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Pulsar Stunts – Making of the Pulsar Mania November 1, 2009

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The making

The result

Royal Enfield Thunderbird – Shot through the heart October 31, 2009

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Setting up the scene

My Computer! Working late night!

My Computer! Working late night!

It’s been one of my most difficult weeks. Chilling at the beginning of the month and slogging 24×7 on the last week made me like apple picker Robert Frost . Already through three continuous night-outs, I called up my friend. “Dude, I am not coming for the trip… lot of work pending”. “Kill you”, my friend replied. Later in the day, another friend called up. He told me that he will get a Royal Enfield Thunderbird to hit the trip. Instant memory loss, that would even make ‘Sanjay Singhania’ proud, hit me. I forgot office, I forgot the distance. “Lets do it”.

Calling it a day

Bullet Thunderbird

Bullet Thunderbird

I dressed up in true buleteer fashion – rugged levis and trigger tees. I felt proud to dust my brown Monte Carlo jacket. All zipped up and ready at 4 a.m. A distant rumble announced the arrival. It was dark. It was love at first sight. My friend was supposed to drive until daylight and thus I had to pass a painful time – waiting to grab the handlebars of the T’bird. Thump Thump Thump Thump… we rode without missing a beat. I eyed the tacho – merrily hovering at a 3 tonne and the speedo at a 100. That’s the meat of the bike. Period.

Moi @ Hampi

Moi @ Hampi

As daylight broke, we stopped for piss and to stretch out the vertebral column. And then it was my turn to twist the ignition. Your’s truly was truly impressed. This is a bike you ride on. It can make a Paul Teutul, Sr. of a Swaminathan. Your ego shoots up, attitute builds and you discover the masculine within. You wish to grow a moustache and want to flaunt ur packs.

Adventure Unlimited - Thats the Bullet

Adventure Unlimited - That's the Bullet

Today’s bullets might not be the ‘thumpiest’ but still they are a class apart. It set’s apart the pot bellied men from skinny virgin boys. I rode all over the rocks of Hampi. My most memorable ride to date. It made me think the next thing I should do is to straight away go and book a bullet. Is this known as falling in love? Very much.

Pulsar Addiction October 28, 2009

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Everyone knows that the Pulsar is a revolutionary bike here in India. Having owned the first generation Pulsar 150 (2002), the second generation Pulsar 180 (2005) and today driving a friend’s latest Pulsar 150, I wanted to blog my experiences with the Pulsar breed.

Pulsar 150 Classic

Classic Pulsar 150

Classic Pulsar 150

This was my first bike. Raw muscular looks. Back in 2002 it’s the bike to be on. What else could a first year college student yearn for! The Pulsar 150 had a great rush of power and was a dream bike when it comes to handling. I could draw a line on the road and ride right on it in total control. Best things I liked was the handling due to the short and excellent wheelbase. What I did not like was the clutch & gear box which felt like the ones in a municipal town bus.

Pulsar 180 – Red and black Version

2005 Pulsar 180

2005 Pulsar 180

When the second generation Pulsar 180 was launched I couldn’t resist it. The new fairing, wider wheels with black alloys and twinspark. This bike being a 180 had marginally better power and a plush ride due to the gas shocks. What I missed was the razor sharp handling. The agility is lost with the classic pulsar and the bike was more of a balanced machine. I was not able to feel the rear wheel as in my earlier pulsar. I sold the P180 in 2008 as I moved to bangalore and now drive a ’99 Rx-135.

Current Pulsar 150

Current Pulsar 150

Current Pulsar 150

It’s been a while since I rode the pulsar. My Rx-135 was sufficient fun and I occasionally used to ride my friend’s unicorn. I always used to tell my friend that the Unicorn is an amazing bike but still I would never buy it. I realized the reason again today. I drove the Pulsar 150. It beats the Unicorn hands down. Four years after selling my Pulsar 150, and today I felt like a college student again! The new Pulsar engine is more gruntier and the bike handles like an aeroplane. The way the bike roars as you accelerate is totally missing in bikes like Unicorn. The new bike has digital clocks (I don’t like the design of the meters though), wider rear tyres, engine kill switch and a surprisingly smooth gear shift. It was a short ride and I took the bike to 99kmph, it felt restricted after that but the pull until then was amazing. I am waiting to get my hands on a P220 to see how it will be, I am sure it will blow me away!

I parked the bike back and couldn’t stop grinning. Yes, it’s a boy indeed!

Karizma ZMR Vs Yamaha R15 October 19, 2009

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ZMR

ZMR

R15

R15

Let me put an end to the battle at the start itself. The best bike between ZMR and R15 is R15. But wait… given a choice to BUY a bike I would buy the ZMR. So where does the ZMR score better? Read on.

Looks

Both bikes are good lookers. But R15 is a class apart. It is a bike designed at one shot compared to the ZMR which evolved from the classic Karizma. Hence the R15 looks purposeful whereas ZMR is fanciful. R-Series styling is spot on. The Delta-box chassis suits a fully faired bike and mono-shock rear adds more juice. Relatively, the ZMR looks more fancy – a sort of hayabusiness with larger proportions. So the ZMR has better street presence whereas the R15 is extremely smart. Comparing pictures of ZMR and R15 side by side, the R15 wins hands down. But compare them on road, the ZMR’s larger proportions does make you look good enough. But, both bikes don’t have a graceful butt though 😉

Engine

Here comes the biggest difference. A tuned 150cc Vs relaxed 223cc. Both the bikes have extremely refined engines, deliver great power and are fuel injected. However the greatest difference is how they deliver power. The difference is visible in the specs:

R15: 17bhp@8500rpm, 15Nm@7500rpm

ZMR: 17.6bhp@7000rpm, 18.7Nm@6000rpm

The ZMR is around 20kg heavier so the higher torque and power are offset, but the difference is the 1500rpm difference between the two engines. In real world this makes a lot of a difference for the normal biker. In the R15 you have to wrung out pace like a racer, whereas the ZMR is a lot sedate in its power spread. So for the discerning rider, the ZMR will feel a lot faster. A proper biker would like the R15 as this is how sports bike behaves. You need to hold bikes like R15 in the power band. In contrast the ZMR is designed as a tourer for Indian conditions – Its heavy, extremely reliable, looks big and has power at lower revs. If you look closely why bullets are preferred for touring, you’ll see that power and torque peaks for a bullet as low as 2000-3000 rpm. Power at lower rpm has several advantages – a more relaxed engine, and a better drivability.

Handling

R15 wins hands down on a track. Delta box and a link type monocross suspension is way ahead compared to the ZMR. One can never catch R15 on a racing track. But on city roads the ZMR is as good as the R15.

Fuel Efficiency

Both bikes are equally good. The R15 might deliver slightly better mileage with careful driving.

Verdict

Overall the R15 is a great bike and boasts best in class technology. It looks amazing as well. The ZMR on the other hand is an evolution. ZMR appends fuel injection, disc brakes and better styling to the Karizma. At the start of the blog I had mentioned I would buy a ZMR over the R15 mainly due to the way the bike delivers power at lower revs. Personally I don’t prefer to screw the engine hard to extract performance as I wont be using the bike on track. Also, when touring a 223cc bike delivering roughly the same power, better torque and more heavy weight than a 150cc is better suited. Also within city, the ZMR has better performance and good street presence. So technically the R15 is a better bike, but if you prefer power delivery as per my taste, the ZMR is the one.

One line Verdict: Technically R15 wins, but the old wine in new bottle kicks

Tata Indigo Manza – First Impressions October 15, 2009

Posted by Abishek in Automobiles.
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Indigo Manza

Indigo Manza

Looks
Well in my opinion this is not a new car. In Tata terminology, this is just the Vista version of Indigo and Indigo is the ugly version of Indica. Sorry about being too strong in describing the Manza looks, but we are living in 2009 and not 1990 where ‘beautiful’ was Contessa and Premier 118NE. That said, the looks of Manza is not ugly and it looks like what Indigo should have looked then. Welcome changes are the better wheel arches and the tail light. Though the tail light looks better than the horrible old ones, still the rear looks bland. The Indica Vista headlamps suit perfectly a hatchback but not a sedan. Sedans are supposed to look mean or elegant and Manza does not fall under either. Overall I would rate Manza above Swift Dzire and the Logan.

Interiors
Huge space. That’s the USP since Indica and the Manza does not disappoint. The seats appear to be better designed, but the interiors are dreary grey. The steering is better with embedded control, but still the elegance/sportiness is missing. The clocks are located centrally, a layout which I don’t really appreciate.

Performance
I have not driven the Manza yet, but every Indian should have been on the Indica. Don’t expect this car to be very different exept a bit more powerful due to the Saffire Petrol. The diesel version has been good ever since and is the one to buy. Power specs of the petrol is disappointing as 90bhp for a 1.4L, which implies inefficiency. Diesel specs are quite applealing at 90 horses for a 1.3L. Also, these engines and gearbox are not upto the Japanese levels of refinement.

Ride
I expect the Manza not to be a great handler. Not even an average handler. It would be a long way before Tata can design a chasis that matches the Fords and Hondas. The small wheels neither aid the looks department nor help the performance.

Verdict
Starting at 5L, the car sounds a good value for money. Compared to Indica Vista, what you get for the few extra thousands is the boot. But what you would loose is the looks and a bit of fuel efficiency for the extra weight. This car does not look great, does not perform the best and is not as solid as a German. It’s a better looking Indigo, but is that enough reason to buy it? I wouldn’t unless I am running Easy Cabs. This car would be suitable for a taxi – low pricing, average performance, decent diesel and good passenger/luggage space.

One Line Verdict: It’s worth, but not good enough!