Flying past the traffic might be a reality soon.
We all living in the urban metropolitan cities, which we boast about to everyone, have faced one thing in common that we hate the most. Getting stuck in traffic. We are always in shock and denial, and even though we knew it was coming, we always find ourselves amazed at the hour-long stand still line.
You feel so helpless, and the worst thing of all is that you will not see the end of it, and when it does, you pray this will never happen to you again. But as you know, it always comes back to haunt you. Luckily for us, there is someone out there looking for our problems and finding the right solutions. And right now, they come from Russia with love.
Bajaj is not happy about the competition wanting amnesty on BS-IV implementation.
April 1st is the set date by the EPCA (Environment Pollution Control Authority) of India were all automotive manufacturers are said to adhere to releasing products that run on BS-IV compliant engines. Doing so, the Pune based manufacturer, Bajaj, has been the first and only manufacturer who has now switched all their two and three wheeler product line-up with engines that satisfy the new emission norms.
There are however a few manufacturers who are looking out to get an extension to produce BS-IV vehicles by a month or two, only so that they can exhaust their BS-III stocks. And this has infuriated the top heads at Bajaj and they strongly condemn this act.
Honda’s dream V4 ’speed-monster’ has been leaked
Honda made everyone sweat when they launched the CBR900RR in 1992 having huge power numbers and weighing lesser than the closest competitor. For the Fireblade’s 25th anniversary, Honda has gone big with the updated CBR portfolio and launching the Honda CBR1000RR SP & SP2.
Now, as revealed on MoreBikes, we can see new plans of Honda that might basically rejuvenate the mighty V4s’ that made debut with the VFR750 in 1995, a bike still termed as the ‘best road bike ever built’.
Honda is working on autonomous braking system for two-wheelers
In the recently concluded Las Vegas International Consumer Electronics Show (International CES), Honda announced their big new project called the “Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem” that is touted to transform the mobility experience of the future and improve customers’ quality of life.
Honda has always been at the forefront of technology and is a major player in the world of artificial intelligence, robotics and big data. Now fresh new information has cropped up suggesting the Japanese Red being busy patenting an automatic braking system for motorcycles
Husqvarna will not make India its hub
Last year Bajaj had confirmed that it will launch the Swedish motorcycle manufacturer Husqvarna, owned by KTM - a company that has Bajaj Auto as a shareholder.
We were in a belief that as KTM Duke series is manufactured in India for global consumption, Husqvarna will also manufacture their models at Bajaj’s Chakan plant near Pune and call India their home. But according to a recent interview of Husqvarna’s boss, Oliver Goering, he sees the company’s future developing, but not in India.
Ducati might tie the knot with an Indian brand
Ducati always has had this insanity in them to time and again bring up machines that push the boundaries of two-wheeled glory, a boundary that will make every other manufacturer look like a speck of dust. For this alone, we must hand it to the Italian with all pomp and flair that they can literally pull off true bloody special motorcycles of unmistakable design and most profound sporting spirit.
Now, according to Economic Times, this iconic motorcycle manufacturer are planning to enter into a partnership with companies like Hero MotoCorp or Royal Enfield to have a new dig at possible engine manufacturing or strategic technology sharing capabilities.
In future, you will be riding a supercharged Honda
One of the largest motorcycle manufacturer, Honda, is in full gear and firing on all pistons and doing tremendously well in pioneering many great technology and features onto the world streets.
Now, they are getting busy in a run to stay as the world leaders by developing a supercharged motorcycle. As seen on a MoreBikes post, “Honda is planning a new, supercharged motorcycle that will have the power-boosting unit mounted on the left-hand side of the engine. And the new kit will power a host of new motorcycles over the next few years.”
Made in India Suzuki Gixxer gets exported to Japan
Not all debuts are sure shot hits – ask Suzuki. When the Japanese manufacturer made its entry on its own almost a decade ago, it didn’t have a start as good as expected. Except for the 125cc scooter Access, no other product from Suzuki in India could shake up the already established models in their respective segments.
Hero MotoCorp hints at entering Moto3
There is ‘motorcycle’ and then there is ‘motorcycle racing’. Each of them has a different meaning for every manufacturer. And being associated with the latter is a form of prestige to them. The term ‘motorcycle racing’ was coined the day the second motorcycle was ever made. Since then, the world of racing has seen a great deal of competition and rivalry amongst competing manufacturers and builders, all vying for the glory of unadulterated use of power and the pride of being at the top of their game.
The Indian two-wheeler industry is now evolving to become a major player on the world stage. Today they are capable of producing motorcycles that beam innovation and technology acumen at the highest standards giving the competition a run for their money.
Kinetic is now eyeing to bring SWM Motorcycles to India
Even though Kinetic is long gone from having their products on the road, they are very much active at the business ends of the market. They gave the country’s first electric start scooty which was a two-stroke scooter based on the Honda NH series.
Then, in 1998, the joint venture between Honda and Kinetic was terminated after which Kinetic Engineering continued to sell the models under the brand name ‘Kinetic’ until 2008. Post that, the interests were sold to Mahindra and currently the company holding’s - Motoroyale stores, started dealing with multiband motorcycles with MV Agusta being the first. Soon, MV Agusta got into partnership with Mercedes-AMG, the high-performance supercars division of Mercedes-Benz, taking 25% of stakes in MV Agusta.
But Mercedes-AMG was said to have pulled back after an acrimonious situation, leaving the Italian high and dry. Nonetheless, according to BikeDekho, Kinetic are back in the news again for having rumoured the possibility of it introducing yet another Italian firm to the Indian market through Motoroyale known as SWM Motorcycles.
Victory Motorcycles calls it a day
It is the first story of this year that does not end well. Polaris Industries announced that they are going to wind up with the Victory Motorcycles brand and related operations. A company that produced some of the finest cruisers, baggers and tourers. It had a good run for nearly 18 years. But all of this changed mostly in the last half a decade where it struggled to keep up with the attention pulled by the Harleys and the Indian.
Automatic on two-wheels
Automatic vs Manual had been a topic hot for the four wheeler segment ever since the first automatic car was born in 1940 by General Motors’ Cadillac. And now, it seems like it will create a havoc in the two-wheeler segment. Or would it?
Everyone agrees that having gears and ratios is necessary to the inner workings of the transmission to power the vehicle but there is no general consensus regarding what kind of transmission is most suitable – auto shift or manual clutch lever and leg shifter. If you take cars, 90% people of the top five developed countries love the auto shift, but the same was not applicable to two-wheelers as hardly any manufacturers had them, until recently when the scooters came in. A device that to this day is frowned upon in the motorcycle community and blaming it for taking away the ‘biking experience’.
Nonetheless, they gave automatic a new meaning to the two-wheeled world and were largely preferred for their ease of use and decent performance for a very limited run. It became a fine option for urban commuters, youth and casual riders.
Honda has been a pioneer in developing new forms of transmission systems and clutch designs. Every manufacturer, if they have an automatic, have their own versions of them. They are basically trimmed into three kinds that are out there on the roads currently in use:
Honda can now balance itself on its two wheels
The Las Vegas International Consumer Electronics Show (International CES) is the world’s biggest launch pad for new innovation and technology that can change the course of the world. All kinds of manufacturers and developers showcase their high-tech products and give a glimpse of the next-generation innovations being introduced to the marketplace.
Out of these, even automotive technology takes a highly respected category and one of them is by the Japanese Red, Honda. A major player in the world of artificial intelligence, robotics and big data. They announced their big new project called the “Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem” that is touted to transform the mobility experience of the future and improve customers’ quality of life.
If you’ve been on the tech front page, you might have heard about Honda’s Uni-Cub, a small personal mobility technology which had a self-balancing multidirectional movement capability. Only exploited in making an OK-GO visual dance. Some liked it, some hated it. It kind of solves a problem that did not exist in the first place.
But Honda have upped their ante and used that technology into our everyday life i.e. if you ride a motorcycle. Yes, a self-balancing motorcycle that will also follow you wherever you go. That is some eerily satisfying condescending though.
MV Agusta will not develop new products for 2017
MV Agusta is one brand that has occupied wall spaces in every kid’s room. Not only have they made wallpaper material machines, but also credit themselves with producing some of the world’s iconic power houses on two wheels who smack the competition right outside the ballpark.
Their rich heritage both on and off the track and exotic Italian lineage have been through the history’s ups and downs. Doing so, the company switched hands for four times in the past 12 years and have been once owned by Harley Davidson until recently by Mercedes-AMG being a 25 per cent stakeholder.
Despite making gorgeous motorcycles, MV Agusta always seems to find itself under the radar and it never seems to end for the Italian marquee. A couple of months back, it was reported that the company allegedly paid its supplier bills through its employees’ INPS contributions, Italy’s national pension system. Considered to be a white collar crime, it was under investigation by the Guardia di Finanza (Italian white collar wing) for this act and was under scrutiny for a €6.8 million of social security contributions of the employees.
More trouble came in when the company’s major owners, Mercedes-AMG were said to have pulled back after an acrimonious situation, leaving the Italian high and dry. This made MV Agusta to restructure its financial situation and was compelled to cut down its employees from 300 to just 190. They were even planning to cut down operations and production of newly developed motorcycles. And the company was hunting for investments.
Then came the news from Russia, with Love.
In November, the Italian signed an agreement to increase its capital with a Russian investment group-Black Ocean, which is a flagship satellite of Ocean Group holding company. Although no official statements regarding the question ’How much?’ has been made, it is said that it has taken close to 30 to 40 percent of the stakes.
Kawasaki Motorcycles is going to be your ’Jarvis’
If you’ve been a fan of the Iron Man series, you must have definitely been jealous about Robert Downey Jr owning Stark Industries and his very own talking computer which is Just A Rather Very Intelligent System.
Similar to its British voice, Kawasaki has been busy with playing with its own version of artificial intelligence on the other side of the world. The Japanese giant will be developing this technology to introduce it on its motorcycle products and it will ‘have a personality and can grow along with the rider’.
Kawasaki and Bajaj break ties
Back in 2012, our very own ‘Hamara Bajaj’ and the Japanese green team Kawasaki joined hands to market mobikes globally across developing countries, including Asia and South America. This tie-up not only helped Bajaj spread its wings, Kawasaki too started selling and servicing their 650cc and below products in the Bajaj operated pro-biking showrooms in the country, which also happens to see the Austrian KTM motorcycles sharing spaces. Kawasaki also assembled their CKD motorcycles, at the Bajaj Auto’s facility in Chakan.
Four years after this successful partnership, both Bajaj and Kawasaki want to part away for reasons not made official to us. But MotorBeam speculates that this could be because of two reasons. One, Kawasaki has been busy setting up its own dealer network and it is on its way to set its foot firmly in the country. The other could be KTM’s more affordable offerings under the same roof affecting sales for the Japanese.
Kawasaki will move all its sales to its dedicated showrooms selling all their motorcycles in the Indian product line-up. Although, assembly of their CKD products will still be undertaken at Bajaj’s new facility at Akurdi. But, will be handled completely by India Kawasaki Motors, a 100% subsidiary of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Japan.
Coming to Baja’s point of view, it is an obvious rationale that KTM’s sales gave Bajaj a better financial stability that the Kawasaki’s expensive options. Moreover, Bajaj-KTM have a stronger bond with respect to partnership compliance and KTM is all setting up to bring its premium Husqvarna motorcycles to the Indian stride.
As the KTM Duke series is manufactured in India for global consumption, Husqvarna will also manufacture their models at Bajaj’s Chakan plant near Pune and call India their home. They will hit the showrooms in the first quarter of 2017 across the globe and will be expected to be priced slightly above the KTM Duke 390.
And this break-up is going to benefit both Bajaj and KTM to have more office space to showcase the upcoming offerings and the Husqvarna brand of motorcycles.
This will benefit new Kawa customers as it will make Kawasaki drop a few thousands on their CKD products as Bajaj will no longer take any profit on their sales. You can expect all their bikes at dedicated Kawasaki showrooms including their CBU imports, like before. Ninja ZX-14R and Ninja ZX-10R will continue in those showrooms alsong with the 300 cc and 650 cc bikes. All said, Kawasaki has a huge mountain to cross before it can start competing furiously at the niche segment.
Overseas however, both these brands will still be going strong by selling the Kawasaki Bajaj badged Pulsar through the Kawasaki network in Asian countries and will be doing the same in Brazil as well.
AUTO headlamps on made compulsory for two-wheelers
In a bid to make Indian roads safer, the government of India has directed all two-wheeler manufacturers that sell their products in India to compulsorily feature ’Automatic Headlamp On’ (AHO) from April, 2017. This is in order to make the vehicle more visible to oncoming traffic and the pedestrians to cut down the risks of negligent accidents due to poor visibility.
Considering statistics, the government points out that two-wheelers account for the highest number of fatal and non-fatal road accidents every year and are in an effort to reduce this drastically with the AHO feature. The government body that sets vehicle standards cleared a proposal made by The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) which shows that this particular feature of having the headlights on whenever the vehicle’s ignition is turned on has significantly helped in reducing accidents across the globe.
In countries like Iceland, there is strict laws for keeping your headlights on for anytime one is on the road. Although that law exists due to the ever changing and challenging weather conditions, the public have accepted and praised this move to increase one’s visibility to other road users. Few other European countries too have made it mandatory since 2003 for vehicles to have DRLs or automatic headlight on feature.
Many of the higher end two wheeler motorcycles and most of the four wheeler cars that are entering the market now feature DRLs which acts both as a style statement and also to inform the road users of an existing moving vehicle plying in the opposite direction. Hence manufacturers like KTM, Yamaha and Hero have already implemented this feature on their products that are rolling on the roads as we speak. These lights can also be enhanced by optimizing the lamp’s colour, luminosity and intensity to make it distinctively noticeable. Every manufacturer will be required to chuck the headlight on/off switch on the handlebar which doesn’t allow scope for human error.
For the same reason, the government have before made it compulsory to higher capacity bikes to feature ABS and CBS as standard since 2017, and gradually bring this to lower capacity motorcycles as well.
BMW - TVS entering a new era of partnership.
BMW Motorrad has not necessarily been a household name. With them costing a bomb to import and maintaining them was a nightmare for the complexity the Bavarian company had put into them. But things are up for a change as we speak and by the time you will be reading this piece, TVS is already producing a single cylinder G 310R for BMW in their Hosur plant in full swing.
It is generally a thing with BMW that once you buy their bike, they will pretty much be the brand you will buy for the rest of your life. But, the problem for BMW was that people who never owned one would never consider their motorcycle in their decision making process. And there is a good point for ‘why?’. They made motorcycles which were simply too quirky, and by that, BMW purists know that it was that very stigma which pulled them into the motorcycle brand. For the rest of the crowd, those motorcycles were just not relevant to the traditional categories of segments.