The Mojo dissection

Mahindra’s assault on the Indian two-wheeler market commences with the unveiling of the Stallio and the Mojo. Here’s a photo feature and full dope on the two motorcycles

Amidst dazzling fanfare and gaiety, as befitting the entry of a leviathan into alien territory, Mahindra took the wraps off its two new motorcycles in Mumbai yesterday. While the majority of the country waited with bated breath for the first pieces of news on the Ayodhya Case verdict, bikers in India were tuned in to a different frequency for the dope on what is reportedly one of the biggest and most powerful Indian bike ever. Let’s start with the smaller one and save the better for latter.

Mahindra Stallio

Mahindra Stallio

The Mahindra Stallio is an executive commuter, powered by a horizontally-opposed 106.7cc single cylinder SOHC engine, with a peak power of 7.3PS produced at 7500rpm and 8Nm of peak torque@8000rpm and a four-speed transmission. As with its engine, the styling is deliberately conventional and toned down. The bike bears a resemblance to many others in its category, especially in the detailing of its rear body panels, the contours of the fuel tank, panels covering the battery and air-filter and the exhaust shroud.

The bike features fully digital instrumentation that is reminiscent of the one on Mahindra’s Rodeo scooter, but with chrome surrounds this time. LEDs are used for the tail-lamps and pilot headlamps, however the former looks jaded already. The single-bar grab rail does not help matters either. The front is slightly better in that department, with an ‘inverted arrow design’ bikini fairing and the aforementioned twin LED pilot lamps. Another aspect of the Stallio worth mentioning is the pass-light switch which is still a novelty amongst Indian commuter bikes although the bike does lose out on bar-end weights which would have reduced the vibrations at the handlebar. The fuel tank cap is also fully flush with the tank itself, which is done up in matte black, lending the bike a sporty appeal.

The Mahindra Stallio will be available in two variants – self start/cast alloy wheels/digital console and kickstart/spoke wheels which are available at Rs.44,699/- and 41,199/- (ex showroom Pune), respectively and inDerby Red, Colt Black, Equus Blue, Buckskin Yellow and Ranch Green colours.At this price point the bike will look at ruffling the feathers of the likes of Bajaj Discover 100, Hero Honda Splendor / Passion, TVS Star City and the recently launched Yamaha YBR 110, when it goes on sale in the coming weeks to make the most of the festive season.



Mahindra Mojo

Mahindra Mojo

A lot has been speculated and written over the Mojo ever since Mahindra announced their intention of producing a motorcycle that would move the goalposts far forward for Indian biking. And it’s finally time now. Based on the Italian Malaguti MR250 concept bike, the Mojo is powered by a four-valve DOHC 292cc single-cylinder engine, churning out a peak power of 26.3PS@8500rpm and peak torque of 24Nm@7000rpm. Despite the single-cylinder engine, Mahindra has seen fit to include dual exhausts on both sides of the bike in keeping with the rest of the bike’s character. Transmission is via a six-speed gearbox while the Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) system has been developed by Ducati Energia of Italy. In the flesh, what first catches your attention though, will be those massive inverted front shock absorbers done up in brushed golden and the twin headlamps reminiscent of the Triumph Speed Triple. The tear-drop design coupled with the gold-painted exposed twin-tube diamond frame lends the bike a sexy side profile in conjunction with the slash-cut rear. RVM-mounted indicators are another standout feature. Instrumentation is comprehensive, consisting of an analogue tachometer, digital speedo and and tell tale lights for ECU malfunction, engine overheating, gearshift indicator etc.

 

The front suspension is courtesy Italian specialists Paioli, and is complemented by a horizontally mounted monoshock at the rear. Radially-mounted calipers and discs (the stylish 320mm petal disc at the front has the largest diameter amongst Indian bikes) handles the braking duties at both front and rear. When it launches, the Mojo will also be the first ever motorcycle in India to sport Pirelli tubeless radials as standard – 100/80 and 150/60 medium compounds at the front and rear respectively. The Mojo (we wish Mahindra would have kept the codename they used in the developmental stages – Diablo) will go on sale early next year, for approximately Rs 1.75 lakh (ex showroom Pune) and be available in two colours – red and black. Customers also have the option of customising their bikes with a range of decals from the showroom itself and both bikes will come with a comprehensive four year warranty. With big names like Ducati Energia, Paioli, Pirelli, J Juan (Spanish manufacturer of brake calipers) and Engines Engineering behind the two motorcycles, expect them to deliver the best of both worlds during that period.

And oh, expect to see Aamir Khan plugging the Stallio on your television set very soon.

Words: Saeed Akhtar

Hyosung ST7

It has got loads of chrome, classic attitude and it is perfect cruising material. Better still, it’s on its way to India. Adhish Alawani delivers the exclusive ride report of Hyosung ST7 Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Something Chrome, Something Cruising!

Hyosung Motors seem to have taken things very seriously. The last time they came to India with the Comet and the Aquila, it was through Kinetic Motors. These motorcycles were a success. The only glitch was the fact that these bikes came in extremely limited numbers and without a properly planned service backup. Nonetheless, the market is changing rapidly and Hyosung have decided to come back with a bang. As you must have seen on the earlier pages, we rode the Hyosung GT650R and were very impressed by the supersport machine. Let us now shift our attention to something classic, something chrome, something cruising!

Introducing the Hyosung ST7, a good example of a modern-day classic cruiser. The ST7 has been built taking into consideration the competition from the likes of the Japanese and the Americans. When we first saw the bike in pictures, we were not really sure if its styling would suit our taste. In reality, however, it’s a different story altogether. The curvaceous tank dips in towards the seat and the flow continues all the way until the broad, sweeping rear fender. The liberal use of chrome on the dual pipe exhaust, engine casing, air box, radiator case, belt drive cover and loads of bits here and there add a lot of hardcore bling to the machine. The 41mm telescopic forks set at a 33-degree rake are neither too laidback nor too aggressive. The softly padded saddle, pullback handlebars
and forward mounted footrests offer typical cruiser posture, at least for a five-foot-ten-incher like me. The instrument cluster sits in the chrome housing on the humongous tank.
The only bits of styling that do not suit my taste include the small, round headlight (a bigger
one would do the job better) and the multi-spoke alloys.


The true deal, however, is the heart of the ST7, sitting under the tank in the form of a liquid-cooled, 90-degree V-Twin, displacing 678cc and pumping out 62 PS. The peak torque figure goes to 63 Nm and punches in at a high 7500 rpm. Sounds weird for a V-Twin cruiser to have its peak torque so high. However, it doesn’t feel so while riding. The bike pulls amazingly from low revs and continues pulling strongly in the mid-range. 130 km/h is reached in second gear if the throttle is whacked open and cruising at 150 km/h is truly peaceful. Wedded to the V-Twin engine is an impressive five-speed transmission that offers butter-smooth shifts through the cogs. Interestingly, the ST7 comes with a belt drive, which not only adds to the cruiser character and attitude, but also offers a good and smooth drive.

The powerplant of this Hyosung sings a soft tune and the refinement levels are quite high: the hardcore cruiser-lovers might just miss the thump to some extent. The ST7 scores brownie points when it comes to the weight and usability of the machine on a day-to-day basis. With a kerb weight of 244 kg, the ST7 is pretty manoeuvrable even in heavy city traffic. Even after logging over a couple of hundred kilometres, there was no sign of fatigue creeping in. The not-so-wide and not-so-tall ‘bars offer good steering in tight situations as well. Not a lot is usually talked about the handling of a cruiser. But I would still make a special mention that this bike handles very well. Not even once did I feel that there was a hint of instability around corners or while flicking from one side to the other. The Bridgestones also provide awesome grip and contribute to the good road holding that the bike offers. The brakes on the ST7 are pretty decent and do the needful quite efficiently. There is hardly anything that I can complain about in this cruiser.


And looking at the price tag of approximately Rs 5–5.25 lakh, I am sure no one has anything to complain about. Hyosung have brilliantly managed to introduce a motorcycle in the market that bridges the huge gap between the local wannabe cruisers and the hardcore ones like Harleys or Suzukis. The ST7 is expected to hit the market along with the GT650R by Diwali this year. Also expect the company to offer tall windscreens and saddlebags etc. as accessories.

The final take on the ST7? Take off the pillion seat, get on the leathers and ride the highways for days on end.

For more information on the Hyosung bikes, keep checking BIKE India space or shoot an email to sandt.india@sify.com

Hyosung GT650R – Supergood Supersport!

Adhish Alawani lays his hands on the Hyosung GT650R , one of the bestsellers in Australia and Europe, which is now on its way to India!


Photography: Sanjay Raikar

About two-and-a-half years ago, the litre-class bikes made their way into the country. That is when the rich enthusiasts got excited and started buying motorcycles with in-line fours displacing 1000cc. We, at BIKE India, have been talking about the impracticality of litre-class bikes in a country like India since then. We neither have the roads, nor the sense and ability to handle the power that goes in excess of 170PS. What, then, is it that we need and should have in our market? A middle-weight 600cc category bike that produces adequate power, which even a first-timer at multi-cylinder machines can tame and relish. Probably yes, and Hyosung decided to give it a serious thought. The result? The GT650R is on its way to India!

Last month, we got an opportunity to take the GT650R out on a daylong ride and, boy, were we impressed!

The GT comes powered with a 90-degree V-Twin motor that produces 80PS of peak power. But what really leaves a lasting impression is the awesome mid-range and top-end delivery. The powerplant revs freely all the way past 10,000 rpm. Though we did not get enough of a stretch to red line even the third gear, we were mighty impressed with the speedo reading 81 km/h in first gear and 135 km/h in second gear at red line. Going by these speeds and considering a six-speed box mated to the V-Twin, speeds in excess of 200 km/h seem to be easily achievable. The vee configuration also assures a good amount of torque, 67 Nm to be precise, that really kicks in at 7,250 rpm. Like a typical V-Twin, the GT650R delivers the right punch in the right fashion and delights you as you zip through crowded streets.

 


For the 2010 model, Hyosung has handed over the carburettion duties to fuel injection on the GT650R. The power of the bike is manifested on the roads through Bridgestone Battlax BT56 160/60-ZR17 (rear) and 120/60-ZR17 (front). Not only does the Battlax rubber lend awesome grip on a dry surface, it holds its own on a wet one too (the erratic July rain allowed us to try out the tyres in both conditions). While the tyres succeed in instilling a lot of confidence around the corners, much credit also goes to the chassis and suspension. The trellis-type twin spar frame is nimble yet stable.

The fully adjustable front suspension and preload adjustable rear monoshock do their job brilliantly by giving adequate feedback to the rider. The whole package of the chassis, suspension and tyres aids the GT in superb handling and lets you push your limits around corners. The riding posture is also a major plus point of this bike. An agreeable combination of sufficiently aggressive and adequately relaxing postures makes the GT650R a bike that can be enjoyed on weekend rides through twisties as well as everyday rides within the city. The fairing is good enough and takes aerodynamics seriously to protect you from wind blast at high speeds.

Talking of fairing, the bike’s a styling that seems to be taken from various places and put together by the Korean manufacturer. The twin projectors stacked one above the other give the bike a feel of the MV Agusta F4. The two vents on either side of the headlight are a little out of proportion and non-functional. The short wheelbase, tall seat and meaty body lend a lot of aggression to the motorcycle. The tail lamp seems to have taken cues from the new Gixxer. The white backlit digital speedometer is accompanied by an analogue tachometer.

Overall, the bike carries the attitude of a proper supersport machine that is going to attract a lot of attention. (Well, I can say that for sure after the innumerable enquiries we got from all those who saw us ride the bike on the streets!) There are a couple of downsides that we noticed as well. The brakes have a little spongy feel. Probably, this particular machine that we were testing had it and needed a little bit of bleeding. Secondly, the fit and finish of the bike is not up to the mark that the international competitors have set.

There is one factor that finally forces us to ignore the downsides and that is the price of the GT650R. At approximately Rs 3.75-4 lakh (ex-showroom), the Hyosung is a steal. You get adequate power, awesome handling, styling to attract every other girl on the street and the attitude of a middleweight supersport machine at a price that is not prohibitive. Expect the bike to hit the market some time before Diwali. Until then, flip over to the Hyosung ST7, a feast for the cruiser fans!

Cycling dream – SCOTT PLASMA

A cyclist who yearns of representing the tricolor around the world


There aren’t many Indians in today’s world who have the desire to represent their country on an international level, although they themselves want to be famous. The young generation just wants to follow the western culture and live like a westerner even in their own country. But sometimes, amongst the mist rises a brave soul who still wants to do something for the country and Harman Sharma is among those few individuals who have a burning desire to make the country proud.

Harman is a cyclist who has participated in many cycling events around the country. A few of those events include the Mini Olympic, the Kila Raipur, the Mumbai Cyclothon, the Pune Baramati race and the Al- Kalam cycle race (Delhi). His latest weapon of choice is the Scott Plasma 20. A bike that was developed by Scott cycles in collaboration with team HTC-Columbia, one of the most prominent names in the highly respectable Tour De France race. Harman hopes to make India proud by making it big in the world of bicycling. We wish him the very best!


SCOTT PLASMA 20

Harman’s latest bike is this sleek and tech filled Scott Plasma 20 triathlon bike. Scott cycles are among the top bicycle manufacturers in the world and have a reputation for building some of the best bikes that also participate in the prestigious Tour De France. This particular model features carbon fiber body parts along with ergonomic and comfortable seating. The engineers at Scott cycles developed this bike in the wind tunnel to achieve an aerodynamic shape, hence you do not see the clutter of brake lines running down the frame or any other thing that might create drag. At just 8kg, this bike is meant for competitions and because of the technology used it is surely the bike to watch out for. All this technology doesn’t come cheap. This particular model is priced at around Rs 2 lakh (In India).

Photos: Harman Sharma

TVS Max4R – The Workhorse

Sarmad Kadiri leaves his performance bike behind and rides the new TVS Max4R to get a feel of the other end of the two-wheeler spectrum
Photography: Sawan Hembram

It was 5.30 am and the board overhead read: Ahilyabai Holkar Vegetable Wholesale Market, Indore. Soon three men wobbled in astride their new bikes, balancing a mountain of gunny bags filled with vegetables, all tied to their pillion seats. I thought to myself, ‘Are they crazy?’ The riders parked their bikes and I could sense their feeling of bewilderment as they looked at me with my riding gear on. I suppose they must have concluded that I was either an alien or a mad man, because no one wears a helmet in the entire district, let alone full-fledged riding gear. So, the feeling of bewilderment was mutual.

The new bike in question was the TVS Max4R, designed specifically for traders and farmers, who carry their goods or agricultural produce on bikes. We’re talking about milkmen, greengrocers, vegetables growers and farmers, all of whom form a very large yet untapped buyer segment in India. Based on the Star City, the Max features a 109.7cc engine, but with some modifications, such as a bigger oil pump for better lubrication, chrome-plated piston rings and improved crankshaft bearing. Plus the clutch comes with heavy-duty springs. All this, combined with the new sprockets, gives the bike a solid mid-range, which is what the target audience of the Max4R needs.

Obviously, the top speed is of no consequence for them, especially with three jute sacks loaded on the rear. The tank is similar to that of the Star City, but it sheds the front fairing to sport a round headlight and matching indicators and also a mobile charger. The sturdy metal front mudguard comes straight from the Max 100 and the split seats’ rear portion can be detached, thus making the bike ideal for carrying assorted goods. Interestingly, the main stand has a much wider base to keep the bike stable even with a heavy load on it. Even the rear tyre is specially made to endure excess weight. It has two pairs of rear shock-absorbers. While the first pair does the regular job of a suspension, the second set acts like helper shock-absorbers that come into play only when the bike is overloaded.


I rode the new TVS with a load of over 150 kg of vegetables and then with large milk cans attached to the sides. It is insane to ride with this kind of weight. However, compared with an average commuter bike crudely modified to handle excess weight, the Max4R wins hands down. It has a good low-end power and a crisp mid-range, which is ideal for this bike.


Riding on the narrow, chaotic roads near the vegetable market, I managed to reach 70 km/h on the speedo without any load on the rear, which is decent for this segment. However, when I trod on the brake in an emergency, the whole load of vegetables slid forward, its weight on my back, forcing me to slide onto the tank. The bike came to a halt a couple of meters farther than it would normally do. Offering a disc brake is out of the question for a price tag of Rs 37,590 (ex-showroom, Indore). To be honest, TVS is walking on a very thin line here. On the one hand, it is their corporate responsibility to provide a more secure, well engineered and affordable bike that can be used as a goods carrier. On the other, the fact remains that bikes in general have not been designed to lug loads around, even though it is a common practice in our country. Actually, it remains a grey area, for the Indian law does not specify whether carrying goods on bikes is legal or not.

Overall, the TVS Max4R is a good package, keeping in view its niche market. It is not designed for a beauty pageant or to win a drag race, but what you get is a sturdy, affordable and practical workhorse in every sense.

Honda VFR1200F

Love it or hate it, the Honda VFR1200F is here to change all your preconceived notions about touring

In spite of the heavy bulk and the touring character of the VFR1200F, getting the knee down on this one is not tough. Superb handling and easy maneuverability are strengths of the Honda.


The VFR1200F looks ugly to some. Trust us guys, it’s stunning in flesh!

N for Neutral, D for Drive and S for Sports. We love this auto ‘box on a bike!


Button for up shifting and down shifting gears? Yes. The “-“ button is for downshifts while there is another one with a “+” on it on the other side which does the upshifting!

Parking brake for motorcycles are important for bikes like the VFR, that are equipped with an auto boxes. The black lever on left handlebar does the job in this case

Tale of two scooters

Mahindra adds two new scooters to its portfolio. Ajay Joyson brings you an exclusive first impression

 

If you ask a common biker about Mahindra, he might have heard of the brand but in all probability, he would have no clue about its qualities or value. He may have read the name a zillion times in his rear view mirror, but would not be acquainted with the brand or its heritage. However, that is all set to change. After acquiring the erstwhile ailing Kinetic Motors, Mahindra two-wheelers has certainly gained momentum by launching two new models in the market called the Rodeo and the Duro.

If you are looking to flaunt you ride, then the Rodeo is the obvious choice. Though largely based on the Flyte, the new scooter has some interesting styling cues that make it stand apart. A front mudguard, a slightly revised front end and new turn indicators differentiate the Rodeo from the Flyte. Apart from this, the rear grab handle, the colour scheme and snazzy decals are also new. However, what really makes the Rodeo unique is its fantastic digital instrumentation display. Apart from the usual speedo and fuel gauges, it also offers a tachometer (the only production scooter in India to have this), a trip meter, an acceleration indicator and a clock. What bemused us is the option to change the colour of the scoot’s LCD backlight – green, blue, orange, red – you name it and at the press of a button the backlight can be changed to match the colour of your shoes, fingernails or hair. Mahindra has also given the Rodeo a 12 Volt power socket for charging your mobile phone or other electric devices on the go. Features don’t end just there as the scooter also gets a side stand warning buzzer as well as an illuminated underseat storage area.

The Rodeo has the Flyte’s novel front fuelling system which has indeed found quite a following. It retains the smart mirrors that fold inwards in the event of an impact resulting in almost no damage – a feature earlier seen on the Flyte. The four-in-one antitheft key by which one can start the engine, open the fuel filler cover, engage the handle lock and secure the keyhole with a magnetic key lock also finds its way into the Rodeo. This scooter is powered by the same 125cc engine that does its duty on the Flyte. The engine feels silky smooth to rev and the power and torque figures at 8bhp and 9Nm are quite respectable for its class. The rest of the underpinnings remain identical to the Flyte and the new model is quite able-bodied in the ride and handling department, if not exceptional. The ergonomics, fit-finish and overall quality are also satisfactory.

The Duro, on the other hand, is strikingly similar in looks to the old Kinetic Nova. But that’s where the familiarity ends because underneath the innovative body is a completely new engine. Additionally, unlike general comprehension, the basic frame of the Duro also differs from the older Nova. The new scooter gets the same 125cc SYM engine found in both, the Flyte as well as the Rodeo, producing 8bhp and 9Nm of torque. At 1290mm, the Duro has one of the longest wheelbases among Indian scooters. This along with wide 3.5inch rubbers gives the scoot good stability and road holding capabilities. The saddle is also comfortable for two average sized adults. Although the legroom is ample, on our short first ride, we found the riding position to be a little bit of a concern for tall riders as the handle tends to come in contact with the rider’s knee especially when negotiating U-turns. Compared to the Rodeo, the Duro has fewer goodies up its sleeve since it is conceived as a no-nonsense scooter for the masses. Although it comes with a conventional underseat fuel tank, the storage space is very generous and even large helmets fit in easily with space to spare! The rest of the scoot is pretty basic. The instrument cluster that houses a speedo, a fuel gauge and the standard array of telltale lights is simple and legible.
The manufacturer has played the pricing game competitively for both the scooters thus ensuring that they have mass appeal. The Duro is priced at Rs 38,299 (ex-showroom, Pune) which is very compelling for a 125cc scooter. The swankier Rodeo retails for Rs 41,299 (ex-showroom, Pune) which is also quite appealing. Mahindra vehicles have always been applauded for their robustness and vigour and these traits find their way into their newest offerings as well.

Karizma ZMR~The King Returns!

A heavy dose of cosmetic as well as engine updates mark the birth of the new Karizma ZMR. Bunny Punia gives it the stick to see if the bike has been worth the wait
Bunny Punia, Photography Sanjay Raikar

The previous night had been very interesting with a live band and an open bar taking care of a select few journalists who had been flown in for an exclusive first ride of the new Karizma. No matter how much I pestered the Hero Honda guys to divulge some dope on the new bike, it was futile. It was half past six in the morning the next day when I was about to finish my second cup of hot tea in order to awaken my half sleepy brain that I happened to hear a rather familiar exhaust note. Minutes later, the first look of one of the most awaited upgrade in the Indian two-wheeler industry more than livened up the lazy bum in me. A full body kit, exciting graphics and tweaks here and there – the wait for the new Karizma, or the ZMR as the company puts it, seemed worth it.

The sharply designed front headlamp looks great and seems to have been inspired by the Suzuki GSX-R and the Triumph Sprint. The slot for the pilot lamps is swept back giving a sporty look. The black visor is probably the biggest on any Indian bike and the fairing mounted rear view mirrors not only look good, but as I found out on the ride, serve their purpose well. The same air-intakes on either side of the lamp and the “oil-cooled” stickers hinted at a more powerful engine. Side on, the indicators are integrated into the panels like the current bike and the fairing ends near the brake lever like commonly seen aftermarket jobs. The difference here, however, is the quality – the plastics seem durable with an up market fit and finish. The side panels are the same with a slight bulging rear and the new split grab rail along with the striking LED tail lamp assembly give the rear a pleasing look.

 


The spoilsport here is the skinny rear tyre. This will be the first modification most owners will end up doing, I reckon. With a rather muscular and big fairing, fitting a wider, say 120mm rear tyre would have added more muscle to the overall look in my opinion. You can’t help but notice the rear disc brake and the GRS equipped rear shock absorbers. The changes don’t stop here. Swing a leg over the bike and once seated in the comfortable well padded seat, you will notice the forged aluminum clip-ons. As with Hero Honda, the execution is superb but what really strikes you is the complete digital display unit. A la Hunk styled chromed counter in the middle serves as a tachometer with a display for speed (ourtesy the contact less magnetic sensor, the speedometer is very accurate) on the left, fuel in the middle and trip meter and a real time fuel economy display on the right. There is also a programmable welcome display which can be altered as per the owner’s requirement. Want to impress your girl? You can get her name to be displayed each time the ignition is switched on!

Thumb the starter and the engine fires into life. The Karizma has always been a smooth operator and with Honda’s famed PGM-FI finding its way in here, the 223cc engine feels a touch more refined. Yes the engine capacity remains the same, however, there are a lot of changes to the motor. The idle air control valve ensures automatic stabilization of rpm over all terrain (a boost for tourers), the FI unit eliminates the need for a choke and the twelve Orific injector nozzles ensure a highly atomized air-fuel mixture for better combustion and efficiency. All this along with other high tech features in addition to a slight retuning sees the maximum power go up marginally to 17.6bhp or 17.84PS at the same rpm. The maximum torque remains the same though. These figures might be disappointing for those seeking more juice from the Karizma. The ECU unit also has six sensors for various functions including intake air temperature, oxygen sensor, etc.

The Karizma’s motor has always been in a relatively soft state of tune. This one too feels the same. The throttle response isn’t very sharp or jerky, the way it gains speeds in any gear is seamless and the engine seems to be barely bothered even when pushed near the redline. The slight increase in power can hardly be felt and this is reflected in the performance figures that I managed. A 4.9 second 0-60km/h timing with me on board is more or less the same as the previous bike’s 4.7 second timing with a 70kg rider. What has changed though is the way the bike reaches high speeds and its ability to maintain the same for prolonged distances. The icing on the cake comes in the form of better efficiency and we won’t be surprised if the ZMR manages 45kmpl in the city with ease. This bike remains a stunter’s delight – wheelies, stoppies and rolling burnouts – it delivers when given the stick as is evident from the pictures on these pages.

The handling remains as sweet as ever, though in the wake of increased competition, the front seems a tad too soft for serious riding around the twisties or on the track. However, the suspension shines when ridden on broken roads and the bike’s ability to dismiss such patches with ease is hard to match by the competition even today. The rear now gets the GRS suspension from the Hunk and is a step in the right direction. The rear disc brake, a Nissin unit, works well and the feedback is great. The front tyre has been made slightly wider (80mm against the older 70mm) and the ZMR runs on tubeless tyres. The bike now sports a louder dual horn for keeping away heavy traffic on the highway.

With all these changes in place, we expect a premium of around Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 over the current Karizma that will continue to sell alongside the ZMR. This will make the bike close to a lakh on the road. Perhaps the enthusiasts who have been waiting for something powerful might not feel the price tag to be well justified. Nonetheless, visually and technologically, the ZMR is a huge step forward. The list of standard features is impressive too.

Watch out for an exhaustive road test in our next issue. Visit www.youtube.com/bikeindia for videos of the ZMR.

A day out with the Falcon

Bunny Punia takes the Suzuki Hayabusa on a date with eighteen other superbikes in New Delhi

 

Having grown up spending weekends chasing superbike groups in Delhi, it was always a dream for me to ride along with them someday. Being good friends with the founder of one of India’s biggest superbike groups also meant that it wasn’t long before I would be riding neck to neck with the finest superbikes that grace our Indian roads.

I was visiting my hometown Delhi for a weekend last month when suddenly the idea of realizing my childhood dream popped up. I have ridden various superbikes (both the legal as well as the grey market ones) but I have never had the opportunity to ride in a group of big bikes. All it took was a call to Suzuki and they were more than happy to arrange the big momma of all bikes – the Suzuki Hayabusa GSX-R1300 for me.

After a quick photo-op, we all started back for Delhi but the group soon broke up which also allowed me to spend more time with the big ‘Busa, appreciate its finer points and indulge in high speed touring whenever the road allowed. I also took a detour to meet a few more biking fellows of xBhp with a Yamaha MT-01, Kawasaki 636 Ninja and Honda 954RR for company. But as expected, the mighty Suzuki stood out. The world’s fastest production machine has an aura that none of the other bikes can match. The two days I spent with this legendary bike have to be one of the most enjoyable biking moments of my life.

If you are in Delhi, you can catch a glimpse of the GODS almost every Sunday at 6 am, next to the Shiv Murti pump on the Gurgaon highway

1734 kilometers in a day

Akshay “Iron Butt” Kaushal rides more than 1000 miles to complete the SaddleSore ride.
Story: Mihir Gadre Photos: Akshay Kaushal

Akshay Kaushal has become one of the only two Indians to have been featured on the Iron Butt Association’s website for completing the SaddleSore ride. On the 29th of October 2008, Akshay, who works as a journalist with the Times Group, embarked on the endurance ride on his Bajaj Pulsar 180 DTSi finally covering a total of 1,734 kilometers in less than 24 hours. He started his ride from Ahmedabad (Gujarat) continuing on to Udaipur, Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Gurgaon (Haryana) before returning to Ahmedabad to participate in the SaddleSore 1000.

In a bid to identify the world’s toughest riders, the Iron Butt Association of Chicago, Illinois, USA certifies individuals who dare to achieve this extremely difficult feat of riding 1000 miles astride a bike in under 24 hours. The SaddleSore 1000 is conducted under very strict guidelines set forth by the Iron Butt Association. The rules state that a rider should complete 1000 miles in less than 24 hours with an error margin of five percent for the odometer which takes the total distance to 1050 miles i.e. around 1700km. The rider has to retain the fuel receipts paid using a credit card from the start to the end point and submit them as proof. He is not allowed to travel on the same road more than twice and he should have a witness at the start point as well as the destination.

Akshay’s achievement is even more special given that 1000 miles on Indian roads on an Indian bike is at least twice as difficult as doing the same distance on smooth European motorways or American freeways astride a big cruiser. Our hearty congratulations to him for having achieving this feat