May’08 Track Day: Kari Speedway, Coimbatore.

It was yet another track day organised by Anand at Kari Speedway, Coimbatore. My second visit, in a row. This time due to various reasons I was not able to take my bike. Thanks to Killer (Sameer) who loaned me his Apache, I had a ride for the track day.

Now, I’ll not waste too much of time, enjoy some of the pictures.

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Speedy entering chicane on Apache.

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Subhash on RTR pulling stoppie and wheelie.

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Dinesh on RTR through bowl.

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Subhash on RTR through bowl.

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Nav on Apache through bowl.

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Joel on RTR through bowl.

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Dan’s RD through bowl.

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Keerthi on Shogun through bowl.

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Nav on Apache through last corner.

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Bike discussion in pit lane.

To view image(s) in larger size, click them.
Edit: Thanks to Kathir (friend of Dinesh) for taking the bowl pics.

The ONE

Nah, this post is not about Neo or the R1 but it might be of Neo astride an R1.

Pune – undoubtedly the two wheeler capital of country, a city where you can witness people breaking traffic rules at the drop of a hat. If one fines all the violators just for one day, it won’t be a surprise if millionaires count goes up by one.

It was just another morning ride to office when I approach a traffic signal, glowing red. Though the faster vehicles in front of me simply turned a blind eye towards the red light, I somehow didn’t feel in a hurry and instead of going with the flow of violators, I slowed down and stopped. Standing standstill while a couple of more vehicles went by, drivers of them probably had early morning laughter at my expense. Then suddenly one car driver applied brakes and stopped right next to me and few second’s later vehicles started to stop for the red light instead of ignoring it.

After a tiring day, I was headed back to home. Like everyday, it was a sea of vehicles of road. As I approach a traffic signal, which is always ignored by people as it is on a ‘T’ junction with the traffic coming only from right side of ‘T’ arm; I saw the light glowing red. I decided to stop, vehicles suddenly started to stop.

It seems most of people in city likes to go with the flow. Not many look at traffic signal (not their fault because many time either the signal is not working or the light bulb are fused), they just follow the flow of vehicles. So for them to stop on a traffic signal, which is easy to break, either due to low traffic on junction or being on a ‘T’ junction it probably needs someone to take the initiative and STOP.

Just like they need someone to take the initiative to STOP, it just needs one person to jump a red light to have a group of vehicles follow him, as if they all were tied to the first vehicle. Looks like most of people on road don’t have the intelligence to take the decision as to what is correct and what is wrong for them.

I have decided to be the ONE who is going to STOP at the red light; there are many ONE’s who jumps the red light. So which ONE are you? I know it is very easy to say that no one follows the traffic rule in my city but that’s a very lame excuse of one also not following it.

Just remember if you want to be the ONE who stops, people who are following you are not expecting you to stop. So make sure you don’t apply brakes suddenly. Your brake light is in working order. Keep an eye in your RVM’s before you slow down to making sure you are not going to be plastered on the road by the vehicle behind you. In the end, do not stop in the middle of road but stop on the side.

When bigger vehicles made way for a Bike …

It was a much awaited Saturday (1 March 2008) for me. No, not for the Speed Run 2008 being happening in Mumbai but for the ride I was going to make to Mumbai with the aim of attending the Speed Run and get some work done on the bike so that my life becomes a bit more safer. Nah, not getting a bullet proof cage getting build around it. :-)

As destiny would have it, somehow I managed to carry on the flyover, which I was supposed to miss, to turn off for the Speed Run event. I got to know only after I went ahead by around 15km’s that I have come a bit too far ahead. The plan was quickly revised and I headed straight to Goregaon where my life was about to be transformed.

Just after 6pm, I started back towards Pune and by the time I managed to crawl past all Mumbai traffic it was 8pm when I refueled at Panvel. What was going to follow, I had not even dreamed off.

It’s a nice stretch of road with mild traffic all the way till Khopoli. I was cruising at my pace when I catch up three trucks traveling in left lane, as I was thinking of passing them, the last truck driver decided to make a move on the other two trucks. From my past experience, I knew I had to start slowing down as there is no way the truck driver will change his plans even if he is able to hear my bike’s horn. Few seconds later, as the truck driver was half way into the right lane, he decided to abort his plan (probably he saw me coming) and went back to left lane giving me a clean chit to overtake them. This move came to me as a shock.

Few kilometers down the road I catch up with a car overtaking two trucks. While I was waiting for the car to go pass, I was also getting ready to pass the car from left lane as I have not come across too many car drivers who care to move to left side letting the faster traffic pass them. Once again, I was made to change my plan as the moment car went pass the trucks, driver simply ducked to left lane, giving me once again a clean run to go by.

Well the above mentioned were just two of many instances where I must say I came across so many “nice” people who just simply allowed me go pass them with ease though I was on a much smaller vehicle (in size) than theirs. The count of such people I meet in one night can easily out number such people I would have meet in my 10+ years of riding.

I used to think that on Indian roads, jungle law is followed. Bigger vehicle has right of way. But how badly I was proved wrong on Saturday night; I just could not believe myself.

Telling half truth is as good as saying a lie. So what all I have said above is though not a lie but I have also not said complete truth as well.

What I have not told you guys is about the “life saver” I got installed on my bike. Well it’s not a bazooka (which I wish to get installed some day – may be once I turn dictator and take over the country. ;-))

Though I can post millions of pictures of the life save and write pages and pages about it still I might not be able to convey proper message so let me try to compare it with something, most of us would have experienced.

Illuminate your room with a 35W electricity bulb. Now put on a 100W tube light. Can you see any difference? If not then replace the tube light with the bulb after sitting in tube light for few minutes. Well that’s the difference between the stock 35W halogen shod head lamp and the HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamp.

HID lamp – the life saver I got installed on the bike. More detail about it later on.

Well, I still believe to what I said above, “I used to think that on Indian roads, jungle law is followed. Bigger vehicle has right of way”.

What made all those people turn “nice” that night was not just the nice nature (which I don’t discount that there are some nice people on road – Me for one ;-)) but the HID lamp’s power which was creating the similar discomfort which one would have faced thanks to the oncoming traffic with head lamp being used on high beam.

So what I have done is it legal? Morally should I have done it? Etc etc. These are some questions on which I’ll share my view points in my next post but for now I’ll just say one thing, if you have to ride in night on Indian roads on your two wheeler, dump those pathetic 35W head lamp unless, either you are willing to stick to a max speed of 40-50km/hr (that’s what I find is a safe speed) unless it is a well illuminated road or consider your life to be cheaper than those few hundred $’s one need to spend to get HID lamp fitted on the bike.

“Torque factory” – First Impression

Last night I got a chance to swing my leg over the new AVL 500 ala Machismo 500LB. Thanks to the owner of bike, Dr. Vistasp Sethna.

Starting the bike using the thumb was a breeze, no more decompressing the engine and kicking it is required but given a choice, I’ll go with the kick.

The clutch felt lighter than some of the other Bullets I have test ridden and the gear shift was smooth by Bullet standard. OK, once you get used to riding a Bullet, you don’t find these as a problem ;-)

Initially I was hesitant to pull the bike hard as I thought its still in running in but once I got the go ahead from the courageous owner sitting as pillion, I started to pull the bike. Since I was in city, I could run out of empty stretch but the bike would keep on pulling and pulling and pulling in 3rd and 4th gear and I had to short shift to top gear. Can’t wait to ride it on the open highway and looking at things, the day is not too far away.

Having owned and ridden a Bullet with drum and disc brakes, it was a relief to have disc upfront which was doing well to control the pace of the flying mass of 350+kg.

With bike making such a humongous amount of torque you are forgiven for being in a gear too high, while accelerating out of traffic.

What I miss in the bike is the sound and thump of the standard 350/500. Well you can’t have your share of pie and have it as well, right?

For a new bike, nearing 3,500km mark and which has just returned from a attempt to SS1600 in which, it managed to cover 1,400km in a day. I’m impressed by the bike but as I already own a Bullet, I’ll give it a miss. But I’m always welcome for a small stint on this bike any day, any time, any where :-)

I’m looking forward for the day when I might get a chance to ride this torque monster out of city limits and a voice from deep inside me is saying, hang on the day is not too far away. So just wait for that day to come and a post from me sharing the experience I’m looking forward to. Till then work hard, ride harder.

Auto Expo 2008 – Yamaha Pavilion

Yamaha – the name once synonymous to performance bikes in India, thanks to gems like RD350 and RX-series of bikes. Off late the company’s offerings were anything but what one expects from Yamaha, once they ventured out with 4-strokes in India. Result? Sales chart dipping downwards but at faster rate was sinking the heart of Yamaha fans.

For how long will this continue? Has the time come for Yamaha to pack their bags and leave country for better? No, wait. We are not loosing Yamaha from India. With 1,000cc Super Sports YZF-R1 and 1,670cc Torque Sports MT01 already up for grabs for those with deep pockets, Yamaha officially announced the arrival of 150cc, Liquid-cooled YZF–R15, for those who seek performance but can’t afford “The One” (for various reasons, not just financials alone).

Having represented BN at the 2008 Auto Expo concluded recently, this is my first post, actually second (after teasing with the “Aliens”), in which I’ll try to share few of the 300+ pictures I clicked at the Expo.

After looking at all the stalls at Expo (related to machine powered two wheels), I can’t think of any stall other than Yamaha to start the Expo series of posts.

Right at the exit of pavilion was standing the MotoGP bike, Yamaha M1, which Rossi was pushing to its limits and beyond (of the tyres ;-) ) till few weeks back.

YZF–R15 (150cc, Liquid-cooled)

Right in the center of attraction (stealing from R1, M1 and MT01) were the beautiful R15’s which will go on sale, probably in time to celebrate the start of our National road racing season, with the sole aim to end the dominance of TVS Racing in the Indian 150cc 4-stroke Group D class and to give the performance hungry Indian biker, what they deserved for so long.

R15 is probably one of the very few bikes on sale in India on which one can go racing right out of box. At the heart of things is a 150cc 4-stroke liquid cooled motor which is claimed to have 4 valve head layout and probably a DOHC. A fuel injection system will be feeding the combustion chamber where a forged piston will be getting pushed up and down at a frightening pace to make sure all other Indian bikes currently on sale, stays behind at a comfortable distance, be it the boring flat straight road or the thrilling twisty. To transmit all the juice to the rear wheel will be a 6 speed gear box. To get the maximum power to weight ratio and probably unmatched handing, engine will be enclosed in the light weight Deltabox frame. Sadly for those who believe lightweight motorcycle means unstable bike, this bike will be a huge disappointment as it will be one of the lightest bike in India, weight probably around 125kg.

To provide maximum aerodynamic advantage is a lightweight full fairing spotting twin headlamps, which would be good enough (as per the claims) to brighten up the Indian roads which traveling at night. The most important and visible moving part of bikes will be light weight alloy wheels spotting sticky tubeless rubber from MRF. For the fans of fat tires there is sad news that the bike will probably sport tires of the size same or thinner than that of what we get on the “performance” 150cc and bigger bikes in India.

To halt the zipping bike in time, before the rider misses a few heart beats are two disc brakes doing duty at each wheels. As per the dimensional figures given on the Yamaha official website, going by figures there is another disappointment for the fans of long bikes.

Yamaha hasn’t yet announced the exact performance and engine specifications but who cares as long as this bike can fulfill the claims made by Yamaha to be the fastest of all current Indian bikes.

Yamaha is planning to competitively price the most technically modern bike, compared to current Indian bikes still running on the technology as old as 70s. No, being a 150cc don’t expect it to fight out with the current 150cc bikes on the price front as in terms of performance the current 150s won’t be even in the same galaxy, forget planet ;-)

So, I’m eagerly waiting for this lean ‘n’ mean machine, are you?

FZ (150cc, Air-cooled)

Right next to R15 were the more conventional looking (no full fairing) FZ150, a bike for those who like the naked aggression. Though Yamaha hasn’t spoken much about this bike but the looks of it speaks a lot about it. Well as they say, a picture is worth thousand words, so feast your eyes on a few pictures worth million words. Yeah, I’m lazy to write ;-)

This machine will sport a relatively lesser powerful engine as compared to R15. It will be air cooled unit, with performance probably on par with other 150cc bikes (minus R15). Hopefully this will be for those who can’t afford or don’t want the more costly R15. There is no news from Yamaha about the performance about this bike but I’m sure it will not be a dud.

So those who are lesser flamboyant, keep a close eye on this bike which is supposed to hit the roads anytime after the monsoon has cleaned up the Indian roads and washed off them at some places :-)

Super Sports FZ1 (1,000 cc)

Away from the center stage were the three big machines with much bigger heart. Well, it will be foolish for me to say any thing about them, if you are a motorcycle enthusiast you would probably know about them more than me, so why don’t you make your fingers and keyboard a bit useful? ;-)

Torque Sports MT01 (1,670cc)

Super Sports YZF-R1 (1,000 cc)

Gladiator Type SS and RS (125cc)

While Yamaha is going to launch some exciting new bikes, they did manage to revamp their current Gladiator with some fancy visual touch ups. So if you liked Gladiator, there are few more reasons to buy it.

To view image(s) in larger size, click them.

So how did you find this small presentation about the Yamaha stall? Do write about it.

Similar topics
Auto Expo 2008 – Alien attack

Yamaha’s official Auto Expo2008 website

Auto Expo 2008 – Alien attack

AutoExpo 2008 – One of the most eagerly awaited event by me and many bikers like me because most of Bike manufactures use this platform to show case their upcoming products.

After taking out time from a busy schedule at my new job I went to New Delhi to see the new bikes, instead I was attacked by aliens from outerspace. While trying to save my life from them, I managed to capture some of them in my camera. I’m putting up their faces over here so that you can identify them and save your life as well.


This blue alien was spotted in the Yamaha pavilion.


This black alien tried his best to hide in well illuminated Suzuki pavilion.


This multi colored alien hoped that no one will visit TVS pavilion and he will be able to hide here.


One of the two alien who opted for Bajaj pavilion, away from other two wheeler makers pavilion, they thought they are safe.


Second alien who opted for Bajaj pavilion, away from other two wheeler makers pavilion, they thought they are safe.

All the pictures, in larger size can be viewed here

Malshej – The least visited place

Malshej Ghat – a beautiful heaven of towering peaks and bottomless valleys with air so fragrant and pure, one wish to pack some to bring back to pollution filled cities.

Just like all the hill stations in Maharashtra, monsoons is the best time to visit Malshej Ghat. The black tarmac is cleaned by rains, valleys turn lush green and surrounding is mostly covered by clouds. Though one might not get too much to see during peak monsoon but the experience still is worth a visit.

Destination so breath taking that I wonder how come I have just visited this place just once and that too way back in 2003. So when the opportunity came to visit Malshej again on 2nd Oct for a Pune-Bombay Nomads meet, I coudn’t let this oportunity go by. Though the rains were gone long time back, I was expecting to encounter lush green valleys.

The group from Pune (Me on CBZ, Nalin on CBZ-Xtreme, Praveen Sathaye on P180 DTSi and Biswa in his M800) meet at Nashik Phata from where the ride started around 7am. The relatively empty road combined with cool weather, while riding, felt like heaven. Though two lane for most part, it was still not much an issue riding, except for when crossing cities enroute.

After covering around 80km from Nashik Phata, we got off the Nashik highway at Ale Phata and turned left towards Malshej. Road surface after sometime got little bad but it improved as we started the climb up the ghat. Twisties were so inviting that we decided to take a break to soak in the beauty.


View from the start of Ghat

After a small break we headed towards the meeting point, MTDC. By 9:45, having covered 137km, we were at MTDC and didn’t have to wait for long for the Bombay guys to join us along with Harshad from Amhednagar. After a round of introductions, between those who were meeting for first time, we had breakfast and then decided to walk around to let our eyes enjoy the beauty. Later few guys decided to bring their bikes and it was time for cameras to get busy.


Tunnel’s view from top of ghat


Poser boy


Twin models


Small water pond at the top

After spending some time at the top of valley, we headed towards the overflowing lake, whose water has submerged a small road running parallel to main road. Here, while couple of guys decided to go for swimming, rest stayed back on the banks.


Where the road ends


Can I?


Only water could stop me

As the lunch time neared, we all headed back to MTDC for food. After gupling down our favourite food, at 16:20, Pune guys decided to ride back with Bombay guys. The road on Bombay side of ghat is right there with the best road surfaces I have ever ridden. It was a fast rip to the bottom of ghat.


View of the valley on Bombay side


Pit stop

After riding for 33km’s from MTDC, we reached the junction where Pune guys turned left towards Karjat. Sun has gone down by now, so it was getting dark, hence it was left to Roy to lead in his Gypsy while Biswa took the tail in his M800 with all the bike riders in between them. The road is a narrow running through forest.


Sun is finally going down

At around 8pm, after covering 118km from MTDC, some 2km before Khopoli, we came out on NH4. Enroute to Pune, we halted at Toni for Dinner and at 12:30am, having covered 190km’s I reached back my home.

Hampi – BN Annual Ride 2007

The ruins of Vijayanagar, near the town of Hampi, are some of the most fascinating in India. Once the capital of one of the largest Hindu empires in India history, Vijayanagar was founded by the Telugu princes in 1336 and hit the peak of its power in the 16th century.

The regular annual meets of BN were kick started in 2006 at Goa. For this year, the destination was selected as Hampi. Having returned back from Hospet in 2004, I didn’t want to miss another chance to visit Hampi, so I joined the 30+ nomads who headed towards Hampi on 23th Nov.

Few bikes and couple of cars of Nomads started from Pune on 23rd Nov early morning at 6:50. It was perfect weather for going on a bike trip. Around 7:30 we were out of Pune and cruising on partially empty NH4 towards Satara. Faster vehicles went on to enjoy the speed while I was the slowest one to take on the rear. Around 8:20 we all regrouped at the breakfast point, having covered 85km’s since the start. It was an hour long break after which we headed towards Peth, the turn off point for Sangli, our Lunch halt.

Once again the group was split with all riding at their own pace, to regroup at Peth. It was now a 2 lane road till Sangli, so we all decided to ride together with one car each leading and sweeping the group and all bikes in between them. There was a bit of truck traffic to content with. It was 12pm by the time we reached Mayank’s place in Sangli. So far we covered 138km’s. At Sangli we saw not just three nicely maintained bikes of Mayank but also the nicely maintained garage.

At 13:30 we left Sangli after a nice food for riders and fuel for rides. Once we crossed Miraj, traffic eased off and the road was relatively empty. This stretch was one of the best 2 lane road to ride on. With both the cars tailing bikes, we reached Bijapur. We all regrouped after Bijapur for a cup of tea at 17:10, having covered around 500km’s. It was now confirmed that it will be a long night ride we will have to do. At 17:50 we resumed the ride with sun already went to rest.

We knew it will be a lot of truck traffic till Hospet so the group got split into smaller groups with 2-3 vehicles per group. It was slow at times getting passed convey of trucks. As time went by the night went from cold to colder. By the time we regrouped for Dinner at 22:30 it was freezing, having spend another hour in couple of breaks before it. So far we had covered around 600km with just 30odd km’s left to Hampi. At 23:20 we started our last leg of the ride to Hospet where all the early birds were waiting for us. 35min past mid night we all reached Hampi having covered around 620km’s. Though it took us 17hrs 40min to reach Hampi, the actual riding time was only 11hrs 40min.

24th Nov was the day to explore Hampi so instead of going in one big group we all split into small groups, to regroup back by 3pm for group pictures back at hotel.


Water reservoir


First View of Hazararama Temple


Inside view of Hazararama Temple


Lotus Mahal


Just Ride!!!


Lotus Mahal

Elephant’s Stable


An attempt at Table Top shoot


Bikes line up at Hotel


Bikes ‘n’ Riders line up outside Vitthala Temple

Views of Vitthala Temple


Bonfire

The evening was spend in an hour long introduction of all the members followed by dinner. There was an unsuccessful attempt to have bonfire later in the night. After partying till late in night I went to sleep at 2am.
Around 6am people started to get ready to return back home. It was only by 7:30 that we started back towards Pune with Bangalore and Hydrabad guys taking it easy due to smaller distance to cover. At Hospet we refuled our rides. After riding on Sholapur road initially we turned towards Hubli, knowing that there are lot of potholes on this road, still it was going to be much faster due to longer 4 lane stretch. After a couple of 15mins break we reached Hubli. Except for one stretch of road which was anything but potholes everywhere, rest of road was still ride able but only in day time.

Since I was going to be the slowest on NH4, I split from group and carried on as I didn’t need the break, assuming that the faster vehicles will catch me up down the road. After crossing Dharwad, I started to feel hungry and sleepy so at 12:15, I pulled over into a road side hotel for food and sleep, having covered 222km’s so far. After a 25min break I resumed the ride, cruising at speeds around 80 on NH4. To kill the boredom of NH4 I kept on taking small 5min breaks every 80-90km’s. Once I crossed Satara, I started to feel hungry and with the traffic also increased, I slowed down a bit. At 17:35, I halted at Khambatki ghat for food break with just 70 odd km’s to go. Sun was going down fast, so at 18:00hrs I started the last leg of ride, with the rest of group still over an hr behind. The traffic was heavy and it was like a high speed dog fight on road. Thanks to the 4 lane road it was not difficult to ride here even though it was dark. As I entered Pune, I was greeted by a big traffic jam and it was by 19:10 that I reached Chandni Chowk having covered 621km’s.

Diwali weekend twin rides


Road to Lavasa, covered in fog

Though I had 4 days off during the Diwali weekend, I could barely ride due to my lazyness and some pending works to be completed. But when I got opportunity to do two small rides, I grabbed them with both hands.

First one was to Lonawala on Saturday evening, 10th Nov 2007, to team up with Arpan (Pulsar 220) and Alok (Pulsar 180 DTSi), who were riding to Bangalore. With Praveen (Pulsar 180 DTSi) willing to join me (CBZ) from Pune, we decided to ride via Pawana to view Sunset there.

We decided to explore some new route and took the road via Hinjewadi. Unfortunatly we took a road that got us within striking distance of Pawana, with just a small stone, ok ok it was a small hill, seperating us from Pawana as the road ended in dead end :-(. Following are some pics from the evening ride.


Suntset, very close to Pawana but on a road that leads to no where


Very close to Pawana but on a road that leads to no where


Very close to Pawana but on a road that leads to no where

Next ride was on Sunday morning to Lavasa. I finally managed to move the start time to 6am, so that we can see sunrise around Mutha. Well as it turned out, early morning fog deprived us the beautiful sunrise but at the same time it let us experience one of the best morning I have had in recent times.

During this ride I had a chance to ride Captain’s Pulsar 220 for the entire ride, with my CBZ resting at Chandani Chowk. At the start of ride, we flagged off Arpan and Alok towards Bangalore. Here are some pictures from the ride.


Early morning foggy road near Manas Lake


Sunrise, enroute Lavasa


View from Temghar Dam


View from Temghar Dam


Lavasa twisties


All steeds lined up

Similar topic(s)
Discovering ride to Pawana
PPL Ride
Return to Lavasa
The Bajaj Pulsar 220 DtsFi Test Ride
Lavasa – A Dream Fulfilled and some laws redefined

Are our “modern bikes” really modern?

Very often we refer to the bikes that are sold in India as “modern” bikes. Now I just wonder are they relaly modern?

Let me put down the tech we get to see in our modern machines.
– Single cylinder.
– Twin valve head.
– SOHC (Single Over Head Cam).
– Air cooled.

Is this really modern? My knowledge about bikes is not too great but isn’t all that tech there and used since, what 70’s or earlier?

More so, with every upgrade/new model of a exisiting bike, we keep on seeing them going heaver and heaver in weight. Is this due to modern tech?

So are the bikes really modern just because they uses stuff like LED lamps, Digital consoles, Clip on handle bars, Fancy disc brakes, Gas shocks, etc but still the same decades old engine design?

Oh someone might point out at the usage of EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) in our bikes. But is it really a step to use modern tech in our bikes or just an effort to make sure the bike meets emission norms?

We can say that as per the majority of consumer’s need the decades old engine design is what’s best suited. But then why call them “modern”?

Now one thing which has surely gone modern is the place where the bikes are manufactured. Having visited a scooter factory way back in 80’s and recently, another factory where bikes are made, the difference is surely noticeable. We can call this modernisation.