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Home Explore 9. Turbocharged_Sep'21_Magazine

9. Turbocharged_Sep'21_Magazine

Published by Hemchandra Suyal, 2021-12-03 13:47:11

Description: 9. Turbocharged_Sep'21_Magazine


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Ambitious. Just like you. Here’s a car for the leaders of tomorrow. Presenting the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine, a new-age Star with revolutionary features like the MBUX, Mercedes me connect and a statement- making presence. Unapologetically bold, the A-Class Limousine matches your drive. Flexible Plan | Assured buy-back value | Keep, Return or Upgrade your Star | A-Class Limousine with EMI of 35,555 SILVER STAR Sales: Kalyani Nagar, Pune - 411014 | Tel: 0-95559 92233 Workshop: Wagholi, Pune - 412207 | Tel: 0-90750 30303 Website: | Timings: 9:30am - 6:30pm *Daimler Financial Services India Pvt. Ltd. (DFSI CIN: U67190TN2010FTC077890) and the Corporate Agent (License No.: CA0180) of IRDA for Reliance General Insurance, TATA AIG General Insurance and ICICI Lombard General Insurance. Insurance is a subject matter of solicitation, for more details on risk factors, terms and conditions please read the sales brochure/policy carefully before concluding a sale. Terms and conditions apply. Limited period offer. Finance at the sole discretion from the financer. For technical specifications of the model available in India, please refer to the product brochure or contact the nearest Mercedes-Benz dealership. Accessories, colours and fitments shown may not be part of standard specification. Mercedes-Benz Cars: The A-Class meets Bharat Stage VI equivalent emission norms. Silver Star - CIN: U50102TG2015PTC098335

[ REVIEW ] WORDS ABHAY VERMA PHOTOGRAPHY ROSHNI MANGHANI SKODA KUSHAQ 1.0 TSI Is there really no replacement for displacement? Allow the entry-level Kushaq to demonstrate maybe 52 September 2021

A 1.0-litre engine isn’t something Indians the DSG offered with 1.5 TSI engine. I’m not going to would even remotely associate with talk much about design here, that’s something we’ve premium SUVs. A lot of buyers in the already spoken about in our first drive review of the country still believe in the adage “there Kushaq 1.5 TSI. There are no visual differences and is no replacement for displacement”, this one looks exactly the same. It’s a smart-looking despite turbocharging making smaller SUV and one that’s instantly identifiable as a Skoda engines more powerful than naturally given the design, especially from the front. aspirated, higher displacement ones! And the 1.0 TSI under the hood of More importantly the Kushaq looks very compact the Skoda Kushaq is an example of how a three- from outside since it isn’t as tall as some of its rivals. cylinder engine, with a volume equivalent to the While some might take that as a shortcoming, I can of fruit juice you and I open at home, can offer for one don’t think so, since it is very impressive in nifty performance! I was impressed by the Kushaq terms of cabin space – be it legroom and kneeroom 1.5 TSI for its refinement and performance both or even headroom. Interiors are the same too and and needless to say, I was curious about how the you have the same analogue instrument cluster same SUV would feel with lesser horses and more with a monochrome multifunction display nestled importantly, a far smaller engine. in between, as also an array of controls on the two- spoke steering wheel. I like the dashboard, especially Of course, the motor is in its highest state of tune given the unique design elements and also the 10- here offering 115PS, though peak torque produced is inch touchscreen display. Like we have said before, the same 175Nm it offers in other cars like the Skoda quality of plastics is half a notch lower than I would Rapid and Volkswagen Polo and Vento. It is offered have liked, but apart from that the cabin offers the with manual and automatic transmissions both but same solid feel as any other Skoda. what we are talking about here is the automatic version only, which uses a torque converter and not Start the engine and you first hear the familiar- sounding three-cylinder thrum at idle. But that’s September 2021 53

[ REVIEW ] pretty much the only time you hear it because on the enough to suppress any doubts one may have about go, the 1.0 TSI feels very smooth and you know Skoda the performance a 1.0-litre engine can offer. That’s of has ensured engine refinement is as good as it gets. course the beauty of turbocharging! The motor also Taking off from standstill or at very low speeds you impresses on the highway, as it does not feel stressed feel some turbo lag and there were moments when even at speeds above 100kmph. In fact, the engine I felt the need for more grunt at crawling speeds. settles into a nice rhythm past the 100kmph mark This calls for a downshift, which is where the paddle to let you cruise comfortably. Overtakes at highway shifters come in handy. Responses from the torque speeds don’t call for a lot of effort either as the converter automatic are reasonably quick enough motor gives you the confidence that it is up for the and I did not really miss the DSG. Throttle responses job. Needless to mention, one reason behind Skoda at slow speeds could have been smoother, as a sudden opting for the 1.0 TSI engine is also fuel efficiency. jab of the throttle results in sharp acceleration after And despite its higher outputs, this Kushaq 1.0 a momentary lag. But get to anything quicker than TSI should be as frugal as compact SUVs that sit a walking pace and the engine offers ample thrust and segment below it. throttle responses and power delivery smoothen out very quickly too. Another highlight is the ride and handling. The suspension is firm to offer a sense of sportiness, in line On the go is where the engine truly impresses with with what you expect of a Skoda. In fact, the Kushaq its performance, as the midrange punch is strong feels more car-like when driving enthusiastically THE MIDRANGE PUNCH IS STRONG ENOUGH TO SUPPRESS ANY DOUBTS ONE MAY HAVE ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE A 1.0-LITRE ENGINE CAN OFFER 54 September 2021

SKODA KUSHAQ 1.0 TSI Engine: 999cc, three-cylinder, turbo-petrol Power: 115PS @ 5,000rpm Torque: 175Nm @ 1,750rpm Gearbox: 6-speed torque convertor Weight: 1,265kg Price: ` 15.79 lakh ex-showroom TOP: Six-speed torque converter is quick to shift given its brilliantly engineered chassis. Body roll is well- gears, especially with the paddle shifters. controlled and it offers the confidence to push harder ABOVE: 1.0-litre TSI engine is in its highest state of around corners. The steering feels soft and light though, tune here and feels smooth and refined not something I expected. A firmer and more weighted feel from the steering would add to the car’s otherwise sporty demeanour well. The suspension also soaks up broken roads rather well despite its firmness. There’s a slight thud when going over ruts and potholes, but occupants are insulated from shocks rather well. So yes, the 1.0 TSI is more than willing to quash any doubts you might have about its ability to power a midsized premium SUV like the Kushaq. If anything it will let you have more fun behind the wheel than you would imagine, given the sprightly engine performance coupled with the sporty dynamics. More importantly, the Kushaq looks deceptively small but is very spacious inside and offers excellent legroom and kneeroom along with ample boot space. The Kushaq 1.0 TSI is thus an excellent offering if looking for a European SUV that’s fun to drive and at the same time, spacious and comfortable too. It’s most direct rival will be its own cousin, the Volkswagen Taigun with the same powertrain, which goes on sale shortly. Priced at ` 10.50 lakh ex-showroom onwards for the base, Active variant, the Kushaq does make a strong case for itself and is hard to ignore! September 2021 55

{ REVIEW } WORDS BENJAMIN GRACIAS PHOTOGRAPHY GAURAV CHANDRASHEKAR HONDA AMAZE With its new updates, does Honda’s compact sedan continue to amaze? HONDA AMAZE VX 1.5 DIESEL MT/CVT Engine: 1,498cc, Inline four-cylinder diesel Power: 100PS/80PS @ 3,600rpm Torque: 200Nm/160Nm @ 1,750rpm Gearbox: five-speed manual/six-speed CVT Weight: 1,051kg/1,068kg Price: ` 10.25 lakh/` 11.15 lakh ex-showroom 56 September 2021

Like smartphones, the trends in the revised internals and gets LED projectors too. Even automobile industry are hard to predict. A fog lamps feature LED lighting. At the rear, the few years ago, sub-4 metre compact sedans C-shaped taillamps are now infused with LEDs while were in vogue. The tide has turned in the bumpers get integrated reflectors. Honda seems favour of compact SUVs today and everyone to have clearly taken to Indian buyers’ affinity for ranging from Maruti Suzuki to Kia wants a chrome! There is a generous serving of chrome at the piece of this lucrative pie. Honda marks front, back and door handles as well and the fresh 15- its presence in the segment with the WR-V inch machine-cut alloy wheels add bling. although the Japanese carmaker still seems to be banking on sedans, its popular compact sedan The cabin features minor updates as well. You — the Amaze — to be specific. That explains the idea have silver inserts on the dashboard and door pads behind the 2021 facelift. The updates are very subtle that offer an upmarket feel. Even the gear lever although they work in the favour of the Amaze by on the manual variant has been given the leather giving it a more premium design. Are these updates treatment. The two-tone black and beige cabin with enough for the Amaze to retain its youthfulness and beige fabric seats remains unchanged but continues more importantly, bring in more sales? to offer a lively ambience. Space is in abundance for both the front and rear passengers and the seats offer Well, to start with, the boxy styling has been good comfort. The fit and finish levels are top notch retained and it now gets sharp design elements. A which is typical of a Japanese car. It retains the 7-inch quick glance at the front-end reveals a larger, more touchscreen instrument console that supports Apple pronounced grille and redesigned bumpers with CarPlay and Android Auto. While the layout feels integrated chrome elements. The headlamp features dated, the touchscreen experience is surprisingly September 2021 57

[ REVIEW ] THE DIESEL MANUAL POWERTRAIN COMBO IS THE ONE TO GO FOR IF YOU CRAVE PERFORMANCE ABOVE : The familiar dashboard now features silver fluid and responsive. Another notable feature is the accents for a premium feel. Fit and finish levels, as new reverse camera that offers three viewing angles expected from a Honda, are top notch in higher resolution. 58 September 2021 We didn’t get a chance to drive the 1.2-litre petrol version but just the manual and CVT auto variants of the 1.5-litre diesel. In the manual variant the engine delivers 100PS and 200Nm. It is a quick-revving motor that offers a good amount of shove past 1,700rpm, all the way to its 4,000rpm redline. The motor impresses with its tractability and part-throttle response which allows for quick getaways in the city and even quicker overtakes on the highways. Even the five-speed gearbox is precise with short throws and slick shifts. The diesel manual powertrain combo is the one to go for if you crave performance. However, sound insulation could have been better as there’s a lot of noise, both engine and tyres, that filters into the cabin. If you are looking for convenience, the CVT powertrain should do just fine. However, the CVT

can handle a limited amount of power and torque at 80PS and 160Nm. That said, the CVT makes good use of the diesel mill’s torque in the city. It is a responsive ‘box and all it takes is a bit more pressure on the accelerator pedal to overtake that pesky rickshaw. Out on the highway, it is better to shift to Sport mode which holds gears right upto the redline. This allows you to make full use of the engine’s performance at highway speeds. Another area where the Amaze amazes (pun intended) is its plush ride quality. It simply glides over broken sections, keeping the occupants comfortable. Even if you end up driving over a large pothole at high speeds, the suspension does not crash. However, the ride compromises on the handling front and there’s body roll in corners. It also feels floaty at highway speeds. Even the steering feels a bit heavy and vague at the dead centre. The brakes too could do with more initial bite but there’s adequate stopping power. Prices for the Amaze start at ` 8.66 lakh for the base diesel and go all the way up to ` 11.15 lakh (ex- showroom). While the updates are minor, they simply add to the fantastic package that exudes practicality, quality and above all, a plush ride. That said, the design has begun to feel dated in the face of the competition. If you can overlook the, erm, looks, the Amaze definitely ticks all the right boxes for an urban family car. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP : Responsive CVT offers quick, seamless and intuitive shifts. A new update is the reversing camera that offers three viewing angles that too in high-definition. A highlight is the brilliant ride quality that soaks up road imperfections and speed breakers while cocooning the occupants

[ FEATURE ] WORDS ABHAY VERMA PHOTOGRAPHY GAURAV CHANDRASHEKAR CITROEN C5 AIRCROSS Spending a couple of days with the French car maker’s flagship SUV proves to be an interesting experience 60 September 2021

y first rendezvous with the Citroen quirky design theme is carried over to the sides and C5 Aircross was short but interesting. rear too and overall it’s the friendly, rounded styling And when Citroen offered to send the that makes the C5 stand out. There’s also a sense of car over for a couple of days, I couldn’t understated elegance to it all and you know this a resist the temptation. It’s distinctive French SUV and not just a ‘European’ one, given how design aside, the C5’s biggest pillars tastefully it has been designed! Mare its solid engineering and premium The interiors reflect the same understated feel and build quality, but the Citroen’s trump I like the minimalistic approach. The steering wheel card is its brilliant ride. And while the is flat at the top and bottom both besides which, past months have had Citroen gain popularity, the the C5 is the only SUV in its segment to get paddle French car maker is new in the country and the C5 shifters mounted onto the steering column and not turned quite a few heads on the road! That also has the wheel. Again, it’s these subtleties that distinguish a lot to do with its quirky yet attractive design. The the C5 from other SUVs. The dashboard houses an curvy shape is very different from what most people 8-inch touchscreen display and this is where I’d are used to seeing. want the C5 to ditch its simplicity. The infotainment system is well-equipped and offers Apple CarPlay and The double Chevron logo is also a novelty for Android Auto connectivity, but given how quickly most road users. The face is unconventional but very screen sizes and infotainment systems are evolving, appealing looking and friendly, unlike the butchness Citroen needs to give its flagship SUV an update. I’m one usually associates with large SUVs. I also like not referring to a proper midlife update but today 10- the split headlights – the design trait isn’t new but inch screens, multiple USB ports, wireless charging, Citroen’s execution is a very interesting one. The CITROEN C5 AIRCROSS SHINE Engine: 1,997cc, Inline four-cylinder, diesel Power: 180PS @ 3,750rpm Torque: 400Nm @ 2000rpm Gearbox: 8-speed torque convertor Weight: NA Price: ` 32.30 lakh ex-showroom September 2021 61

{ FEATURE } ventilated seats, 360 degree cameras and connected digits, even in city! The gearbox is a torque converter technologies are becoming common place quickly and not a dual-clutch transmission but feels and the lack of these mean the C5 might just start reasonably quick to swap cogs. More importantly, feeling a little dated soon. the engine is high on refinement and NVH levels are really low. Acceleration is brisk with minimal That said, the C5 scores high on safety – six turbo lag as peak torque is available just 2,000rpm airbags, terrain control modes, hill descent, auto onwards. The C5 Aircross thus impresses a lot on the park assist and more are on offer. Also, this time highway, as you barely need to cross the 2,000rpm Citroen sent over the Shine variant that has a massive mark to sustain triple digit speeds, which means fuel panoramic sunroof which adds to the airiness inside efficiency will be excellent on long drives. the cabin. Storage spaces are abound and even the storage box under the front arm rest can take in two My favourite bit though is its ride and handling one-litre bottles, a feat no other SUV in the segment package. Overall comfort is easily comparable to can boast! German luxury SUVs, thanks to Citroen’s patented suspension technology that integrates additional The 2.0-litre diesel impresses in terms of springs inside the suspension arms along with performance (180PS and 400Nm are excellent hydraulic stops instead of rubber ones. This should numbers) and is also very frugal. The onboard trip help in making the C5 Aircross an excellent family computer always showed fuel efficiency in double OVERALL COMFORT IS COMPARABLE TO GERMAN LUXURY SUVS, THANKS TO CITROEN’S PATENTED SUSPENSION TECHNOLOGY 62 September 2021

SUV – it is spacious, but more importantly it can glide TOP: We like the minimalistic and understated over broken roads like few others at its price point. cabin. It features lots of storage spaces and The seats are very comfortable too, thanks to the usage very comfortable seats. ABOVE: The gearbox is of high intensity foam and a unique block pattern. an eight-speed torque covertor unit and not a Cabin comfort is enhanced further thanks to the dual-clutch one. It offers reasonably quick shifts double-laminated front windows and additional sound- though deadening for the engine bay. Prices begin from ` 30.30 lakh ex-showroom for the Feel variant which only misses out on sunroof, LED headlights and handsfree boot release that the Shine gets. That said, pricing could be more competitive, especially when you consider the fact that the C5 misses out on a bunch of creature comforts that its rivals offer. However, spending time with the C5 helped me reaffirm my belief about it being a very well-engineered SUV that also boasts excellent build quality. It is comparable to luxury SUVs in fact on fronts like refinement, comfort and overall quality. It feels solidly built and like I mentioned, the excellent ride quality is its biggest highlight. Overall, it is an SUV that impresses in heaps and one that should feature on your lists if looking for a European SUV that’s good looking, fun to drive and comfortable too! September 2021 63

[ FEATURE ] WORDS TEAM TURBOCHARGED HEROES OF TURBOCHARGED SANJAY SHARMA Catching up with the man who is known as the ‘Bernie Ecclestone of India’! JK Tyre has had a hand in creating some of the two decades. And at the helm of proceedings is country’s greatest motorsport personalities. Sanjay Sharma, affectionately known as ‘Hardy’. In fact, we’ve featured a few already, He has been responsible for backing most Indian including Hari Singh and Gaurav Gill. That’s racers who have raced abroad. Of course, his love besides the fact that the only two Indian for all things fast started at a very young age and drivers to make it to Formula 1, Narain (thankfully!) Hardy isn’t a suited-booted corporate Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok, both cut who was given the reins of what is arguably one of their teeth in racing in the JK Tyre National the country’s best motorsport programs. He was Racing Championship before being supported by the actively into motorsport himself and learnt driving tyre major to make it big internationally! thanks to his school friend and neighbour, Titu Singh (Titu Singh passed away recently and we at In fact JK Tyre’s motorsport program is an Team TURBOCHARGED offer our condolences to institution in itself, having created motorsport his family). champions across multiple generations in over 66 September 2021

Titu Singh also introduced Hardy to motorsport, following which Hardy was further coached by Tutu Dhawan, another motorsport veteran. Tutu helped Hardy understand the finer nuances of motor racing, also introducing him to technicalities. He got truly bitten by the bug when he was marshalling the Himalayan Rally, back in 1985. Needless to mention Hardy went onto compete in the rally himself, as driver and then as co-driver (navigator) too. However all his major achievements have been as navigator, in India and abroad says Hardy. Fortunately for him, Vikram Singhania (MD of JK Tyre until 2016) was his batchmate in college, which helped Hardy enjoy an informal relationship with the Singhania family. Along with Vikram Singhania, Hardy put in place a motorsport program, circa 1993. Interestingly the focus was on rallying, since that was the era of the Himalayan Rally and also because he had been more into rallying himself. They had some of the country’s best talent, including Hari Singh, Nikhil Taneja and Dicky Gill, all veterans. The only true competitors he says was the works team from MRF Tyres, who had N Leelakrishnan (we featured him just last month as one of the Heroes of TURBOCHARGED!). JK Tyre went on to win the INRC (Indian National September 2021 67


Rally Championship) five times in quick succession. Mid-1990s is when JK shifted focus to racing. That’s also the time when the late S Karivardhan built the Formula Maruti car which was a perfect platform to launch a racing program for youngsters, says Hardy. He says the JK Tyre National Racing Championship runs the Formula LGB class even today, because it is the most affordable racing series in the world. And that’s important for a country like ours he feels, given that Indian racers’ pockets aren’t as deep as those of their foreign counterparts. He has always been believed in focusing on the grass root level so kids can be trained not just in terms of their driving skills but marketing skills as well, so they can learn the art of bagging sponsors early on in their careers. And the past two decades have seen JK Tyre focus largely on racing, which Hardy says was a conscious decision. And it’s thanks to this focus that they have been able to create world-class racers, including Aditya Patel and Armaan Ebrahim who made it big in GT Racing, before launching their own racing programs, their newest venture being the Formula Indian Regional Championship; besides Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok. JK’s racing program is designed to have young racers cut their teeth in karting, progress Left: Sanjay Sharma aka Hardy working on an engine himself. Above: Competing in the Great Desert Himalayan and Himalayan Rally as co-driver in a Mitsubishi Canter and a Lancia Delta - in India! Below: Posing with the JK Tyre Rally team. September 2021 69

[ FEATURE ] to the national championship and then support TOP: At one of the press conferences with them once they’re ready to race abroad. He tells us a younger Armaan Ebrahim. ABOVE: All with pride that 95 percent of Indians racing abroad smiles with Bernie Ecclestone have graduated from JK Tyre Motorsport’s racing programs! Hardy was also responsible for bringing down Volkswagen’s world-class one-make racing champi- onship to India, the Polo Cup. Interestingly, he says when he traveled to Germany to meet Kris Nissen, the then Volkswagen Motorsport director, Nissen could not believe Hardy was the decision maker and thought Hardy was pulling his leg. Details of the pro- posed program were only noted on a paper napkin while sitting on a coffee table! The rest as we know is history – Volkswagen launched the Polo Cup in In- dia in 2009 and Hardy says he has a learnt a lot from the German brand, given how structured their way of working is. He has thus been instrumental in creating world- class racers who have been making the nation proud. So be it Hari Singh’s generation, Gaurav Gill, Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan’s or Jehan Daruvala’s, Hardy has always been there for the sport. “When your passion becomes your profession, what more do you want in life” he says! 70 September 2021

[ TAKE TWO ] TAKE T WO ALL ABOUT TWO-WHEELS KTM’s new RC 390 promises to change the entry-level supersport game. Triumph is busy working on both ends of its adventure touring spectrum with the all-new Tiger Sport 660 and updated Tiger 1200. Ola Electric has launched its first electric scooter, the S1. We’ve ridden a host of new motorcycles including the RE Classic 350, Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS and H-D Pan America 1250 September 2021 71

[ TAKE TWO ] READY TO RACE! The all-new KTM RC 390 is coming soon! The headlamp may have polarised the nation but we expect the RC to be a scorcher anyway We love the RC for its dedicated, with the 200 Duke so that’s a cost saving measure. performance-oriented demeanour. Spend some time looking at the new RC and you’ll The RC 390, specifically, has been probably get the hang of it. The motor finally gets an over achiever, clearly punching the new, larger airbox which brings more torque above its weight when it comes to (+2Nm). Thankfully, fuel tank capacity has gone lap times. And we might just like up too, to 13.7 litres which should make for a it even more! The Austrians have respectable range. Now, the TFT cluster that does given it a makeover, featuring all the duty on the 390 Adventure also makes it to the updates that were first seen on the 2017 390 Duke RC allowing you to adjust TC, ABS, quickshifter and then some. It has gotten lighter and larger settings and choose from riding modes. Ergos at the same time, which should help it appeal to seem to have been altered to make the RC a lot a wider audience. Weight savings comes in the more comfortable than earlier. Seat height has form of lighter wheels, brakes and the frame. The gone down by a massive 11mm and now stands at total weight loss number stands at roughly 6kg. an accessible 824mm. Of course, all the updated The talking point has to be the headlamp though. RCs would be making their way to India in the near It does look out of place on an otherwise sharp- future starting with the 390, followed by 200 and looking machine but we think it’s being shared the 125. Excited much? 72 September 2021

SAVING THE TIGERS! YOUR TWO-WHEELED OLA IS HERE! I t might have come out of nowhere, but don’t be surprised. When the Trident 660 was launched Triumph also hinted at O la created a lot of hype for its two other motorcycles based on the same platform, one of electric scooters - the S1 and the which is the Tiger Sport 660. It’s a logical step considering S1 Pro and going by the specs, we the middleweight sports touring segment is booming and believe that the hype is real. For the Kawasaki Versys 650 and Suzuki V-Strom 650 are your example, the base S1 is priced at only options, at least in India. Details are scarce at the moment just ` 80,000 in Gujarat which makes it but we can tell you the engine seems to be the same as the cheaper than the Honda Activa 125! The Trident but expect it to feature a different final drive to give it S1 on the other hand has a nationwide longer legs. The subframe seems to be chunkier and a bit longer price of ` 1.3 lakh while the FAME II to accommodate the extra passenger along with luggage. Major subsidy in Gujarat brings it down to changes are to the front end which now gets a flyscreen, a semi- just ` 1.1 lakh. The range is healthy at fairing while the footpegs have been moved slightly forward for 121km and 181km respectively, which ‘touring’. Expect fuel tank capacity to be bumped up as well over clearly speaks volumes about Ola’s the standard 14 litres on the Trident 660. attention to practicality. Both scooters are equipped with fixed Lithium-Ion Not just the mini-Tiger, the Hinckley factory has been working batteries with 2.98kWh and 3.97kWh on the new Tiger 1200 as well, to go up against the big-bore ADVs capacities respectively. The S1 Pro from BMW, Ducati, KTM and well, Harley-Davidson too! The also gets a Hyper mode that allows for keyword is ‘light weight’ because that’s what the old Tiger 1200 upto 8.5kW of peak output, making it needed - weight savings. We expect the Tiger 900’s frame to make more powerful than the Ather 450X it to the 1200 as well, with modifications obviously. There’s going that stands at 6kW. The S1 has a top to be more ‘power’ as well, as the 1200 is expected to borrow speed rated at 90kmph while the S1 the mental, 180PS motor from the Speed Triple 1200 RS. We are Pro can go all the way up to 115kmph. expecting the Tiger 660 Sport to come to India early next year, Acceleration figures claimed by Ola are followed by the Tiger 1200. class-leading too, with 60kmph being achieved in just three seconds (S1 Pro)! The last and final iteration based on the Trident 660 is expected to be revealed next. We expect it to be called as Tiger Both scooters are feature-rich as 660 Rally and that should be a ‘propah’ ADV! well, with a proximity lock sensor, a massive seven-inch TFT display, reverse mode, hill assist, cruise control, voice assistant system, all-LED lighting and ten colours to choose from. September 2021 73

[ LAUNCHES ] ROYAL ENFIELD CLASSIC 350 INDIAN CHIEF (All prices ex-showroom, New Delhi) DARK HORSE ` 1.84 lakh - ` 2.15 lakh ` 20.75 lakh One of the most important launches of the year, the all-new Classic 350 offers several Of the six Chief variants that are sold globally, three have been launched in variants to choose from. The entry-level India. The most affordable of them all is Redditch gets a rear drum while all others, the Dark Horse. It’s got drag handlebars, 19-inch alloys and mid-set pegs. It gets namely the Signals, Dark and Chrome get modern features including ride-by-wire front and rear disc brakes. Read our review cruise control, ABS and more. on page 86 to know more! INDIAN SUPER CHIEF LIMITED INDIAN CHIEF BOBBER DARK HORSE ` 22.82 lakh ` 21.40 lakh The Super Chief is essentially the same bike underneath, but gets a lot The Dark Horse features loads of more touring oriented goodies over blacked-out bits, a solo bobber seat the standard Chiefs. The flyscreen is like on the standard Chief and cylinder detachable, saddle bags are standard deactivation. It also features bespoke and so is the pillion seat. It gets wide spoke rims and a monkey handlebar to handlebars and floorboards too. complete the bobber look. The Dark Horse sits in the middle of the line-up. 74 September 2021

SIMPLE ONE HONDA CB200X ` 1.1 lakh - ` 1.2 lakh ` 1.44 lakh Claimed to have the maximum range on Inspired by its twin-powered sibling, the any electric scooter yet at 240km, the CB500X, the CB200X gets a similar design treatment with knuckle guards, a Simple One is also expected to hit a top windscreen and a belly pan. Everything speed of 100kmph, suggests the Indian else has been carried over from the Hornet company. It will get Bluetooth connectivity 2.0 including the chassis and engine as and navigation along with all the other well. Weight is up by 5kg though. features seen on the Ather 450X. TVS APACHE RR 310 BTO TRIUMPH SPEED TWIN ` 2.6 lakh onwards ` 10.99 lakh Prices of the base Apache RR 310 have been hiked by almost ` 10,000. The One of the best performance-oriented flagship TVS gets add-on kits named neo retros has just gotten better! The Dynamic and Race that cost an additional new Speed Twin makes three extra horses ` 12,000 and ` 5,000 respectively. The at 100PS thanks to high-compression kits include adjustable suspension, racy pistons, revised ports and cam profiles. It ergos and more. Review on page 102. also gets Brembo M50s, Metzeler Racetec RR tyres and Marzocchi forks. September 2021 75

WORDS YVONNE JACOB VESPA È LIBERTÀ Tracing the history of Vespa, the brand that became the emblem of fashion, freedom and the Italian lifestyle I talians sure know how to make something front handlebars that very much resemble human remarkable out of things that are otherwise not shoulders. It was christened Vespa, the Italian word given much thought to. Such was the case with for wasp, due to the similarity in its shape and sound. Vespa — the scooter that marked the beginning Since then, there has been no looking back. From of a revolution and the story is nothing short of a little scooter that was made to kickstart Italy’s extraordinary. economy, it went on to become a global icon, a The birth of the iconic Vespa goes back to fashion statement and also a symbol of freedom. WWII in Italy. At the time, the economy was crippled which made it almost impossible for automobile The love and admiration is shared by people all manufacturers to try and re-emerge from the crisis. across the globe — including me! When I had to buy The Piaggio family was in the aerospace industry at my first scooter, I tried a bunch of new entrants that the time and they were dedicated to addressing Italy’s had all the latest tech and looked sporty and what need for a modern and affordable means of transport not, but I still felt that I was settling for less. That was and bring it out of the slump. until I tried the Vespa. One short spin on the 125 VXL and I knew I wanted to take it home. My ‘Luca’ and I Enrico Piaggio mulled over the idea of making have been inseparable ever since. a two-wheeler that was inexpensive to produce and reliable. They created the first vehicle using Vespa recently completed 75 glorious years and to actual spare aircraft parts and Corradino D’Ascanio mark this milestone, they rolled out the Vespa 75th came up with a unique design — particularly the Edition — another elegant addition to the fleet. Its just a cosmetic job but it does tug at your heartstrings! 76 September 2021

{ FEATURE } TOP: This pristine 1960’s Vespa is owned by a Pune-based IN CONVERSATION WITH collector. ABOVE: Bazooka Vespas were used breifly by the French Paratroopers BELOW: Luca, is that you? DIEGO GRAFFI Chairman and Managing Director, Piaggio India When can we see higher capacity Vespas in India? There is potential here for scooters that are bigger in dimension, more suitable for comfort and long riding, and with a displacement that could be around 200- 250cc. In terms of motorbikes, we are looking at a big segment globally that’s between 300-500cc. Do customers have the option to buy scooters online? We launched our digital platform in July last year. We have seen a good response for our direct website, we are also using other external sources of enquiries. Will Aprilia continue with the CBU route for its big bikes? The mid-size bike would be fully manufactured, designed and the supply chain would be fully in India. As of now, we go by the CBU route but let’s see how things go ahead. How has the Vespa brand grown over the years? When people think of scooters, they think of Vespa. Most of the customers who enter our outlet, ask for Vespas. Customers usually go to different brands and decide based on deals but not ours. September 2021 77

[ REVIEW ] WORDS ABHISHEK WAIRAGADE PHOTOGRAPHY GAURAV CHANDRASHEKAR H A R L E Y - DAV I D S O N PAN AMERICA 1250 This is Harley’s make or break moment! Does the Pan America have it in itself to take on the world? HARLEY-DAVIDSON PAN AMERICA 1250 SPECIAL Engine: 1,252cc, V-twin, DOHC, liquid-cooled Power: 150PS @ 9,000rpm Torque: 127Nm @ 6,750rpm Gearbox: six-speed Weight: 254kg Price: ` 20 lakh ex-showroom 80 September 2021

U ntil a few years ago, every Harley- Mind you, this is Harley’s first attempt at a full- Davidson looked the same. That, until blown adventure tourer. The engineers obviously had the all-electric Livewire came along a blank canvas in front of them and the challenge was and changed the way we’ve perceived to create a Swiss knife that could handle it all. The Harleys for decades. It didn’t have the focus was ‘function first’ and that’s why the biggie sound, the smell or even the feel of the doesn’t come with a beak. Harley engineers termed entire range. It handled beautifully, it useless to make way for the huge headlamp cluster. went fast as stink and took Harley in a completely different direction. Now, The beating heart is the brand new Revolution Harley is back at it again! Although, this time they’re Max 1,252cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, VVT-equipped taking on the biggies like BMW, KTM, Triumph, motor. Of course, it’s a Harley so it had to be a V-twin. Ducati and Honda. You may love it or hate it, but you This time though, it’s mighty powerful with 150PS cannot really ignore the Pan America, especially on tap along with 128Nm. It has enough muscle to with the radical headlamp cluster that shouts move around the 254kg mass. It gets counterbalance ‘savage’. Does it have what it takes to make American weights to get rid of the usual Harley vibes. However, bikes great again? the engineers have left a few ‘good vibes’ especially at the top of the rev range. September 2021 81

[ REVIEW ] TOP: The V-twin has been developed from the The chassis is all-new too with the semi-active ground up and comes with modern tech including suspension having 191mm of stroke at both ends. The VVT and DOHC. ABOVE: TFT can be operated via swingarm is made of aluminium to reduce weight and so switchcube and touch as well. TOP: Find the horn is the fuel tank. There’s a six-axis IMU supplied by Bosch and indicator switches if you’re feeling lucky! adjusting the traction control, cornering ABS, engine braking and cornering lights even. There are two variants to choose from, the standard and the Special. The biggest differentiating factor between them both is that the standard gets fully-adjustable forks and alloys. The Special that we rode gets semi- active suspension by Showa along with the option of Adaptive Ride Height (ARH). In layman’s terms, the ARH automatically lowers the ride height when it comes to a halt and climbs up to normal when on the move. This should bring in a lot of new customers especially those who are apprehensive about the tall 850mm seat. Overall, the kit is quite close to the BMW R 1250 GS’ from where the Americans are hoping to poach some customers. Now, the Pan Am (let’s just call it so) may look intimidating but once you’re on the saddle, it feels like a regular mid-weight ADV, if not smaller. The rider’s triangle is comfort-oriented with slightly rear-set pegs, a wide handlebar and a tapered-down seat. The switchgear is very complex though with millions of buttons. Despite spending two days with the Pan Am, it was difficult to get acquainted with the horn and indicator buttons even. Another grouse is the TFT-cluster. It’s large at 6.8 inches but the fonts are really small and you have to squint your eyes to read the info. Full marks to Harley for lending it a gloves-friendly touchscreen though. There are a few quirks too such as the side stand which is placed next to the toe shifter. When the main stand is down, it doesn’t allow you to work on the side stand so if the bike’s on the main stand, leaving the side stand on, it won’t start. The side stand indicator doesn’t let you work through the menus even! Start the engine, and it brings a smile to your face with the typical V-twin rumble. Slot it into first and the Pan Am gets going with absolutely zero vibes. The engine has a high compression ratio at 13.0:1 although it has a very relaxed feel. Power build-up is calm, benefitting from the VVT. The bottom-end is not R 1250 GS-strong but midrange is good. If you want to explore the full might of the 150 horses, you must take it past the 6,000rpm mark. From there onwards to the 9,500rpm readline the Pan Am gets into the ‘zone’ but also heats up quite a lot. 100kmph comes in at a lowly 3,500rpm in sixth gear which is brilliant for fuel efficiency numbers and your thighs as well. I would have loved a quickshifter though and it’s surprising that Harley doesn’t even offer it as an optional accessory! 82 September 2021


[ REVIEW ] Ride quality has to be the USP of the Pan Am. The suspension takes everything in its stride, be it potholes, ruts or anything else Indian roads have to throw at it. There’s enough feel from the front-end at all times and the Pan Am can really stretch its legs when out on the highways. It definitely suits fast, flowing roads better because the steering is quite light considering the mass. Cornering isn’t super fast although it clearly does feel effortless. It feels slightly top heavy though and that’s why it’s not very comfortable to ride it in and around the city or in slow-speed corners. Let’s be clear about the fact that 250kg plus machines will never be as easy as enduros when it comes to off- roading, but the Pan Am handles the rough stuff pretty well. Its centre of gravity may not be as low as the R 1250 GS but it’s relatively low. The ‘bars too could’ve been taller for standing-up trail riding. I loved the electronics package though, it’s never trying to babysit you and lets you have it your way. The bespoke Michelin Scorcher Adventure tyres are quite grippy too. TOP: No Stylemas or M50s here! The Pan Am makes do with mid-spec Brembos. ABOVE: Semi- active suspension also gets you the optional ARH system for ` 1.2 lakh. TOP: One of the thoughtful additions is the adjustable brake pedal 84 September 2021

TOP: Long swingarm, steering damper and semi- The Pan Am isn’t a winner for sure but the efforts active suspension make the Pan Am a hoot to from Harley are commendable. The engine is not ride when off the road. ABOVE: Rear-end is slim bottom-end happy and you’ve to work ‘on’ it to get with an upswept exhaust and retro indicators going. Suspension is brilliant and is definitely a selling point with its adjustability and suppleness. The long swingarm helps you keep things tidy when you’re off the road. I’m not a fan of the brakes when it comes to the stopping power, for Harley could’ve opted for M50s at least if not Stylemas. If I were to choose, I’d opt for the standard variant which retails at almost 17 lakh rupees, saving you ` 3 lakh over the Special. It makes do with a manually adjustable suspension but gets the TFT along with the complete electronics package. This ain’t clearly your father’s Harley but a full-blown ADV that will take you places further than the freeways. It’s not perfect and adversaries are still inches ahead if not miles. But it brings competition and that breeds excellence. Full marks to Harley for that! September 2021 85

[ REVIEW ] WORDS BENJAMIN GRACIAS PHOTOGRAPHY GAURAV CHANDRASHEKAR ROYAL ENFIELD CLASSIC 350 It’s all-new yet very ‘classic’. Does the new Classic 350 deliver the thump? 86 September 2021

ROYAL ENFIELD CLASSIC 350 CHROME Engine: 349cc, single-cylinder, oil-cooled Power: 20.2PS @ 6,100rpm Torque: 27Nm @ 4,000rpm Gearbox: five-speed Weight: 195kg Price: ` 2.15 lakh ex-showroom Legacy is an interesting concept. It doesn’t Unless you have a keen eye, you’ll not be able to matter if the product exudes excellence or distinguish it from the previous-gen Classic. Believe just passes muster. Take the Royal Enfield it or not, it shares nothing with the existing Classic! Classic 350’s case for example. If you The new Classic 350 carries forward the tradition of quantify it purely on the sum of its parts, the being inspired by the 1960s post war G2 model. The retro falls short. However, the Classic has silhouette is identical to the vintage Royal Enfield always been more than just a motorcycle, down to the headlamp nacelle, the twin pilot lamps with the sum of parts gloriously coming and slightly longer rear fender. Despite similar together to create a unique blend. Royal appearances, the 2021 Classic 350 gets small styling Enfield engineers must’ve surely spent sleepless updates to forge its own identity. The fuel tank on the nights working on the all-new Classic 350. You see, Chrome edition, for example, gets a chunky Royal it’s a classic case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. They Enfield badge a la the Interceptor 650’s. There are had to change everything without depriving the new colours on offer as well including this top-of-the- motorcycle of its soul and boy, they’ve delivered. line Chrome that gets a seven-layer paint job! September 2021 87

[ REVIEW ] TOP: Chrome variant gets a unique tank badge. ABOVE: The new Classic 350 is based on the same J-platform Neatly integrated instrumentation includes a semi- developed by Harris Performance and shares its digital cluster and a Tripper pod. BELOW: New and OG OHC motor with the Meteor 350 which we have come Classic 350 might look similar but share no parts to love. New dies mean fit and finish levels are tighter and it does not go around marking its territory like its predecessor. The rotary switchgear shared with the Meteor feels quirky and takes some time to get used to but feels tactile to use. The vintage-looking nacelle hides a modern semi-digital instrument console and a neatly integrated Tripper pod. The Tripper pod shared with the Meteor and the Himalayan now sits in place of the ammeter gauge. It offers navigation alerts powered by Google Maps and is quite a useful travel companion. Finally, the Classic 350 gets a fuel gauge and a digital one at that! Swing a leg over the old motorcycle and you will realise why the Classic 350 feels special. Loyalists refer to the original Classic 350 as Raja Gadi owing to its chariot-like riding position. Thankfully, Royal Enfield hasn’t altered the rider’s triangle much. You sit upright on the new Classic with a relaxed reach to the handlebars and footpegs. Compared to its predecessor, the handlebar is a tad higher and canted-forward while the footpegs are raised as well. The seats are wider and the cushioning is spot on which is a welcome change over the predecessor. For those crying foul for the springer seat, fret not for Royal Enfield is offering the Classic with as many as 35 accessories to choose from as a part of its Make- It-Yours programme. Even the pillion seat is easily

removable to give it the authentic old-school look. on the new Classic 350. That said, the new Classic The only grouse we have is the limited adjustability 350 is substantially quicker than its predecessor. The offered by the mirrors. They don’t vibrate like on the long-stroke motor offers enough low-down torque to previous generation but the triple socket joints are ride in the city at 40kmph in fifth gear! The fueling flimsy. In fact the mirrors came off loose within the is precise and even the clutch lever requires less first 20 kilometres on the first ride itself! effort to operate. Thankfully, shifts are more precise and positive as well. Refinement levels are top-notch Now, when it comes to the motor, it’s a modern and are one-up on the supremely refined Meteor! It unit with oil-cooling and overhead cams instead of now reaches 100kmph with ease. Push it harder and push rods. The new 350cc engine delivers 20.2PS the new Classic 350 will quickly get to 110kmph after and 27Nm. Compared to the BS6 Classic 350 power which the progress slows down. Out on the highway output is up by 0.8PS while torque is down by 1Nm. the engine feels relaxed at speeds ranging from The new engine is shared with the Meteor but 80kmph to 100kmph making for an enjoyable ride. features recalibrated ignition timing and altered fueling to offer a more laid-back riding experience What about the thump you ask? Well, a lot of work THE NEW ENGINE FEATURES RECALIBRATED IGNITION TIMING AND ALTERED FUELING TO OFFER A LAID-BACK RIDING EXPERIENCE September 2021 89

[ REVIEW ] has gone into making the exhaust note as sonorous ABOVE: The Classic 350 now hits 100kmph quite easily! as possible. Kudos to Royal Enfield engineers BELOW: Distinctive British styling is eye-catching for delivering a soundtrack that’s better than the especially in this dual-tone chrome paint previous-gen even! It does not sound like the Meteor despite sharing the components and has a very bassy note. The exhaust even pops and crackles! Another massive improvement is in the ride and handling department. While the frame, swingarm and brakes are shared with the Meteor 350, the Classic gets updated suspension in the form of fatter 41mm forks and dual rear shock absorbers that feature 10mm extra travel than its predecessor. When compared to the previous-gen Classic, it features wider 100/120-section Ceat Zoom Plus tyres wrapped around 19/18-inch rims, offering adequate grip. The new Classic 350 offers surefooted handling and holds its line well in corners. The ride quality has a very European feel to it that makes it firm in a good way without really getting into the uncomfortable zone. It steamrolls through bad surfaces rather well but you are always aware of what’s underneath. It even gets a larger 300mm front and 270mm rear disc with dual- THE CLASSIC 350 PAYS HOMAGE TO THE 1960’S POST-WAR G2 MOTORCYCLE 90 September 2021

ABOVE: New Classic 350 handles surprisingly well. BELOW: The seats are wide and comfortable. BOTTOM: All-new powertrain offers better performance and refinement channel ABS (on some variants). The Bybres offer a progressive bite but are brilliant at shedding speeds. Prices for the new Classic 350 start at ` 1.84 lakh going up to ` 2.15 lakh. The price range is in the ballpark of its chief rivals which include the Benelli Imperiale 400, Jawa and Honda H’ness CB350. Even the price difference between the new and old Classic 350 is in the range of ` 4,500-5000 which is impressive! Purists will prefer the Redditch, Halcyon or Chrome variants while the youth will take to the Signals or the Dark variant which gets alloys. When I first rode the previous-gen Classic 350, I couldn’t fathom the hype around it until I took it out on the open roads. The new Classic has the innate ability to chug along at low speeds in the city while cruising comfortably on the highways. It is a superior machine on all counts, be it the refinement, the thump or the tractable motor (that now does 100kmph even!), without forgetting its roots. Despite all the improvements, the new Classic appeals to your senses which should keep both, the purists as well as the beginners happy. It even appeals to us, the journos, who are always living life in the fast lane. Sometimes it’s best to stop and smell the flowers and the new Classic 350 is all game for it. September 2021 91

[ REVIEW ] WORDS ABHISHEK WAIRAGADE PHOTOGRAPHY GAURAV CHANDRASHEKAR TRIUMPH SPEED TRIPLE 1200 RS A ridiculously fast package combining the practicality of the Street Triple and track-ready feel of the Daytona! 92 September 2021

TRIUMPH SPEED TRIPLE 1200 RS Engine: 1,160cc, three-cylinder, liquid-cooled Power: 180PS @ 10,750rpm Torque: 125Nm @ 9,000rpm Gearbox: six-speed Weight: 198kg Price: ` 17.95 lakh ex-showroom S uperbikes are passé. Hypernakeds are although missing out on goodies like electronically the shizz. Motorcycles sans fairings, adjustable suspension. However, it is also one of plonked with flat and wide ‘bars, 200PS the most affordable supernakeds in the country, motors and track-ready suspension priced at ` 17.95 lakh ex-showroom. The question to setups, these mental monsters are the be answered here then is — do you really need that new success mantra for bike makers. Be uncomfortable and impractical superbike? it Ducati, BMW, Aprilia, KTM, Kawasaki or Yamaha, everyone wants a piece of The flagship isn’t about the usual exercise of the pie. You cannot expect the Brits to adding more power and reducing weight, no. The stay behind, can you? Especially since the Triumph fourth-gen Speed Triple has a big challenge ahead Speed Triple was one of the pioneers! Triumph of itself with the Streetfighter V4 and the Tuono V4 recently brought out its flagship machine, the Speed 1100 Factory wanting to push it into the corner, badly. Triple 1200 RS, which packs in Triumph’s signature Triumph needed a lot of power to start with and thus triple-cylinder motor churning out 180PS. It literally the solution was an all-new engine with a shorter knocks on the 200PS+ doors of Ducati and Kawasaki stroke and bored out block that’s loosely based on the Speed Triple 1050’s lovable motor. There is also a new September 2021 93

[ REVIEW ] ABOVE: The ride quality is posh while handling gearbox and clutch to reduce the engine’s volume. is brilliant thanks to the Ohlins suspension at All the trickery has led to the engine shedding 7kg of both ends. The monoshock is remote adjustable lard as compared to the predecessor, despite being too. BELOW: Rake is 23.9 degrees which is not as higher on capacity! The swingarm has been extended sharp as its adversaries to incorporate the smaller block, which means geometry has changed. It may seem lazy owing to the 23.9deg rake but I’ll come to that later. Besides the stonking 180PS, the 1200 RS also offers a superbike- rivalling 125Nm, all delivered in the vicinity of 10,000rpm. Also interestingly, the dual underseat pipes have been replaced by a conventional, side- mounted exhaust, to centralise the mass. Being Triumph’s flagship, it comes with top drawer components including Ohlins NIX30 forks and TT36 monoshock, Brembo Stylema callipers, Metzeler Racetec RRs (!) and a gamut of features including Bluetooth and GoPro connectivity. In terms of riding assists, there are five modes, multiple levels of A VERY WELL-MANNERED MACHINE, THE SPEED TRIPLE WILL APPEAL TO A LOT OF BUYERS AND NOT JUST HARDCORE TRACKDAY FANATICS

TOP: Golden, 43mm Ohlins NIX30s add to the engine mapping options, traction control and much bling factor while the wide fuel tank makes it more. However, wheelie control settings cannot be look macho. ABOVE: The five-inch TFT has lucid altered which is a mystery considering how wheelie- transitions though the layout feels retro which happy the Speed (short and sweet name!) is. doesn’t go with the Speed Triple’s nature You cannot deny the fact that the Speed is a very quick machine. It feels like a more muscular version of the Street Triple RS with a massive fuel tank, bug- eyed headlamps, canted-forward stance and top- notch quality. I’m not a fan of the design but can tell you that it does attract eyeballs. I digress. Call me old-school although I cannot deny the fact that I love my motorcycles to kick me in the backside each time I open the throttle. I have had a short stint on the Ducati Streetfighter V4 and can tell you it’s no toy to be played around with. The Speed on the other hand is stupendously quick but not at the cost of practicality. It picks up speed like the Suzuki Hayabusa (if I may say so) though it doesn’t mask speeds as well, which September 2021 95

[ REVIEW ] is acceptable. We rode it in miserable conditions amidst TOP: Bar-end mirrors aren’t really functional. The heavy rainfall, on all sorts of surfaces including tarmac bug-eyed headlamps remind you of the Street and came out unscathed, which speaks volumes about Triple. ABOVE: The Brembo Stylemas are so the Speed’s abilities. Full credit to that gem of a motor. powerful that you literally have to recalibrate The power and torque curve is flat, starting from as low your brain to anticipate the violence as 2,500rpm going all the way to the redline. Add to it the brilliant soundtrack that eggs you to push harder. And none of this at the cost of practicality, or tractability even. The Speed is super comfortable at low speeds, even during rush hours and never really roasts your legs. The engine’s luggability too allows you to stay in a higher cog or two without any resistance. Now, Triumphs are known for their clinical handling and the Speed is no different. I’d like to reserve the final verdict for that elusive track day because during our tenure with the Speed, we were barely scratching beneath its smooth surface. That said, it inspired heaps of confidence, even in some of the most adverse conditions I could have tested it in. The fully-adjustable Ohlins deserve massive praise. The ride is surprisingly very comfortable, without compromising on the 96 September 2021

handling-front. The front-end offers tremendous feel ABOVE: A gem of a motor, the triple has a power and is very talkative, constantly letting the rider know of delivery that would appease both, novice and its manoeuvres. Special mention to the Racetec RRs too. experienced riders. BELOW: The riding position Their operating temperature may be high but the wet is committed but not discomforting at all performance is satisfactory. I’d have preferred to have the M9RRs though. Another USP has to be the Brembo Stylemas. Stopping power is excellent and the Speed comes to a halt sans any drama. The Speed Triple RS is definitely a superbike- killer, though it does not forget its roots. A very well- mannered machine, the Speed will appeal to a lot of buyers and not just hardcore trackday fanatics. I would have preferred blingier looks and a better layout for the TFT although the engine and dynamics definitely balance things out. To sum it up, the Speed Triple offers exactly 50 percent more power than the Street Triple without losing its the friendly nature. All of this for just a few lakh rupees more. There couldn’t have been a better upgrade!

[ REVIEW ] WORDS BENJAMIN GRACIAS PHOTOGRAPHY GAURAV CHANDRASHEKAR BENELLI 502C The power cruiser aims to plug the gap in the midlleweight cruiser segment. Does it succeed? BENELLI 502C Engine: 500cc, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled Power: 47.5PS @ 8,500rpm Torque: 46Nm @ 6,000rpm Gearbox: six-speed Weight: 216kg Price: ` 4.98 lakh ex-showroom 98 September 2021

W e Indians love our cruisers but there be better. When you swing a leg over the low seat, has always been a gaping hole in the wide handlebar and forward-set footpegs make the middleweight cruiser segment. you feel like riding an armchair. Shorter riders will The only motorcycle repping in this appreciate the 750mm seat height and the adjustable segment is the Kawasaki Vulcan footpegs but could find the wide handlebars a tad S but it now has company in the bit uncomfortable. The large fuel tank poses an form of the new Benelli 502C. It issue for taller riders to tuck their knees into the low is the Italian bikemaker’s take on knee recesses. Despite being wide, the seat is not as power cruisers and does make a comfortable and could do with more cushioning. In statement thanks to its design. In addition to good fact, it is uncomfortable even for short trips. looks, the 502C undercuts the Vulcan S by a huge margin, but does it have what it takes to be your first Now when it comes to the mechanicals, this one middleweight cruiser? Time to find out. shares its 500cc parallel-twin with the Leoncino 500 and TRK 502. Outputs are the same at 47.5PS and The 502C seems like a scaled-down version of the 46Nm. The 502C offers linear power delivery with Ducati XDiavel and that’s not a bad thing at all. You good mid-range. Performance is strong between have a large LED headlamp flanked by fat forks. If 6,000 and 8,500rpm after which it tapers off and you that does not get your attention, the massive 21-litre are better off short shifting. It is a refined motor fuel tank will. The tank exudes good fit-finish levels and you only feel a mild buzz through the footpegs but switchgear and instrument console quality could at higher revs. The motor’s tractability is what September 2021 99

[ REVIEW ] MAIN: The large headlamp and fat forks afford significant road presence. BELOW: Instrument console feels dated but features large, legible fonts. BOTTOM: LED headlamp features a unique layout and lights up dark roads well impresses you the most. In city, you can ride the motorcycle in fifth gear at 40kmph without having to skim through the gears. The problem, like with most new Benellis, is the excessive weight (216kg) that makes it feel lethargic. The motor is a sweet- sounding unit though and its twin-barrel exhausts deliver a deliciously raspy soundtrack. The gearbox offers positive shifts while the clutch is moderately light for you to endure heavy traffic riding. Like most cruisers, the 502C is best enjoyed on a sunny day with an open stretch of road mixed with a few fast corners. Its long wheelbase offers good highway stability and it holds its line well on smooth, sweeping tarmac. The wide handlebars offer excellent leverage and help the heavy front-end tip into corners easily. However, the vague front-end and top-heavy feeling do not inspire confidence when it comes to mid-corner stability. The 502C’s armchair- like riding position and stiff rear suspension means shocks from bad roads are transmitted straight to your tailbone. The ride quality over less than ideal roads feels uncomfortable for both rider and pillion. The wide Pirelli Angel ST tyres offer adequate grip 100 September 2021

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