shibayan

I'm just 19 y.o lazy bum and I'm from this little city with an awfully big heart called Kolkata. Being somewhat of a keen rider and a car enthusiast myself, I decided to write in the very same field. I hope you people like my work.

Royal Enfield Continental GT – A BLAST FROM THE PAST!

“A café racer is a lightweight, lightly powered motorcycle optimized for speed and handling rather than comfort – and for quick rides over short distances. With bodywork and control layout recalling early 1960’s Grand Prix road racing motorcycles, café racers are noted for their visual minimalism, featuring low-mounted handlebars, prominent seat cowling and elongated fuel tank – and frequently knee-grips indented in the fuel tank.

Royal-Enfield-Continental-GT

The term developed among British motorcycle enthusiasts of the early 1960s, specifically the Rocker or “Ton-Up Boys” subculture, where the bikes were used for short, quick rides between cafés – in other words, drinking establishments.”

And Royal Enfield has left no stone unturned in making sure it fits that definition.

This stunning piece of eye candy looks absolutely stunning in the bright set of colors it comes in – Red, Yellow and Black; and looks exactly as if it just popped out of a 70’s automotive magazine. But amazingly though, the engineering that has gone into making the 535 cc. EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) engine is the exact opposite. The dynamic “Butterfly” chasis along with the Brembo disc setup on both the front and back along with braided brake cables work like a charm. And so does the instrument cluster which comes with a digital odometer and trip meter, much unlike other Royal Enfields, except the latest Thunderbird ofcourse.

Its an amazingly nimble and fast machine even though it weighs near about  184 kilos. The motorcycle looks really premium from a distance, but on close inspection, the plastic mudguards on the front and rear along with welding marks throughout the entire chasis really makes you lose the premium feel.

The bike felt really compatible for the highway but on the city roads it felt like a pain in the butt. I’ve made a city ride and review video on the motorcycle which you can see below.

Well if I had to reach a final verdict on this bike, then I’d have to say that one should not buy this motorcycle if they want it for all round use. This definitely isn’t an everyday bike. The price it comes for is also not on the very affordable end; 2.35 lakhs on-road. But for the occasional tourer hiding inside of you which only loves coming out on weekends and holidays, this is the bike that best fits your taste.

Thank you for reading this review. If you like it, please Like, Share and please feel free to drop a comment below. 🙂

Also take a look at my YouTube channel for more interesting videos, powered by Turbozens – Grea-Z Monkey

Global Rip Offs – Thought you couldn’t afford a Rolls?

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso

A very popular quote isn’t it? I’m sure many of you might have heard it over the years. Well, the Chinese took it way too seriously from the very first time they heard it, it seems. Remember the times when we all used to go ga-ga over the duplicate Chinese make iPhones and iPads and Blackberrys when they first came out. Don’t deny it, everyone of us wanted our hands on one of them. They seemed too good to be true specially considering the price they came for. Well apparently the Chinese industries didn’t stop at just making replica mobile phones. It seems that now they’ve come up with exact replicas of globally popular cars.

The Geely GE
The Geely GE

 Geely GE:

Shown above is the picture of a Geely GE, a Chinese make car which might look awfully familiar. Well, the reason behind that might be that it looks almost the same as a Rolls Royce Phantom. Now on average a Rolls Royce Phantom would cost you somewhere about £305,000 which would be sure to burn a big hole in your pocket and well technically speaking its way out of the common man’s budget. Now coming to the Geely Ge, the car costs just £30,000.

So technically the car costs a tenth of the price of an actual Rolls Royce Phantom. But if you look closely then, you can see the grill looks exactly the same as that of an actual Rolls Royce, popularly known as the Grecian Temple Grille. Even the trademark hood ornament of the Rolls which portrays the sculpture of a flying lady, known as the Spirit of Ecstasy has almost immaculately been copied by Geely. And if you put in a little extra you can get your hands on the Starlight Interior Roof Lining, a refrigerator, a cigar box and an air purifier along with the air conditioner, all of which are classic Rolls Royce features.

One key feature of the Geely GE is its single Throne type design they’ve developed with only one centralized seat in the rear with the Starlight Roof over it. It certainly looks like a key feature in the car but personally I’m not sure if its gonna work out. See if I’m rich and I have a car and I’m on a date with this beautiful woman, then what’s the plan? Should I make her sit in the front or should I? Like it seems totally absurd.  But well I donno how the Chinese do it and I’m not gonna debate on this anymore. Funny, innit?

The Centralized Backseat Concept

Now coming to engine specs, the Phantom boasts a Mammoth 6.5 litre V12, which in layman terms denotes that it has a displacement of 6.75 litres and can produce a mind boggling 453 horsepower at 5350 rpm which makes the car hit not to sixty in under 6 seconds despite it having a curb weight of 5800 pounds. Now those are impressive figures for a car that’s so heavy. Like if you’re Armenian mafia you can kill a person and take off in one of these in style and still be fast enough to outrun the cops. Impressive figures if you come to think of it. Flat out, it can do up to a 150 miles per hour, that too with the car’s speed being artificially restricted at that.

Now turning our eyes at the Geely GE, the car has a 2.4 litre petrol engine which Geely says will have the output same as that of a V8 engine. It can do up to a 100 miles per hour, well that’s what they say. I still though am a bit skeptical about these figures.

Well so now that it’s established that the car is quite almost similar to the Rolls Royce some of you might be having this question, “What do the people at Rolls Royce have to say about this?”

According to sources, a spokesperson of Rolls Royce has said and I quote, “Rolls-Royce is currently keeping its options open and is in consultation with its legal advisers”.

Now this might come as a shock to you but Geely is not the only company to have done this. Here’s a list of cars and the names of their Chinese copies or more subtly said, cars that look awfully familiar to them.

List of Global Copycats (Cars):

CHINESE MANUFACTURED GLOBALLY POPULAR PRODUCTION CARS
SHUANGHUAN CEO BMW X5 FIRST EDITION
LIFAN 320 THE MINI COOPER
SHUANGHUAN NOBLE SMARTFORTWO
BAIC X424 JEEP CHEROKEE
GREAT WALL KULLA RENAULT TWIZY
JAC A6 AUDI A6
BYD S7 LEXUS RX
CHERY RIICH M1 TOYOTA YARIS
ZOTYE T600 VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG
BRILLIANCE V5 BMW X1
LANDWIND X7 RANGE ROVER EVOQUE

And these are just some of them. There are a lot more of these Chinese imitations that one can find if they look deeper. Coming to think of it, these companies have actually managed to copy almost all of the leading Automobile giants’ biggest production cars. If you actually have had a look on the table you can even see that one of the companies, JAC actually even managed to copy the model number of the Audi A6. This just feels outrageous. The saddest part is that, companies like Rolls Royce, Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and others come up with these ideas and models and technologies with months, maybe years of hard work with the help of their vast workforce and then someone comes along and just copies their work. Last year itself the country produced around 19 million cars which sums up to almost 22.7 percent of Global car production for the last year. And these are some of the imitations that we can see among all these cars that they’ve produced.

Conclusion:

Now, if you’d ask me if I’d buy them or not, then I really don’t think I might be fit to answer this question. See you can get your dream car for maybe very cheap but would it be worth it? Will you get the same feel that you would have got in a Rolls Royce or an Audi that you might be looking for in a Geely or a JAC. Now I’m not demeaning these companies but there’s just something about these cars that can’t match the big boys over there in Europe. If I had to make a decision I’d just relate it back to your old Chinese iPhone. Yes, it might have looked good, yes it might have got you a temporary sense of happiness but no it couldn’t get you the pride or the shining smile on your face that you got when you got your first real iPhone maybe. And it might have been good for a month your Chinese cellphone but after a month you really got to saw why the price actually seemed too good to be true. Someone’s camera lens broke or someone’s display got all berserk. I’m not saying your car might break apart like a phone because to be honest it’s a car so its gotta be better but then it just can’t get you the feel of what it might feel to own the real thing. You might be happy if you’re willing to make a  couple of compromises maybe but you won’t be beaming like you would if you got your hands on lets say, the Phantom.

I guess I’d like to end with that. You can always post your comments and views below. Thanks for reading.

Caterham Super 7 Super sport – From track to road

Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman was a skilled British design engineer, innovator, and builder in the British automotive industry, but never did he in his wildest dreams think that his Caterham Seven would be renowned even decades after him passing away and be considered as a standard for automotive genius even in the 21st century. One of the most underrated production lines in the world, Caterham has come up with really mind-boggling creations which include Caterham Seven 360, Caterham Seven 480, Caterham SP/300.R and its newest Aeroseven Concept which looks like an absolute bloodthirsty demon straight out of the gates of hell itself.

But now, they have come up with yet another new Seven which looks exactly like any other Seven but they claim that it’s a bit on the faster side. “Well how different could it even be?” I thought, until I took a closer look at it. The shocking revelations blew my mind.

Caterham Super 7
Source: www.theonecar.com

Under the hood it sports a 4 Cylinder, 2.0-litre Ford Duratec Engine which produces about 180 Bhp much unlike the older R300 which came with a 140 Bhp, 1.6-litre ‘Sigma’ unit. This doesn’t sound like much I know but with the car’s weight at just 535 kilograms those figures are bound to do some damage on the roads. If we actually do the math for this, then, 180 Bhp and 535 Kilos would equal to 336 Bhp per tonne which would put the car’s power to weight ratio way higher on the list than, say, a Lotus Elise. How’s that for a fact? 0 – 60 Mph takes about, something like, 4.8 seconds which makes it quicker than most of the cars out there. The Duratec part comes into play when you’re going from maybe 40 Mph to 70 Mph where it provides the additional pump which you can feel clearly. There are no turbochargers that you have to wait to kick in for as you try reaching that top speed of 140 Mph. The limited slip-differential and the rear tires which are just 175 mm wide should make the ride on this just as playful as it should be. It’s just plain and simple raw automotive engineering running through every vein of this car’s body. Though this can be driven on-road still you would prefer driving it on a racetrack or an open highway since the suspensions on this thing can be a pain in the bottom (Yes we have to censor it and NO we don’t like doing that). The hard suspension is supposed to work well enough on the racetrack (if you can actually find one somewhere here). It also comes with racy not-so-comfortable low seats and a four point safety harness so that you don’t fly off while pushing it to its limits. But you make your drive a tad bit simpler in this car if you opt for the Removable Weather Pack which comes with a much longed for roof, a pair of doors and a windscreen so that you don’t tear your face off while driving this little beast of a machine. It has a Five-speed Manual transmission which is pretty nice but it will probably be a little stiff while reaching for those magic figures on the track. A Six-speed Manual transmission can be fitted but it costs an awful lot and would probably be a waste of your hard-earned or hardly inherited money. The pedals on this thing are pretty close to each other which might lead to problems at first but I guess it can be overlooked due to the sheer brilliance of every aspect of this car. Overall it’s almost like a quirky little dragon spitting fire with every subsequent gear shift. It looks like a race car, it sounds like a born racer too and Caterham has detailed every inch of it to make it road legal, atleast in the United Kingdom. It’s a simple balanced machine which is not very fast or not stiff. People who seem to be complaining about it’s performance should simply try it’s elder sibling the R500 or maybe the KTM X-Bow or an Ariel Atom, whichever toots their horns, since this car is everything it was expected to be and it’s doing pretty darn good at it.

Caterham Super 7 How it looks from inside.
Not what you expected for INR 2.5 Million?
Caterham Super 7 engine
Might this change your mind?

 

Coming to the looks and ergonomics…..

It has a very classy look and feel to it. Let it be the bright orange or the custom racing stripe running through the very centre of the car, it looks absolutely stunning. You could probably put a tutu and ballet shoes on and still look manlier than ever while driving it. The simplicity of this car is what brings its elegance to our eyes. The low rung body of this might be a sort of an inconvenience from time to time but that shouldn’t matter if you’re actually in for the enthralling ride it has to offer. The fun thing about this car is that this little wonder is shipped to you by Caterham in a large box as tiny bits and bolts which you’re supposed to assemble for yourself. How’s that for a kick? But if you’re a lazy bum then you can just call them up and ask them to do it for you for a price of which you can buy a firsthand Maruti Suzuki Alto. But oh well if you’re among the very few who can afford to buy this generously priced car for your weekend fantasies then that shouldn’t be a problem. Priced at around   £ 24,995  or INR 25,73,152 it’s not for the average Indian buyer. But as a car it is absolutely delightful and playful and you won’t regret a penny you’ve spent after it. Presenting, the Caterham Super 7 Supersport, it’s the perfect machine that can be so much fun on the roads for you. Everytime you’re driving this elegant piece of British engineering, it will leave you with a big fat grin on your face like you used to have decades back while playing with your hot wheels.

Thank you for reading. For any comments or suggestions you can ping me up on my email id -or- just pen it down below in the comments section 🙂

The Owner’s Guide To YAMAHA YZF R15

Lets start with a bit of recent History.

Back in the year 2011, when young Indians (by age and at heart) had just started getting tired of the old YZF R15, Yamaha released yet another bombshell, the subsequent successor to the older R15, the YZF R15 Version 2.0. And boy did it live up-to its mark, rather it actually was way better than anyone had ever expected it to be. The way it looked was a class apart. The ergonomics were different, or simply said, better. This motorcycle pretty much managed to outshine any of the competitions – any it may have had in the Indian market back then. It looked meaner, faster and way advanced than its predecessor in every way. Even though the front looked pretty much the same, Yamaha had completely refurbished the side cowls and pretty much everything else.

The new split seats gave it a way sportier look along with the LED tail lamps, wider tires, specially the rear one which had been replaced with 130/70 R17 compared to the thinner 100/80 that the earlier ones were provided with. The new lighter aluminum swing-arm was a great addition to the motorcycle along with the elevated exhaust outlet. The more aggressive seating position was meant to give you the feel of an all round sports motorcycle. It was every adrenaline junkie’s wildest dream back then.

YZF R15 Invincible Black

So Anyway….

Today I’ll be telling you all about owning the YZF R15 Version 2 and I’ll let you into a couple of insider secrets too. On one fine evening in the month of July in 2013, after a lot of research and survey I had finally set my mind on the fact that I wanted to upgrade to the new YZF R15 (Invincible Black). Me being a passionate rider, who has always cared about the adrenaline rush rather than the comfort, have never quite regretted that decision since then. I’ve rode it for 7761 kilometers since then and I could say that I have enjoyed each and every kilometer of it. Simply put, it’s a mad man’s apprentice.

It’s unbelievably quick, it has the looks to kill for, it’s pretty fuel efficient and it can go almost anywhere. It has the same engine and torque specifications as the earlier version which I also used to own, the same 149.8 cc. engine that produces 16.8 Bhp of raw power that is more than enough to blow a sane person’s mind away. It also has the same output figures as the older one and can go upto almost 147 kmph if it’s in the right hands.

Starting off at the looks, well, it has the looks which can even make your first crush go gaga over it and make your best friend jealous of you. I never liked the black side cowl so I colored them a bright orange which people seemed to like instantly.

Technical Review:

The dual headlights don’t seem to work as good as they look though. Personally speaking, they could have been brighter and you might face problems if you’re riding at night specially in highways where there is almost no light whatsoever. Same goes for the seat – If you’re looking for comfort with a pillion in the back, you’ll have to shake that dream off. The motorcycle can be a real pain if you’ve got a pillion behind you specially if he/she is a bit on the heavier side. The acceleration seems to drastically lower if you’ve got someone heavy on the backseat. Plus the hard backseat can be a pain in the arse (literally).

But riding alone is a breeze, I’d actually say that this motorcycle is supposed to be ridden alone if you want to savor what lies within all that expensive bodywork. This bike will give you the feeling of going fast, where you’re riding at 40kmph or 140kmph if you know how to ride it properly. Though if you want to wade through traffic, it’s wide body can be a problem and the motorcycle tends to heat up if you’ve been using the wet multiplate clutch constantly for prolonged periods of time. The open chain seems to attract a lot of dirt and gravels always. I try to clean it from time to time since it effects performance noticeably if there’s too much dirt or mud on it which tends to be such a hectic process since there is no double stand. I’ve always used Motul Chain Lubricant but I don’t think other brands would be bad either.
Engine Maintenance:

If we’re talking about engine oils I’d say the factory assigned Yamaha Lube should be best but, me, I use Valvoline 4 Stroke Motorcycle Oil, but that’s just me. It just gives the motorcycle a crisp feel which can be pretty addictive. But I used Motul 3000 4T plus earlier on the version one and it worked like a charm too. The air filter hasn’t needed to be changed yet and has been running perfectly normal for the past year. The engine oil filter which seems really costly at around 145 bucks a pop also needs replacement with every subsequent oil change which I’ve done every 800 kilometers or so. The spark plugs are also running nice and smooth though I feel that after 10,000 kilometers a change might just be necessary. Keeping atleast half a tank of gas is also recommended. These things kept in mind, I’d say, for an average rider, it’ll provide a mileage of about 28 kmpl in city roads and about 40 kmpl plus on the open highways. That’s about all you need to know about maintaining a YZF R15 Version 2 I believe.

Strictly as an Enthusiastic Owner:

I know it might not be the most comfortable ride ever, or the most pocket friendly ride of all times but you have to keep this in mind that the reason behind buying this bike was neither one of those, it was about the fun, thrill, looks and border-lining that you’ve always dreamt of, and this bike seems to be performing more than good at those. The wider tires give you so much more confidence while going into a corner at high speeds. I’ve done a lot of highway riding on it and I don’t think there is a single complaint I might have. The latest front Telescopic suspension and rear Linked type Mono-cross suspension is such a comfort whilst riding within cities and on the highway. The 6-speed gearbox can make highway riding as smooth as it gets. There will probably be no moment during a ride when you might be asking it for anything more than it’s already doing.

The YZF R15 is the classic story of The Beauty and The Beast except the fact that here, both have combined into this screamer of a motorcycle.

If you have any comments please let me know -or- please click the SHARE button below and help us spread the word 🙂 Thanks !

RE Thunderbird 350 -Truly Royal !

Going Down Memory Lane A Bit:

I don’t remember a lot from my childhood but I do remember one little thing my father told me this one rainy afternoon. We were standing at this store and I saw this massive, majestic machine standing there in the distance, little rain drops were trickling down its elegant metal body as it stood there in one corner in dead silence. It had a different sense of attraction to it.  My father seeing my interest quietly leaned down and said in my ear – “Beta, two things never go out of style, a neatly trimmed mustache and a Royal Enfield. One I have, the other’s for you to buy”. 15 years and 8 girlfriends later I still can’t just not get attracted to a Royal Enfield Motorcycle or famously called as bullet motorcycle. The sheer thud it produces has this sense of masculinity that is incomparable.

RE Thunderbird 350 ownership review

A British manufacturer actually, Royal Enfield motorcycle has been one of the greats in the Indian motorcycle market. The company was called as Enfield India earlier. The Production unit is in Madras (Currently Chennai). Bullet Motorcycle or Bullet Royal was everywhere in the 80’s. From the Doodhwala(Milk Seller) who used to hang his cans on either side of the motorcycle to the big mustached uncle who you always were too scared of, the Policeman who caught the thief that night to the neighbor who had been serving in the Indian Army throughout his glorified carrier, everyone had a Royal Enfield. The history of Royal Enfield’s Motorcycle has been a long and unparalleled one. The Thunderbird wasn’t always there though, until in 2000 when Royal Enfield brought this marvel of a cruiser in the Indian market, the first of its kind. It had a great response and has been a people’s favorite since then.

The Thunderbird 350 (2014 Edition):

Cruisers are an evergreen symbol of style, responsibility and sheer power. Everyone wants a piece of the action these days but generally it’s tough to get a hold of those V-Twin engine Harley Davidson for the average Indian. Royal Enfield had long back fulfilled this gap between the common man and his desires with the almost affordable 500 cc. Thunderbird at the beginning of the new millennium. In 2013 it came up with a tuned down and highly anticipated smaller brother to the legacy, the Twinspark Thunderbird 350. It had a 350 cc. engine (well the name pretty much ends the suspense) and produces roundabout 19.8 Bhp of pure power. It wasn’t that loved by the R.E enthusiasts because of some engine enhancements that made them feel a lack in its purity. But it did manage to bring in a whole array of new buyers who were new to the whole idea of cruisers.

And now in 2014, Royal Enfield has come up with a slightly upgraded version of the 350 cc. monster, and it looks better than ever.

The 2014 Thunderbird Royal 350 comes with a similar carbureted 350 cc Single cylinder engine that produces 19.8 Bhp and 28 Nm and looks pretty good for the price it comes at – Rs 1,49,000 (Ex- showroom Kolkata).  Enfield prices are very competitive comparing with other motorcycles. It sports a projector headlight which by far is the best feature of this motorcycle that I have come across personally. Also the hazard lights seemed like a smart addition to the motorcycle. The five bar LED tail light in the back also does its job more than just well. The Chrome finish dual meters were also a looker which included analog RPM and Speedometer along with a pretty handy digital meter with some quirky features like a clock and average speed. The 20 litre Teardrop tank and the Chrome finish exhaust outlet also add a sense of class to the motorcycle. It comes in three colors for now – Stone, Lightning and Marine.

Its five speed gear box has high ratios so that it consumes lesser fuel in traffic within the city going upto 35 kmpl in the city and 43 on the highway. The higher ratios also come in handy during highway riding which makes riding the motorcycle feel like a breeze. Even though it hums like a lunatic, still the motorcycle doesn’t vibrate much and the engine doesn’t feel like it’s being put stress on. It isn’t as powerful as it’s 500 cc Fuel Injected older sibling but it has a great feel to it. Riding at speeds near about 70kmph gives you a feel of relaxation but it can go well upto almost 125kmph if you push the throttle further enough. The whole body looks elegant and even though it doesn’t have the same humming to it like the earlier ones, it sure looks like a motorcycle worth its value. The braking has been improved with the inclusion of a rear disc break in comparison to the older drum brakes it used to come with.

Why Buy A 2014 Thunderbird 350?

 Simple, because you want to 🙂  A Thunderbird dawns the elegant classic cruiser look which you’ve been attracted to since when you first looked at it. It literally beckons you to own it, ride it. The ride itself is worth buying it. The feeling you get while riding it is something that can’t be explained. While riding you feel a sense of responsibility and maturity that you don’t remember feeling a lot of times in your life. The comfortable ergonomics of the bike make it an instant favorite among riders everywhere. Plus you haven’t ever had such a smooth and balanced ride ever in a motorcycle that weighs near about 190 kilograms, unless you own Harley Davidson or custom choppers in which case you haven’t probably have read up until now. Simply put, it is the motorcycle that turns the boy inside of you into a man, in a good sense though. It’s not like you want this motorcycle, it’s rather more like you need it. Royal Enfield Accessories are widely available in the market. The bike is available in global markets as Royal Enfield USA and Royal Enfield UK.

Bottom Line:

I bought myself one last month and I am pretty happy with its performance yet. Haven’t faced any problems yet except some noise coming from the tappet, which also seemed to be the problem among a lot of other R.E owners I met at the showroom. Personally I also felt that the front telescopic suspensions could be a bit better since it sometimes leads to maneuvering problems during traffic congestion.

But otherwise it has been a great experience thus far and I feel it’s going to stay that way like it always has been through its long history of success. A Truly Royal motorbike!