Nov 6, 2010

Royal Enfield Hollowbird

Thunderbird is a Hollowbird!

Now, some might see me as being too harsh in my criticism. Some might say, it isn't warranted in the first place. That's okay.

Classic seems to be a consummate product. I ask myself why can't other models be as good? Characters could be different, but coming from the same stable the aesthetic-level of all bikes must be equal.

Yamaha for once is a good example. The fit and finish and aesthetic-level of all bikes seem to be the same, other factors not considered. FZ16, Fazer, R15, SZ/SZ-X, YBR all exude the same level of detailing and aesthetics. In fact, I can add even the earlier models like Gladiator and Libero (do you remember that still?) :).

Intense urge to dismantle a bike

I've got this intense urge to dismantle a bike. How did this happen? Well, I've been anxiously evaluating all the bikes so that I can come to a decision to buy one.

I've done test-rides of FZ16, Hunk, R15, Bullet Classic, Thunderbird, etc. Some or the other thing stops me. R15 - very narrow tyres. FZ16 - the fuel tank accentuated with plastic add-ons, Hunk - the huge plastic scoops called 'muscles', Classic - the excruciating waiting time, Thunderbird - just a lot of hollowness coupled with some unnecessary jazz. Some of these bits I've listed might sound trivial to the reader but that's how my mind's working right now.

Karzima ZMR is the biggest plastic pooper this country has. Didn't get an urge even to touch it. I visited a nearby Hero Honda showroom just a few days back, so I can claim that.

All these experiences get me to this point. I want to dismantle a bike and build it again with my own hands to know which one is the really really reliable and solid one. Of course it must be neat and beautiful; that's the primary condition. I can begin with FZ16. It looks the most reliable and the sturdiest of all. It looks but I want to know for sure before shelling out my money. So I want to dismantle FZ16. And if I don't think the plastic bulk on the tank is needed, I'll do away with it.

May be before long Mahindra Mojo launches. And this urge to dismantle and feel a bike from the inside might die.

Nov 4, 2010

What will the competitors do?

 So this is Honda's belated gift for the common Indian biker. Not bad. :) Good for the Red Riding Dude.

Must be remembered that it is slated for a April 2011 launch (based on reports in the media). So we've got effectively 5 months before it launches.

Current offerings on the same lines are:

Yamaha R15 with a tag of Rs.1.2 lacs approx on-road
Kawasaki Ninja 250 priced at around Rs.3 lacs on-road

Yes there is a huge gap. So Honda CBR will supposedly fill this with on-road price of around Rs.2 lacs.

My gut feeling is that some motorcycle manufacturers are not going to take this lightly. Expect Yamaha to announce a 250cc launch at about the same price as that for the Honda CBR 250. Expect Hyosung to bring in its 250cc. Won't speculate on the price.

But the gap isn't necessarily between Rs.1.2 lacs and Rs.2 lacs as is anticipated. The real gap is between 70k and 1.2lacs.

Expect Bajaj and TVS to launch 250cc versions of Pulsar and Apache respectively priced competitively around the Rs.1 lac mark. And that will set the country racing. Fingers very much crossed.

Nov 2, 2010

Apache RTR Hyper Edge is blunt

When I heard and read about the launch of Apache RTR Hyper Edge and saw the pics, I was surprised. For very obvious reasons Hyper Edge needed to be something more. Not just in performance but also in design. Besides, this was a strange case of giving a 'hyperbolic' name (without the corresponding changes) after the product has met with a fair amount of success anyway.

I realized that Hyper Edge is a fitting name more for Pulsar than for Apache RTR. Especially from a design perspective. I've tried breaking apart the designs of both the bikes to show why Pulsar is the Hyper Edgy bike.

Focus on the yellow lines below. Apache RTR Hyper Edge. These are the dominant lines I see when I look at the bike.

Now look at Pulsar.

You'll notice that there are fewer dominant lines (at least in the way I see) in Pulsar as compared to Apache Hype Edge. Lines seem to converge in Pulsar. Lines are closely aligned. Against this, lines in Apache are far more distant. They don't seem to converge. Forget edginess, there's very little to call sharp.

Fewer lines cut sharper. More lines will of course make the edge thicker. You get the logic, right?

Design apart, I love the sound of an Apache machine. There, they've got it right. But I guess the sound isn't enough (as it is for a Royal Enfield) to make it a cult.