Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yamaha to have "safer" bikes with DataDotDNA

Bikes offer boundless sense of freedom to their owners – and they’re also seen as boundlessly free by bike thieves who know it only takes two men to lift a parked bike into a van and nick-off with it. But a bike that can always be traced back to its original owner is difficult for thieves to make a dollar from and Yamaha is taking advantage of this fact on behalf of its customers.

Since February this year, every new Yamaha motorcycle, scooter and ATV sold in Australia has been sprayed with DataDotDNA theft protection – microscopic dots that carry identifying information linking every part on the bike back to its original frame number and making stolen bikes extremely difficult to on-sell or part out. DataDotDNA are doing these sorts of deals across the world with a number of different manufacturers now, and becoming a worldwide standard in vehicle identification.

DataDotDNA is a unique theft protection system consisting of tiny microdots bearing identifying code numbers. These dots have been sprayed onto all Yamahas since 1 February 2007 enabling units and their component parts to be easily identified.
The owner, police or insurance companies can cross reference the PIN number on the microdot of any stolen unit with the VIN number of that unit. Warning decals alerting potential thieves that the unit is “Protected by DataDotDNA” complete the protection picture.
This anti-theft initiative offers every Yamaha customer a very real benefit. No-one wants their pride and joy stolen and the DataDotDNA system is an effective deterrent that highlights Yamaha’s customer focused approach, says YMA Director and General Manager Steven Cotterell.
YMA covers the cost for DataDotDNA, there is nothing for Yamaha customers to pay. Each set of dots is valued at AUS$199.95 (Rs 6,850), so there is a measurable benefit in addition to the intangible bonus of theft protection.

Electronic tagging for motorcycles (criminal or not)!!!

The BMF have highlighted in a press release today the DVLA (Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority) consultation document on the pros and cons of using EVI for motorcycles as a means of addressing both tax evasion and criminal activity.

So they suggest that motorcyclists alone should have their bikes tagged!! So are we more statistically likely to be criminals or avoid our road tax? Where do the ambitions of the surveillance state end?

Do you as a law abiding motorcyclist want to have your motorcycle electronically tagged so "Big Brother" can know your every movement when your on your motorcycle?

This proposal is a slur against all law-abiding motorcyclists and a gross infringement of our civil liberties, do you want to have your motorbike electronically tagged and hence you when your on it, just like a criminal?

I'm amazed that this can be be put forward as a sensible policy possibility.

How much money has been wasted on this idea so far? Money that would have been better spent on putting more policemen on the beat and back in patrol cars on our roads.

I urge all fellow motorcyclists to resist this proposal by backing the BMF, MAG and writing to your MP to object.

Tell inter-bike what you?
We'd love to hear your views.

Ride safe!

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://inter-bike.blogspot.com
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

More great motorcycle book reviews by Ian Kerr on www.inter-bike.co.uk

Just a brief blog to tell you all I've just put up six more great motorcycle book reviews by Ian Kerr, they cover the following publications:

  • The Modest Manxman by T.M. Sheard.
  • Riding Man by Mark Gardiner
  • The History of the Clubman's TT Races 1947 - 1956 by Fred Pidcock and Bill Snelling
  • 100 Years of The Isle of Man TT by David Wright
  • TT100 by MIck Duckworth
  • Vincent and HRD Motorcycles by David Wright
All reviews can read from the home page of www.inter-bike.co.uk

Ride safe!

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://inter-bike.blogspot.com
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

Monday, July 30, 2007

Kawasaki Versy road test

Versatile or not?

Read my latest road test of Kawasaki's new all-rounder the Versys with comprehensive picture slide show on www.inter-bike.co.uk by clicking here.

Its the mid range bike that thinks its a big bike!!

Ride safe!

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://inter-bike.blogspot.com
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

Friday, July 27, 2007

Motorcycling in Scotland

MAG UK today published a press release highlighting the release by the Scottish Executive of a document entitled "Motorcycling in Scotland - Guidance for Local Authorities".

It would seem that this document recognises motorcycling as a legitimate form of transport which benefits society by helping to reduce traffic congestion, reduce environmental damage and increasing social mobility.

At last a positive view of motorcycling, shame these views are only expressed north of Hadrian's wal, but its good start!

Read the full MAG press release on www.inter-bike.co.uk by clicking here.

Ride safe!

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://inter-bike.blogspot.com
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

Thursday, July 26, 2007

2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R and Z1400


2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R and Z1400
News is that Kawasaki will surely update the ZX-10R for 2008. This is not an official statement but reliable sources from the industry do believe that the pics will be out soon.

The design is said to be more sharper, and the engine will be even more powerful. Insiders also believe that Kawasaki wont be repeating the same mistakes it made with the ;07 ZX-6R and 10R designs.

A 1000cc version of the Versys is also on the cards and is so a 1400cc Z1400!
Stay tuned for more....

2007 Honda CBR 125R

I had posted about the new upgraded 2007 Honda CBR 125R some days back here - http://bunnypunia.blogspot.com/2007/07/2007-cbr-125r.html

More on this bike then..

The CBR 125R is powered by a 124.7 cc 4 stroke single cylinder engine with a bore and stroke of 58 mm X 47.2 mm. It is a water-cooled enngine but the biggest change this year has been the introduction of fuel injection in this Baby CBR. Power has gone up slightly to 13.4Bhp @ 10,00rpm. The torque rating stands at 10.6Nm @ 8000 rpm. The engine is mated to a 6-speed gear box.

The chassis is a double cradle frame made of steel tubes, with hydraulic telescopic fork (non-adjustable) up front and a single mono-shock absorber (non-adjustable) doing the duty at the rear.

Braking is a via a 276 mm double piston single front disc and a 220 mm at the rear. The bike runs on a combination of 80/90 x17 and 100/80 X 17 tubeless tyres.

Weighing under 120kgs, the power to weight ratio is quite decent and the bike can push itself to a speedometer indicated 125km/h, around 115km/h in true sense.

Pricing: In Europe, the bike seels for 2999 Euros ( Rs 1,65,000) whereas in Australia, the selling price is around Aus $ 4000 (Rs 1,36,000)

SanDisk launches Extreme Ducati Edition CF and SD Plus Cards

Borrowing from the performance and style of sleek Ducati motorcycles, SanDisk Corporation of Milpitas, California, recently launched its new SanDisk Extreme Ducati Edition flash memory line, including 4 and 8 GB CompactFlash cards. With a read/write speed of 45 megabytes per second, these are the fastest flash memory cards in the SanDisk portfolio. The cards are planned for sale initially in North America and Europe in August, and throughout the world by September.

As part of a new line of flash memory cards that celebrate the speed and style of Ducati motorcycles, SanDisk Corporation of Milpitas, California today launched a new high-performance line of flash memory cards. They include the SanDisk Extreme Ducati Edition SD Plus card, which has a snap-open connector that allows the card to be plugged directly into the USB port of a personal computer. The card, in 4 GB capacity, has a read/write speed of 20 megabytes per second, and carries a suggested retail price of $129.99 U.S. (Rs 5,300)

Borrowing from the lightning-fast speeds, precision engineering and colorful style of international motorcycle racing, SanDisk Corporation recently launched a line of turbo-charged flash memory cards ­ the SanDisk Extreme® Ducati Edition CompactFlash and the SanDisk Extreme Ducati Edition SD Plus. Both have the quickest read/write times of the SanDisk portfolio1 and represent the company's ultimate performance products for digital photographers. The line-up consists of 4 and 8 GB capacities for the SanDisk Extreme Ducati Edition CompactFlash card and 4GB for the SanDisk Extreme Ducati Edition SD Plus card. The latter features a snap-open connector that enables the card to be plugged in directly to the USB port of a personal computer without requiring a cable or reader. Distinctive bright red labels and packaging bear images of Ducati MotoGP racers and the Ducati Corse emblem.

Suggested retail prices are $164.99 (Rs 6,700) for the 4GB CompactFlash card, $314.99 (Rs 12,900) for the 8GB CompactFlash card and $129.99 (Rs 5,300) for the 4GB SD Plus card.

2008 Buell Ulysses

We were all astonished when Buell let out the new 1125R sometime back. Buell has now worked on their traditional range as well, and the Ulysses in particular has recieved a lot of attention.

The XB12X Ulysses adventure sportbike has new off-set 47 mm inverted front forks and robust off-set triple clamps that reduce fork flex under hard braking. Steering sweep is increased from 54 to 74 degrees for improved low-speed off-road maneuverability, and the Ulysses now comes with standard heated hand grips.

The 1203cc engine remains the same, but has been tuned to meet the latest Euro III norms. The previous Ulysses was known to have throttle response glitches, which the company now seems to have sorted out. The lubrication system too sees a minute change plus changes have been made to let the engine rev 500rpm more.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Chinese are getting serious!

Enter the Zongshen 250 GS.

Ok, first the photographs, and then some text

Zongshen is quite a big name in the land of the dragon. They make scooters, bikes and cruisers, from 125cc to 250cc ones.
The Zongshen GS250 as shown the pics above, is actually not a 250cc motorcycle, but a 230cc one. The mill pumps out 18bhp, enough to push the bike to a company claimed 128km/h. Hmmm.. not bad. Lookwise, the company seems to have taken hints from the Kawasaki GPZ500 (Ninja 500R) and the company has now enterded the UK market too! Not bad..
If Im not wrong,sometime back there was news of a Chinese company coming out with their very own SBK too (send me the link if any of you have one..)
The Chinese have certainly come a long way. Stop getting your lil 100cc puppets here, get in these bigger machines will ya? Price them around the 60K mark and Im sure you will sell a sizable number of these on Indian roads (Ok, Im being optimistic here..)

Helmet? Whats that?

Who needs a helmet?

Everyday I commute approximately 47kms, plus around 5kms here and there and everyday I come across tens of bikers, from commuters to the 'bindas' kinds, zipping across traffic, without a care in the world. Hair flying in the air, half open shirts blowing with the wind and what not.

Mumbai is one of the most hostile cities to bike in. Almost everyday I see a close call happening with a two-wheeler rider and even I have close calls every now and then. In my life, I have come across so many live examples of riders seeing the light of another day just coz they were wearing a good helmet... Life doesnt come easy guys, why do want to spoil your life (in case you get a serious injury) and your loved ones lives (in case you are off forever)? When you can invest 40-60000 on a bike, why cant you invest a fraction of that to buy a decent lid?

PS: In the picture above, the helmet less pillion is actually sitting behind a cop!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Volvo B7R ... those huge monsters!

You may have noticed a pic link to a blog called http://www.travelbyvolvo.blogspot.com/ on the right side of the screen. Well, only few know that after bikes, Volvo buses are the next thing in automobiles that really make me go mad. These big monsters, fast and super smooth, capable of putting the trains to shame when it comes to reaching first, and showing where the Boleros and Sumos of the highway belong, have re-defined the way we Indians looked at bus travel.

My new blog aims to help travellers with information on various routes covered by the Volvo B7R in India including timing, fare, operator name etc.

The Blog has been started recently and it will take time before I cover all the major routes in India. Do drop in once. Advice/tips/suggestions are gladly accepted

Friday, July 20, 2007

BMW buys Husqvarna

Yesterday, the famous off-road and supermotard name Husqvarna was sold to BMW. Below is the official press release from MV Agusta

Varese, 20th July 2007 - BMW Motorrad will acquire the reknowned off-road motorcycle company Husqvarna Motorcycles. The President of MV Agusta Group, Claudio Castiglioni, and Dr. Herbert Diess, General Director of BMW Motorrad, signed the contract on 07.19.2007 in Varese (Italy).
The contractual agreement will come into full effect upon final approval of the EU cartel authorities. Both parties agreed that the purchase price is to remain confidential.
For the Italian motorcycle Group, the sale of Husqvarna Motorcycles is a strategical step to concentrate all of its resources in the development of MV Agusta brand, icon of style and performance and Cagiva, historical brand in the low engine capacity segment.
Upon the signing of the agreement, the President Claudio Castiglioni stated: “ This transaction has been carried out in order to expand MV Agusta and Cagiva presence in the international markets having more financial resources for new models development, thanks also to the support of Banca Intesa Sanpaolo.”
Claudio Castiglioni added: “ Husqvarna is steeped in tradition and one of the most famous motorcycle companies in the world with numerous racing victories including European and World titles, and under the directions of BMW Motorrad it will continue to express its full potential.”
BMW Motorrad plans to continue operating Husqvarna Motorcycles as a separate enterprise. All development, sales and production activities, as well as the current workforce, will remain in place at its present location in the region of Varese in northern Italy.
The transaction, from MV Agusta side, has been assisted by the global advisors Progman Group and Borghesi Colombo & Associates.

BMW Motorrad will acquire Husqvarna Motorcycles

Didn't see this one coming! MV Augusta Group has announced that BMW Motorrad are to acquire the off-road motorcycle company Husqvarna Motorcycles. Apparently BMW Motorrad intend to continue to run Husqvarna as a separate company. You can read the full details of this interesting motorcycle industry takeover on www.inter-bike.co.uk, by reading the fill MV Agusta press release here.

Ride safe!

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://inter-bike.blogspot.com
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Can Kinetic do this? The Hyosung GT 650

Yes, you may be wondering whats wrong (or right?) with me nowadays. First it was the GTS 250 that I wrote about a couple of days back and now this?

Well, if Kinetic could bring in the Aquilla 250 and the Comet 250, both of which got a good response (with the whole batch being sold out), I m sure Kinetic must have given a thought to the bigger and far more powerful model, the Hyosung GT 650.

But this time, Kinetic should look at bringing in the full faired version, called the GT650R. It does look like a good sports bike, with the sharp looking fairing with vertically stacked headlamp. I personally love the black and orange paint job, which somehow gives the bike a Honda Repsol colour feel. The rest of the bike looks like the Comet 250, although the rear tyre is 10mm wider at 160/60 specs mounted on a 17inch alloy. In goes a rear disc too and the front gets one extra disc. These little changes help in making the bike look bigger, like what a 650cc street bike should look like.

Talking of 650cc, the bike comes with a 647cc DOHC 8-valve water cooled v-twin engine pushing out a respectable 79Bhp and 68.1Nm of torque. The Hyosung GT650 has always been compared with Suzuki's SV650 around the world, and the Hyosung street bike wins by 5bhp in the power department! One thing I could not figure out was the dry weight of the bike. The official website says 208, other motorcycling websites quote it between 180 and 195!

According to various websites around the world, the bike manages around 130mph or 208kmph true. That means seeing 210-220km/h on the clock will be very much possible. Whats more impressive is the acceleration, with the bike taking 4.3 seconds from 0-100km/h!

But one thing, which was of a bother on the Comet 250 too, is the rear mono-shock. It does feel cheap, ride the bike over undulations and you will understand. And with a pillion on board, things get scary! Hope the GT650R has none of these problems.

Coming to the main point then. The PRICING

The GT650R sells for 3999 pounds in UK, ie, 45% more than the GT250 (the Comet 250). Kinetic sold the Comet 250 for around 1.8lacs in India, and even if they want to make a profit of 10k on every bike ,the GT650R should be available for around 2.6-2.7 lacs in India, OTR.

2.7Lacs for a 650cc fully faired legal bike... Makes sense? A bike which can easily take on the fastest of cars in India (ok, the Lambo is another thing!) , a bike which can cruise at 130-140 all the day long and blast past 200 when needed. What else do you need? Ok, spare parts and service is an issue with every bike that you import. Atleast you have peace of mind that the bike is legal with warranty and back up and insurace.

The GT650R really looks quite good. And the pricing of 2.7lacs seems reasonable too. Kinetic? Hmmm....

Thailand : Most hostile biking environment in the world!

Yes, you read it right. Thailand has the most hostile biking environment on earth, where a motorcyclist dies every 40 minutes!
The article came in one of the best Superbike magazines around, BIKE UK, July 2007 issue.

It is rush hour and I need to get across the Thai capital, Bangkok. The vast urban sprawl that spreads out around me is a blanket of concrete, smog and dense, chaotic traffic. Nothing seems to be moving as horns blare and the choking pollution thickens. Every sense is being battered - eyes itch, thooat stings head throbs. An oppressive heat coupled with steaming humidity coumpounds this discomfort, the stink of the city seems to be working itself into my very pores. How am I going to get out of here? Then some movement. A flash of metal, a blur against the static, endless parade of cars, trucks , buses, pick-ups and SUVs. The tiny missile gathers speed, grazing the bumpers and mirrors of the thronged mass of metal, dodging the blows like an adrenaline-soaked boxer. The missile is a step-thru 125cc Honda Dream, its rider one of Bangkoks army of motorcycle taxi drivers - the infamous motorsai.

The rider is clad in old jeans, sweat stained T-shirt and a bright orange zip-up high-vis vest. His helmet has all the strenght of a plastic salad bowl, his footwear nasty flip flops. The ensemble dosent amount to much on paper but this wide eyed road warrior is giving it some, pushing 50mph through the deadly traffic. His pillion, a fine-featured female, pencil skirt and suit-jacket, sits side-saddle, high heels hanging nonchalantly from her painted toes. She appears completely disinterested as the machine whirls its way at terrifying speeds, death an instant away.

The Honda step-thru is big business in Thailand. An incredible 7,5 million new Honda Dream and Wawes have been sold in the past seven years. Factor in the other makers - particularly Yamaha - and the figure is approaching 12 million in the same period for step-thrus alone. And these bikes are cheap - a new, state-of-art 4 stroke Honda Wawe is about 650 GBP. And a nimble step-thru is perfect for weaving through Bangkoks dense traffic.
With the interminable gridlock only getting worse, I watch dozens of motorsai. I witness incredible near misses, as fume-puking buses and trucks skim the knees of the advancing riders. Van and car drivers seem intent on breaking limbs and splitting flesh, lurching towards the motorcycle taxis. Thankfully, I dnt have to proof my manhood on this form of suicidal transport. I wait in line for the bus.

I,ve been a motorsai for almost 20 years, says the tiny old man sitting opposite me in a Bangkok noodle stall the next afternoon. I,m 66 years old and plan to carry on as long as I can. But arent you worried about having an accident? I have had more than 25 accidents but nothing too bad, he says, gazing at the thick scars on his arms and legs, and at the array of powerfull Buddhist amulets that hang down onto his chest. I always feel protected.
Divine intervention or not, Khun Was is one of Bangkoks unsong heroes. In a city that has been eaten alive by cars, the motorsai keep Bangkok moving. When I first started out in the 1980s everyone on my win (rank) had to pay 500bath a month to gangsters, says Was. It was a lot of money back then, but nobody needed a licence or insurance. Every win up until 2003 was run by the local mafia. If you dident pay your dues you could get bad problems. We where all quite scared of them, he adds. Now we just have to pay for our surwins (high-vis-vest).

But gangsters are far from the only peril facing Bangkoks motorsai. The most obvius and deadly threat is the traffic. Without doubt, Thailand has some of the most dangerous roads in the world - and particularly for motorcyclists. The Foreign Office website (www.fco.gov.uk) reveals that 38 motorcyclists die on Thailands roads every day - thats one every 40 minutes.
With few proper helmets and sometimes four people to a bike, its easy to see how this death rate is reached. Besides, after wiping out a family of four on a step-thru, the guilty truck/bus/pick-up/car driver seldom stops to face the music. In the worst cases, drivers are known to go back and reverse over their victims to make sure they are dead. The reason? Without survivors theres no invistigation and the drivers gets to keep their no-claims.
So how do you stay safe? Everyday when I go out I feel frightened. But I pray to the Lord Buddha for inner silence, so that I always have a quiet place inside me that helps me stay focused, says Was, and my amulets are very powerfull and help protect me. I have travelled many miles to find an amulet that has god powers. I also go to the temple once a month and ask the monks for protection. I like to leave the Buddha there a small gift.

For westeners, the Thais concept of death and accidents appears like a denial of reality. When we have a spill, rational thinking is immediately brought to bear on its causes. In Thailand, karma and the spirit world play a big part in a road death toll that unofficial estimates place at almost 30.000 a year.
The Thais are convinced that karma decides when it is your turn to die, says "Time out Bangkok" author Phill Cornwell-Smith. They have a strong belif in fatalism and would see any road accident as part of that. However, thats not to say they just give in to fate - they pragmatically couple that ftalism with talismans to maximise their luck.
This leads to a belief in a kind of fully comp spiritual road insurance policy. Wearing amulets, particularly honorific ones of Buudha, makes merit, wich increases karma, explains Cornwell-Smith. But many Thais have a back-up in the form of monk blessings or magic spells. When an amulet wearer suffers a crash its assumed hes broken a vow. If he escapes death, its assumed his lucky amulet saved hes life.

There is also a facination with death in Thai culture that most westeners would consider ghoulish. Every day, the front pages of the Thai tabloids are adorned with graphic photos of horrific road accidents (75% will involve motorcyclists) and mangled corpses.
Death, particularly a violent road accident death, is considered a powerful occurrence in the spirit world. The Thais belive that if they see or touch the cadavers resulting from souch an accidents, some of the dead persons potent spirit will rub off, making them more powerful. In Bangkok, the body collection squads (there are so many road deaths the thinly stretched ambulance service no longer collects the victims), eager to gain spirit power from a fresh kill, have been known to fight over the corpses.

Later that day, with the heat becoming unbearable and monsoon rain gathering, I head through the labyrinthine back streets to the Win where Was works. About 15 riders are lounging on a long wooden bench set against a wall. Others are sprawled over their step-thrus, shades on, mean and moody. The ambience is languid, the boiling temperature inducing a stupor that makes it difficult to stay upright, never mind concentrate.
At first glance the boys on the Win are a rough and ready crowd. While most Bangkokians will use motorcycle taxis to get around the gridlock, they do not consider motorsai as a reputable bunch. The hi-so (Thai slang for the wealthy elite of high - society) hate us, says Was. They drive their BMW or Mercedes very aggressively and even try to run us off the road.
But in some caces the motorsais reputation is deserved. Many of them are tough Bangkok street kids, machetes hidden ready for trouble, swigging bottles of ephedrine-laced Red-Bull type drinks. Several Wins are known for the use of yabba, a psychosis-inducing version of crysyal meth that sends most users to the mourge or the asylum. And the boys on the Win often have little time for foreigners. I never charge any foreigner extra, but I know that most motorsai charge double, says Was.

With darkness settling on the city, the moment of truth arrives - its my turn to ride with the motorsai. I have to get to Hualamphong, Bangkoks central railway station, And Was has made me an offer I cant refuse. Ill charge you the local price-40bath he says. Ahead of us is a two-mile ride talking in one of Bangkoks busiest. most vibrant areas - Chinatown.
I climb on the Honda, Was offers me one of the salad-bowl helmets and we set of into the heaving scrum of traffic. The first thing I notice is our vulnerability - the bike feels like a tiny speck in a maelstrom of hostile, moving metal. Then it becomes very clear that, two-up, Was ancient Honda is struggeling to make any real acceleration, the words, "sitting" and "duck" springs to mind.
We weawe our way, at speed, through a ludicrously busy junction, cars, buses and vans flowing at us from all directions. I feel my throat go dry as the fear rises. Was seems oblivious to what I consider reality as he changes lanes without even the slightest glance in his mirrors, causing vehicles to brake and swerve sharply behind us. But this is all part of the mad theatre - everybody on Bangkoks roads appears to be engaged in a giant game of chicken, cutting each other up, pulling out without indicating and crossing lanes without looking. Was negotiates the junction in one piece. Within seconds, a local bus, horns blaring, aggressively cuts straight over our path - missing us by millimetres, belching a thick chocke of fumes in its wake. Was seems unfazed, barely glancing up - my heart pounds in my chest.

Up ahead sits a long queue of traffic, narrow gaps on either side. We approach and Was accelerates. I wait for him to hit the brakes - I am mentally willing Was to slow - but he just keeps going, the Honda gaining momentum. We skim through the gap in the static traffic at about 50mph, my knees so close to the line of cars that they occasionally brush the paintwork. It is, not to put to fine a point on it, Terrifying. At this point i begin to twitch.
By the good grace of the divine and all that is holy, we soon reach Chinatown. Here the traffic reaches a feverish crescendo while gaudy street lights illuminates throngs of roadside food stalls, delicius smells cutting through the Bangkok smog. After dodging cars, buses and trucks a new obstacle is introduced - the aimless pedestrian. An endless flow of people, most of them engrossed in their recently purchased snacks, pick their way trough the traffic. Was somehow manage to miss them all.

With a serenity akin to a monk Was gets me to my final destination without incident. To be honest, I am almost moved to prayer and feel grateful that Im alive.
With blood-sugar levels chrashing from the brain-bursting fear, I sit down on a roadside stool hoping the palpitations will soon pass. I also realise that with traffic like this you probably need some kind of direct intervention from God/Allah/Buddah to stay in one piece.
I dig into my wallet for 40 bath and Was accepts it with a gracious smile and a small bow. I tell him to stay safe and be lucky. "Dont worry" this sweet, brave road warrior tells me before he rides of into the night, "Iam always protected".

SOURCE OF TEXT: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/index.php?showuser=44561

Global Warming? Hill stations warming up? READ ON...

Yeah, Global Warming is the IN thing nowadays. Every one seems to be talking about this. Even I do.. and really wish it doesnt do much harm to us.

And then there is this thing of our hill-stations warming up too. Yes, the snow season is shifting slowly slowly to Jan and Feb but the avg tempeatures - what about that?

I did a little research on this. Took up the case of Shimla, a well known hill-station in Himachal Pradesh, 355kms north of New Delhi at an elevation of around 7000 feet above mean seal level.

I went thru the max and min temperature for 20-25th December from 2000 till last year, ie, 2006. And then I figured out the avg max and min for this 6day period from 2000 to 2006. Here are the results :

Click on the pic to see a bigger version.
The first table in the picture shows the avg temp (max and min)between 20-25th Dec for each year. The second table shows the day by day max/min temperature from 2000 to 2006.
The avg temp came down from 2000 to 2001 to even 2002, then rose in 2003 as well as 2004, coming down in 2005 and then once again rising last year. What does this mean? We are experiencing Global Warming for sure but then why this kind of variation seen in the avg temperatures for a hill-station from 2000 to 2006? Even if you compare the figs for year 2000 and 2006, you will see the avg temp have come down. But then why is the snowfall season shifting forward? (Feb 2006 saw the highest snowfall even in the month Feb in Shimla)

I still cant figure out why? Why is this happening... More researches and shocking figs coming up soon in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Honda to get the CB 750 back?

According to rumours on the net, Honda is soon going to relaunch one of the greatest motorcycles ever made till date, the Honda CB 750!

Insiders say that Honda have already developed an air-cooled engine in Japan to go with the retro looks of the bike. But there are some issues with the engine meeting the latest emission norms though...
Seeing the success of retro bikes like the Triumph Bonneville, Honda decided to make a modern version of the 1969 CB 750 model, identical in virtually every way. Yes, Nostalgia is a strange and powerful thing... Most probably the bike will be displayed at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show in October.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Kinetic's next big thing : The SYM 250 GTS moto-scooter

Kinetic is one company, which has never hesitated when it comes to experimenting. Yes, they have experimented with tons of models, most of which failed and died a fast unknown death, the Stryker commuter bike being the latest example.
But on the other hand, the company has actually taken shocking steps which have left a good lasting impression among the Indian bikers. Take the case of the Hyosung Aquilla and the Comet 250. The company sold these in limited numbers and even at a price of around 1.8 lacs (OTR), the bikes sold well, and most of us are waiting for another lot (dont fret, the company is looking at bringing in another lot soon!).


Kinetic now has eyes on the big SYM moto-scooter, the GTS 250. The tie up with SYM happened quite some time back and Kinetic is all set to roll out a 125cc SYM model, but that wont be of much interest to us, will it be? The machine that will be the one to own and ride (why..shall discuss later on..) is the GTS 250.

THE GTS 250 (Looks)

The GTS 250 (called as the GTS 250 Voyager) looks as massive as the Italiano Jupiter that I rode during The Great Indian Road Trip. Looks are in your face and the machine commands great road presence.
Like all big moto-scooters, the big fairing dominates the front part. The vertically stacked headlamps look great, and they are complimented by big fairing integrated indicators. The rear view mirror also have integrated reflectors, but I doubt how good these RVMs will be, especially after going thru reports on many European websites.
Seen side on, the scoot looks awesome, the lines flowing sharply from front to rear, and talking of the rear, the LEDish type brake-lamp looks great, and so does the huge rear grab rail.
What adds to the looks are the fat tyres, a set up of 110/90 front and 130/70 rear on 13inch silver wheels. Plus a big front disc (240mm) and a smaller (220mm) rear too.

Things dont stop here. She is powered by a 250cc liquid cooled engine, with 4 valves! The mill churns out no less than 21.2 Bhp @ 7750 rpm. The moto-scoot weighs 173kgs, which gives it a power to weight ratio of 124.2, better than the likes of even the Karizma!
The torque rating stands at an equally impressive 21.6Nm (18% better than the Karizma!) at just 6500rpm. These figs surely give the GTS 250 an edge when it comes to performance. In day to day commute, accelerating past slow moving traffic is going to be a breeze and out on the highway, the scoot holds 100-105km/h comfortably, with a top whack of a true 125km/h (speedo indicated of around 135km/h).
Moto-scoots come with a CVT transmission for obvious reasons, but I still feel the GTS will be able to make the 150cc/180cc bikes eat dust easily and be a real challenge for the faster 200cc/223cc Indian machines.
All this power (and CVT transmission) does mean fuel economy will be no great shakes and the GTS reportedly returns around 25 kms to a litre, which I think will be the biggest hurdle in its sales

The GTS has a hydraulic fork up front and 2 shock absorbers at the rear set up. The travel up front is a limited 88mm and at the rear it is 75mm. SYM seems to have done this in the interest of a stable highway ride, as well confidence inspiring cornering. This has proved good in the European countries with butter smooth roads but in India, this set up will just not work. In fact, I believe that cornering on not so good Indian roads with a stiff suspension set up may just unsettle the scoot a little.
European test riders seems to be quite impressed with the overall handling and stability of the GTS but rated the saddle comfort as avg due to a hard seat.


What are the main aims of a moto-scooter? Practicality combined with ease of riding and comfort. Add to it, if you have decent power between your legs..err.. under your seat, it helps too.
Practicality is one are where the GTS scores heavily.
To start with, the big windshield helps keep off air and rains easily. Then there is a 12V charging point for charging your mobile or MP3 players. The 'cockpit' is very comprehensive and gives out a host of details.

Coming to storage space, there is a glove box up front, a small box on the right side of the fairing below the handle bar, then the big underseat space and surprise surprise : a place to keep your glasses too (not specs, but drink glasses!)

The equipment list is great too with integrated front and rear brakes! Add in hazard warning lights, Fog lamps, Parking brake, Rev counter, Odo-meter, Fuel gauge, Temp gauge, Clock, Battery gauge, Light in trunk indicator, Fog light indicator, Side stand engine cut-off, Automatic folding footrest etc.. the list is endless!

The GTS may be imported as a CKD (completely knocked down) kit in India and assembled locally here. Still, it is safe to presume that the pricing will in the Karizma/Pulsar 220 category which is actually not that bad.
You get a similarly powerful machine, which is a lot more capable that the motorcycle. Tons of storage space, comfort, equipment and road presence.

Mumbai is one place, which really changes you a lot. Rains, carrying stuff to the office, daily home chores and what not. I, for one, am really looking forward to the GTS. It is time to replace my 4yr old Karizma too. I am willing to pay as much as 90,000 for the GTS as I know it will be worth it. I rode the Kinetic Blaze and Italiano Jupiter moto-scooters a lot on the GIR and when it comes to practicality and comfort, a motorcycle is just no match for these. Plus you get the power to surprise these bikes too..

I m a touring guy and I need to space to keep my stuff. Rain coat, maps, water etc. Plus the comfort of a CVT and a machine that can keep 100-110km/h on the clock all day long.
There are little issues though : the hard seat and the smaller tank range. The tank being just 12 litres, it gives the GTS a range of around 275kms before a fill up.

The BMW HP2 Megamoto is finally here!

If you've been hankering after a new BMW HP2 Meagamoto, well its in BMW Motorrad UK showrooms now. Who wouldn't be interested in this new BMW motorcycle with an impressive 113hp and 115Nm of torque in a bike weighing only 179kg, all wrapped up in a high quality megamoto package.

Read the full details of BMW Motorrad's press release on www.inter-bike.co.uk at

Ride safe!

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://inter-bike.blogspot.com
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

The good Old CBZ...

The Hero Honda CBZ was the bike that gave birth to the biking bug in me. After months of pestering my dad, I finally got a seven month old silver CBZ on 26th Jan 2001.

She taught me biking, how to respect speed and power. Ok, the bike used to max out at around 115km/h and developed less than 13bhp but then still... for someone graduating from a cycle to a 150cc bike, it did mean a lot.

It is a little known fact that I was into stunts, yes, but thats a different story that my new found love for touring meant stunts were overlooked upon for the safety of the bike (and the biker!)

Ok, I was immature and acted like a kid many a times with the bike, but then I was barely 18yrs old and was too madly in love with the bike. But the lack of knowledge at that time made me take a wrong decision. I went in for a drum version CBZ and realised the mistake I made very soon! Anyways, my first wheelies and burnies were on their way soon... burnies with drum brakes mind you! At that time, I met Sunny (founder, xbhp) for the first time and soon we used to meet up for stunt session. Sunny with his cybershot sony cam and me with my bike...

With time I started riding long distance as well. Delhi-Karnal and Delhi-Alwar etc. These may not seem long now, but back then, these lil trips did seem LONG to me! It was also on this CBZ that I rode to Dharuhera, to capture the spy pics of the 'to be' launched HeroHonda Ambition. The pictures came in the months Overdrive magazine.

I sold the CBZ in June 2003, replacing it with the Karizma. I still have lots of pictures of the bike and here are some of them...

Monday, July 16, 2007

JCBL's King Long is here to stay!

JCBL's King Long is here to stay!

The Volvo B7R, which has been a hit with travelers all over India is facing some serious competition for the first time. No, it aint from Tata or Ashok Leyland, the home grown companies, but from the Chinese King Long company. Yeah, the Chinese are here once again to prove their point, and let me assure you, they are here to stay!

Tata and Ashok Leyland tried their level best to get a share of the super-luxury bus segment but did not get a good response from the tour operators as well as the customers. Yes, the B7R sells for a mighty high figure (70 lacs) but then you get what you pay for : Speed, safety and comfort. It is not common to see these buses blaring down highways around the country at 110km/h, and overtaking other Indian buses on hills as if they were standing still. Inside, comfort takes a new zone with minimal engine vibrations creeping and the air suspension making sure you are isolated from the road undulations to a very high extent. But things seem to be changing.

JCBL, one of the biggest bus body manufacturers has tied with King Long of China, to bring in these super luxury buses at a very competitive pricing. These may not be priced closer to the Indian rivals but still offer Volvo like speed, safety and comfort at a far lesser price. Their website, www.kinglong.com.cn has a product overview of the range on offer. The Indian model is called the KL-6113

I have personally seen these up north on the Delhi to Agra and Delhi to Katra route. They might not be as huge as Volvo but seems a bit wider in comparison. The engine options as displayed on their website show that when it comes to power and torque, they are pumping out a lot more than what Volvo B7R does. The company claims that the Indian offering from King Long hits 115km/h and the engine pumps out 245bhp. The bus is 11.3mtrs long and seating capacity is 47 (including driver and conductor). Selling price is 48lacs, way less than what Volvo asks for the B7R

It took some time before the B7R made its presence felt way back when it was launched. Going by this, it shouldnt be long before we see increasing number of the King Longs on the road. I have started seeing these on the Mumbai to Pune and Chennai to Trivandrum route. Hopefully, the numbers will increase soon and these will start challenging the Volvos on longer routes like Mumbai to Bangalore and Chennai to Vizag...

I have used the B7R for travelling to various places: Bangalore, Mangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Davanagere, Belgaum and with time have a fair idea of how they feel. Next time I visit Pune, shall travel on a King Long then to see how the Chinese serving compares!

Here is a pic of the Kinglong used by MSRTC (Shiveneri) in Maharashtra


Visit my Blog on the Volvo B7R

Sunday, July 15, 2007


This was all I could mutter out the first time I saw this beauty...err.. beast.. or whatever! I could never imagine this machine would go into production!

The company wants to battle it out with the class leaders like the Honda Gold Wing, Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic and BMW K1200LT...Well well well

The first impression you get of the Vision literally drops you jaw down. Everytime I see the bike, it looks like a prototype, like a future bike, but in reality, you can shell out $19,000 (for the base version, with prices going upto as high as $21499, double that of a litre class SBK!) and get one.

Powered by a 1731cc engine, churning out 96 horses but most importantly you have 147Nm of torque to play with. That is ten times as much as what the CBZ extreme pushes out!.

I have seen the best and worst of bikes in India : The tiny Mito 125, the huge Triumph Rocket III, the mammoth Honda Goldwing... and I m sure some one of the other is soon going to order this too... Time to get in touch with contacts then...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Common sense prevails - the off -road bill dies!!!

At last some common sense has prevailed. The Off Road Vehicles (Registration) Bill has been withdraw due to opposition by Government, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), and lobbying by the MRA and other organisations.

So the risk of trials bikes, motor cross bikes, circuit bikes, and quads, being forced to carry number plates has gone for the time being.

Ride safe!

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://inter-bike.blogspot.com
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

National Motorcycle week 15th – 21st July 2007

Don't forget its National Motorcycle week 15th – 21st July 2007. So ride your bike, scooter, moped and show all those people stuck in their tin can's that a motorcycle, scooter or moped is the green transport, that is the fun way to get about!

Ride safe!

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://inter-bike.blogspot.com
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

BMW G650 Xcountry road test

I've just put up on www.inter-bike.co.uk, my road test of BMW's new G650 Xcountry, a newcomer on the UK's roads.

Read about my fun day out in the country on BMW's new lightweight single cylinder motorcycle. Its fun but at a price.

Ride safe!

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://inter-bike.blogspot.com
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kid loves guzzling petrol!

Kids are known to be junk food freaks. Burgers, candies, pepsi and what not. But heard about a kid being a fuel-freak?

Mohammad Sajid, a 10yr old boy from Kanpur is famous in the area he lives. Not for his naughty childish acts but for guzzling down fuel from the neighbourhood bikes! Bike owners in his area are a cautious lot now. Sajid who started drinking petrol when he was just 3 yrs old often drinks fuel from the pipe connecting the tank and the carb...

The child is known to have some mental and speech disorder issues. But why petrol? Petrol has a mixture of volatile toxic hydrocarbons, which act as a depressant (as in the case of alcohol..) The addiction to these things only increases everytime you have them. But obviously, petrol is very harmful to the brain, central nervous system and other body parts.

SO, the next time you notice less petrol in the bike if left parked somewhere for hours, there might just be another "Sajid" in the area :D

Suzuki Rome launch

Suzuki launched a host of new motorcycle models at an exciting press launch in Rome at the beginning of this month and inter-bike correspondent Ian Kerr was on there to report on the whole event.

You can read Ian's motorcycle feature article on the launch off the following new models:-
  • 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa
  • 2008 Suzuki B-King
  • 2008 Suzuki GSX650F
  • 2008 Suzyuki Sixteen scooter
on www.inter-bike.co.uk by clicking -
Suzuki's Rome launch.

Plus there's an accompanying photo slideshow so you see first hand what these exciting new Suzuki models look like!

Ride safe!

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://inter-bike.blogspot.com
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

Oh boy!

Oh boy!

I got this mail from a friend of mine recently. She, Urmishtha Jagtap, rides a Karizma and has been into biking for quite some time. And like you and me, she is a biking enthusiast too.
The mail, which I have posted below, really made me think a lot. What she mentioned never struck me at all... but after going thru what she wrote, I did think a lot and agree on what she mentions. I do have a lot of other friends (girls) who are bikers or love bikes to the core (but dont ride them). I m sure they will also agree with Urmishtha...

Go thru the text below and think... do you agree with her?

I love her power, her style, her performance, her … hold on; here are no quotes of anyone expressing love for his partner. These feelings are natural for any male to express / emote about his bike, his love. Me(a)n machine, is what it is called. Referred to as a boy’s first love, bikes and biking have always been considered a male domain.
And, this very notion is forced and imprinted in to our minds through the most influential form of media, advertisements. Let me talk from my point of view, than just generalizing my concern. Whenever I watch an advertisement of any bike, I have always felt that they promote these bikes for ‘boys only’. I don’t mind watching boys zooming on those wonderful machines but, it really gets irritating to see girls being portrayed as puppets who get lured to a boy just because he happens to possess one of those bikes’!
This gives me a reason to sit and think over it. When I see myself or like minded girls who have a passion for bikes and biking, this very notion of the bikes being called as me(a)n machines sends a rage through me. I am tired of this stereotypical attitude. Especially after myself experiencing a series of reactions and comments from number of people. When will people come out of their way of convenient thinking and mindset regarding the female abilities or capabilities? The least these girls do is, ride the bike. Let them do it with peace!
Why cannot it be accepted that a girl, who rides a bike, does it through sheer passion and love for the bikes, just as it is considered for boys? Weird reactions like a disgusting second look, street side comments, laughs, disbelief, and lunatic gossips about girls riding bikes, so much so that people have come up to me and asked if I am just trying to show off my outrageous or rebellious act. In the first place I don’t understand why such a thing should be thought as outrageous or rebellious when a girl loves to live with her aspiring in life. Nothing grows on ice. So I feel that the frozen thoughts and beliefs towards girls should change and let them live the way they wish to, with no bothering from others cynical notions.
I don’t think that I or for that matter any girl is going out of her way when she hits the road on a bike. Sometimes I feel that these bike manufacturers should take in to account of their female customers and try to make a difference. I would like to see female models in their advertisements, not as puppets but, as riders. It is disgusting to see them as dumb models wooing those guys possessing the bikes.
I don’t know the statistics, but there are quite a number of girls who ride bikes. The number might be minute as compared to male customers for the manufacturers. So it might not be a suitable target audience for them to invest in to advertising. After all, for them the product is ultimately getting sold. But at least I feel that female models must not be used as dumb puppets in these advertisements.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pakistan loosing bikers to wheelies !

Yeah, sounds strange right? Have a look here:





There are a lot more links which have the same news. I also came across an article in the weekly MCN magazine, which put the number of deaths to 110! I m sure Pakistan doesnt have too many Superbikes. So what is the actual reason behind so many deaths? Lack of strictness from the cops?

Buell launchs a sportsbike

Buell has announced the launch of the the Buell® 1125R, an all-new high-performance sportbike.

Read the full details of this new Buell sportsbike on www.inter-bike.co.uk
by clicking on the link below:-

2008 Buell line-up features new liquid-cooled 1125R sportsbike

Ride safe!

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://inter-bike.blogspot.com
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

The Harley-Davidson XR 1200 TM® will go into production

Harley-Davidson have announced that the Harley-Davidson XR 1200 TM® will go into production for the European market in the spring of 2008. So finally the concept becomes a reality.
Read all all about this exciting new Harley-Davidson model, by reading the full press release on www.inter-bike.co.uk, see link below:-

Harley-Davidson XR 1200 TM® gets the green light for production

Ride safe!

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://inter-bike.blogspot.com
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/