in small font while the initial ‘RE’ is in much bigger font. One day, We will drop the Bajaj name from there also completely”, Rajiv Bajaj disclosed in a recent interview. “Consumers know that the product is coming from Bajaj, just like I know my Audi is coming from Volkswagen. But there is no Volkswagen on the Audi product. This creates a perception that there is something more in the product”, he added.

The project is spearheaded by Fitch, the international design agency that have collaborated with brands as diverse as Aditya Birla Group, Boeing, Reliance ADAG, Tata and Microsoft in the past.

Words: Saeed Akhtar


 Two of the world’s greatest racing personalities come together for an epic duel. On ice.



You might not have heard of it before but Ducati and Ferrari has an annual event, somewhere up in the Dolomites mountains in Northern Italy, wherein the racing arms of both the manufacturers launch their latest team lineups and jointly share the limelight. And this year, the Wrooom Ferrari & Ducati Press Ski Meeting (that’s what the event is called) will play host to a traditional ice race between Valentino Rossi and Fernando Alonso. Ducati MotoGP team manager Vittoriano Guareschi has revealed that Rossi is fit enough to race the former F1 world champion at this year’s ‘Wrooom’ event, to be held on January 10th. Guareschi also allayed all apprehensions about Rossi’s fitness, specifically his recent shoulder injury, saying that the World Champion has recuperated and is in perfect condition for the coming MotoGP season.

This year’s Wrooom event will also give the Ducatisti their first opportunity to view the new Marlboro Ducati livery and the first public appearance of Rossi in red leathers.

Words: Saeed Akhtar

New motorcycle norm

Motorcycles to be EMC – Compliant

Recently the Ministry of Surface Transport and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways announced a new norm according to which all new models that are to be introduced in the market will have be EMC (Electromagnetic) compliant. This norm will ensure that the electromagnetic waves emitted by a two wheeler is under admissible limit and doesn’t interfere with any electronic controllers that are present on it. This EMC norm came into force from January 1st and 70% of the current two-wheelers in the market have already been tested for it at the EMC Tech Center. The ministry has also said that vehicle manufacturers have to come up with a system in order to meet the standards.

Words: Ravi Chandnani

TVS Apache ABS

No, the Apache won’t have six-pack, but will be safer to ride



Early this year TVS Motors showcased the Apache 180 with ABS (anti-lock braking system) technology during the Auto Expo and, almost a year later, the bike sporting this safety technology will be available in a TVS showroom close to you this month (January 2011). We reckon the new Apache with ABS to be about Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 dearer. Though ABS is common in bikes and cars internationally, we still have a reason for a tiny celebration. This will be the first time a ‘made in India’ bike will feature ABS. Hurrah!
TVS have developed the anti-lock braking system in collaboration with Continental AG, Germany (pioneer in chassis control system for passenger cars and leading bikes like the BMW). The system has a hydraulic-electronic control unit (HECU) and a speed-sensing technology that continuously monitors the wheel speed of the bike. During braking it modulates the hydraulic pressure in the brake system to avoid an impending wheel lock and loss of control.
The ABS system improves braking even in wet conditions, prevents wheel skids and rear wheel lift-off. So, all you guys who love to perform ‘stoppies’ on their Apaches, TVS have made the trick even harder for you.


Gauri Lokare joins a gathering of 660 Bullets for Rider Mania 2009
Photography by Gauri Lokare & Aditya Bedre




All of us know that light travels faster than speed. A certain variety of motorcycles is an exception to the rule though. The sound from Royal Enfield motorcycles reaches you way before the sight of these heavy duty machines. The thump of more than 660 Bullets echoed in the dense Nilgiris in January this year. The reason for this rumble? Rider Mania ’09 was about to commence.

In its seventh season now, Rider Mania is a Bullet congregation coined, owned and executed by Bullet riders across the country to elevate the culture of biking brotherhood. It was the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club (RTMC) from Bangalore who staged the most yearned for biker party of this year and that too in true RTMC style. The preparations for being a part of this two day fest commences months before the scheduled event. There’s a lot these diehard bikers have to take care of right from shopping for new riding gear, polishing, servicing and revamping the bikes to applying for leave from work and in some cases, even resigning from work. That’s how serious this event is to the Bullet fraternity. And why wouldn’t it be? Rider Mania is for Bulleteers what Essel World is for 10-year-olds. It’s where hardcore bikers become kids again. You see professionals, youngsters, bachelors, workaholics and even senior citizens unleashing their inner child and doing what they do best – taking it easy and having fun.

Prashant from RTMC presenting a burnout

This year, a host of kids were also seen running around showing signs of being promising bikers

Roadshakers bagged the first place for the ‘Overall Trophy

At the 2009 fest, the only role I had to play was that of a hardcore Bulleteer. And given the circumstances of the event, it was hardly a task. With great music, food, location, chilled beer at throwaway rates, old buddies, new friends, eye-candy Bullets, more beer, mindless chatter about motorcycles, riding experiences, biker events and competition parties throughout the fest; it is quite normal for anyone to act like a complete maniac. The highlight of the event was the spectacular group ride where a pack of 660 Bullets rode in a two-by-two formation through the hilly and twisted roads of Ooty. The entire small town was bedazzled, first with the sound of thumping motors and then, at the sight of these torquey machines themselves. Adding more delight to the ongoing festivities were the host of individual and team events such as riding on the figure of 8, slow race, arm wrestling, ‘The Pusher Man’ (won by team RTMC) and ‘Pump it up’ (won by Roadshakers). Mad Bulls from Chennai who rode in a pack of more than a 100 bikers bagged the special trophy for making a spectacular club entry. In the race for ‘Overall Trophy of the Event’, it was Roadshakers, Pune who claimed the first place followed by Inddiethumpers, Mumbai.

Apart from the regular Bullet clubs in the country who were present, this year interestingly saw a host of new Bullet brotherhoods coming to light even from far off places like Latur, Kolkata, Chandigargh and Shillong. The country’s largest biker fest attracted a few international guests as well. In its first edition, the event which attracted just 150 riders has escalated to over 660 riders this year with many more gatecrashers. This in itself is a testimony to prove just how popular Rider Mania and biking brotherhood have become in this country. I need to take a moment here and thank RTMC for the painstaking effort they put in to host such a brilliant Rider Mania 2009 and more so for executing it perfectly.

There is something remarkable about us Bulleteers. How else can one explain over 660 riders from 42 cities across the country taking time out of their respective busy lives and quotidian activities to be present at a single designated time and venue? The commitment they showed by just making it to Rider Mania speaks volumes about the strong bond between Bulleteers. It’s amazing to witness the intense passion and respect which these riders have towards their steeds as well as fellow bikers. They come together for two days and act as if they have known each other for ages. A smile, a hug and a Bullet is all it takes for them to bond forever.

Mad Bulls Chennai came in a count of more than 100 Bullets

Abbhas from Inddiethumpers poses for the camera

Big hugs to all the sponsors who made this event possible


As part of their annual celebrations, Honda let journos from across the world have a taste of their best performance machines. Aspi Bhathena shares his ride experience

The primary reason we were in Japan was to ride a wide range of Honda motorcycles and provide feedback regarding which bikes would be most suitable for Indian conditions. The lineup included the Silver Wing scooter, the DN-01, the CBR600RR, the CBF1000, the CBF1000R, the CBR1000RR and the 1800 Gold Wing. Katsuhisa Yoda – Manager Overseas Operation, Asia & Oceania and Hitoshi Akaoka – Chief Engineer, Honda R&D were among the senior management members present to oversee the ride.

Honda were extremely vary of the riding capabilities of Indian journos as the circuit that they had selected was extremely tight. One could not get the CBR1000 out of the second gear and additionally, they had a Honda S2000 car to make sure we did not go crash. I started the day’s ride with the Silver Wing scooter as the overnight rain had left the circuit wet and damp in places. The DN-01 which is quiet futuristic in its design and styling performed reasonably while pottering around the circuit. After riding all the bikes, the motorcycle that really impressed me the most was the GL 1800. Even with all its mass and size, you could really throw her around even on absolutely tight crippling corners without any problem.

I concentrated mainly on the CBF1000, the CB1000R and the CBR1000RR as these are the most likely motorcycles that will make their way into India. The CBR1000 will be launched in India at the end of February 2009. The 1000RR has been shrunk in size and feels like a 400 on steroids. You can throw this bike around like a toy, but at the same time you have to treat it with a lot of respect as you feed the power. If you are cranked over the limit you could slide the rear end or if you whack the throttle open while being upright you’ll see the front wheel getting sky bound. Honda have made the CBR1000 more user friendly so even people with average riding abilities can utilize all the horses available. You don’t have to be a Danny Pedrosa to be able to ride it!

It was quite annoying to follow the pace car. I could not bare it any longer and passed the pace car sending the Japanese into a bit of a tizzy. I had requested Honda if I could have a ride on the RCV212 but was told that it was not possible as it would be very dangerous. But after I finished riding, Hitoshi Akaoka complemented me on my riding technique and said that I have the skills to ride the RCV212. Thanks to the Indian journos who rode the bikes there, Honda’s previous opinion had transformed and they acknowledged that we are also capable of riding the big Superbikes.

The Chief Engineer at Honda’s R&D centre, Hitoshi Akaoka with the CBR1000RR bound for India. The bike will be here by the end of February 2009


Honda team drivers and riders from across the world converged at Motegi in Japan, to display their skills to fans from across the world.
Report and Photography Aspi Bhathena



Every year after the racing season is over, Honda organize an event called Enjoy with Honda in Japan. They bring in their motorsport personalities from all over the world do a couple of demo laps at their own Twin Ring Motegi circuit. The Motegi venue is just not a race circuit as it also has an entertainment facility for the entire family. This year, Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India invited a few select journalists from the country, including me, to experience the Enjoy with Honda event. Additionally, all Honda owners were invited free of cost to come and witness the event. There were more than 30,000 people at the circuit.

I had the opportunity to get really close to F1 cars, MotoGP motorcycles, Indy Racing cars as well as Honda GT cars. They also had a trial circuit just behind the racing circuit where some trial riders were performing. Honda’s emphasis on safety was also on display as they had tiny tots in the age group of 4 to 5 years riding electrically powered two-wheelers on a special circuit with a soft rubberized surface to protect the children if they crashed. The main idea was to teach kids the appropriate road manners from an early age in a safe environment.

The Honda museum showcases the company’s prized racing collection right from their first IOMTT bikes, World Championship winning motorcycles and F1 World Championship dominating engines which took the late great Ayrton Senna to his championship victories. One could spend an entire day in the museum without realizing the number of hours gone by.

Honda had a specially designed track to teach kids the nuances of safe riding

All the drivers and riders of Honda teams from various motorsport events across the world

Honda Trials’ riders performing in sync