Rider vs Driver: Size does matter when it’s Hayabusa vs Hummer!
Hercules vs Poseidon. Zeus vs Ares. Batman vs Superman. Even Mike Tyson vs Muhammad Ali. What’s common between them is that they are all battles of the heavyweights. Unfortunately, another similarity is that they are all fantastical. Even then the thirst for the ‘Clash of Titans’ is never-ending and the rosters are getting thinner by the day. Therefore, this edition of Driver vs Rider is here to serve only one purpose: deliver a battle of titanic proportions.
So without further ado, we introduce the competitors. Fighting from the white corner, an SUV that looks like it just swallowed another SUV, the Hummer H2 and fighting from the black corner, a motorcycle with a displacement that equals two bottles of beers i.e. 1300cc, the icon, Suzuki GSX1300R aka the Hayabusa.
The Humvee or High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) is a four-wheel-drive military light truck produced by AM General. The vehicle is as sturdy as they come and are still in use by the United States Military. AM General began marketing a civilian version of the M998 Humvee in 1992. That’s how the ‘Hummer’ brand was born. It was a brand of trucks and SUVs under the AM General group. In 1998, the brand name was purchased by General Motors (GM). In the same year they started marketing three vehicles under the Hummer brand; the original H1 (based on the military Humvee) and the new H2 and H3 models that were based on smaller GM platforms.
The vehicle in question here is the H2 which we just said was based on the smaller GM platforms but small is something that the H2 is definitely not. The H2 was marketed by Hummer and produced by AM General between 2002 and 2009. The H2’s front was based on a GM 2500-Series utility frame and the rear uses a modified GM 1500-Series frame. The mid-section was designed from scratch. This resulted in an SUV that weighs around 3900 kg. It was also nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award in 2003.
The engines on the Hummer have been changed and refreshed many times. From 2003 to 2005 the majority of the lot had a 6-litre V8 that produced 316 bhp of power at 5200 rpm. The next iteration saw the same engine’s power increased from 316 to 325 bhp. In 2008 the capacity of the engine was increased to 6.2 litres in the same V8 and power was bumped up to 393 bhp. Those are astronomical figures and testament to the power of the engine is that the 3900 kg vehicle goes from 0-60 mph in close to 9 seconds.
Sadly, in 2009 GM announced that they will be dismantling the Hummer brand completely after GM was not able to reach a closure to the deal of selling the Hummer brand. Although GM did get new offers, by the April of 2010 Hummer dealerships were shutting down and the inventory was depleted so the sale became unlikely. The last Hummer, which was an H3, rolled off the line on the 24th of May 2010.
The Hayabusa on the side of the H2 is monstercycle being produced by Suzuki since 1999. The name Hayabusa has some interesting origins. Hayabusa, in Japanese, is the Peregrine Falcon which is renowned for its speed, reaching over 300 km/h during a hunting dive. The above-stated fact should be enough to assert the aptness of the name but interestingly enough, Peregrine Falcons prey on ‘Blackbirds’. Is that a hint here? Maybe. But the Hayabusa did take the title of the world’s fastest motorcycle from the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird. Coincidence? We think not.
The first generation Hayabusa (1999-2007) was powered by a 1299cc, liquid-cooled, inline 4 engine which produced more than 150 bhp. Hayabusa achieved the feat of being the world’s fastest production bikes in its launch year itself, reaching a top speed of over 300 km/h. Although, it was later limited to 299 km/h.
The second generation Hayabusa (2008-till date) received slight revisions in 2008 and that’s been the norm after 2008 as well. The major change was the increase of 41 cc in displacement making it 1340cc since then. The model in question here is a 2014 Suzuki Hayabusa or GSX 1300R. It features a 1340cc, DOHC, inline 4 engine with 16 valves (4 valves per cylinder). It produces a claimed 197 bhp at 10100 rpm and 138.7 Nm of torque at 7600 rpm.
The power is transmitted to the rear wheel via a 6-speed gearbox which also comprises of a slipper clutch. The Hayabusa tips the scale at 250 kg (dry). It is based on a twin-spar aluminium frame with USD forks on the front and monoshock at the rear. Braking duties are handled by twin discs with radially-mounted callipers on the front and a single hydraulic disc at the rear. The front tyre is a 120/70 section ZR-17 and the rear is a 190/50 ZR-17.
One of the best things about the Hayabusa is that despite its mammoth weight and size, it does not lose out on aspects other than power like handling, comfort, reliability etc. And probably that is what gives the Hayabusa the pedestal of an icon, a legend.
Both of these vehicles are massive and wonderful in their own right. They are both meant for the ones who want to dominate and that too in a ‘big way’. The only difference is that a few do it on two wheels and the other on four.
TVS iQube Electric – First Ride Review
TVS had recently announced their foray into the world of electric mobility solutions when they launched the iQube Electric scooter about a month ago in Bengaluru in a star-studded affair with the chief guest being none other than the Union Transport Minister Mr Nitin Gadkari and the Karnataka State Chief Minister Mr Y.S. Yeddyyurappa themselves. All the details about the scooter including price and tech specs were made known at the time of the launch itself, and the only thing remaining to be known was to see how it feels to ride this scooter. Finally, we had a chance to ride it a day before yesterday at TVS’s Hosur plant test track and here’s what we could learn from that outing.
Design-wise, the iQube Electric offers an elegant overall persona without trying to look too ambitious. Clearly, no drama here. It is a very neat design that should appeal to people of all ages. There is only one colour option available as of now though. It features an LED headlamp along with LED DRLs, as well as full LED tail lamp as well. And there is an illuminated iQube logo with blue backlight as well on the left swingarm. Then you have a 5-inch full color TFT screen at the instrument panel that displays a host of information including all tell-tale lights and basic and advanced info like speedometer, battery level, distance to empty, etc. Pair it with your smartphone with the help of TVS iQube app (android and ios) and it would show you call and SMS alerts, trip telemetry, turn by turn navigation, over-speed alert, etc. You could also monitor battery charge status on your phone while the scooter is being charged, parked away from you.
At the heart of the TVS iQube sits a 3 kW hub-mounted motor sourced from Bosch, which gives a peak power output of 4.4 kW. This motor is powered by 3 battery packs, the cells of which are sourced from LG. One of these battery packs sits under the floorboard, one under the pillion seat, and the last one a little behind it. Rest all the components of the scooter including the chassis, the BMS, the controller, the TFT panel have all been developed by TVS themselves. These batteries would take about 5 hours for a full charge and would take approximately 4 hours for 75% charge. They can be charged with the home charger being supplied with the scooter. TVS has also installed 10 chargers for public charging at 10 different TVS dealerships across Bangalore only as of now. There is no fast charger available yet for this scooter; however, TVS says that they are developing one. The maximum range is 75 kms on one full charge but that is only when you ride it in economy mode. Riding in Sport mode would bring the range down considerably to about 55 km. Also needless to say that the range would depend on your riding style as well as riding conditions. The iQube can attain a top speed of 78 kmph in Sport mode, which will be further restricted to about 45 kmph if you are riding in Economy mode. The basic difference between these two riding modes is that of top speed only. The iQube also features a Park-Assist mode, which when engaged allows you to ride in reverse at a max speed of 3 kmph, and also in the forward direction with a max speed of around 10 kmph.
Sitting on the iQube doesn’t give you any different feeling than what you would get from a conventional scooter. It feels no different unless you twist the throttle, and you’d immediately feel a jerk as the motor unleashes all the torque in one go without hesitation. But before that, once you turn on the ignition key, the scooter would come to life in a neutral position, meaning it won’t move even if you twist the accelerator. It would engage into riding mode only when you press either of the brakes along with the riding mode selector button. This is a safety feature that TVS has incorporated into this scooter to prevent unintentional rolling of the scooter. Also it won’t buzz if you have the side stand engaged. As should be the case with any electric vehicle, the iQube is a silent operator, which is very unnerving if you are riding an electric vehicle for the first time. There are no vibrations felt from anywhere in the scooter and it attains its claimed top speed of 78 kmph quickly and without any drama. Then you have regenerative braking bundled with the package, which recharges the batteries every time you roll off the throttle. With the 90/90 tyres and 12-inch wheels at both front and rear, and also telescopic front suspension at the front and dual suspension set up at the rear, it handles beautifully and takes everything that is thrown at it with much ease, though the main test track at the TVS plant offers very little variation and we would prefer a longer road test to properly assess its capabilities. There is a 220 mm disk at the front and drum brake at the rear coupled with the CBS system to take care of braking duties. The CBS is actuated if you press the rear brake lever only.
Now, the TVS iQube can be yours at price tag of 1.15 lakh on-road Bengaluru, which puts it in roughly the same price range as its competitors, namely the Bajaj Chetak and the Ather 450. This scooter looks well proportioned and has a very likeable overall persona. The performance in terms of range and top speed, etc., are also at par with the competitors. Handling and overall ride quality also offer very little to complain about. And this makes the TVS iQube tick all the right boxes. And then you have the assurance of a brand like TVS backing it with all its might. So if the salespeople at TVS dealerships are able to convince a prospective customer to switch to electric from an IC vehicle (and take a significant financial hit over a conventional scooter), it should prove to be a very good product that would take care of most of the day to day mobility-related needs while also taking care of environment. Availability of a fast charger and a wider public charging system would be an added advantage to woo the customers.
Indian Scout Sixty: Quick, nimble, and a ‘thumping’ expression of joy!
When we think of Indian Motorcycles, we think of something humungous, stately and a palace on two wheels. A typical American motorcycle! But the Indian Scout Sixty does not fit that bill; it is compact, unassuming and extremely nimble. Once on the move, you will forget that you are on a 1,000cc thumper.
The Scout Sixty is the entry-level motorcycle of the Indian line-up that is to say it is the smallest and the cheapest available. It gives Indian Motorcycle a foot in the door for a prospective buyer who wants to buy into the Indian heritage without having to break the bank. The Scout Sixty is named as such because of its engine capacity in cubic inches, a blue-blooded American even in the name!
First up, as for any cruiser are its looks. A cruiser really needs to look the part to play the part. The Sixty doesn’t disappoint in this regard. It looks much like its bigger sibling the Scout, and with the price difference between the two, it makes the Sixty a very tempting proposition for the prospective buyer. With the bike similar to the Scout, the list of differences between the two is smaller than the list of similarities!
The most visible differences are the reduction in chrome and the addition of a splattering of black. The engine casing is now black instead of chrome and the bits and bobs under the tank along with the engine casing are much more muted thanks to the black. As a result, it looks a tad more compact even though that isn’t the case. The seat on the Sixty is of vinyl something that you might not notice at first but does remind you that you are on the smaller sibling. You can of course upgrade to leather as an accessory if you so wish and it might actually be a good idea because most of the accessories for big brother work for the small fella as well.
On the move you will keep kicking up the gear lever if you are used to the Scout because the Sixty has one gearless, 134cc less and a little bit more weight. Instead of 6 gears, the Sixty has five. The ratios between both the bikes are the same, except that the 5th gear has been removed for the Sixty. But enough of the comparisons with big brother, let’s get back on the saddle of this nimble Indian.
Someone buying a cruiser in this segment wants good looks, decent performance, comfort and fantastic value for money. On the looks front, as we noted above, the Sixty checks the right boxes. Performance isn’t going to shoot you to the moon, but it will take you around the country or to your favourite café without a hitch. 77 bhp and 88 Nm don’t immediately impress on paper, but on the road they do.
What makes this motorcycle remarkable and stand head and shoulders above the competition and help it punch above its weight is the handling. This could easily become your favourite cruiser to use as your daily commute; it is that easy to ride. It is light, the power in your right wrist is just right and it can be flicked on a dime. It doesn’t even heat up in peak hour first gear traffic!
I put it to the ultimate urban commuting test by trying to keep up with a Splendor and Activa in rush hour traffic. Lo and behold I was ahead of them as I bumped along off the asphalt on the strip of rutted mud track. I was throwing the bike around in a manner that I wouldn’t possibly dream of with a big bad cruiser. I could grab the Sixty by the scruff of its neck and shake it up like a rag doll and like a happy puppy, it kept wagging its tail! At no point does it intimidate the rider, instead always pumping up the rider with confidence.
Of course, that is not how you are supposed to cruise on a cruiser, however tempting it might be! And the bike changes colour like a chameleon the moment you go easy on the throttle. You can admire that large windscreen as you hit triple-digit speeds. At 5’ 11” I was safely hidden away from the wind. A boon if you want to munch up countless miles on the highways.
The Sixty also continues with the good genes of the Indian Motorcycle family. The bikes handle far better than what you would expect from a traditional cruiser. It holds the line through the corner as if on rails at no point letting you feel that you have bitten off more than you chew. It is, after all, a cruiser, so it is a wise decision to not try biting off too much!
The suspension is decent for a cruiser and is soft and plush without allowing me to experience an instance of bottoming out. The one negative I noticed was a bit of buzz in the bars at higher revs, not enough to spoil the ride quality, but is present nonetheless.
The Indian Scout Sixty does well in the style, performance and general oomph departments. It makes a strong case for a prospective buyer to give it some serious thought. So much so, that the larger Scout might get a bit antsy!