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.
Ducati is celebrating its 90th anniversary
90 years of passion, emotions and excellence. This is what Ducati has created since its inception in 1926 from its Borgo Panigale factory in Italy. The history of Ducati is driven by a unique engineering talent that has always generated motorcycles of unmistakable design and most profound sporting spirit.
These years have a long tale of events and facts making the brand one of the most iconic motorcycle manufacturer history will ever know. Although it only started making motorcycles in 1946, it soon caught up to acquire its own characteristic racing nature - featuring exclusive Desmodromic timing engines, innovative design and state-of-the-art technology, as well as a strong commitment to competitive racing. Winning awards after awards in the highly competitive world including the MotoGP Championship and many other world titles.
In 2012, it entered the Audi AG Group and continued its upward trend and it also went on to mark its record sales of 54,800 new motorcycles delivered to customers world-wide in 2015.
Hero Motorcycles will now make gears for Ducati
The Italian manufacturer has given the responsibility to make their gears to the Hero MotoCorp courtesy to its experienced manufacturing and quality control. With this new development with Ducati, Hero is now in a position to make a bold statement to its image as a long standing specialist in quality manufacturing.
Echoing this idea is Hero group CMD, Pankaj Munjal who said, “This definitely is a big leap for us and we are quite excited about this new development. With this win, we are not only forging a strong relationship with a global two-wheeler leader but also reaffirming Hero’s proficiency and expertise in specialised manufacturing. We look forward to a long-term association with our patrons.”
It could be surprising to know that Hero’s client list includes German and American customers as well with BMW and Harley Davidson using products of their transmission division. As a matter of fact, more than 80 percent of Hero’s business is with global market leaders in the two wheeler industry.
All this could have been achieved only with the manufacturing unit that has seen investments of ₹150 crores able to produce the highest grade of products. Following systems that have resulted in zero parts per million (PPM) ensures high quality standards amongst global competitors.
Mahindra purchased the iconic BSA and Jawa
Indian auto major Mahindra is the newest player in the two wheeler business and is making headlines in the right directions. Like on a shopping spree, Mahindra is on a roll. It entered the market after buying out Kinetic is 2010 and since then it has acquitted SSangyong in 2011, controlling stakes at Pininfarina (people who have designed Ferraris, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos), Reva Electric Car Company and recently 51% stake at Peugeot motorcycles. Anticipations of it buying BSA and Norton were running high for quite some time now.
Bajaj To Relaunch New Fully Automatic Chetak Scooter In 2017
Our very own two wheeler manufacturer Bajaj definitely has done extremely well for themselves in the recent years. Their product range Pulsar was able to create the magic that most of the two wheeler manufacturer’s dreams of. The Pulsar product range was able to provide exciting and powerful motorcycle according to Indian standards at affordable prices. They recently even introduced a completely new 150 cc motorcycle V15 which managed to look different from every other 150 cc premium commuter motorcycle available in the Indian market. The motorcycle had another interesting selling strategy and that its fuel tank is made from the metal of one of the most memorable warships of Indian war history.
One thing that we all questioned ourselves though was while the Indian scooter segment was flourishing fast why Bajaj was still missing from the scene. While Honda picked up a huge amount of success with their Activa scooter, TVS too made quite a name for themselves with their Jupiter scooter range. But now according to the recent reports Bajaj too will be reentering the scooter segment and will also resurrect one of the most renowned and trustable nameplate from their stable the ‘Chetak’ scooter.
That’s right Bajaj will be relaunching the Chetak scooter once again and this time the new scooter will be available in a modern avatar. Expect the new scooter to get a lightweight chassis, completely new engine, better brakes and comfortable suspension setup etc. Although no details of the engine are available yet but expect it to get powered by a single cylinder, air cooled engine which will be displaced in between 125-150 cc segment.
Gaadiwaadi also managed to get their hands on the leaked patented image of the scooter as well and there is no doubt that the new scooter definitely looks impressive and premium as well at the same time.
Second Aprilla Scooter Coming In January 2017
The small entry level scooter from Aprillia definitely won plenty of attention here in India when it launched almost three months ago at an attractive introductory price. Since then the scooter has received tremendous response amongst the Indian crowd. Now according to the recent reports Aprillia has decided to introduce one more scooter to the SR range.
Stefano Pelle, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Piaggio India, said in an interview that they will be bringing another new SR scooter in India. Recently Piaggio launched two new special edition scooters in India which includes the 946 Emporio Armani Edition and the Vespa 70th Anniversary edition recently. When the official was asked to provide some other details of the scooter he just commented that it will perhaps be a more peppier variant of the existing scooter.
So the statement indicates that it might perhaps be a more powerful scooter than the existing SR 150. Expect the upcoming motorcycle to also be pricier than the existing scooter and might also gets plenty of new features as well.
Their present scooter is powered by a 150 cc, single cylinder engine which is capable of producing about 11.4bhp of peak power and develops 11.5Nm of peak torque. Expect the existing SR150 as well as the new scooter to be available across all Vespa showrooms from the end of January onward.
Bajaj Auto has announced on their Avenger United facebook page that they actually have made their Avenger Cruiser is now compliant with BSIV norms.
The updated Bajaj Avenger cruiser was launched last year here in the Indian market and the Avenger Cruiser comprises of three models which includes the Street 150, Street 220 and the Cruise 220. Although the image on their facebook page did not mentioned whether all the models has received the upgrades or not however the image shows that the Street model in particular has received the upgrade for sure.
Coming to the drivetrains the Bajaj Avenger Street 220 is powered by the 150 cc DTS-i air-cooled single cylinder engine that produces 14.54 PS at 9,000 rpm and 12.5 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm. The engine is paired to 5 speed transmission. The more powerful 220 cc DTS-i oil-cooled single cylinder engine which powers both the Street 220 as well as the Cruise produces about 19.03 PS of peak power at 8,400 rpm and 17.5 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm. This engine is paired to a 5 speed gearbox as well.
Both the Cruise and the Street are perhaps the most affordable cruisers which are available in the Indian market at this moment. We are still not sure whether Bajaj has decided to hike the prices of these models or not, As far as their present prices are concerned the Avenger Street 150 is priced at INR 76,989 (ex-showroom Delhi), while the Bajaj Avenger Street 220 and Bajaj Avenger Cruise 220 are priced at INR 87,331 (ex-showroom Delhi). .
BMW Motorrad India Confirmed That The G 310 GS Duel Sport Version Will Launch In India In 2017
BMW Motorrad’s entry level duel sport motorcycle BMW G310 GS made its debut at the EICMA motorcycle show. We all are excited about this new motorcycle which actually based on their streetfighter G 310 R but carries the GS nameplate which is used for BMW’s touring and offroading motorcycle initials. Recently BMW Motorrad officially confirmed through their twitter handle that they will be introducing this new motorcycle in the Indian market towards the end of 2017.
This motorcycle will be BMW’s second sub 500 cc offering in the world market after the naked streetfighter G 310R. The motorcycle is also slightly bigger than the G310 R. As far as the powertrain is concerned it is powered by the same 313 cc water-cooled, single-cylinder engine which is capable of producing about 34 PS of peak power at 9,500 rpm and 28 Nm of torque at 7,500 rpm. The EUIV complaint engine is paired to a 6 speed gearbox.
The extra additional equipments that you get with the G310 GS includes a longer suspension travel of 180 mm upside down forks towards the front and 180 mm monoshock setup for the rear as well. As far as the styling is concerned the duel sport motorcycle gets a bigger and longer beak towards the front while the GS initials can be found on the fuel tank. The rest of the motorcycle’s styling remains the same with that of the G 310 R Streetfighter.
The motorcycle will be manufactured at the TVS-BMW manufacturing plant in Hosur, Tamil Nadu.
Both Bajaj Pulsar AS150 & AS200 Getting BSIV Upgrades
We all are hearing rumors for a long time that Bajaj has discontinued the Pulsar AS150 as well as the AS200. Howver according to the recent reports on Motor Beam Bajaj has not discontinued the two most popular products after the Pulsar 220F and the RS200 but actually decided to give them the BSIV upgrade. However Bajaj has decided to stay tight lipped about this.
However the rumors are that these motorcycles won’t actually get the engine upgrades but at the same time will also get some cosmetic updates as well.
The AS150 you all know uses the new Perimeter frame chassis and is powered by the 149.5 cc DTS-i twin-spark engine which produces about 17 PS of peak power at 9,500 rpm and 13 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm. The air-cooled engine is paired to a 5-speed transmission. The three colour options available with this model are Red, Blue and Black.
The more powerful Pulsar AS200 on the other hand gets the 199.5 cc DTS-i triple-spark engine which produces about 23.5 PS of peak power at 9,500 rpm and 18.3 Nm of torque at 8,000 rpm. This engine is paired to a 6 speed manual gearbox.
We will definitely update you with more details as soon as they are available with us.
Schemes and offers going on for 2016 festive season
No matter how much the Indian two wheeler market may be suffering from ups and downs in the entire tenure of one year, the one particular period which definitely sets the cash registers ringing for all of them is the festive season of Diwali. If we dig out the history of automobile industry, the performance of all the manufacturers during this particular period of time always goes on exemplary, with all of them playing in profits more than what they usually collect in other months of the year.
Like every other year, the festive season of 2016 too has witnessed all the major players of the tow wheeler industry of India coming forward with their lineup of schemes, offers, limited edition models and new variants of the already existing models. Following is a list of all the schemes which are being offered by all the two wheeler majors of the country. Here they are.
Upcoming Bajaj Motorcycles Set To Make Its Name In The Royal Enfield Territory
We all were quite excited about the fact that Bajaj has finally decided to introduce the new VS400 before the festive season but now according to the recent reports they have actually postponed the launch date of the much anticipated motorcycle towards the month of November. The reason behind this delay is Bajaj wanted to concentrate fully on their current products and meet the demands of the people during the festive season.
Bajaj officials have also informed that compared to the last year their sale of product has also picked up because of their recent launches which included the Pulsar AS200, AS150 and the RS200 along with the new range of Avenger cruisers.
But as far as their big motorcycle is concerned it will most probably not be launched under the Pulsar brand name. Mr. Rajiv Bajaj said that they want to get into a new territory with their upcoming motorcycle and thus also wants to look into introducing a new brand.
Now this is obviously a last minute change from Bajaj because the motorcycle was caught couple of times while it was being tested on road and it carried the Pulsar logo on the tank. Even the leaked brochure group of motorcycles with its touring capabilities.
Royal Enfield Electra Discontinued
Royal Enfield has decided to discontinue the Electra Cruiser from their lineup. This decision was taken to promote sales of other motorcycles of their lineup. RE’s current lineup now consists of their flagship motorcycle the Continental GT, their recently introduced Himalayan tourer, Thunderbird (350 & 500), Classic (350 & 500) and the Bullet range which also consists of the 350 cc and the 500 cc unit.
Although RE has not released any official statement yet on this matter but the motorcycle was taken down from the official Indian RE website. However what some of the reports states that the RE Electra was a low priced motorcycle in the brand portfolio and thus the margin of profit was also low for the company and thus it was stopped to promote some more expensive motorcycles like the Classic and the Thunderbird. Recently the demand for the motorcycle also dropped after RE introduced their newer range of motorcycles and thus there was no reason for continuing the sale of this motorcycle.
However if you are still looking to get your hands on the Electra model then you should definitely look into some dealerships because they are still selling the discontinued model until their stock lasts.
The now discontinued Electra was powered by four stroke, single cylinder, twinspark unit, which displaces 346cc and churns out 19.8 bhp of maximum power and 28 Nm of maximum torque. The mill comes paired to a 5-speed gearbox and also an electric start alongside the kickstart option.
Bajaj Will Delay The Launch Of The Pulsar VS400
We all were almost certain about Bajaj launching their newest offering the Pulsar VS400 in India before the festive season. However according to the recent reports unfortunately that isn’t happening. Bajaj has decided push back the launch of their upcoming motorcycle and now chances are that it will be introduced in the Indian market only after festive season is over.
Now the main reason behind this was to focus on the current sales and gather some sales volume during the upcoming festive season. According to Bajaj officials their product lineup looks ready and they are all set to meet the demands of their customers. So in order to focus on the festive demand they have decided to push back the launch of their new motorcycle.
Although the Bajaj officials has not revealed any specific date but the launch will definitely happen only after the festive season for certain.
The Bajaj Pulsar VS400 is the production variant of the CS400 concept showcased at the 2014 Auto expo. It is not an unknown fact to us anymore about how this motorcycle will look and which engine will power this new motorcycle.
This will be the most powerful Bajaj motorcycle ever launched in the Indian market and will bring with it plenty of new features as well. The Motorcycle was already caught testing on Indian roads couple of times and will be powered by the same 373 cc, single cylinder liquid cooled unit which also powers the KTM Duke390 as well. This is also the first motorcycle in its segment which will also feature duel speedometer and an all LED headlamps as well.