Dec 10, 2011

Impulse is just not impulsive - a test-ride review

Picture courtesy:
Just went for a test-ride of Impulse from the newly christened Hero Motocorp.

Well, I knew that the engine is the same that's planted in CBZ Xtreme and Hunk. But the styling captivated me enough to check it out and ride.

Well, the showroom guy, who must be anywhere around 75-78 kgs, also sat behind :(. Since Hero has styled it like an off-roader and calls it a transroader, I was expecting - in spite of my prior knowledge of the engine - that the bike will pull rather sprightly. It doesn't. It runs like a typical 150cc. I don't believe that!

On the positive side though, the fit and finish is great. The build quality impresses. Color-schemes are super. However, these are a given I suppose for the money that one pays to own one.

Tyres and spokes are definitely the kind that can serve well on a rough patch. Stance is good too. But given its apparent character (going by the styling) and Hero's desire to position it as a transroader, Impulse really disappoints. The engine needed to be more responsive for sure, so what if it's a 150cc.

I own an FZ. And it feels more responsive than the Impulse.

What disappoints me about Hero is this half-hearted attempt; surely it is more than the sticker-jobs that it is typically known for. But it is still half-hearted and exposes Hero's limitations in engineering. Impulse is an eye-candy. But stops just at that. Doesn't back it up with performance. Is the intention to just take in the moolah without doing the hard work?

Hero might just lose another battle in spite of taking the lead and popularizing a new category of bike.

Nov 20, 2011

A test ride review of Boxer BM150

Day before in the evening, I checked out the Boxer BM150 in person.

Was pretty excited with anticipation. But no sooner did I see the handlebar and the speedo-console, my excitement vanished. The build quality as judged from the handlebar is rather pathetic; I'm aware it's meant for the rural terrain. There are two aspects to build quality: symmetry/balance and the feeling of sturdiness. I found both lacking.

Paint-job is rather dull. Splendor looks better any day and perhaps also feels better.

I went for a short-ride any way. The bike is sprightly in its pick-up and that's the only good part. The sound is nothing spectacular. Yes, the seat's fairly broad and comfortable. And there's accessory for carrying heavy stuff.

Not very different from any 100cc bike for rural folks. But I'm sure everyone, whether urban or rural or wherever, want a great build.

On the new Bullet's thump

Just read this article 'Biting the Bullet' in BT dated 27th Nov 2011. Sharing the most interesting bit:
But the new engine, unlike the old, had hydraulic tappets, a new engine arrangement, new metal and fewer moving parts. Obviously it did not produce the vibrations and the beat of the old, but international experts were consulted and sound mapping carried out for over 1,000 hours to ensure it produced maximum rhythmic vibrations possible and a beat, which was 70 per cent of the amplitude of the original.
It further says:
After much testing, the silencer was extended to capture, to the extent possible, the throb of the old engine.
Now that's how we sustain a brand. Great job! Innovation in mechanics to please the senses in the same old ways. Lovely.

Sep 22, 2011

Yamaha R15 v2.0 vs Honda CBR250

Happened to visit Yamaha showroom today. Was eager to check the new R15. Remarkable is what I can. The fit and finish of the bike reeks of quality from the tiniest nut to the big sporty fairing.

Ever since the launch, lot of enthusiasts pointed out the thin rear tyre. Now, it's really becoming. The width now is 130mm. For a comparison, the width of an FZ16 rear tyre is 140mm. That's how wide the rear-tyre of the new R15 is.

The styling is top-notch. When I say this, I can tell you that all pictures circulating on the web do not do justice. You have to see it in person.

I also happened to visit a Honda showroom couple of days back. Here are some pics of the CBR250.

To my mind, without a doubt, R15 beats CBR250 in matters of styling and build-quality. A lot of enthusiasts have also felt that.

Now, if thinking of buying a affordable new sporty bike, which one of the two should one opt for? I've ridden R15 on quite a few occasions. Haven't yet tested the CBR250. Surely, power makes a difference in our riding experience. I, for one, prefer to cruise at a safe speed instead of shooting off the block as if the earth is crumbling behind me. Even if I buy a CBR250, I wouldn't ride it like mad. R15 gave me a lot of happiness. Choice would be mighty tough. CBR250 might just about win.

Sep 9, 2011

First bits on Bajaj Boxer 150cc

Impressive! Yes, I haven't gone nuts. I like what I see. Had I not bought my FZ16, would've seriously considered this one. Neat lines. Stripped, almost. Classic curvy fairing with the head-light. 150cc for 42k. Nice!

I would do two things though. Change the silencer to a straighter one, preferably in chrome. Also remove the carrier at the rear.

One more thing. I might change the handle-bar to a flatter one.
Great buy, this. Wanna test-ride one soon.

Aug 9, 2011

Some pics of my Yamaha FZ16, the cruiser!

Look good, no? :)

It's a looker from all angles.

Slightly changed angle. The bike looks meaty. Hunk keeps talking. This one's understated and yet commands a presence.

I think very few bikes match the stance that FZ offers. It corroborates the claim 'Lord of the Streets'. More than that, the stance also makes riding extremely easy and pleasurable. I would venture to say that the stance itself makes this bike so fit for cruising - far better than Avenger 200 which I used to own at one point in time. I owned a Bullet Machismo as well some 3 years back and I can say that the stance of this bike is better than that offered by a Royal Enfield Classic or even an Electra. Don't believe me? Check them out.

Bullet, I must admit, has a lot going for it now. Great looks, great stance, much better engine and the greatest sound. Avenger in comparison is diminutive and ridiculous as a cruising machine. In fact, Avenger is a shame. Hopeless braking, rather unbecoming pick-up. The only thing that might appeal to one and all is the look. Power notwithstanding, an FZ offers a far enriching cruising experience than an Avenger. And even when compared with a Bullet, at around 60-65kmph, FZ would fare and feel better as a cruiser.


The bike feels so stable and well-grounded; the word 'Lord' fits so well.

This is my favorite pic!

Jul 13, 2011

Lean Beast

One of the things that has kept my life interesting for the last 2 months. The longest ride has been 45 kms so far. With company I might go farther.

Jun 17, 2011

Burly Red Beast

Couldn't resist motorcycling any more. While I liked the yellow one for sure, I couldn't move away from the red. And I booked one yesterday. Should get my hands on it tomorrow or, in any case, in a couple of days.

So the strange list of motorcycles I've owned and ridden now looks like this:
  1. Hero Honda Splendor (1996-1998)
  2. Yamaha RXG 135 (1998-2004)
  3. Bajaj Kawasaki Wind 125 (2004-2006)
  4. Royal Enfield Machismo (2006-2008)
  5. Bajaj Avenger 200 (2007-2009)
  6. Yamaha FZ16 (2011...)
And of course, I've experienced quite a few other bikes as well in all these years.

So yes, after a 2-year hiatus, am back to motorcycling. Why FZ16? Not that I am a very knowledgeable motorcyclist or a motorcycle tourist. Though I ride fast and have deft reflexes, never had an instinct or desire to race or stunt or turn sharply around corners. Whatever it is, for me when it comes to automobiles, nothing beats the simple pleasure of riding on two wheels. And while riding is the best experience, I can sense the refinement of a motorcycle simply on the basis of the engine sound and the way it looks. My feeling before and after riding the FZ stayed the same - it is the most-refined and most-exciting little motorcycle India has. That's why the choice.

I'll keep readers posted on my experience with the burly little red beast.

May 18, 2011


And just when I thought I would succumb to the yellow temptation... Red always has a way of sneaking in to my life. Or rather I let it. Coz I love it. I'm living my words out: RED RIDING DUDE. 5 days to wait.

I suppose I am happier buying this before buying a motorcycle. Motors are so lethargy-inducing. Let me ride singing, with the winds, to the beats of my heart :). Poetic, no? ;)

May 15, 2011

Burly got yellow


And just when I thought it is getting boring, it got yellow! Yes, the red riding dude likes yellow! ;) This color was long long awaited by many enthusiasts I suppose. Undoubtedly, the best looking 150 in the country.

May 8, 2011

The way I think about buying motorcycles

I am not gonna write an essay here. But I'll give you an idea. :) As mentioned in my last post, I am contemplating buying one of the following:

FZ16 (I can buy immediately), or
Classic 500! :D (perhaps in a couple of months I might be able to make the provisions), or
Bandit! :D :D (Yes, the 1250cc Bandit! God knows when I would be able to manage that kind of spare monies. Perhaps in about an year's time...)

The fear in waiting is that petrol would become so prohibitive that the one wouldn't feel like buying a Bandit at all. It would rob you instead! ;)

What a Royal surprise!

I've been contemplating buying a bike off late.

A few days back I visited the Royal Enfield showroom at Ambawadi, Ahmedabad. Wasn't as interested in the test-ride as I was in knowing the price of Bullet Electra. So after a brief 5 minutes at the showroom, I was on my way.

Yesterday, in the afternoon, I got a call from Rakesh - I suppose he handles (or may be owns, I am not sure) that showroom. He asked me what I was thinking. Hearing my answer, he simply said, "I giving you a 500 for a day. Ride it for a day and then think. I am sending my guy with the bike at around 6."

And I had a Classic 500 for a day. I went for a ride to Gandhinagar in the evening. 55kms. Dad rode it too to the factory in the morning. 40kms. All combined we did a little more than 100kms before I returned the bike to the showroom.

I must say a lot has improved. Clutching. Gear-shifting. Starting, etc. And the one important (perhaps the most important thing) has stayed the same. The THUMP. And  the throbbing feeling you get riding a Bullet is just the same. I had a Machismo 350 (AVL engine) earlier and I sense 'this thump' is closer to the original than the one I remember of my Machismo.

As disappointed as I was with my experience at Royal Enfield showroom at Bandra Mumbai, this one thrilled me. And the gesture of offering me the bike for a day was oh so 'royal'. Policies are the same for every showroom; how the prospect feels depends on the man present at the moment of truth.

I might just buy a Classic 500 now!

Apr 26, 2011

Motorcycle industry suffering from imitancy

As avid a motorcycler as I am, it surprises me that I've been without a motorcycle for almost 2 years now. When I am out on the street I keep looking at motorcycles, pretty intently, as if one of them (the motorcycle models) will really really fascinate me and propel me to buy it.

But it doesn't happen. All the motorcycles more or less look the same. Similar lines, similar essence. The entire industry, especially in India, is suffering from imitancy.

A model has to make shit loads of money for the manufacturers. If there is a slight inkling that it will make a little less money then it won't be launched. At least that's what I gather from all the action happening in this space.

Companies making hundreds and thousands of crores of money aren't launching any niche products. As sales in lacs is the only success parameter for a model, aficionados are barely getting the stuff which would excite them.

No doubt, many enthusiasts revel in whatever is available and affordable and make the best of the situation. But the more I've come to appreciate the nuances of motorcycling, the more difficult it is for me to accept the current crop of motorcycles.

Yamaha is an exception. R15 and FZ-16 do break the mould. I might go for one of these if nothing appropriate (read Kawasaki W800, Yamaha RD350, etc. type bikes) launches in the near future.

Jan 31, 2011

Eye Candy - Kawasaki W800

Wonder when will stuff like this come to India. I don't want 800cc. 200, 300 or 400 is enough. This stuff leaves me droooooooooooolin' :).

Now don't tell me get a Bullet Classic. I have many reasons not to buy that one. Had booked it once; sure it looks good and has a new engine too. But I got tired of the waiting period. Besides, a lot still to be desired as far as service is concerned.

Triumph or Kawasaki must develop one such model for India. I'll buy.

Know more about Kawasaki W800 here.