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road test discover 100

Front: Bajaj has retained the same styling of the Discover at the front

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Tail: A new tail lamp for the Discover DTS-Si is the only visible cosmetic change


The Comeback Hero Bajaj returns to the 100cc bike segment with the new Discover 100 DTS-Si. Adhish Alawani rides it to see if it delivers what it takes to be the perfect commuter Photography: Sanjay Raikar

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couple of years ago, Bajaj announced their exit from the 100cc motorcycle market in India. The Pune based auto giant pulled out of this segment claiming that it was time India graduated from 100cc to 125cc machines as entry-level motorcycles. However, with other manufacturers still minting money from the 100cc bikes and the entry-level commuters still proving their potential in the market, it would have been unwise for Bajaj to stay out of the competition any longer. As a result, the company made a comeback to the 100cc class with a new machine – the Discover 100 DTS-Si. We all know that Bajaj makes a bike, then makes another one with the same name and a slightly different engine and then goes further ahead to make one more with the same name

and a marginally bigger/smaller capacity engine than the other two. Discover 100 DTSSi can be termed a result of this trademark process. The company first introduced the Discover a few years ago with an 112cc engine and then came the Discover with a 125cc mill. Recently, they also launched one with a 135cc motor and now what we have here is a 100cc Discover. So what is the point that the company wants to prove with their latest 100cc offering? A long distance commuter is what the company claims the new bike is. With all due respect, I decided to judge the bike the way the company is portraying it. I filled in exactly two litres of fuel in the bike when it came to reserve and decided to munch as many kilometres as the bike could manage till it came to reserve again. That would give me a fair idea

as to how much the bike can run in say about a hundred rupees worth of fuel. Though the 100cc motorcycles are meant for the city, I decided to take the highway first for my long distance ride. Almost 40km later, I came back to the city wondering if the bike had any negatives at all. The seat is flat and comfortable, the handlebar is upright and the footpegs are spot on for a commuter. The Discover feels a bit muscular for a 100cc bike which is a strong positive from the point of view of the Indian market. The motorcycle rides on Eurogrip’s three inch section rear tyre giving a fair feedback even on the corners. However, it was unable to inspire enough confidence on wet surfaces. Another 25km in the city traffic were enough to make me believe that there are quite a lot of reasons to buy a

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Welcome to the future

FEATURE 25 yEARS of ninja

This is the moment motorcycling entered the modern age

It’s December 1983. The venue is Laguna Seca, California, USA. The event: the world press launch of the new Kawasaki GPZ900R. But that’s no journo in the saddle, it’s Jay ‘Pee Wee’ Gleason, legendary drag racer, about to demo the new superbike in public for the first time. In the ’80s Jay (he’s since dropped the PW moniker) was THE man to hire if you were a factory wanting to know just how fast your bike was in the quarter mile. In truth, the new 900R (the Ninja name wasn’t adopted until 1984) was so phenomenal, Pee Wee Herman could have been the rider. The 900R’s template-setting, liquid-cooled, 16v four was good for 242kmph and low 11sec quarters. The world would never be the same again.

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FEATURE 25 yEARS of ninja

25 years of the Ninja

Kawasaki is perhaps the most emotive of the four Japanese bike manufacturers, and few model lines have captured the imagination quite like the Ninja series. Even non-motorcyclists understand what a Ninja is. These are 20 of the most important bikes from a quarter of century of the Ninja – here’s hoping for another 25….

1984: GPZ900R 908cc, liquid-cooled, inline-four, 115bhp, 250kmph This is where it all started – the first Ninja, although Kawasaki only used that name in the States. The GPZ debuted the liquid-cooled, inline-four engine and was the fastest bike in the world at the time, yet managed to stop and turn corners properly. It laid the basic principles for today’s sports bike.

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FIRST RIDE AGNI X01

ELECTRIC DREAMS Roland Brown lays his hands on the Agni X01, winner of this year’s Isle of Man TTXGP

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t’s a strange feeling; there’s no doubt about that. As I gently wind open the throttle approaching the apex of the tight, right-hand turn, the tall red racebike slows momentarily, then accelerates with a smoothness and lack of sound that make riding it feel like nothing I’ve experienced on two wheels before. Moments later I’m charging down the circuit’s back straight, with only a slight whine audible above the wind. My head is tucked behind the screen as much as I can manage given the bulky lump where the petrol tank would normally be. But there’s certainly no petrol tank on this bike, the battery-powered Agni X01 that won the TTXGP on the Isle of Man in June. The X01 is respectably quick without being particularly powerful or exciting, especially by the standard of TT-winning racebikes. Even so, it’s a real thrill to be riding the machine on which Rob Barber made history by winning the first ever international race for zero emission bikes. No other bike on the Isle of Man dominated its event to the degree that the X01 did that inaugural TTXGP. And by lapping the Mountain circuit at an average of 140km/h, it alerted many people to the potential of electric bikes. A couple of months later the X01 looks very much at home as it is wheeled out of the Agni van at the compact but well laid-out Rye House kart track, just north of London (the circuit where Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton began his career). The No.12 race plate and TT scrutineers’ stickers on its fairing nose are still in place, though the red paintwork is chipped in places because the bike was knocked over during one of several functions at which it has been displayed since its victory.

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Apart from that large, angular cover above where the petrol would normally live (this hides the electrical controller), the Agni bike looks relatively conventional. Unlike some of its more expensively produced and totally hand-built rivals in the TTXGP, the X01 is based on a production bike, Suzuki’s GSXR750. Instead of a 749cc four-cylinder engine, it has two cylindrical Agni electric motors, one poking out of the fairing on either side, and connected by a shaft running between them. Linking the motors so directly was a key feature in reducing friction, as was its creator Cedric Lynch’s decision to use a thin, non oring 428 drive chain from a motocross bike rather than the Suzuki’s heavier 520 chain, which he estimates would have cost several horsepower. Lynch, the London-born, ponytailed electric bike pioneer, works for Agni, which has bases in London and Gujarat in India. He designed the motor, which was also used by several rival teams. Minimising friction losses was important because the X01 doesn’t have huge amounts of power to play with. Each of its motors revs to 5000rpm and has an output of just over 20bhp (15kW) for sustained use, giving a total of 40bhp. The bike can produce over 70bhp, but only in short bursts because that level of output would soon overheat the motors and drain the battery. The “battery” consists of 42 individual 3.7V lithium polymer cells, arranged in parallel pairs, then linked in a series of 21 pairs. The cells are crammed in between the GSX-R’s aluminium frame spars. They contributed almost half of the bike’s total cost of UK £18,000, and are the main limiting factor in its performance. “The bike was designed to do 38 miles, and it was spot on,” says Lynch. “It was just starting to


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the test 3600

THE Words Simon Weir Pictures Mark Manning

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elcome to the 360° Test. The idea is simple – we take a key new motorcycle and examine it from every angle. How does it compare with the model it replaces? How well does it accomplish the job for which it was designed? And how does it fit into the motorcycle market? We’ve assembled a panel of six benchmark bikes that embody what’s best in their class. As well as putting our test subjects into perspective, our benchmarks will answer the bigger questions: would a sports tourer be a better buy than a big sportsbike? Is a 600 more practical than a litre bike on the road? Does swapping a sportsbike for a trailie make sense? So even if you don’t want the new model we’re testing, the 360° Test will help you buy the right bike next time you’re in the market. THE KTM 90 SM-T TEST STARTS OVER THE PAGE

THE BENCHMARK BIKES

THE BIG TRAILIE BMW R1200GS

THE SPORTS TOURER THE LITRE SPORTSBIKE THE BIG STREET BIKE THE SPORTS 600 THE MIDDLEWEIGHT TRIUMPH SPRINT ST HONDA FIREBLADE YAMAHA FZ1 FAZER SUZUKI GSX-R600 SUZUKI GLADIUS 650

Definitive dual-sport bike British world-beater

Fast, focused, lightweight Brawny all-rounder

The real-world 600

Friendly, agile, frugal

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road trip 150cc bikes

ON SIX WHEELS

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Saeed Akhtar leads three slightly different 150cc bikes down the scenic west coast for a weekend of corner carving and nature gazing Photography: Sanjay Raikar

AND A PRAYER September 2009

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Bike India Sept 09 teaser  

Bike India Sept 09 teaser