xBhp Rides the MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster
Looking up Google archives one can find news about Cagiva tying up with Kinetic Engineering in 2008 to produce low capacity models in India and MV Agusta also making an entry into the Indian market around that time. Fast forward seven years and that dream is now real.
Kinetic Engineering, especially Ajinkya Firodia is super excited and driven as ever to get the brand into India. This is a better time than 2008 to get such an exotic brand into India. Buyers are more discerning, have more buying power and there is a healthy competition from its Italian neighbours in Ducati and Benelli.
I was lucky. I was present physically in Australia when the MV Agusta brand was being officially launched in Melbourne along with the new AMG strategic and marketing partnership. I almost gate-crashed the party and took hold of two fantastic models that were launched down under along with the overall brand launch. The MV Agusta Tourismo Veloce 800 and the MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster.
The evening in Melbourne started with the showcasing of a select range of MV Agusta bikes along with the Mercedes AMG cars. You might be aware that AMG had done a marketing tie up with Ducati in 2011, when the Diavel AMG edition was produced. But this one is a more ‘solid’ tie up, with AMG acquiring 25% stake in MV Agustas business. This meant that MV Agusta would also be displayed at the AMG showrooms, which will help both the brands, but MV Agusta more. So if someone buys a 150,000 AUD Mercedes AMG he might probably pick up an 18,000 AUD MV Agusta as well. Just might! The initial press release mentioned this tie up as ‘cooperation in area of marketing and sales’.
I was given a chance to sample the MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster first. Truth be spoken, it was one of the most beautiful motorcycles I had ever seen. The finish was beyond words and the design was truly ‘Motorcycle Art’. It was a cross between a cruiser and a street naked bike, the most striking detail being the short tail and the overall extended swingarm look, and hence the name ‘Dragster’. There was one more RR variant which was black and red. The difference between the RR and the stock version was 15Hp of power, 5Nm of torque, 200 extra revs before the limiter kicks in, a better power to weight ratio and a whole lot of oomph!
The engine seemed smooth and refined and it was very peppy, producing an incredible 140 Bhp out of a 800cc mill and a dry weight of only 167Kg! You can imagine what kind of pocket rocket that makes it! The look is complete with the aid of a 200 rear tyre. Anything else that is probably close to this in the market is the Ducati Diavel.
I rode the Dragster through the beautiful Yarra Valley and the vineyards there provided the perfect intoxicating backdrop (I am a teetotaller though!). This is not only delightful to ride but a photographers dream too. You can pull wheelies in third gear on this despite the visibly long wheel base. Put on a fly screen and it can take any distance too.
The inline 3 cylinder is built to put a smile on your face and the exhaust looks sensational stacked three up on the right. The engine is equipped with 4 different mappings, Rain, Sport, Normal and customisable. With the last allowing the rider to set up the engine response, rev limiter, engine torque response, throttle sensitivity and engine braking. The bike also sports an 8 step Traction Control system, which can be switched off, if you want to live on the wild side!
True to MV Agusta character, the bike is its elements at the top of the rev range, while it loses out a bit in the bottom end. Once rolling though you won’t notice, as you automatically wring the throttle to plaster a wide grin across your face. The rear 200 section adds considerably to the looks, but probably makes the handling a tad lazier! Though once the rider has pushed on the bars to enter a corner, the Pirelli tyres grip the tarmac beautifully, giving the rider complete confidence to push that little bit more. And if you do get the bike out of line the Brembos with ABS make life a lot easier. The fancy electronics help this bike be good enough not just to have a blast, but at the same time staying safe with the rubber side down!
I can’t wait to see the MV Agusta range on Indian roads!
MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster Technical Specifications (Australia Specs)
Type: Three cylinder, 4 stroke, 12 valve
Timing system: “D.O.H.C”
Total displacement: 798 cm3
Compression ratio: 13.3:1
Bore x stroke: 79 mm x 54.3 mm (3.1 in. x 2.1 in.)
Max. power- r.p.m.: 92 kW (125 hp) at 11.600 r.p.m.
Max. torque – r.p.m.: 81 Nm (8.25 kgm) at 8.600 r.p.m.
Cooling system: Cooling with separated liquid and oil radiators
Engine management system: Integrated ignition – injection system MVICS (Motor & Vehicle Integrated Control System) with three injectors.
Clutch: Wet, multi-disc with mechanical drive
Transmission: Cassette style; six speed, constant mesh | Electronic quick-shift MV EAS (Electronically Assisted Shift)
Primary drive: 19/36
First gear: 13/37
Second gear: 16/34
Third gear: 18/32
Fourth gear: 19/30
Fifth gear: 21/30
Sixth gear: 22/29
Final drive ratio: 16/41
Voltage: 12 V
Alternator: 350 W at 5000 r.p.m.
Battery: 12 V – 8.6 Ah
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT
Wheelbase: 1380 mm (54.30 in.)
Overall length: 2060 mm (81.06 in.)
Overall width: 825 mm (32.46 in.)
Saddle height: 811 mm (31.91 in.)
Min. ground clearance: 149 mm (5.86 in.)
Trail: 95 mm (3.74 in.)
Dry weight: 167 kg (368.2 lbs.)
Fuel tank capacity: 16.6 l (4.39 U.S. gal.)
Maximum speed*: 245.0 km/h (153.1 mph)
Type: ALS Steel tubular trellis Rear swing arm pivot plates material Aluminium alloy
Type: Marzocchi “UPSIDE DOWN” telescopic hydraulic fork with rebound-compression damping and spring preload external and separate adjustment
Fork dia.: 43 mm (1.69 in.)
Fork travel: 125 mm (4.92 in.)
Type: Progressive Sachs, single shock absorber with rebound and compression damping and spring preload adjustment | Single-sided swing arm material Aluminium alloy
Wheel travel: 125 mm (4.92 in.)
Front brake: Double floating disc with 320 mm (12.6 in.) diameter, with steel braking disc and flange
Front brake caliper: Brembo radial-type, with 4 pistons 32 mm (1.26 in.)
Rear brake: Single steel disc with 220 mm (8.66 in.) dia.
Rear brake caliper: Brembo with 2 pistons – 34 mm (1.34 in.)
ABS System: Bosch 9 Plus with RLM (Rear wheel Lift-up Mitigation)
Front: Material/size Aluminium alloy 3.50 ” x 17 ”
Rear: Material/size Aluminium alloy 6.00 ” x 17 ”
Front: 120/70 – ZR 17 M/C (58 W)
Rear: 200/50 – ZR 17 M/C (75 W)
HORN(et) OK PLEASE! Honda CB Hornet 160R Review
The Honda CB Hornet 160R Review by xBhp. We ride the latest from Honda in the 150cc executive commuter segment and see how the Hornet matches us with stiff competition from the Suzuki Gixxer 155, Yamaha FZ-s Fi V2 and Bajaj Pulsar AS150.
Ever since Honda set out on its own to sell two-wheelers in India, it has tasted success with almost every product it has launched here – the most notable of them being the Activa and the Dream series, riding on which Honda is giving Hero MotoCorp a tough fight in becoming the undisputed leader of motorcycle manufacturers in India. Honda has covered its base well with Activa and the Dream series in the entry level segment.
However, the one area that has proven to be not-so-fruitful has been the 150cc premium commuter segment. Honda enjoyed reasonable success in this segment with the launch of the Unicorn around a decade ago. The Unicorn was well received by the buyers who were looking to explore something beyond the then hot favourite – the Pulsar 150, which happens to still rule this segment. Courtesy the 25,000 + kilometres that I did on the Unicorn, I can vouch for the fact that it was a superbly comfortable motorcycle for urban commuting with its smooth engine and ultra-smooth handling.
The one area where it lacked was its styling. Its over-commuterish riding stance made it a not-so-favourite among young riders who went for something that gave them more poser value. Honda tried to cover that shortcoming with the Dazzler and Trigger motorcycles, but they both failed to trigger the passion among the buyers as much as Honda would’ve liked. Determined to make headway, Honda showcased their new motorcycle to cater to this segment, the CB Hornet 160R at their RevFest event in August 2015 and finally launched it now in December at a grand launch ceremony in Goa, ending 2015 with a remarkable 15 product launches this year.
We got to ride the bike for a short time in Goa at the launch and here’s what we think of it.
Styling: The styling of the CB Hornet 160R is definitely positive and it looks inspired from their naked concept bike the CX-01 that they had displayed at Auto Expo 2014 and got positive feedback for it. It is a very refreshing design that makes it stand apart from the crowd. The most striking aspect of this CB Hornet 160R design is its edgy and muscular tank that gives it very aggressive looks and makes it look bigger than it actually is when viewed from certain angles. The angular headlight further enhances the looks from up front. These sharp design lines carry all the way to the back where the mono-shock suspension and the beefy and shortened exhaust add to its overall design appeal. The wide 140 section rear tyre, which is fast becoming a standard in this segment, and the x-shaped tail light give it a very distinct characteristic. The carbon-fibre finish plastic cover on the tank also adds a few brownie points, though it looked prone to scratches. The CB Hornet 160R is available in 5 colour options, namely the Neo Orange Metallic, Sports Red, Pearl Amazing White, Pearl Night Star Black and Pearl Siren Blue.
Honda CX01 Concept and CB Hornet 160R
The CB Hornet 160R gets a fully digital instrument panel that is taken directly from the Unicorn 160. This shows you the odometer, speedometer, tachometer, 2 trip meters apart from time and fuel gauge and other tell-tale lights. The switchgear on the Hornet was a let down. It is the same standard switchgear that you will see on a lot of other Honda bikes including the Livo. This is a very old design and didn’t go well with the otherwise modern persona of the bike. The most irritating thing about this switchgear is the absence of the engine kill switch. It might not be an actual deal breaker for most of the prospective buyers, but surely a negative for an otherwise spotless design. Also the plastic quality on the switchgear is not among the best in town.
The CB Hornet 160R is powered by the same 160cc engine that you’ll find fitted on the Unicorn 160. However, it is tuned for a more eventful and aggressive ride than the Unicorn. This engine comes to life with a very light touch of the thumb starter and now produces 15.6bhp at 8500rpm and a max torque of 14.76Nm that comes at the 6500rpm mark. The CB Hornet 160R engine produces 1 BHP more than the Unicorn 160 but is 5 kg heavier. It is a long stroke engine (Bore x Stroke = 57.3 x 63.09mm) that has a compression ratio of 10:1. It has got a very good bottom and meaty mid-range that makes the CB Hornet 160R a delight to ride in city traffic. You could accelerate from as low as 30kmph in fifth gear without any trouble at all. The 5-speed gearbox of the Hornet runs a taller gearing. This engine carries the trademark smoothness of Honda and is completely vibration free even during high revs. We didn’t find the narrow Goa roads suitable and safe enough to test the top speed, but Honda claims that the max speed of the Hornet 160R is 110kmph.
Like almost all the current Honda engines in the commuter segment, this engine also gets the HET (Honda Eco Technology) tag and is Bharat Stage IV emission norms compliant, which is a first in the country and is much ahead of the April 1, 2016, regulatory deadline.
Handling & Comfort: The CB Hornet gets a very comfortable and roomy rider seat, which is true for the pillion seat as well. There’s plenty of room for tall riders as well. The riding posture is not very aggressive or commuterish; instead it is a fine balance between the two. The rearset footpegs are positioned comfortably. The suspension setup is on the softer side of the scale and the bike seemed to glide over potholed filled tarmac, transferring very little discomfort to the riders’ back. The bike feels firmly planted at both low and high speeds and felt eager to turn, making those sudden evasive manoeuvres super easy. It has got a very small turning radius as well, again a plus point when riding in city traffic conditions. The high speed turns on the CB Hornet 160R again left us mighty impressed. The bike seemed to follow the rider’s mind with utmost precision.
Braking is taken care of by a 276mm, 3 pot piston petal disc at the front and a 220mm petal disc at the rear in the CBS version. The standard version comes with a 130mm drum at the rear. The one we rode was a CBS version and the brakes did their job well. The bite was adequate and progressive.
Photo Courtesy: Mohit Soni
Photo Courtesy: Mohit Soni
Conclusion: The CB Hornet 160R seems like a very impressive overall product that ticks all the right boxes and has a lot of things working in its favour. It is priced sensibly and is now retailing at INR 79,900 ex-showroom Delhi for the standard version and INR 84,400 ex-showroom Delhi for the CBS version. It has got style and comfort. It has got a super smooth engine with plenty of low and mid-range torque and handles like a charm. The power it produces makes it only inferior to the Pulsar AS150 in the 150-160 naked bike segment. The Hornet would is direct competition for the Yamaha FZ and the Suzuki Gixxer, which are among the hot favourites of urban youth because of their aggressive looks and good performance. On paper, Hornet does better than the Yamaha FZ on all counts, including the price, power and torque figures. So is the case with Suzuki Gixxer, though it is approximately 4000 rupees cheaper than the CB Hornet 160R. Riders with large physical frames and those who will be clocking a lot of kilometres with a pillion on board should definitely prefer the Hornet over the FZ and Gixxer. We could hardly find anything negative about the Honda CB Hornet 160R during the short date we had it, though we’d definitely like to ride it again for a longer period of time and give you a more detailed and comprehensive review.
Honda CB Hornet 160R Review Technical Specifications
Suzuki GSX-S1000 Review – The Naked Fury!
When I think of Suzuki, I think of the Hayabusa. I also think of the legend of the Ghostrider somewhere in Sweden doing insane speeds on one of his all black GSXRs. Somewhere along the way Suzuki forgot to update and keep up with the Joneses as far as the GSX-R 1000 is concerned. It is the least talked about litre class superbike out there, but by no means less potent than any other. Though that might change soon, as per the concept bike displayed at EICMA 2015 by Suzuki.
However, I have been a great fan of naked streetfighters. I had the raw and brutal Yamaha FZ1, on which I went around India and did various other rides as well. And currently the futuristic Benelli TNT 899 is there in my garage.
However, the GSX-S1000 catches my interest. It is visually bulky and carries itself like a fully purposeful streetfighter –I’ll-do-my-own-hooligan-s#*t look right off the showroom. The blue colour that I rode is the ‘official’ Suzuki colour and does look good but to me a streetfighter is best dressed in black.
It has got all the right visual cues to have substantial road presence and carries an explosive performance in a small package. The engine produces a very healthy 145bhp (still less than one of the most powerful nakeds out there, the FZ1 at 150bhp). It is just a little less bulky than the FZ1 in the way it feels. The engine is super smooth as you would expect from a Japanese motorcycle and it is as flickable as it gets. I suspect it would be a decent track machine with better rear-sets, though a naked isn’t really built for the track. The street is where the real fun begins with it, where it lives and where it plasters a manic grin on the face of the rider.
Though this street naked’s engine is derived from the GSX-R1000, the engine on the bike is tweaked for the street and not the track. So different engine internals find their way into the heart of the S1000 to improve its bottom and mid-range. The powerband where you will find yourself most of the time in the city and on the highways. The bike is surprisingly easy to manage at slow speeds and doesn’t cause any heart-in-the-mouth moments as you let go of the clutch and start rolling. But get the engine revving into its meaty mid-range and you can fully appreciate the power all the way to its redline at 11500rpm.
Yes, this isn’t a litre class full blown sportsbike, but it has got enough to keep most riders happy. In addition to it, the comfortable ergonomics and saddle which allow the rider to flatfoot the bike. Suzuki does seem to have a winner on its hands ready to join the party alongside the FZ1, CB1000R and Z1000; albeit a few years late. The Suzuki in this group doesn’t get any fancy electronics or tech wizardry, but the bike is a solidly built unit, which oozes quality and attention to detail that we have come to expect from Suzuki. Though you do get 3-mode Traction Control and ABS for those who are looking for the safety net that these two provide.
The S1000 handles very well. You can pick it and throw it around with minimal effort. It is not as sharp as the superbike, but it will surprise at how easy it is to point and shoot! The wheels are shod with Dunlop rubber, which does a reasonably good job of aiding the handling. But the sweetest deal on the bike is the suspension. An aggressively set-up unit allows the bike to handle as well as you can hope and expect from a 209kg motorcycle, but the downside is that you might find it a trifle hard on not so smooth roads, that our cities are filled with. The suspension is easy to adjust, so softening it a bit should work well for most riders. Suzuki also claims that the chassis on this bike is actually lighter than the one used on the GSX-R1000 currently, which goes to show the effort the company has put into making this bike a potent machine.
As an all-round package you realize that Suzuki has done a fine job of giving something for everybody. An easy handling bike for the city, a stable bike for the highways and a bike which should do reasonably well on a track once in a while. And all of this with great looks, though for the more highway biased rider, a S1000F would probably make more sense. All this at an Ex-showroom Delhi price for INR 1225000 does make it a very tempting proposition indeed, especially taking into account that Suzuki has a number of Hayabusas on Indian roads and thus a decent after sales network. In comparison the Honda CB1000R ABS and Yamaha FZ1 retail for Rs 1326600/- and Rs 1143000/-, both prices ex-showroom Delhi. Though the FZ1 doesn’t have ABS.
Suzuki GSX-S1000 Review Technical Specifications
See how the Suzuki GSX-S1000 fares when put in comparison with similar products from other manufacturers
New Bajaj Avenger Street 150 & Cruise 220 – reviewed!
The Indian motorcycle market has seen a tremendous growth over the last decade or so. Every manufacturer worth its salt is either already here or is planning to set up shop in India. This growth has brought in all kinds of motorcycles for the prospective buyers, from street bike to cruisers to adventure touring machines. Especially, the big bike market is dominated by cruiser sales and Harley-Davidson sits right there on top. Royal Enfield undoubtedly owns the mid-size cruiser category and in fact is one of the fastest growing motorcycle manufacturers in the country of late. Bajaj is the only player catering to the bottom end of this market with its sole offering – the Avenger 220. Of course Hyosung is there with the GV250, but its price bracket sets it further apart in this category. The Avenger has done decent numbers (around 4000 units per month) for Bajaj despite seemingly almost zero efforts from Bajaj’s end to promote it. The last big upgrade the Avenger has seen was in 2010 when it was fitted with a 220cc engine. Yet the Avenger has held its ground. But the recent upheavals in the market have forced Bajaj to shift gear and give the Avenger the kind of attention it needs.
Bajaj recently launched an entire range of Avenger and there is not one, not two, but three different variants of the Avenger now on sale, with which Bajaj is aiming to touch the 20k units per month sales target. The Avenger is now available in 220cc Cruise and 220cc Street versions. The Street version is also available in a 150cc variant, which is aimed at people who want the styling and comfort of a cruiser but need to take care of their budget and fuel economy restraints as well.
Bajaj Avenger Street 220
Bajaj Avenger Cruise 220
Bajaj Avenger Street 150
Styling wise, broadly, the new Avenger series is the same old Avenger that we’re used to seeing. However, there are some major changes that make these bikes as new as they can be. As suggested by its name, the Avenger Cruise 220 carries all the things a cruiser would have. Firstly, it has chrome and lots of it! It also has a new handlebar and a more relaxed riding posture for those long hauls on the highway. There’s also an optional wind screen for those who are willing to shell out a few extra bucks. The Street 220 and the Street 150 on the other hand get an all-black treatment, including the engine, alloy wheels, and the grab rail. The handlebar on the Avenger Street is flatter and lower to make it more manoeuvrable in city traffic. The Cruise 220 comes fitted with spoke wheels whereas the Streets get a 12-spoke blackened alloy wheel at the front and 9 spoke alloy at the rear. The Cruise 220 also gets a pillion backrest. The seat height of new Avengers is raised by 15mm and that is contributed by the extra foam on the seats for extra comfort. The new Avengers also get a white headlamp, which Bajaj claims helps in better visibility after dark, though we couldn’t test it as we rode the bikes during daytime. Flexible indicators also find their way into the Avenger Street and Cruise. There is a new design analogue speedometer with a tiny LCD screen within, which displays odometer and trip meter readings. And obviously, the Avenger Cruise gets chrome plating on the speedo, wherein the Street 220 and 150 have got it black. The fuel gauge is fitted onto the tank itself. The overall fit and finish is top notch.
Some closeups of the Avenger Cruise 220
The Cruise 220 has got a very solid presence on the road and it will surely grab a lot of eyeballs. The Avenger Street 150 and Street 220 look pretty much identical except for some minor differences, the most notable of them being the blue colour of the Avenger 150. The Street 220 comes in black-red dual colour tone. It is hard to miss the influence of Harley Davidson’s Street 750 on the Avenger Street bikes. From the black alloy wheels to black rubber bellows on the front suspension to a minimalistic single pod instrument cluster to a round headlight. But it is a well-executed product in the end and that is what matters. Ticking the final box in the Cruiser checklist is a slightly bigger wheel at the front (17 inches) than the rear (15 inches).
Bajaj Avenger Street 150 closeups
Coming to the performance, let’s talk about the Street 150 first. The Avenger Street 150 surprised us by its performance. It uses the same tried and tested 150cc engine that Bajaj has for a very long time. This engine is tuned for a better low and mid-range torque and is mated to a 5-speed gearbox. It makes a healthy 14.5BHP at 9000RPM (at par with most of 150s in the country) and a torque of 12.5Nm at 6500RPM mark. The engine was smooth and vibration free even at high RPMs. The torque seemed to kick in rather early and evenly throughout the rev range. The gear shifts were positive and smooth as well. The bike seemed good enough to be able to cruise around 90kmph throughout the day without much fuss. The Street 150 also gets a 38-teeth sprocket at the rear and a larger air filter for improved low and mid-range.
The Avenger Cruise 220 and Street 220 retain the same old 220cc oil cooled DTSi engine that makes 19PS at 8400RPM and 17.5Nm of max torque at 7000RPM. These figures remain unchanged from the earlier avatar of Avenger. There is a very solid and planted feel to the Avenger when you ride it. The bike is quick off the mark, but obviously not the quickest of the lot. The engine responds readily to rider inputs and is smooth. The 5-speed gearbox also didn’t show any signs of distress or false neutrals. On the handling front, the Cruise 220 true to its name acts in a very relaxed and sedate manner. It loves to go straight and feels a bit hesitant when put it through the zigzags of city traffic. The Avenger Street 220 on the other hand is 5 kg lighter and, thanks to its flatter handlebar, feels much more eager to turn quickly and wants you to push it more. Overall the Avenger 220s behave reasonably well on the twistys, though none of them are corner cravers and shouldn’t be treated like one. The rear suspension on these bikes have been tweaked and it seemed to take the potholes and large speed breakers with much more ease than earlier without transferring much of the impact on rider’s back.
Braking is ably taken care of on the 220s with a 260mm disk up front and a 130mm drum at the rear. The Street 150 uses a 240mm disk at the front and a 130mm drum at the rear. The bite seemed adequate, the braking progressive and we didn’t have much to complain even during intentional hard braking. The 130 section rubber at the rear and the 90 section at the front complemented the brakes.
We are pretty sure that it would be a difficult choice for people who would be choosing between the Avenger Cruise 220 and the Avenger Street 220. It would be a classic battle between the heart and the mind. The heart would want to go with the Cruise for its quintessential classic cruiser feel and the oomph factor and that chilled out riding posture, but the mind would want the Street 220 for all the practical reasons like its handling and the alloy wheels to put tubeless tyres. Making the choice easier would be of course the similar performance and the 220cc DTSi workhorse engine. Whatever you might end up with, one thing is for sure, you are going to get a lot of attention on the road while riding the Avenger Cruise 220 or the Street 220 and you could own either by spending INR 84,000 ex-showroom Delhi.
The Avenger Street 150 would be a no-brainer for anybody looking to venture down the cruiser road with a limited budget. It is definitely the surprise package of this Avenger overhaul. The performance parameters are at par with most of the bikes in that category. The engine is smooth and responsive too. There was hardly any negative points about this bike that we could find. This bike will be of particular interest to those not-so-tall riders for whom the saddle height is the single most important criteria when buying a two-wheeler. It would also find a lot of takers among the fresh out of college youth looking to buy a ‘cool’ bike with their first or second salary. The Avenger Street 150 could be yours for INR 75,000 ex-showroom Delhi.
Overall, the new Avenger series seems to be a step in the right direction. It is a win-win situation for everyone as Bajaj got its portfolio expanded, the brand Avenger has got the attention it deserved, and consumers have more options to choose from. Also, there is hardly any competition in the small capacity cruiser segment, so it makes even more sense for Bajaj to take (or advance) the lead in this segment because if Bajaj wants to become the number one motorcycle manufacturer in terms of sales, then it would need to have the brand Avenger contribute more to its sales numbers.