Next bike from BAL

Was reading the June 2007 edition of Overdrive BSMotoring Auto Magazine. For those who don’t know this already, they listed out that BAL now got a bike with the following displacement’s:
100cc, 112cc, 115cc (There was a bike called Caliber115 but it had some 110/112cc engine in it), 125cc, 135cc, 150cc, 180cc, 200cc and 220cc.

Now they pointed out that though BAL has got all ranges covered, thay have left a big hole in the 150-180cc range. Now that New Apache 160 is positioned right there, how many of us think that BAL will let this happen? Atleast, I don’t think BAL will let this happen.

So what will they do? Simple, get a bike out in that segment.
How? With so many crank’s and piston’s in the arsenal, do a simple mix and match job. 😀

I did the same with some limited data I got with me.
Discover 135 got a Stroke of 50.8mm
P180 got a Bore of 63.5mm
So if this combination of Bore x Stroke can be mated, we will have a engine displacement of 160.9cc, Full 1.2cc more than what Apache 160 makes (159.7cc).

So when is this 161cc monster hitting roads? 🙂

PPL Ride

Don’t get confused by the title of the post. PPL Ride = Pune Pawana Lonawala Ride. The plan of this ride was made on Friday, 25 May 2007. Finally 4 riders (Alok on P180 DTSi, Me on Fiero, Praveen on P180 DTSi and Suyash on Avenger) started the ride on Sunday around 6:15am from Chandani Chowk. As per our initial plan it was supposed to be a small ride to have breakfast on the way to Mulshi and then ride back home.

When we reached our breakfast point, just ahead of Paud, we were told that it will take another hr or so before we can be served food. As we were deciding what to do next, Praveen suggested a new route to Lonawala via Paud, I never knew about this one, so without loosing time we were riding towards this new route. For this route one needs to take a right turn (if coming from Pune side), next to the Paud bus stand.

The road is a mixed bag, with a couple of broken patches and some normal (potholes galore) narrow road. The scenery though made it worth the ride. During the ride, it was confirmed what I knew long time back – best time to ride around Pune is during rains. :-)

As we climbed up the first ghat, I stopped to click this pic.

View from top of ghat

At this point we decided to get off the road and take a narrow path, where we saw a few four wheelers parked to get the great view of Pawana and Tung fort. We parked our bikes after riding for a km or so on this road.

It was time to walk around, enjoy the view and some chit chat.

Tung fort and the Pawana.

After a small break we resumed our ride to the breakfast point. Riding through the narrow, bumpy twisty road we reached “Pawana – boat club”. Order for a couple of rounds of onion pakoras, pohe, tea was placed. Once we filled our stomaches and me taking a few rounds of cat nap (didn’t slept previous night as I was not sure of getting up at 5am for the ride :D so it was almost 24hrs since I got up previous day), we ventured out towards the bank of Pawana. There Alok and Praveen decided to soak their legs in water while camera guys (me and Suyash) clicked some pics.

By the time we decided to leave, it has started to get hot and weekend tourists have started to come in big groups. Now we were heading towards Lonawala and due to shortage of time conquering Lohgarh fort, we had to give a miss.

On the way to Lonawala, Praveen took us onto a path which got us onto the top of expressway.

After spending some time watching “slow” moving cars, we headed towards Lonawala. Town of Lonawala was full of weekend visitors and it was tough getting to RK for our post ride munchies, where we meet Akhil and his friend. By the time we were done, it was getting too late to reach home for some of us hence a rip started on the boring section of NH4. At the bypass we stopped for one last round of liquids before we seperated out. By 1pm I was in my house parking having covered exactly 141km’s.

One more route added to my database which needs to be ridden on, once the rains have started in full flow, waterfalls have started to run down at their max velocity, and nature has put a green carpet to welcome those who don’t worry about broken/washed away roads.

Tyre Ramblings

With rains knocking on the door, it was time for me to switch from the 2.75×18 Continental from the rear of my Fiero to brand new 3.25×18 M45 (with odo reading at 5,864km) . On dry surface Continental did well that too with slight uneven wear at the center but on wet surface it was handful to ride, may be due to unever wear, as I have ridden bikes with 2.75×18 rear in rains without any issues.

As soon as I got the bike back with new tyre, I felt the bike to be a bit heavy in turning, really missed the thinner rear tyre. After over 100km’s with the new tyres I found the following difference:

  • Cornering: With 2.75 rear the bike would slide at speed over 80 in a leaned position, so had to shift my weight a little bit to reduce the lean angle. With 3.25 I can lean as much as I want.
  • Braking: With a wider contact patch the bike is more stable under hard braking with 3.25 as compared to 2.75 but can’t really compare as 2.75 was a really hard tyre whereas 3.25 is a comparatively softer.
  • High speed stability: I have often read that wider tyre = more stable at high speed. So it holds true, the bike was more stable with 3.25 on the highway but with 2.75 it was slightly less stable, making you feel all the time that you are “riding” a bike.
  • Performance and mileage: Haven’t got time to put the bike in front of gun but will do it soon and update on this aspect.

So what do I want? If I knew about so much of a difference (since 2001 I have used 3.00×18 and 3.25×18 M45 on my Fiero) 2.75 tyre would make, I might have gone with a 2.75×18 M45 instead of 3.25 as that would have helped in rain’s as well.

More so, after reading this post on RearSet and my exp so far, I am convinced that these fat tyres we are getting on our Indian bikes are really not needed. A good quality (sticky) and smaller sized tyre would do well but then there are some issues with that:

  • Tyre life: There are people who don’t buy a bike just because it gives 5km/lt less mileage than other bike. So once they start to get a tyre which lasts less than half of what the current tyres last, they might have a heart attack.
  • Poser points: A wider tyre always looks cooler than a thinner tyre. So how will those poser boys will survive if there are only thinner tyres available? Look around and you will see many Rossi’s on their bikes with tyres as wide as what you will see on some 100+bhp machines.
  • Cost fastor: M45 costs now over Rs 1,500 and in 2001 it used to cost around Rs 1,000. At the same time other tyres cost well under Rs 1,000. So a cost difference of almost Rs 1,000. I don’t think even 1% of the majority of people will be ready to shell out these few hundered bucks for some better tyre. Welcome to India.
  • Lean angle problem: With thinner tyre you can’t lean the bike as much as you can with fatter tyre. So what will happen to those poser points of claiming that how many times you scrapped your foot pegs while coming to college today?
  • All terrain handling: In India we ride our bike on all kind of surface with the same tyre. The place where even a good quality thinner tyre made for tarmac use will fail is during offroading, where the wider tyre always do well. Not many people will be keen on having two set of tyres – one for tarmac and one for offroading, hence go for the compromise and fit the fat tyre.

In short, though “bigger is always better” but in case where the smaller is technologically superior than the bigger, smaller is better. Its hard to convince previous point to those who knows only one thing “bigger is always better”.