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!

Maruti Alto 800-Ownership Review

Take a walk on a typical Indian road and you will find yourself catching the sight of this humble and cute looking car more than any other cars on the road 🙂 Its the new Maruti Suzuki Alto 800. Maruti Suzuki India Limited most commonly know as Maruti formerly known as Maruti Udyog Limited is an Indian automobile manufacturing company.

It is controlled by a holding company – a Japanese car manufacturing establishment Suzuki. Maruti Suzuki has a variety of vehicles available in the Indian market  from the outset level the Alto, to the hatchbacks Ritz, A-Star, Swift, Wagon R, Zen and the sedans DZire, Kizashi and SX4 etc. to the ‘C’ segment Eeco, Omni, Multi Purpose vehicle Suzuki Ertiga and Sports Utility vehicle Grand Vitara

Maruti Suzuki

Alto 800 is a kei car( It is a Japanese categorization of small passenger carsengineered and manufactured by Suzuki. The contemporary model is currently in its seventh generation.The first of its kind emerged in 1979 and was manufactured in several countries worldwide.The all new Maruti Alto 800 has undergone a lucid face lift with all new bodies and interiors.It replace’s its first generation Alto keeping the old 796cc engine. The most captivating fact is that, although being India’s best selling  car, the price tag of Alto was also lowered with the change in the model. Several methods were implied to lower the price . These include lowering the weight of each and every part down by even a single gram and also including their own robots for manufacturing purposes.

Design and Looks:

EXTERIOR:

The all new Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 has an exemplary yet a smooth and glossy design that packs a punch.The smooth seamless long curves gives it a perfect side look and better dynamics, which means better performance and better looks.The prominent wheel lip add on to the side looks. All these make the Alto 800 the most desirable small car in the Indian market. The new Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 has undergone a face lift to give it an adorable hatchback look.( I love the new petal shaped head light ,gives it a better look.)

Maruti Suzuki

 

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Interior:

images_gearUp

images_inside-alto800

The cabin in the new Alto 800 is refined completely to give it an elegant look and feel.The result is superior interior quality and more comfortable environment and more space inside the car.Whats more is you get to choose between cool looking brown and grey interiors.

Performance and Specs:

maruti-alto-800-gear-087The latest remodeled Alto 800 arrives with a 796cc petrol mill which was also used in its  presiding models , with obvious tweaks over them.A  796cc , 3 cylinder petrol engine is the powerhouse of the Alto 800 that grinds out a maximum of 47.5bhp at 6000rpm at its peak of 69Nm of torque produced at 3500rpm.

What puts it aside from its predecessors is the fact that it maintains the Bharat Stage IV emission norms ( Which makes it one of the most Eco friendly kei cars in India ). Apart from turning down the emissions the MSI engineers have worked pretty well upon the NVL levels .The Alto comes with a 5-gear transmission, which gives a smooth gear shift and superior driving experience.  Taking into account the acceleration and pick up, Maruti suzuki is categorized under the small cars 796cc category and still packs a punch .The acceleration is excellent when compared to the rest of the small cars in the market. The new improved and face lifted power mill can accelerate you from 0 to a 100km within a time duration of 15 to 16 seconds, with the top speed of about 120 kmph .For the CNG versions the magic 100kmph from 0 takes about 17 to 18 seconds.This is clear-cut evidence that the performance has been modified brilliantly .

Mileage :

IMG_20140717_155120It is the typical Indian mentality that mileage is given preference over performance of the car . It is undoubtedly crowned as the peoples car of India .Alto 800 returns with the fantastic mileage of 22.74kmpl on petrol and 33kmpl on CNG making it  the most fuel efficient car in the present Indian automobile market .The new Alto maintains respectable performance without compromising on the mileage ,making it the most affordable car .If you want to go ECO friendly by using CNG and also get a car which is affordable and easy to maintain – Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 is for sure the best choice for you !

Dispiriting Facts about the new Alto 800 :

One of the most disappointing  factor I found  was the really weak body . Just the slightest of hits and bumps can result in great damage to the car ( A Scooter hit my Alto 800 from the back at a normal speed but the right back bumper of the car got destroyed)

If you are pure power aficionado it might be disappointing for you. The acceleration is considerably weak compared to other cars in the market .

The interior is considerably comfortable but it doesn’t have a  lavish and and attractive look.

-When you run CNG the engine performance is reduced by a great amount, especially when you even have the AC turned on.

BOTTOM LINE :

 Without question, it is the most fuel efficient car available in the market. Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 has improved performance and mileage and also at a very affordable price tag.

There is this saying ” Two birds with one Bullet ” so running your Alto 800 on CNG saves you money and also reduce’s the harmful emissions !

Visit Maruti Suzuki India Website: http://www.marutisuzuki.com

KTM 390 Duke-Ownership Review

During the middle Ages, the title “Duke” refers to the member of noble classes or the Monarch ruling a fief. In India, people are not much used to this title until few years ago, when Austria based motorcycle manufacturer KTM launched its KTM Bikes here. Bajaj autos has partnered with KTM to launch a series of KTM bikes in India. This partnership has seen a runaway success through the KTM 200 Duke and KTM 390 Duke. KTM 390 Duke was launched in India in mid 2013.

Lead up:

I have owned a Yamaha RX100, Pulsar 150 and Pulsar 200NS so far. Pleased with the performance of Pulsar motorbikes, i would call myself as a fan. Bajaj Auto owns a considerable stake in KTM, which produces KTM bikes at the Chakan unit, Pune. As per the law of natural progression I started to look for my next valuable possession which is an orange and black KTM 390 Duke.  I opted for this color scheme due to its striking attitude and eye catching graphics. And finally took delivery of the bike from Khivraj motors, Bangalore.

With the Bike:

KTM 390

 KTM 390 Duke:

If you feel that KTM 200 Duke offers you adequate power, you need to rethink because KTM 390 offers you much more. The fun of riding a KTM 390 comes from the 375 CC liquid cooled single cylinder engine. The moment you start to shift gears, you will feel the racier personality of the bike which starts to surround the rider too. KTM 390 refined 6 speed gearbox gives you a rewarding experience at higher rpm. KTM 390 develops 43bhp which gives this leaner bike a better power to weight ratio. The bike starts to give a satisfying performance starting from 5000 rpm onwards.

KTM 390

The factory fitted silencer is not an Akrapovic, but the 3 chamber silencer is well positioned near to the overall center of gravity of the bike. The exhaust note sounds music to your ears at higher power band. Catalytic converter helps in meeting the emission norms. The 11 litre fuel tank is ergonomically designed which offers a better knee contact. The front and rear disc brakes offer a better braking experience. The front disc is fitted on the left side and the rear one on the right side of the tire.

The wide rear metzeler tire offers better grip in dry and wet road conditions. The riding position is good and not compromised for its sporty stance. Even when taking long trips – given the fact that I used to do frequent weekend trips from Bangalore to Mysore on KTM 390. It’s faster as well as quicker. It’s brilliant. Now coming to factors which could have been better is its overheating and pillion seat comfort. Overheating makes me uncomfortable at times especially in bumper to bumper traffic. The Pillion seat is comfortable only if you have model type girlfriend 😉  Coming to the running costs, I am getting around a mileage of 30 km/litre.

KTM bikes

Dealership Experience:

I bought the bike from Khivraj motors in Bangalore and I am happy with the dealership experience. After sales service is good and they do it in a timely manner. So far I haven’t done any aftermarket fitments and no plans in near future too.

Bottom-line:

KTM doesn’t face much competition in this segment in India, as there are not much competitor bikes except the Royal Enfield Continental GT. KTM 390 Duke was awarded “Bloomberg TV-Autocar Bike of the Year 2014” and “2014 CNBC TV-18 Overdrive Bike of the Year”. The reason cited was its performance, ride, handling, decent fuel efficiency and a value for money (price-tag) in a winning package. I expect the KTM will sure do a good job, when they launch their much expected KTM 125 for the young, price conscious consumer segment. Among the various Bikes in India, KTM bikes standout among the crowd and it’s a sure head turner which I personally have observed many times. This bike lives truly to the KTM motto of “Ready to Race” for bike enthusiasts. I would say in one line about KTM bikes as “The Austrian prince who has won Indian bikers hearts”.

A word of caution: I would suggest my fellow bikers to wear the right gear and choose the right helmet (with proper safety ratings). Ride defensively at crowded places which will make you less vulnerable. At the same time, enjoy your driving and happy motoring.

My Dream Bike: Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R

Thanks to Parashuram for sharing his Ownership experience

Visit the KTM India website: http://www.ktm.com/in

Image Gallery:

Bajaj Avenger – The Bhadsha of Indian cruisers

Bajaj Avenger  – a beast on the road with a vengeance of 220 cc ! Haha 🙂 Yes I call it the  ” Bhadsha of the INDIAN cruisers “, you will for sure nod your head  after reading through this post . Bajaj Avenger is the first of its kind home grown power cruiser manufactured by Bajaj Auto. The Design and making of this motorcycle, was inspired from Bajaj/kawasaki  ” Eliminator”   powered by a KAWASAKI engine. The Bajaj Avenger 180cc was the first and primitive model in 2005 . Then in 2007 arrived the  Avenger 200cc  into the Indian market. The contemporary model is the  ” Bajaj Avenger 220cc DTSi ” which is the most affordable and the most value for money cruiser in India .

Bajaj Avenger 220 DTSi

The Avenger has seen a remarkable growth since its arrival and has remained as milestone in journeyof  the home grown cruisers. The only competitor it has faced since is the Thunder Bird. A very interesting advancement in the newer version is  the third generation throttle ignition control system. This kind’a technology allows you to control the ignition directly from the throttle itself. This gives a a smooth drive with better balance between drive-ability and the optimum ignition spark. The result is perfect ignition spark for every throttle open.

If this is not thrilling enough let the figures do the talking  :

– It runs on its powerhouse, a 220cc  air cooled ,four stroke engine.

– It puts out a 18.8bhp with 1.8kgm of torque.

– That’s more than enough to propel you and the avenger to its tops speed of 114kmph ( before you run out of road ).

– It also has an attractive mileage ranging from 40-45 kmpl to satisfy our Indian mentality . I have personally seen it touch nearly 130 kmpl ( 127).

Design and Looks:

Avenger  has that elegant , gleemy look of a cruiser and the power of a sports bike . It has shiny chrome finishing on the fuel tank, which gives a edge to its looks and also the chrome finishing on the sides and the exhaust gives it an even more attractive look. A large 14 lit capacity tank gives better look and extra storage. Its long handles and the added windshield sets aside its own kind of driving trend. It’s the most wanted beautiful beast & personally I like the way it looks  more than the Thunder Bird ( oh yeah ).. It has a cool looking speedometer , odometer and an added battery life indicator on its body. I am pretty confident that once you give it a test drive for sure you will become a die hard fan of the Avenger

Bajaj-Avenger-220cc-7

Pros:

The Bajaj Avenger for sure gives a dream come true driving experience . You name it , cursing on a highway or gliding through the hectic city traffic, the Bajaj Avenger always has the edge & never ceases to impress you. It’s the new trend setting style of biking among the youth. It can be called the ” THE BEAU BESTIA ” which means the beautiful beast 🙂

  • Avenger has that low-slung body and a unique sitting posture which gives you and your vehicle a very good look while driving  and also better dynamics which again gives a better performance.

  • Its seat is made of a duel density material making ride’s really comfortable and pleasant to sit on. Interestingly it has a back rest for the pillion rider.

  • Usually when your bike battery runs out the only way you can find out is when the engine doesn’t self start . Well you don’t need to worry about that if you have an Avenger as it has an added feature for low battery indication .

  • The lastest advanced techonology DTSi Engine ,IGNITION WITH A DIGITAL C.D.I. ,TRICS III ,EXHAUSTEC .  makes it the best buy in its range.

  • When you press on the throttle you can feel that amazing jerk , that power rushing  from the engine which accelerates your bike like the wind ( I personaly love that feeling when you ride an Avenger )

  • The back wheels and the front wheels have been fitted with larger disc brakes which gives you smoother deceleration and added safety for you and the vehicle.

  • The Bajaj Avenger is so light weight when compared to other cruisers and is designed to have  low center of gravity giving it a better grip and extraordinary stability at higher speeds.

  • That unique Forward foot sitting posture sets it apart from all the other bikes and makes it the most comfortable ride.

  • Bajaj Avenger gives an option for  those riders who wish to have a windshield to achieve that  chopper look and also to protect themselves from debris flying off the roads .

  • With all these attractive fractures , beautiful looks and  also being so  affordable makes it the best buy in the Indian motorcycle market ( oh man I really cant stop raving about this machine )

Cons :

  • Comparing the mileage it gives to those other economic bikes  like discover its rather disappointing

  • Personally I felt the only glitch it had was that it has a rigid gear changing system.The gear changing mechanism should have been smoother and better.

  • If you are a tall and a hefty person its low lying posture might be not feel so comfortable for you.

Visit Bajaj Autos Website: http://www.bajajauto.com