Wide versus Narrow
LAST MONTH SUZUKI LAUNCHED A 250-CC GIXXER AND AN UPDATED 150-CC GIXXER. The first ride on both these bikes was held at the Buddh International Circuit. After riding both the motorcycles everyone said that the 250 was not as nimble and quick to steer as the 150. Both the motorcycles share the same chassis with identical steering head angle and wheelbase, but one steers quicker than the other. Nobody knew why that was happening. The answer is very simple: the 250 runs on a wider set of tyres compared to the 150 and this slows the steering response. Fit the 150 wheels and tyres on the 250 and you will see that it is as quick and nimble to steer as the 150.
Incidentally, today the “expert” opinion-making journalists are able to differentiate between a slow-handling bike and quick-steering motorcycle but are unable to identify the reason for the change in characteristics.
We did a road test on the new Honda CB300R and the bike feels like a 150 to ride with a leaner power delivery. The compact motorcycle is a joy to ride as you can flick it through traffic and around corners. Though it is sold out, the price is on the high side. Would I pay nearly Rs 3 lakh for a single-cylinder motorcycle when I can buy a Royal Enfield 650-cc twin-cylinder for almost the same price?
Last month Indian motor sport suffered a huge loss with the demise of Nazir Hoosein. In a way he was responsible for kick-starting my own motorcycle racing career, for it was at the Juhu races organized by his motor sport club, IARC, in 1977 that it all started for me. May his soul rest in peace.