Ducati Monster – Out With the Old, In With the New

“Ducati Monster” – These two words, even by themselves, evoke a myriad of thoughts and emotions. But put them together and you create a blend of passion, style, history, soul and a little bit of fear. The Monster began its humble beginnings in 1993. Built primarily from existing components of bikes already in production, the Monster was literally “frankenstiened” together. Since then this beastly bike would become an icon, rarely maintaining its stock looks. Almost every Monster you find has been altered or personalized somehow. Somewhere in its DNA, whether evolution or mutation is at work, these machines don’t want to be like other bikes. Starting with dropping its shrouds, the “naked bike” was born. Who needs clothes anyway? Interestingly the mods done usually have nothing to do with shortcomings, but everything to do with a rider looking at it and knowing that it must be somehow tamed. Most common mods are clip on handle bars (giving it a sport bike feel), coring the exhaust to let the exhaust rumble and growl or dual headlights that give you eyes in the dark. Chopping the tail and cutting the back frame get rid of the unsightly “Beer tray” fender that makes your bike look like it’s wearing granny panties. New levers, pegs, sliders, sprockets, removing extra parts, are all easy mods that don’t break the bank, but leave you hungry to personalize even more. Fewer parts to paint allow easy color changes and custom schemes but there’s always the guy who strips off everything except the essentials – leaving a raw bare animal. Even Ducati themselves have answered the mod call by making versions of the bike inspired by famous racers and movies. (The ‘Matrix Reloaded’ version is pretty cool).

In 2007 something happened. Ducati decided it was time to update perfection. How is that possible? There were whispers in the dark and conspiracy theories about the new bike. How could it be anything short of miraculous? This new offering from the gods would surely possess all good things we knew and add wonderful fantastic attributes that we hadn’t even dreamed of. When finally unveiled, it was almost biblical, complete with beams of light from heaven and angelic choirs. Much like Moses parting the Red Sea, there it was – this unholy offering for us mere mortals. And like the sea, Ducati enthusiast worldwide immediately found themselves on different sides. Some instantly fell in love with its fresh styling and thick lines where everything seemed broken and smooth at the same time. It was still formidable and aggressive but now it was modern to its last bolt.

Others found themselves less enchanted. Was it the buildup? Like waiting for Christmas as a kid with stars in your eyes only to find out that your new Superman cape wouldn’t help you fly. Questions like, “What was wrong with the old one?” and “Is that all?” were often heard when discussing the new look.

Looking back was there anything wrong with the old monster with its classic lines and sensual form that was both beguiling and intimidating at the same time? A beauty that demanded worship yet looked like it might charge your ass if you turned your back.

Still not sure which to go for? Here’s a neutral, unbiased opinion.

Everything about the new generation of Monsters is amazing, as expected. Cool new features and impressive technology mark it as a modern beast. As you move up the line of models from the 696, the 796 and the 1100 EVO, it’s going to melt your face off with insane power and speed. These Monsters are true Ducati masterpieces.

But something is different with this latest offering. Since they first rolled out of Italy, these bikes have been gobbled up by enthusiasts. This new generation of Monsters has outsold anything Ducati has ever released and as time goes by they have increased in popularity. As of today, it’s been five years in production. The odd thing is, most new Monsters do have something missing – clever mods. Sure you see new levers or aftermarket exhaust and if you want to change schemes just buy new cowling for the tank. The only consistent mod seems to be a fender eliminator (you don’t even have to cut the frame on these!). So the question is asked, why are these Monsters not being personalized like the old school Monsters? Is it the demographic of customer? Maybe the bikes are still too new and novel. Maybe owners are worried about devaluation. Or what if this new breed got an extra shot of modern, but with a little less soul? Of course, it’s also possible that Ducati has built the perfect Monster, and why would you want to change perfection

BMW S1000RR – One of the Top Ten Fastest Motorbike

If you are a motorcycle enthusiast, you will surely love this motorcycle with all its awesome features. I have personally loved this bike for it performance and durability. I have never seen a motorcycle as great as this one and I am sure that it can be one of the best motorcycles ever. The stability and performance is at par and its over all appearance is simply stunning and breath-taking.

The size of the task BMW undertook 8 years ago to build a new, full-on superbike is difficult to exaggerate. For years, Japanese motorbikes such as the Honda Fireblade, Suzuki GSX-R1000, Yamaha R1 and Kawasaki ZX-10R have all displayed the excellence of Japanese motoring and engineering and these will also be featured in our top 10 fastest motorbike countdown.

Here are some for specifications for the BMW S1000RR:

Price/on sale: £13,655/Current 2012 range

Engine: 999cc

Power/torque: 190bhp at 13,000rpm/83lb ft at 9,750rpm

Top speed: 190mph (est)

Engine size: 999cc

Power: 193bhp

Top speed: 186mph

Insurance group 17

Buyers will look first at outright and overall performance of a bike before choosing to buy it, with manufacturers such as Suzuki, Honda and other Japanese motorbike makers, have all built a unique reputation with consumers in developing and providing some of the worlds best motorbikes and biking technology, as proven by the fact that a lot of the bikes on our top 10 fastest motorbike list are Japanese bikes. BMW in this case never have had that unique heritage or reputation in producing motorbikes so instantly this made it hard for them to penetrate the motorbiking market. Generally heritage and race pedigree account for something to consumers, but most are happy to swap and try different brands if the model produced by a well reputed company has not been deemed as “up to scratch”.

BMW’s history of launching four cylinder motorcycles has not been the best for the company, e.g. the K100 in 1984. Receiving bad reviews from critics and consumers alike, however, the S1000 RR swept everyone away upon release, it is as natural and easy to ride as the well reputed Honda Fireblade, quicker than the Suzuki GSX-R1000 and better equipped than all current Japanese super-bikes, except for maybe the Italian Ducatti 1198S which is a exclusive bike in it’s own category, also to be featured on our top 10 fastest motorbikes list.

What Are Benefits Of Motorcycle Trailers During Road Travel?

Camper trailers are one of the most sought after motor vehicle of people who loves to travel by land. Thrill seekers who love road trips would dream to have their very own camper trailers for their road trip adventures.

These trailers are excellent travel companions as these can provide travelers the opportunity to enjoy the basic home facilities while on the road.

Today, there are several forms of camper trailers to suit every traveler’s preference and degree of comfort. Some trailers have high-class facilities to provide people a fancy road travel experience. While there also ordinary, which contains basic facilities enough to provide a homely comfort to people who are on the road.

One of the most famous types of camper trailer is a motorcycle trailer. Motorcycle trailers are perfect for people who frequently travel alone. This may be small but it has provided people a lot of travel advantages. Below are some of the benefits you can get if you choose to travel with a motorcycle trailer:

• It is more affordable than the other forms of trailers in the market. If you love to travel alone by land, a motorcycle camper trailer is a perfect travel buddy. If you frequently travel alone, there is no need to invest for a more expensive and bigger trailer.

• They are easy to put together. Setting up this whole thing is easier; you can do it alone in a matter of minutes.

• These are easy to maintain unlike other huge trailers which require a lot of regular maintenance and clean-up. There is no need to invest a lot of money to keep a motorcycle camper trailer in an excellent working condition.

• Provides you the convenience of bringing along heavy stuffs during road travel. If you have important stuffs that you need to bring along for your trip, a motorcycle trailer can make carrying those bulky and heavy stuffs easier.

• Since a motorcycle trailer is small and lightweight, this type is easy to store. There is no need to worry to look for huge space for storage when it is not in use.

• It can be towed in other compact size vehicle like a tiny smart car. Towing this in a small car even has very low impact on your gas consumption which is very economical.

• You will be able to enjoy the various natural attractions along the road. The joys of driving alone and witness the great outdoor view is an awesome experience.

• You have your own mini space to stay during road travel. They can be considered your own personal space for your entire trip.

If you love the thrill of the great outdoors, you can always purchase your very own motorcycle trailer. Motorcycle camper trailers are excellent alternative to huge and fancy trailers. Travel with ease and comfort with these motorcycle trailers and it will never disappoint you.

Harley Davidson Street 500 and Street 750 – High End Performing Segment Now In India

Whenever the conversation is about bikes or primarily Harley Davidson, there is an adrenaline rush in all the bike buffs, especially my husband. He is a thrill junky just like all you guys out there and this excitement is definitely going to upsurge, as soon as you people know that Harley Davidson Street 500 and Street 750 is all set to hit Indian roads.

Heavy Weight HD Cruisers

All the Harley Davidson huge machines have been known for their weight, as every bike weighs no less than any 800 cc power mill. However, after 13 years the company has launched a stylish pair of cruise bikes at EICMA (November, 2013) in Milan.

One thing that makes the twin motorcycles very special for the Indian market is the fact that India is going to be one of the two producer markets for these heavy machines. The bikes will be assembled at a plant in Bawal, Haryana, India. The best reason to love these brand new versions is that the two cruisers will be the cheapest Harley bikes since the origin of HD. Their launch in India is scheduled by the mid of 2014 and the final announcements for the bikes will be done at Delhi Auto Expo in February.

A Sneak Peak At HD Street 500 and Street 750

The stylish Harley Davidson Street 500 and Street 750 have been designed for urban environments with all new liquid cooled Revolution X powertrains. The nimble agility, perfect HD looks and that amazing sound is sure to turn many heads and bring that astounding expression on face. Surely, many of you bikers would have started visualizing by now.

Both the cruisers have incredible features like typical cruiser front end, flat matt metal tank, all black two-in-one exhaust, metal fenders, steel frame, black pullback handlebars, distinctive finishing of rear side with LED tail lights and comfy saddles for pillion and rider. The best part in its looks is the 17 inch front and 15 inch rear Michelin tires with alloy rims and the feet set forward rider footrests.

The illuminated instrument console with a round speedometer, digital display, mini bullet signals and easy lock to lock sweep in these bikes is amazing. There is an extra ground clearance and suspension travel of 50 mm at the front chassis in both designs. The 6 speed gearbox with 1 down and 5 up shift pattern along with single caliper, ventilated disk brakes at both the wheels make these machines really influential.

What Sets Them Apart?

The only thing that sets them apart is the engine. Street 750 has 4 valves per head, 749 cc, 4 strokes, liquid cooled, rear wheel drive, 60 degree V-twin, Revolution X engine that has very high immaculate power and acceleration statistics as compared to its other 500 cc counterparts. However, Street 500 is enriched with 4 valves per head, 494 cc, 4 strokes; liquid cooled, rear wheel drive, 60 degree V-twin, Revolution X engine and boasts amazing power. All these remarkable features have definitely gathered many thumbs up already, for their high end performance.

Comparing Two Super Bikes – Yamaha R1 VS R6

Let me start with the introduction of R1.

R1 can storm from not to 100 km/hr. in less than 3 seconds and go about a top speed of 300 km/hr. This level of performance is impossible to measure on urban roads. So, we were on a race track to get the true feel of the ‘World’s Super Bike Race’ winner.

Those of you who know super bikes might be a little disappointed 2012 version of this bike because it looks exactly like its previous models apart from color changes. But if you look closer, there are a couple of detail changes.

The overall shape of the bike remains the same but it has a big nose with bigger L.E.D lights to give an attractive headlight look. It’s more aerodynamic too.

This bike has basically the same engine that it had last year. Asking about the new thing, it has an updated E.C.U (Engine Control Unit). It may be an inline four-cylinder engine but what sets it apart from other inline four-cylinders is the way it makes it power. It’s Yamaha’s crank design and a change in the firing order of its four cylinders, it gives that special character. The connection between the throttle, rear tire and the road feels more alive and you feel more in control. The 2012 model has introduced an extra and very important feature to keep you safe, the Traction Control.

The T.C.S. or the Traction Control System has six settings. On number six you can catch the fun nice and early and on number you get a lot more slides before it starts to get speed. You can change the settings by a switch on the left handle bar.

But, how does the T.C.S. work?

There is a sensor on the front and rear wheel of the bike. When the rear wheel starts turning faster than the front, the system understands that it should maintain a balance. So it starts adjusting different parameters such as ignition timing and throttle opening and brings everything under control.

You can also turn this system off. But, I would suggest you to leave it to the experts.

Now let me talk about the king of 600 cc sports bike. Yes, I am talking about the Yamaha’s R6.

If R1 is all about the engine, then R6 is all about the handling. The smaller size and comparatively less weight allow this bike to turn much more quickly which makes it easier to hustle around the track. Nothing much has changed this bike and it doesn’t needs to. It is still the best bike under the 600 cc category.

This bike has only 600 cc four-cylinder engine and 50 horsepower less than R1. So, ultimately it is not as quick as the latter. But, this doesn’t make it a soft option. In many ways, this bike is a hardcore option. It is a focused track weapon.

Conclusion:

R1 is the best choice if you are looking for speed and power. But, if you want control, handling and a perfect design, I would suggest you to go for R6.

Choosing Your Motorcycle – How to Choose the Best Bike for Your Needs

This month’s column is about choosing the best motorcycle to fit your needs. Selecting the right bike might just help keep you out of a situation where you need a motorcycle lawyer! Before we get to my list of criteria for selecting your bike, I thought it might be useful to put together a few questions you should be asking yourself as you make this decision.

  • How long have you been riding? Do you have beginner, intermediate or expert level riding skills?
  • What type of riding will you be doing? Weekend tours and rallies? Offroad? Commuting to work or school?
  • What kinds of streets will you be on? Surface streets? The freeway or interstate? Rural 2-lane blacktops?

Once you’ve answered these general questions about your goals and desires for riding, you can attack these more specific questions and criteria.

    1. Assess your needs – Will you be riding in heavy traffic, long distances or only on weekends? For instance, if you are looking for a weekend toy, you might be tolerant of a sleek, but uncomfortable bike. However, if you plan on using your motorcycle to take you to work each day, you will need comfort, storage and durability.
    1. Choose a bike that fits your body – Because there are so many types of bikes available today, you must sit on, and if at all possible, test drive the motorcycle you intend to buy. The test drive will show you the ergonomic differences between the models you’re considering, and the contrast between what you expected and the reality of the bike. When doing this, make sure you keep an open mind because regardless of what you think you want, if you do not chose the correct motorcycle, you will find reasons not to ride it. And a bike that is suited to your body is a much safer bike than one that is too large, or too powerful, etc.
    1. New or used? This is a bigger question than most people realize because most motorcycle riders would prefer a new bike if given a choice. But if you’ve already started window shopping, you know these things are not cheap. Buying a used bike can give you most of the same thrills you’d get from a new bike without the big price tag. On the other hand, they may not be quite as shiny as you’d like. Again, it depends on what you really hope to get out of your purchase. Remember, since a used bike has already depreciated, they may offer a better value for your hard-earned dollar.
  1. Consider the total cost of ownership (TCO) – When preparing to buy a motorcycle you need to realistically estimate the expenses you will encounter from its operation over its entire lifecycle. This means more than simply buying the motorcycle and estimating what maintenance will cost. For starters, before buying, you should get at least 3 insurance estimates. I have had many clients spend between $3,000 and $30,000 on the bike, and then not have the money to insure it properly, and so end up purchasing the minimum required motorcycle insurance coverage.

Then, we all know what happens next… a motorcycle accident occurs and they don’t have collision, comprehensive, uninsured and/or underinsured motorist (UI/UIM)coverage and ultimately they find themselves without a motorcycle, and no way to get compensated for their injuries.

Long story short: don’t jump into this decision without some serious thought – even soul searching! This is a big ticket item.

I would also suggest that prior to buying, you enroll in and take the motorcycle safety course if it is offered in your state (it is required in many states to get your license).

Then, once you become a licensed biker you follow the path that I followed, which is to buy a used motorcycle for a few thousand dollars, spend three to six months learning on it, and when you feel ready, shop for the motorcycle of your dreams.

Hero Xtreme – The Xtreme Bike

In a bid to revive its popular 150 cc commuter offering, the Xtreme, Hero MotoCorp had launched a refreshed model. Targeted at youth looking for a stylish and powerful motorcycle, does the Xtreme do justice to this factor? Let us find out.

The Xtreme comes with a new headlight which has an updated visor. The LED tail lamp cluster has a new design. The design of the rear fender and grab rails has changed as well. The blackened side cowls on the tail section accentuate the youthfulness of the bike. The end can is painted in matte finish. The design of the five double-spoked alloys gets black paint.

The bike is available in five colours – mercuric silver, jazz blue, fiery red, panther black and magma orange.

The instrument cluster is one of the best in class and has silver accents and features an analog tachometer, a digital speedometer, clock and a fuel gauge. The console has blue background light. The side stand indicator in found in the middle, while the other markers for high beam, side indicators, neutral light and a service due reminder are present on the sides. The font on the digital clock is easily readable.

One eye catching feature is the 12 V charger placed under the seat. Incidentally, the Xtreme is the only motorcycle in the 150 cc segment of motorcycles in India to get this feature.

The Xtreme uses the same tried and tested air-cooled 149 cc single-cylinder engine that produces 14.4 bhp of power at 8500 rpm and 12.8 Nm of torque at 6500 rpm. The motor is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The 5 speed gear box comes with 1 down 4 up gearshift is almost slick and smooth to use. Braking power comes from a single 240 mm disc brake at the front and an optional 220 mm disc brake at the rear. The standard variant gets a 130 mm drum brake setup at the rear. It returns a decent 45-50 kmpl fuel economy on an average in the city and on the highways.

The bike can reach up to 60 kmph in around 5.3 s, whereas it touches 100 kmph in 18.3 s

The engine is powerful and at high revs it is smooth and can push the 145 kg bike forward briskly. The electric start or AMI (Advanced Microprocessor Ignition) system can fire up the motor while the kick-start is still retained. The bike does not have an engine kill switch.

The 2014 Xtreme is available in five colours – black, red, silver, black-red and orange. The motorcycle competes in the highly competitive 150 cc commuter segment which includes Bajaj Pulsar 150, Suzuki GS150R and the Honda CB Trigger.

Royal Enfield Classic

The Royal Enfield Limited is a Chennai based two-wheeler manufacturing company which uses the brand name ‘Royal Enfield’ originally of the already extinct British company, Royal Enfield. They are specialists in semi luxury bikes. The Royal Enfield Classic, an iconic bike, is available in India since 1955.

The Royal Enfield Classic comes in 4 variants – Classic 350, Classic 500, Classic Desert Storm and the Classic Chrome, priced at Rupees 1,24,501, Rupees 1,56,304, Rupees 1,61,689 and Rupees 1,69,116 respectively. The conventional console of all these bikes have an analogue speedometer, an analogue fuel gauge, low fuel, low oil and low battery indications and a stand light. The electrical of all the bikes include a 14 Ah battery, 60/50 watt halogen head lamps, 21/5 watt brake/tail lights and a pass light.

The Royal Enfield Classic 350 is powered by a 346 cc, 13 bhp and 28 NM torque air cooled engine. The Classic 500, the Desert Storm and the Chrome have air cooled 499 cc volume, 27 bhp and 41 NM torque engines. All have constant vacuum type carburetors, digitilised ignition with double spark plugs and a 5 speed manual transmission. The clutch is wet multi plate type and the transmission is by chain drive.

The Chassis of all the Classic variants are single down tube with engine as a stressed member. The forward suspension is telescopic type with 35 mm fork and the rear suspension is twin gas charged shock absorbers with 5 step adjustment. The wheels of the Classic variants are 19″ size at the front and 18″ size at the rear. The tyres are 90/90×19 at the front and 110/90×18 at the rear for the Classic 350. For other variants the tyres are 90/90×19 at the front and 120/80×18 at the rear. The brakes are 280 mm disc at the front and 153 mm drum at the rear for all the variants.

The Royal Enfield Classic 350 accelerates from 0 to 60 kmph in 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of 130 kmph. The Classic 500 accelerates from 0 to 60 kmph in 3 seconds and the other two in 4.75 seconds with top speeds of 131 kmph. The fuel efficiency (ARAI) of the Classic 350 is 52 kmpl and of the other three 39 kmpl.

The Enfield Classic weighs between 187 and 190 kg and its ground clearance is 135 mm. The Desert Storm is available in desert brown colour and the others in royal maroon, black and white.

The engine and the built quality are the plus points of the Classic. A better console and disc brakes would have made the Classic better. The closest competition comes from the likes of the Bajaj Avenger and the Royal Enfield Thunderbird.

Hero Pleasure – A Pleasing Ride

Hero MotoCorp Limited, formerly known as the Hero Honda, is the largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the world. In the Indian market, the Hero brand accounts for nearly 40% share. The Hero MotoCorp dominates the lower capacity segments up to 150 cc. Hero Pleasure is a 100 cc scooter which has sales of nearly 25,000 units every month. The daily commuting college girls and office going ladies prefer the Pleasure because of the ease in handling it on the city roads. Even daily commuting male passengers increasingly use the Pleasure.

Hero Pleasure was launched in 2005, and it was refreshed in 2013 when the Hero MotoCorp updated many of their models. Priced at around Rupees 43,600, the Pleasure comes in attractive colours of black, green, blue, red, orange, silver, purple, white and a combination of red and white. The special features of the Pleasure are a large storage space below the seat for storing items like helmets and sundry items like bottles and papers and a mobile charging socket below the handle bar. The integrated brake system allows right lever usage for front brakes only and left lever usage for the front and rear brakes together.

The console of the Pleasure has an analogue speedometer, fuel gauge and a low fuel indicator. The electricals of this self start scooter include a 4 Ah capacity MF battery, 35w multi reflector headlamps, 5/21 watt tail/brake lamps and a stand indicator. The Chassis is high rigidity under bone type and the suspension is bottom link with hydraulic damper at the front and swing arm with hydraulic damper at the rear.

The Hero Pleasure is powered by a 102 cc, 7 ps and 7.85 NM torque engine with carburetor type injection and CDI type ignition with one spark plug. The clutch is dry automatic with chain transmission. The Pleasure accelerates from 0 to 60 kmph in 9.9 seconds and has a mileage of 54 kmpl and a top speed of 77 kmph.

The dimensions of the 104 kg Hero pleasure are 1750 mm length, 705 mm width, 1115 mm height, 1240 mm wheel base and 125 mm ground clearance. The wheels are 10″ alloy wheels and the tyres are tubeless with the specification 3.50×10-4PR/51J at the front and the rear. The brakes are internally expanding drum type at the front and the rear.

The integrated braking system, extra storage spaces, lightweight, a large oval shaped easy to read console and larger and wider comfortable seat are the plus points of the Hero Pleasure. The ride quality, style, overall mileage and the brake system are also above average. The main competition for Hero Pleasure comes from the popular scooters like Honda Dio and the TVS Scooty Pep+.

Evolution of the Royal Enfield Cafe Racers: Then and Now

The name Royal Enfield is a name that resonates with terms like strength, macho and many such words that talk of masculinity. They have been in the picture for a really long time now, but what is interesting to see is the timeline in which they emerged and how they have become what they are today!

The cafe racer scene was seen emerging in the 1950s when Britain had started to upgrade its roads and was reviving itself from the war, the cafe racers then became the ideal bike for people who were always on the move. Then again in 1956, the cafe racer took a new turn and became a bike that was modified with low handle bars and became a machine that could be ridden faster than any other motorcycle from one café to another!

After a few years, in 1961, Royal Enfield came into the picture and that is when it changed the way the bike was looked at! These bikes were a breath of fresh air to the bikers that were earlier not so happy with the performance of the bikes that were available in that time.

Soon after, in 1964 the Royal Enfield was called Britain’s “fastest 250”! Because of its excellent capabilities as a newer better model, the bike was taken for a spin and drove pretty well for a 250cc engine with an average speed of 73 mph.

The dip in 1970 in the motorcycle industry did not let the growing popularity of the Royal Enfield slow down, rather the new models that did come in sold pretty well even in the slow slump that had taken over Great Britain.

1985 saw the revival of these bikes and after being inactive for nearly 2 decades, the motorcycle industry suddenly became big with the coming in of better cafe race bikes. The bikes were popular not only in Britain but had also started to gain recognition in India.

The cafe racers till date are the favorite and the most popular bikes amongst many bike enthusiasts and have been unveiled as a great concept in a lot of countries! Today, these bikes are the perfect mix of sporty and athletic accompanied by good looks. The Royal Enfield today is a special favorite of all bike lovers around the world and has been successful in holding its ground and making a place in the hearts of the people.