Friday, January 05, 2007

Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi: The Indians are coming!

India is the second-largest motorcycle market in the world. And bikes like the Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi are the new face of Indian motorcycles...

In the last one year, there has been much talk of Chinese and Korean motorcycle manufacturers ramping up their technical expertise and getting ready to take on the Japanese and the Europeans in a few years’ time. While that will certainly happen – especially with smaller motorcycles – another country which could soon make its mark on the international scene is India.

More than seven million motorcycles are sold in India every year, and three Japanese majors – Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki – are present in the Indian motorcycle market. Most motorcycles are bought for commuting, and price and fuel efficiency are the top concerns for most motorcycle buyers in India. ‘Sport’ was not really a factor till recently, but that’s gradually changing.

Bajaj 600 vs Honda 600? Within the next five years we think

And the one Indian motorcycle company that’s heading this change, and pushing ahead with newer, sportier bikes, is Bajaj Auto. The sharply-styled machine you see here – the Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi – is their latest effort. The bike, which went on sale in India last month, is fitted with a 220cc, air-and-oil cooled, four-stroke, SOHC, fuel-injected single-cylinder engine, which is fitted with a counterbalancer to iron out the vibes. The engine makes 20.6 horsepower, making the Pulsar DTS-Fi the most powerful bike currently sold in India!

The 150kg (claimed kerb weight) bike is fitted with a five-speed gearbox, double-cradle downtube chassis, beefy front forks and preload-adjustable rear shocks. Disc brakes, alloy wheels, LED taillamp, projector-style headlamp, digital instrumentation and tubeless tyres complete the package – a complete revelation for the Indian market, which is used to dull, dumb, very old and very slow bikes from the 1970s and beyond!

But now that the high-tech Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi is available for a rather reasonable US$1,900 we suppose it’s only a matter of time before the second-largest (after China, which is the largest) motorcycle market in the world catches up with bigger and better machines. Will you see a Pulsar 600 DTS-Fi go head to head against the Honda Hornet 600 in the next five years? Stranger things have happened…

Also see:
Sportsbike development: No looking back
Campagna T-Rex: Three-wheeled madness
Freddie Spencer: The Sultan of Slide
The mighty six-cylinder Honda CBX1000
The very memorable Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo
2007 Honda CBR600RR
2007 Yamaha R1
2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000
The mighty Yamaha RD500LC

Thursday, January 04, 2007

2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000s getting the Rizla treatment

Once Rizla Suzuki are done with this, it makes more than 200bhp...

Rizla Suzuki are now working on the 2007 GSX-R1000 and getting it ready for this year’s British Superbikes series. Four new GSX-Rs are in the process of being modified at Rizla Suzuki’s headquarters at the Crescent Performance Centre in Dorset, in the UK. These racebikes will be fitted with Ohlins forks and rear shock, Marchesini forged magnesium wheels, Yoshimura exhaust, and Dunlop tyres. A modified and strengthened swingarm, a new tank, and carbonfibre bodywork complete the package.

The GSX-R1000’s inline-four, which runs a new Motec engine management system, will be tuned by Rizla Suzuki experts and is expected to produce more than 200 horsepower. Rizla Suzuki team manager, Simon Buckmaster says that ‘Our test at Valencia in November showed us the 2007 bike has considerable potential but that is only the start of the process. Rizla Suzuki is working absolutely flat out on the new bikes and developing them as quickly as possible. We will do whatever it takes to be as competitive as possible this season!’

The 2006 Gixxer was mega. Can the 2007 model rework the magic?

In February this year, both Rizla Suzuki riders – Chris Walker and Cal Crutchlow – will be testing their racebikes over a period of two days in Calafat, Spain. The BSB season starts at Brands Hatch on the 9th of April, and Rizla Suzuki should have their bikes completely sorted by then, so wait for the action to begin!

Also see:
Evolution: Twenty years of the Suzuki GSX-R
Riding impression: Rizla Suzuki GSV-R
Italian stallion: Ducati 1098
Simply awesome: 2007 Yamaha R1
Uber cool: Kawasaki Z750