xBhp is 17 years old… and it feels like all the memories from all the anniversary celebrations, even the very first one, are so recent. An achievement or simply a result of unending passion,17 years is a lot and there is one thing that has defined xBhp and all the motorcyclists that we ever touched; motorcycles.
God has been kind and the xBhp Garage has been blessed with quite a few motorcycles. So on the occasion of 17 years of xBhp, we decided to bring to you the story of the evolution of the xBhp Garage and how it has been home to the choicest of machines available in India.
It all started with the Bajaj Pulsar 180, which also inspired the name of the xBhp website’s precursor which was www.bajajpulsar.com. That small step towards creating a place for motorcyclists of India to get together and discuss motorcycling has led us here. And that Bajaj Pulsar 180 has led us to machines like the Honda Blackbird, Suzuki Hayabusa, BMW S1000RR, Indian FTR 1200 S just to name a few… and there are quite a few.
So with Castrol POWER1, who has supported so many of xBhp’s endeavours that we have lost count, we bring to you a journey of the inception and the evolution of the xBhp Garage.
Note: 1) The motorcycles may not be in the order of our acquisition and the specifications mentioned are for the model year we owned. 2) The engine oil and the grade recommended for each motorcycle may vary as it depends on the local climatic conditions, among other factors. Please refer to your Owner’s Manual for more details. 3) Engine oil recommendations are for the current or latest generation of the model.
This article spans across 4 pages which you can navigate via the ‘Forward’ and ‘Back’ button at the bottom. Here is the breakdown of the content with links to the pages:
Bajaj Pulsar 180
If one was to make a list of motorcycles that changed motorcycling for good in India, the OG Bajaj Pulsar will definitely be on the sharp end of the list. It arrived on the scene with features that defined sporty riding in India and on top of that, Bajaj worked hard to bring it to the masses with, of course, affordability.
It boasted of strong performance, breathtaking style, and that ‘Definitely Male’ panache. The result was that the Pulsar was a massive sales success and led to the inception of one of the most decorated motorcycle series in India spawning variants in a multitude of displacement options.
A 180cc engine with 15 bhp of power and an 18-litre fuel tank for range and visual muscle, the Bajaj Pulsar 180 will always be accredited with starting a revolution of sorts. And talking about revolutions (not the ones measured on a per-minute scale), the Pulsar 180 was also responsible for sowing the seed of xBhp. And the ‘Golden Touch’ of the Pulsar continued here as well.
What started as bajajpulsar.com is now xBhp, one of India’s best lifestyle motorcycling magazines and a family of more than 90,000 motorcyclists around India. Consolidating what xBhp is today will be difficult to contain in the confines of these pages. But we tried our best to do the same for contributions of the Bajaj Pulsar, the first one of many to come in the xBhp Garage.
Hero Honda Karizma
Here’s another iconic addition to the xBhp Garage; the Hero Honda Karizma. The Karizma, when it first came out, was unlike anything we were used to seeing on the Indian roads. It was 223cc, 17 bhp of power, 18.4 Nm of torque and a semi-fairing for crying out loud! Kids went nuts. People went nuts. We are generally very composed but most of us went nuts.
We are sure that the sharp tail section and the angular taillight is something that is etched in the minds of almost every motorcyclist in India. It was a superbike for us Indians in every sense of the word. We all knew that the then Hero Honda was up to something because the iconic CBZ needed to be followed up to keep the ball rolling. And roll the ball it did. While many other variations were rolled out in the future including the ZMR, the ZMA stayed in the Hero stable for a long long time and with good reason.
All the accolades and accomplishments of the Karizma coerced us to get one for xBhp’s garage. And so we did. But more than anything, it is the memories we made with the Karizma that make it such a special motorcycle for us. From the cold desert of Spiti to all around India during the Great Indian Roadtrip, that Castrol POWER1 powered Karizma of ours was one faithful companion.
Did someone say bring the big guns out? Here you go. The Honda Blackbird, a motorcycle which may not be in production right now but the ones who still have it, swear by it. Honda was responsible for some of the most insane and iconic motorcycles in the history of motorcycles. From the CB750 to the crazy CBX. But personally, there aren’t a lot many out there that come close to the Blackbird.
When it first came out, it was the fastest production motorcycle in the world. And with a displacement of 1,137cc, 164 bhp of power, and 124 Nm of torque it is not very difficult to figure out why. It was meant to dethrone the Kawasaki ZZR 1100. And with speeds up to 290 km/h (and 300+ according to some), it did just that.
But the most special aspect of the Blackbird was not in the numbers. It was in the execution. The inline-4 it had was silky smooth and reliable as anything. The motorcycle was big but the design lines flowed smoothly which made it such a pleasing sight. And on top of all that, it went like a darn missile.
For us, the most special thing about the Honda Blackbird is that it was the first ‘big bike’ in the xBhp garage and while the Pulsar announced our arrival on the scene, the Blackbird was an assertive statement which shouted, “We are here to stay!”
The year was 2006. The entity was xBhp. In the xBhp garage, was the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. And in front of it was the vast expanse of our beautiful country. This is the motorcycle that started the ‘xBhp Special Ops’ which meant touring for thousands of kilometres on a superbike which is meant for racetracks.
The riding posture did not matter. The extreme power of the motorcycle did not matter. The climate and conditions did not matter. All that mattered was seeing through a task that very few people take up if they do at all.
In that sense, the Fireblade was a very special addition to the xBhp Garage. More than 14,000 km is a lot… even more so on a superbike like the Fireblade. But Castrol POWER1 understood the vision and had faith in the determination which ‘Ultimate’ly saw the completion of the Great Indian Roadtrip.
Talking about the Fireblade, it was ‘the superbike’ to have at that time. 998cc, 172 bhp, and 115 Nm of torque combined with 176 kg of dry weight resulted in a top speed of over 280 km/h. And yet, it was a motorcycle that was so easy to ride that despite those crazy numbers, it never seemed intimidating.
All said and done, the Fireblade was a looker, it was a performer, and it was an important milestone in the journey of xBhp Garage on the highway of time.