Kawasaki Ninja 300 Review and Ride Experience

Kawasaki Ninja 300 Review

After two decades of ruling the quarter litre segment worldwide, Kawasaki lays its stake to continue to rule the world with the launch of Ninja 300. The Japanese manufacturer, instead of just upgrading the Ninja 250R with minor tweaks here and there, which majority of manufacturers do with their winning models, created a whole new different machine.

Ninja 300 is a beautiful combination of superb power, impressive performance, agile handling, improved efficiency and crisp styling. I got my hands on the green goblin and after riding it just for a day I got only one thing to say – “Tonight, we Ride to Hell!”

Here is my Kawasaki Ninja 300 review and riding experience.

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Power, Performance and Delivery

Kawasaki Ninja 300 – “Evolution at its Best”

The new Kawasaki Ninja 300 runs on a four-stroke, 296cc parallel-twin liquid-cooled engine. The fuel injected motor generates a maximum power of 39bhp @ 11000rpm, with a peak torque of 2.8kgm produced @ 10000rpm. What the hell does this mean? It means you have a state-of-the-art missile at your disposal and the control of this better be in experienced hands.

You may wonder if a 47cc increase in power mill and a raise of 6 bhp would make much of a difference, compared to the 250R, but the moment you experience the Ninja 300, you’ll realize it’s a unique motorcycle by itself. Despite sharing some configuration and a few parts from its predecessor, there is a different personality to the 300. You’ll land up saying, “Wow…this is a whole new motor…”

Other aspects and improvements worth mentioning about this new mill are,

– Increase in the size of the valves
– Pistons are now weighing lighter than before
– Increase in stroke which obviously gives the plus number in cc
– 600gm lighter sleeveless die-cast cylinders
– The engine is rubber mounted
– Vibe free engine
– New slipper clutch system

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

A prominent issue with the Ninja 250R was that it was a sleeping giant until it reached 6000rpm. The real performance of that motor was found in the mid-range and beyond. But in Ninja 300 you can feel the torque right from 2000rpm itself. Just pop the clutch and the bike is ready to go boom from the first gear. This also makes climbing steep slopes on 2nd or 3rd gear effortless and stress free.

Now, do not worry about 6000+rpms in the Ninja 300. The question is – Do you have what it takes to handle this beast?! At a flick of the wrist, the bike is ready to show you what it is really made of. The twin cylinder engine is all set to give you instant throttle response and takes you up to three figure speed within no time. You’ll be in the 100kph+ range in just about 7 seconds, 1 second faster than the Ninja 250R. One thing is evident; we don’t have a large number of wide roads where you can legitimately test the potential of such bikes, so you could probably touch the 160 mark and immediately slow down. You may also notice that even after touching 160kph, the rpm needle is still not very close to the red line which means there is one more level to go!!!

The heat dispersion system also has been given attention to. You do not feel warm air on your thighs or anywhere near your feet like in earlier models, also the noise of the radiator fan can hardly be heard. This can be observed if the bike is kept idling in stationary position for a few minutes.

The 6-speed (1-down 5-up) gearbox imparts smooth, well weighted shifts. We can say the feeling is similar to the 250R but gentler and smoother than its predecessor and the immense rush of power is clearly revealed at every shift.

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Proud owners of the 250R the world over would often express their desire to have softer clutch lever on their bikes on various Kawasaki forums. The engineers at Kawasaki made a note of it and introduced the “slipper clutch” with which the Ninja 300 seems like a child play. Here is why.

Slipper Clutch

We just love it when we get to know that motorcycles with world renowned technologies are launched in India.

Here is the scene to understand the “slipper clutch” system practically – Let’s say we are engaged in a high speed ride and out of nowhere “Rossi’s” ghost decides to enter our body and nudges us to downshift our gears for that “Vroomm” feeling and we do just that. Now with the normal clutch system on our bikes in the event of sudden down shift of gear we would feel a deep jerk on our entire body rendering us imbalanced and at the same time increasing our chances of locking the rear wheel many folds.

This is where the slipper clutch system comes into play; with Rossi’s ghost in action, we downshift the gear suddenly, the slipper clutch system partially disengages itself allowing some amount of revolutions to bypass which prevents the rear wheels from getting locked up and enables a jerk-free ride too.

To truly appreciate this system, take the Ninja 300 on twisties and slopes and let the ghost out.

On the fuel economy front, we were able to derive an average of 37kmpl.

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Comfort and Handling

Long rides have now become a boon on the Ninja 300. Earlier, sitting on 250R was like sitting on a slab of rock and going for a ride. The seats are still hard, even in the 300, but much better – The seating position gives a sporty feel and you just have to bend a little forward for a comfortable reach out to the handle bars. The new mirrors now have more viewing (Read wider view) to them. Even for a horizontally challenged (Real Huge) guy like me who was wearing armoured motorcycle jacket I could view over 80 per cent of uninterrupted background picture in the rear view mirror.

The newly designed tank is perfect for cruising as well as for fast rides. You can grip the tank with your legs during high speeds and feel oneness with the bike at ONCE.

No other bike felt as stable as the Ninja 250R in its segment. And with the Ninja 300, the feeling is confidently carried forward with few improvements for holding on a more powerful engine.

The bike is very swift in handling despite being in the 170kgs+ category. Manoeuvring in city is as easy and riding on highway is heavenly.

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Styling and Lineaments – Who is the designer?

May not be Picasso or Manish Malhotra, but we sure have some design geniuses at the Kawasaki design department! You ride the Ninja anywhere and we bet you’ll make some (ALL) head turn.

Although the inspiration for Ninja 300 comes from many of its siblings but this one, just steals the show. The floating windscreen and integrated signal indicators come from ZX-10R- The dual headlights from the ZX-6R. Wheel and side fairing design are from the ZX-14R and the new overhauled silencer and foot-pegs from other big brother (models). The rear of Ninja 300 looks somewhat like the 250R with 10 per cent improvisation of the tail and under seat area.

However, if you keep both the bikes, 250R and 300 side by side, from some angles you’ll find the 300 seem lighter and leaner over the prior variant. But that is NOT true, obviously.

The moment you get close to the bike, you will be tempted to brush your hand over the body to feel the deep glossy surface. Ninja 300 today is probably one of the best looking motorcycles in the world in its class by far.

As many would agree, 300 is a bike to drool for!

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Braking and Suspension

The front comes with a 290mm single petal disc while the rear with 220 mm one, each equipped with dual-piston callipers.

Braking is in par with its overall performance only when you don’t compare it with the 250R. Evaluating the braking by comparing it with the earlier Ninja models will not give the right judgment here. Some might find the braking in the 250R more powerful while first timers may feel what they have on 300 is the best.

After riding on steep slopes, downhill, taking sharp corners and going a little off track we are satisfied to say that braking is pretty much up to the mark. You don’t get an ABS option in the Indian version, but the question remains, do we really need it? Read, all you really need to know about ABS.

The suspension of the Ninja 300 is somewhat on the stiffer side, just like the 250R, although the front telescopic forks and the rear adjustable Uni-trak suspension have been improved to deliver a smooth ride and stable handling over a wide range of speed and road conditions. Best is to keep the default company settings. The wider IRC tyres are impressive rubber. The bike handles well at corners during low as well as high speeds. Confident and agile are the words that best describe the feeling. Tires being made of soft compound will get exhausted in the 12000-15000 km range but that should not be a bother because thereafter, you can go for MRF Zapper Q which now comes in a tubeless variant which has a Life-expectancy of 25000kms.

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Instrument cluster and console

Only analogue pods for reading makes way a very stylish digital and analogue instrument console designed to impress and guide.

You have the tachometer in analogue design at the centre, warning lights get their individual positions and a cool digital screen on the right side dedicated for quick reads.

Warning lights consist of low battery voltage, OBD port, engine oil pressure, engine temperature, neutral shift light and high beam indicators along with two trip-meters and a clock on the digital screen. Also something new you’ll notice is an ECO sign appearing every now and then next to the speedometer. Its appearance represents that you are in the economy mode. It’s a handy feature to have in the console of the bike. Fuel economy is expected to be around 25km/litre, though we did not get to test this. But depending on your riding style, the efficiency figure can get impressive. Note: On Ninja 250R we managed to get an average of 40km/litre over the company mentioned 26km/litre. The magic is in your hand 🙂

With the 300, we finally get the pass switch, which was painfully missed on the 250R. Headlamps are still on the DRL, so no off switch on this one too. We could not see them in action as it was a day ride but based on what Kawasaki has delivered till now, surely the light spread will not be disappointing.

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Verdict

So the big question is Should I Buy the Kawasaki Ninja 300? Absolutely! Ninja 300 is a hands down winner in all departments. Kawasaki has left no stone unturned. Whatever could be upgraded from the 250R has now been brought to a new standard in the 300. Also, Kawasaki will be the first to get this new segment in India. Currently, there stands no competition to the motorcycle and with regards to the after sales service; Bajaj Probiking is already prepared in delivering premium quality service for the maintenance of the motorcycle.

The only thing that goes against the bike is the whopping price tag. The bike comes for Rs. 3.85 lacs on-road Mumbai. Immediately, the comparison starts with CBR 250R, the upcoming Duke 390 and other Honda machines which are most likely to arrive in India in the next few months but like mentioned before, the Ninja 300 is a unique motorcycle and CANNOT BE compared with anything else. You have to see it from this perspective. If you feel the price is high, then you must understand the fact that for this amount you are surely getting the best, modern, state-of-the-art motorcycle from Kawasaki. So if you have the money to shell out, then yes, this motorcycle is the ideal choice to satisfy your sport, touring and commuting needs. You may even go ahead and get these 5 useful accessories for the Ninja 300 that will take the stance of the motorcycle a notch higher.

So here I conclude my Kawasaki ninja 300 review. Do leave a feedback in the comments section to let me know what you think.

“Tonight, we Ride to Hell!!!”

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

High Five for

  1. The new refreshed look
  2. Improved handling and dynamics
  3. Power distribution across RPMs
  4. Ample under seat storage for tools and documents

Wish it had

  1. Fibre extension on the Front mud guard to protect the radiator from dirt and debris hitting on it during monsoons. (You can still get the aftermarket product.)

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Tech Specs:

Engine Type: Liquid cooled, 4- stroke Parallel Twin

Displacement – 296 cm3

Bore and Stroke – 62.0 X 49.0 mm

Compression ratio: 10.6:1

Valve system – DOHC, 8 Valves

Fuel System: Fuel Injection Φ32mm x 2 (Keihin) with dual throttle valves.

Ignition: Digital

Starting: Electric

Lubrication: Forced Lubrication, Wet sump

Transmission: 6-speed return

Maximum Power – 29.0 KW {39PS}/11,000 rpm

Maximum Torque: 27 N.m {2.8 kgf.m} / 10.000rpm

 

Frame, Tyres and Brakes

Type: Tube diamond, steel

Wheel travel: Front: 120mm

Rear: 132mm

Tyre: Front 110/70 – 17M/C 54S

Rear: 140 /70 -17 M/C 66S

Brake Front:  Type: Single 290mm petal Disc

Caliper: Single Balanced actuation dual –piston

Brake Rear: Type: single 220 mm Petal disc

Caliper: Dual –piston

 

Dimensions

Overall length: 2,015 mm

Overall width: 715 mm

Overall height: 1,11omm

Wheelbase: 1,405 mm

Ground clearance: 140 mm

Seat height: 785mm

Curb Mass: 172 kg

Fuel Capacity: 17 litres

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Also published in MyBikeMyWorld.com

2013 Hyosung GT650R Review: The Roar of a Lion

The Lion is the king not by his appearance but by his glorious ROAR…

A few days back I had got my hands on the Hyosung GT650R, 2013 edition. And this was the first time I ever rode a Hyosung mid-weight segment motorcycle. The feeling was unexplainable. The 2013 model is simply a perfect sportsbike to own in our country. The look, aesthetics, styling, performance and power delivery are top notch. Here is the 2013 Hyosung GT650R review.

The Mighty Hyosung GT650R

Engine:

The 647cc, liquid-cooled, V-twin motor produces 72.68 BHP of power at 9000 RPM and 60.9 Nm of torque at 7500 RPM. What that means — at a twist of the throttle you have the power to shoot beyond the imaginable speed, without even changing a single gear. The 2013 model has been tweaked and tuned to understand the Indian riding condition. Above 4000rpm the throttle is very instant. The bike reaches a 3 figure speed within 6 seconds. Although in city riding scenario you’ll feel the engine heat exiting under your thighs — an expected fact in such big machines. The top speed of the 2013 Hyosung GT 650R is just above 200km/hr.

2013 Hyosung GT650R

Styling and Suspension:

The GT 650R, 2013 is a head turner. The frontal area of the motorcycle has now been given a peak look. The headlight area is now in a V-shape over the earlier model. The whole bodywork is now leaner and clean styling finish. The new graphic work in the side panels and belly side is strikingly noticeable. Gives it a refine look. The new colour scheme is also a tip of the ice berg.

The Inverted telescopic forks in the front and linked monoshock at rear plays a vital part in the comfort riding dynamism of the motorcycle. The whole unit along with a decent ground clearance give you a bump free ride. Though on Indian speed breakers you need to be alert of the bang. Although chances are less if compared to the Kawasaki bikes.

2013 Hyosung GT650R

Braking and Instrumentation:

Would anyone complain about the braking of this beauty? Just a feather touch pull of the two fingers on the brake lever — will get this bike down towards zero. Braking is in par with this supreme mid-segment sportsbike. The life of the pads also seem to be better than the previous model. No idea about the feel in monsoon, but that is a hand in hand job with the tyres I’ll say.

Instrument console I felt could have been little more fancier. It shows all the readings that a rider needs to know, but just the look of the hardware I didn’t found impressive. I’ll give it a rating of 6 out of 10.

2013 Hyosung GT650R

Handling and Dynamics:

The 2013 Hyosung GT 650R offers pure sport handling. In the riding position you are crouched down towards the tank, which results in a aerodynamic positi0on. You won’t feel the wind drift at high speeds. Although this position is not comfortable for city riding, which means this is a highway machine. Despite being a heavy motorcycle (200+ kgs) the sheer power is supplementary in maneuvering the bike around corners. You can get in and get out swiftly.

The steel frame and upside down forks are well suited for the Indian tarmac. You get a strong feel the moment you see the bike from either sides, that this is a muscle man.The bike can take on mild bumps and speed breakers without slowing down to single figure.

2013 Hyosung GT650R

Final Take:

“Third time lucky.” — In Hyosung’s third time entry in the Indian two wheeler market, they have nailed it. From bringing in big machines and promoting the brand, they are doing it all. In this limelight the Hyosung 2013 GT650R is a worthy sportsbike to get one for yourself. If you are ready to jump in the 600+ segment then yes this machine should be in your consideration list.

The motorcycle in Mumbai comes for an on-road price of Rs.530000/- After Harley-Davidson in India, Hyosung is also the first to start a ‘Hy Ryders’ Biking Club to encourage the youth in safe and fun filled motorbiking.

2013 Hyosung GT650R with its younger sibling

Pre-requisites before buying the 2013 Hyosung Gt650R –

  1. Should be an experienced rider: One cannot just get up one morning and decide I have the money so I’m buying the GT650R. Mean machines require a grace in pulling them off with confidence.
  2. Should be ready to compromise on comfort riding in the city: Surely I don’t expect you to buy this bike for city riding but if you are thinking that you can manage in both city and the highway then keep all your expectations for the latter. Otherwise in city you’ll land up with a sore back and a very hot bike.
  3. Should be ready mentally to bear a 100cc fellow trying to race you from a signal: Yes you’ll be teased by some roadside romeo on his 100cc ‘pungi’. Answering him is not going to be worth it at all. Just to satisfy your pride you may zoom past only to find an old lady crossing the road ahead and you braking in full fish tail style 😀
  4. Should not be short in height: I’m sorry guys but anyone shorter than 5’5 feet will find this motorcycle difficult to manage. An experience rider may pull it off but why compromise so much on comfort.

2013 Hyosung GT 650R

Who should buy this motorcycle –

  1. If you have been riding a 250cc motorcycle for a while then yes this is a good upgrade for you.
  2. If your style of riding is aggressive then yes this will symbolize your personality.
  3. If you are looking to buy a rocket to travel from one metro to another then this booster belongs to you.

2013 Hyosung GT 650R

Technical Specifications of 2013 Hyosung GT 650R:

Tech specs of Hyosung GT 650R

Bajaj Discover 100T Review And Specifications

The Bajaj Discover 100T, or the Ultimate100, as they call it, is not one of those power packed super machines. But, with great fuel economy, effective power output and comfort, Bajaj has once again proved that it knows the pulse of the daily commuter who needs a good ride! I’m impressed with the impact this 100cc motorcycle has had on me, after a quick ride over our Indian roads.

A few months ago, Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto said that he has very high expectations from the new 100cc bike that is being developed by Bajaj Auto, and that, in the technology segment; it will be the most advanced 100cc bike. The much awaited bike was finally launched in January 2013, in India.  Bajaj also plans to export  the 100T to Brazil, South Africa and South East Asian countries.

At the onset, the bike does resemble the Discover 125 ST but a closer look reveals several differentiating factors. Did you know that the ‘T’ stands for Touring?

Bajaj Discover 100T

Bajaj Discover 100T

Power, Performance and Delivery

The Discover 100T is powered by Bajaj’s patented 4-valve DTS-i technology which delivers an unbelievable 10.2 Ps of power. In simple words, that is 30 per cent more than any other motorcycle in the 100cc segment. Be it a single rider or along with a pillion, the bike hardly even struggles when it comes to power and performance aspects. The low as well as mid level torque output is pretty decent. What you can actually feel is the ultra smooth engine under you.

DTSI Twin Spark

DTSI Twin Spark

For a 100cc bike, the power, performance and delivery in Discover 100T is dreamlike. The bike can reach a speed of 80km / 45 miles per hour rather swiftly. The 5 speed gear system (all up) is effortless. Pull the clutch in and just a simple touch of the toe shifts the gear. The tall gearing ratios have been set so as to give you the most out of the engine.

Fuel economy tag put on the bike is 87kpl / 204mpg.

Most Advance 100cc Engine

Most Advance 100cc Engine

Handling and Comfort

The light weight bike has an upright seating position and is easily flick-able when it comes to manoeuvring through traffic. The super soft cushioning is something you are bound to like. The foot peg positions are positioned such that once your feet rest on them, the knee grabs the tank unknowingly. I could feel the confidence while turning irrespective of the speed.

Discover 100T

Discover 100T

Styling and Lineaments

From a distance, it looks much like the Discover 125ST. Get a closer peek, and notice the difference in its rear mudguard, chain cover and a few other aesthetics along with its nitrox rear suspension. The trendy looking 10-spoke new design alloy wheels and aluminium side sets along with contrasting two tone graphics make the 100T, a premium two wheeler in its class. DC ignition and headlamp gives flicker-free lighting, even at low speeds. A feature, rarely seen on bikes in the 100cc segment.

In Appearnce Similar To Discover ST

In Appearance Similar To Discover ST

Braking and Suspension

The wheels have drum brakes and are very effective. Surely, you won’t miss the presence of disc brakes, a feature which comes with all bikes, at least on the front wheel.

New Nitrox Rear Suspension

New Nitrox Rear Suspension

The new nitrox rear suspension and a quality built fork in the front provide a bump free riding experience. The suspension has been tuned well for pain free riding even on district or village roads , i.e., harsh roads, where you tend to find uneven surfaces. There is enough stability at all speeds, including corners.

Here’s a tip: At turns, make sure you have a tight grip and total control over the handle. An inexperienced rider might find it difficult to manoeuvre the bike properly on U-pin curves, especially with a pillion behind.

Drum Brakes Given At Front And Rear Wheel

Drum Brakes Given At Front And Rear Wheel

Instrument cluster and console

The console has the same standard features and info as the Discover 125. Analogue speedometer, odometer, single trip meter, neutral light, upper beam indicator and battery condition info. To add style,  the Bajaj logo glows on the right corner. The appearance and presentation of all the info in the instrument cluster is pretty neat.

Simple And Neat Analog Console

Simple And Neat Analog Console

Our Take

Bikes of 100cc are not meant to be in the league of powerful machines and their primary USP is the bountiful fuel economy. Bajaj has managed to get the mileage and satisfying power in one motor itself. The unbeatable mileage and a very effective power output, which is more than any other 100cc bike, makes the Bajaj Discover 100T a truly premium entry level motorcycle.

As always, Bajaj has lived up to its promise.  The bike is certainly a daily commuter’s delight and is sure to be a winner among riders in both cities as well as in remote regions of the country.

In India, the bike will cost INR 58850/- on-road. Pricing in Brazil, South Africa and South East Asian countries will be known once the export plan is revealed.

Bajaj Discover 100T

Bajaj Discover 100T

Game changer

After the launch of Bajaj’s first premium entry level 100cc bike, the automobile industry in India seems to be waking up and shaking up! Is it then a wonder that several other brands are following a similar path to launch bikes classified under the premium 100cc – 125cc segments?

 

High Five for

  • Superb mileage
  • Comfort and styling

Wish it had

  • A tachometer
  • Digital console (At least in one pod)

Going Offroad On The Ultimate 100

Going Offroad On The Ultimate 100

Tech Specs:

Engine – 4 Valve DTS-i
Engine Displacement – 102 cc
Max.Net Power – 10.2 Ps @ 9000 rpm
Max.net Torque – 9 N   9.2 Nm @ 6500 rpm

Ignition System – Digital CDI
Choke – Auto
Starting – Self + Kick start

Clutch – Multiplate Wet Clutch
Transmission – 5 Speed Constant Mesh
Frame – Semi Double Cradle

Front Suspension – Telescopic Fork with Anti-friction Bush
Rear Suspension – Nitrox  Twin Shocks with Gas Canister

Front/Rear Brake – Drum 130/110 mm

Front wheel / tyre – New design alloy / 2.75 X 17” 41P Tubed
Rear wheel / tyre – New design alloy / 3.00 X 17” 50P Tubed

Fuel Tank – 10 L (3.5 L usable reserve)

Wheelbase
– 1305 mm
Seat Height – 780 mm
Turning Circle Radius – 1915 mm
Ground Clearance – 165 mm

Kerb Weight – 121 kg
Max Speed – 100 kph*
System – DC Ignition
Battery – 12V 5AH

The Ultimate 100

The Ultimate 100

Penned by me and published in MyBikeMyWorld.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review

There has been enough uproar about the Thunderbird 500 ever since its launch in September. Is this bike is worthy of all the praise and hullabaloo? I rode it on road, off tarmac and on bumpy stretches. Here is my take on the performance, handling and various other aspects of the motorcycle.

thunderbird 500

Power, Performance and Delivery

The engine of Thunderbird 500 is the same from RE Classic 500, as speculated even before the launch. The 499cc single cylinder, 4-stroke, twin spark engine churns out a power of 27.2 bhp and torque 41.3 Nm @ 4000rpm. Simply put, this means despite the heavy weight, coupled with that of the rider and a pillion, it has enough power to lift off almost immediately to reach a three figure speed under 12 seconds.

thunder bird 500

The power and torque available in low and mid range is as satisfying as the CL 500. With just a twist of the throttle the bike shoots off instantaneously from a stationary position to an aggressive speed. What I loved about the bike was when you slow down, you don’t need to shift the gear lower.

thunder bird 500

The bike can take you back to the higher speed without making that inevitable knocking sound, effortlessly. The only other bike I know which executes this efficiently is the KTM Duke 200.The bike has a top speed of 130km/hr before the rpm needle hits red line.  I managed to take it up to 125 and the bike feels stable and very much in control. There were couple of times when we got a false neutral but after riding for an entire day we safely concluded that if you shift the gears perfectly the chances of getting a false neutral is rare.

Handling:

thunder bird 500

The Thunderbird 500 will surprise you big time when it comes to handling. Regardless of the heavy weight of the bike and cruiser position, the bike not only gains high speed instantly but is also swift around the corners. Now don’t go trying knee scraping over this but let’s say that in the earlier version, the rider had to slow down considerably on turns. However, on a Thunderbird 500 you can safely go in and out of the curve with a proper lean. On city roads, you might actually be able to cut through traffic if you are a skilful rider. The length of the bike is not as long as most cruisers are, giving the rider an advantage of going through narrow ways. Most people compare the handling of this bike with Japanese masters like the Kawasaki or Yamaha. But, I personally think the Thunderbird is from a whole other league.

thunder bird 500

The foot pegs location, the new handle and the seat design are all great features for a comfortable cruiser. For a person of average height, the bike gives a stress free ride. Also, there is less vibration on this one as compared to any other RE bike. The result? A delightful ride!

thunder bird 500

Styling and Lineaments:

There’s no doubt that the RE Thunderbird is very popular among the cruiser bike category. It’s one of the ideal touring machines for any rider. Although the 350 version was updated to twinspark unit construction engine, the performance was more or less the same. Having said this, it was high time that Royal Enfield came up with significant upgrades to the well known cruiser, keeping in mind today’s technology, styling and appearance preferred by the rider.

thunder bird 500

 

thunder bird 500

Thunderbird 500 is just what the doctor ordered. Not only the engine but several aspects of the bike have been upgraded. Starting with the headlights, Thunderbird 500 gets a projector lamp and is fixed along with a LED ring that grabs instant attraction. The H7 bulb 55/55W fire a bright beam enough to illuminate the road quite a far distance ahead and a little of side range too. Night riding just became super fun. The tail lights now have 5 streaks of Light Emitting Diodes which even in the darkest night you can spot it from a distance. Overall both the lights, head and tail give the bike very modern stylish stance. But wait, it doesn’t stop here. The list of new features is long and commendable. The seat of the bike has now been split into two. And the pillion seat is also removable so a saddle bag can be mounted on the bike. The back rest has been redesigned and the consoled now has digital numbers in it. The body of instrument cluster, suspension, exhaust pipe and frame of headlight, taillight and indicators, all are chrome finish. If you observe from the sides, the engine and the area around has been given a black paint job which draws a favourable attention and the tank is now large to take in 20 litres of fuel, very muscular in appearance and the fuel cap is located at the top right side above it.

thunder bird 500

thunder bird 500

No doubt that this is the best looking bike ever made by Royal Enfield. The attention to details is worth applauding. Also the bike looks strong and sturdy since the build quality has been improved significantly.

thunder bird 500

Braking and Suspension:

For the first time ever, Royal Enfield has brought disc brake system in its rear wheel. 240mm disc in the rear while front has 280mm. Braking is one aspect where I think Royal Enfield has the potential to upgrade its performance. The front brakes did perform well but until you are not used to it, you may not be able to stop the bike exactly where you want. The rear did a fair job in slowing the speed. But if only the calibre had been placed the other way around, it would have been easy to judge the life of the brake liners. Currently, the calibre on the rear wheel is placed such that the rider cannot judge the life of the brake liner, unless s/he bends down right to the ground level.

thunder bird 500

The telescopic forks in the front and twin gas-charged shocks in the rear are perfect to give a smooth ride to the rider. Even when ridden on rough patches with occasional dive in potholes, the bike feels stable and polished. Pretty decent in offroad terrain, too. But for the pillion the picture is little different. On smooth tarmac no issue at all but on offroad/rough patches he/she may feel some discomfort.  

thunder bird 500

Instrument cluster and console:

The body of the instrument cluster is the same twin circular pods from the earlier Thunderbird, but the new blue back lighting touch up and a digital screen is bliss for the eyes. It has a chrome finish and rubber cushioning between the mounts so no vibration or shock can damage the device. Other than the must haves speedometer and tachometer, you’ll also find – digital odometer, twin trip meters, average fuel-efficiency, service due warning and hazard light indicator. Some of them no other Royal Enfield bikes have seen. After dark, the blue lights really make a glowing appearance and it’s not very difficult to read the data at high speeds. Kill switch is the standard button in red and the mode selection is very user friendly.

thunder bird 500

Our Take:

Royal Enfield has done their homework well, having studied the needs of a rider and what s/he expects from a cruiser. With latest technology upgrades and ‘n’ number of features loaded on the bike, Thunderbird 500 is a good buy. A Royal Enfield fan would love to own this machine. And if you are into pure touring it’s the ideal machine for the rider.

thunder bird 500

Game changer:

Thunderbird is no more in the category of affordable Royal Enfield bikes. It now stands in the premium class with a price tag of INR 182000 on road in Mumbai which comes close to  USD 3450, making it the most expensive bike made by RE. It’s now the flagship model of the brand and promoted as the best cruiser on road in India. Along with the launch, the brand has also unveiled their catalogue for the apparels and biking gears of RE series. Right from leather and textile jackets to stylish buffs and motorcycle boots, one can buy them from a RE dealer.

thunder bird 500

High Five for

•    New features
•    Power and performance
•    Stylish stance

Wish It had

•    Tubeless tyres

Modifications:

Fans and owner of Royal Enfield bikes have always gone for various after market accessories to mount on the bike depending on their utility. For Thunderbird 500, you can start by fixing a leg guard on the bike so the body is protected from a fall.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Specifications:

Engine Single Cylinder, 4 Stroke, OHV, SI Engine, Air cooled, and Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection
Displacement 499 CC
Bore x Stroke 84 mm x 90 mm
Maximum Power 27.2 bhp @ 5250 rpm
Maximum Torque 41.3 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Transmission 5 Speed constant mesh
Ignition Digital Electronic Ignition

Dimensions

Ground Clearance 135 mm
Width 895 mm
Wheel Base 1350 mm
Length 2060 mm
Height 1300 mm

Tyres
Front 90/90 – 19
Rear 120/80 – 18

Electricals

Electrical System12 Volts – DC
Head lamp Projection type headlamp, H7 bulb 55 / 55 W
Instrument cluster Digital cluster with LCD
Tail Lamp LED lamp with position light guides
E-Start Starter Motor0.9 KW, DENSO

Brakes

Front 280mm Disc, 2-Piston caliper
Rear 240mm Disc, single Piston caliper

Maximum Speed

Speed 130 Kmp
Suspension
Front Telescopic 41mm forks, Stroke 130 mm
Rear Twin gas charged shock absorbers , 80mm stroke

Vehicle

Fuel Tank Capacity 20 ltr
Compression Ratio 8.5 : 1
Air Cleaner Paper Element
Engine Oil Grade / Qty15W 50 API, SL Grade JASO MA
Weight (Kerb)195 Kg (with 90% fuel &oil )

10 reasons why you should buy Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500

Thunderbird 500 is the most anticipated bike from the Royal Enfield stable. It’s the first bike from Royal Enfield which has undergone significant upgrades and uprates. Many riders have their eyes set on the machine and awaiting anxiously for its launch. But for those who have doubts in their mind about the bike, then here are 10 reasons why you should buy the Thunderbird 500.

Thunderbird 500

1.    The Engine:
The 500cc loaded gun, that’s what I’ll say. Earlier there were rumors that it has the same classic 500 engine but lately news (unconfirmed) is that it might have a more perfected version of the Classic 500 engine. Whatever it may be, one thing is for sure that this engine will allow the rider to take the speedometer needle up the 100 mark with just flick of the wrist. The rider now can maneuver through twisty hills and steep slopes easily. The engine has what it takes to lift the heavy beast and cater the rider’s wish promptly. The bike also has a 41mm thicker front fork and an oval shape swing arm to handle the substantial power.

Engine of tb 500

2.    Fuel Tank:
The whooping 20 litres fuel tank is a dream come true for Himalayan riders, where availability of fuel is scarce. Taking into account a worst average figure, will also deliver 500+ kms on a full tank. And carrying additional fuel in jerry cans mounted on the carrier is a boon. The rider can now actually cover 1000kms with the full tank and additional cans of 10 litres each.

Fuel tank

3.    Instrument cluster:
The twin pods located in the front suits the styling of the bike. Having the standard speedometer, tachometer and fuel indicator, the console also has two trip meters (digital) and hazard lamps (a first from RE). The fuel cap is also located on the top right side of the tank. Very similar to German bikes during World war.

Console

4.    The Seating Arrangement:
The seat design is very similar to Harley Davidson. The rear seat now can be removed to accommodate luggage or mount a carrier. Anchors for bungee cords have been provided and the grab rail is also very useful feature for touring enthusiasts.

Seat

5.    Brakes:
What good is a powerful engine delivering high torque and taking you up to 3 figure speeds if the braking system is not top notch? The bike comes with not just front but even rear disk brake of 2-Piston caliper. It will effectively get you down under controllable speed, immediately. The rider can now experience confidence at higher speeds and during emergency braking.

Disc Brakes

6.    Tail and Headlights:
The tail lights come with LED lamp with the all new position light guides. And the headlight is the real seller. Not just having a 55W bulb but now it has a projector for the lower beam and halogen for the upper. Both working in combination to give ample spread and penetration on the road. So now night riding is fun and exciting.

Headlights

7.    The New and Improved Styling:
The black finish engine, raised handle bar, redesigned foot pegs, low seat height, new mirrors are various small features which add up not just to the styling of the bike but a fatigue free riding experience.

8.    Ergonomics :
The new handlebars, foot pegs and seat have been redesigned, altered and changed for better reach and ergonomics. The bike has been designed to replicate a true touring machine.

9.    Luggage compatibility:
With the feature of removable pillion seat, now there is more compatibility to mount a carrier on the bike. Enormous space for luggage and other items is now created. Plus the bungee hooks are very useful to secure stuff using cords.

10.    Cost factor:
All this you get at a cost just 10k more than the Chrome from Royal Enfield. And the spares are also priced at fair figures.

One may raise the question that this bike is not in par with the KTM, Bajaj or Honda but a true rider will understand that Royal Enfield  cannot be compared with any other bike. It’s always the need and requirement that has to be filled much above the satisfactory level. Thunderbird 500 does just that. You can take this bike to far corners of the country at ease and comfort.

Kudos for Royal Enfield.

Hero MotoCorp Impulse Full Review

After 2 decades of joint venture between Hero and Honda the time finally came where they ended its collaboration. It was much unexpected as Hero Honda had become the highest selling bike company in India. It was the only brand people preferred for commuting to offices and nearby distances for almost a decade.

After separation Hero is now Hero Moto Corp. But the company is aware that it cannot make its stand alone in the market so the company has got in a partnership with USA’s Erik Buell Racing for technology adaptation.

All Hero Honda bikes had Honda’s technology in it. Although Honda is still supplying parts for the existing makes, Hero Moto Corp is looking to bring in high end bikes in coming decades with help of its strategic partnership.

For now to lead the way Hero Moto Corp has launched Impulse, a dual purpose bike.

More than a decade back Bajaj went the similar way but could not find success. Now with the demand and requirement of such bikes, Impulse can make a mark.

Let’s see what it says on paper.

Engine

 Type Air cooled, 4- stroke single cylinder OHC , Self start
Displacement 149.2cc
 Max. Power 9.7 kW (13.2 Ps) @ 7500 rpm
Max. Torque 13.4 N-m @ 5000 rpm
 Ignition D.C – CDI Ignition System

Looks like a standard configuration of a 150cc bike. But wait, read more. There are things that make this bike apart from the usual 150cc bikes.

Transmission & Chassis

Gear box 5 Speed constant mesh

Perhaps a 6th gear could have made a significant difference.

Suspension

Front Telescopic Hydraulic Shock Absorbers
Rear Swing Arm with Mono Suspension with Nitrox

Mono suspension with Nitrox is nowadays seen in most bikes. The long front suspension is what to look out for.

Brakes

 Front Brake  Dia 240 mm Disc
 Rear Brake Internal expanding shoe type (110 mm)

It’s the era of disc brakes. And not just in front.

Wheels & Tyres

 Tyre Size Front  90 / 90 x 19 – 52 P
Tyre Size Rear  110 / 90 x 17 – 60 P

Typical off-road size.

Electricals

 Battery 12 V – 4 Ah, MF Battery
Head Light 12 V – 35 W / 35 W – Halogen Bulb (Multi -Reflector Type)
Tail Stop Lamp 12V – 0.5 W / 4.1 W LED Lamp
Turn Signal Lamp 12 V – 10 W (Amber Bulb) x 4 nos (Multi-Reflector-Clear Lens)

Very basic electrical. 55W bulb would have given better light for night rides.

Dimensions

 Wheelbase  1360mm
Ground Clearance 245 mm

Here is where it stands apart significantly. Highest ground clearance on an Indian bike.

Fuel Tank

 Capacity  11.1 Litre (Min) – 2.6 Litre (Useable Reserve)

11.1 includes 2.6 useable reserve.

On paper the numbers show a standard 150cc make but since this is a dual purpose bike it had to have features that are required to ride this machine across slush, dirt, knee deep water and various other non-tar terrains.

Hero Impulse

Power, Performance and Delivery:

What Hero says that they have made a high torque ATFT engine. Well that’s just a technical way of putting up your product. What it exactly means is that the engine is the same 4-stroke engine used in CBZ Hunk and Honda’s Unicorn but in Impulse it’s peppier and refined. It has been designed to deliver high torque output. From riding the bike for just 100kms we could feel how it’s marked by lively action than any other 150cc bike.
The gear ratio has been altered to provide the rider low end torque so pick up on off-road terrain can be done at ease.
Though max torque it delivers is 13.4 N-m @ 5000 rpm, I think it still comes short by few units. While riding through slush the given performance specification was satisfactory but on a rally or dirt race I’m not sure whether it will be enough. Anyhow, for regular riding it won’t disappoint you.
5-speed gear box – While continuous shifts I noticed the gearing system to be quite tall. Result, the 4th and 5th gears are ideal for touring with least fuel consumption.

Impulse in water

Handling:

The bike is very light in weight. When riding through traffic, overtaking vehicles and moving ahead is quicker than any other bike I have ridden. The motocross seat lets the rider move his weight front and back. The seating position itself is very comfortable and the soft cushioned material makes long trips free from fatigue. Also the seat has been bolted on to the body. You cannot open it like any other bike. The utility compartment for tool kit, first aid and the bike papers is located on the left side of the bike. Unlocking and locking is very user friendly.
The handle is positioned in such a way with the foot pegs of the rider that you can even stand and ride this bike comfortably.
The only thing you have to worry about is the wide handle where the knuckle guard and mirrors are mounted. When passing between stationary vehicles they tend to touch on either side even when you are sure the whole bike can pass through.

Styling and Lineaments:

This is the first bike in India where the exhaust is not located on the right side rear end below but high above, just near the pillion seat. When riding through water you need not worry about water getting sucked in. In fact you can park this is knee deep with no worries. Also the cover given over it is off good heat repelling quality. Rider and the pillion are safe from getting burnt or feeling the heat.
Sound is not sporty or off-roading bike type. It’s more silent like Honda’s Unicorn.
The bright LED lights can be spotted from far distance and even in the darkest hour.
The front mudguard is plastic fibre and very flexible. You can literally bend them by your hand. It’s very sturdy and strong. I believe you may not need to replace it ever.
Low maintenance sealed endless drive chain. A first from Hero Moto Corp, Impulse drive chain is one piece. There is no chain lock used.
Electricals are operated by dry and maintenance free battery.
The rider’s foot pegs fold up. Spring mechanism has been given to it so when the bike falls while off-roading the foot pegs goes up rather than breaking off.
The grab rails provided are thick, strong and have anchor points on each side at two ends. You can put a bag/luggage on your rear seat and mount the hooks of the bungee net on those points.
Plus the length of the grab rail is long. Almost covering the sides of the entire rear seat.
For looks – sharp, blunt and edgy graphics are used. Orange and Green making the bike look very dynamic. Otherwise it’s also available in Red, Blue and Black.

Impulse under shower

Suspension and Braking:

The first time I took the bike over a medium sized pothole I felt like I’m sitting inside a Toyota Innova. The nitrox gas-filled mono shock rear suspension is very soft. On a rough patch or damaged surface you get a smooth ride.
The long front suspension does wonders going over small boulders and rocky surfaces. It’s the perfect ingredient to climb on an off-road track. Even on speed breakers I hardly had to slow down.
Front wheel has been given disc brakes operated by single piston calibre. But it’s not a similar case with the rear wheel. Internal expanding drum brakes are installed and when braking at regular intervals I felt a spongy feeling on operation. Only when I took it offroad I realised it was purposeful as you don’t want your wheel to lock up during hard braking while tackling obstacles.

Instrument cluster and console:

Hero Impulse has a very simple common looking and not so thrilling console. There is a normal looking tachometer, redlining from 8 X1000 rpm. An average looking digital speedometer. Standard signal and time indicators. Odometer with two trip meters. Upper headlight ON indicator.
The only new thing given is a service due indicator.
From off-roading point of view, meters like fuel range display and altitude indicator would have made it stand out. Oil level low and battery life signals would have also made it significant.
The overall look and feel also is not very impressive. Even PS  3 console is more glossy and glamorous. Now I’m not saying make it fashionable but at least not a toy look thing.
Wheel and Tyres:
The front fender has been raised high up. Front wheel has a large diameter. The front rim size is 19 and rear is 17. Also no mag wheel, this comes with straight pull spokes, just perfect for tough terrains. The CEAT tyres have stud pattern threads and front comes in 90/90 size while rear is 110/90. They have good grip on dry as well as wet roads. Medium compound quality. Should last for a good 25000kms.

Impulse in dry fields

Our Take:

Hero Impulse is a very basic entry level dual purpose bike. It has its strong points which work out so great and flaws which can be corrected or ignored. But if you love to ride country side and go on offbeat tracks then this is currently most ideal bike in Indian two-wheeler market.
Also if you are a regular commuter and want a smooth ride to your destination on not so smooth road then Impulse is the answer for it.

Game changer:

If Hero Moto Corp would have launched Impulse with a Karizma engine then this bike would have gained distinction. It would have outmatched any other bike in 150cc category and would have been a serious threat to even the 250cc segment in India.
I hope Hero Moto Corp reads this.

Under shower impulse

High Five for –

•    India’s first transroader.
•    Best for Indian roads.
•    Decent mileage of 50km/litre.
•    Tall stance.
•    Cheap spare parts.
•    High ground clearance.
•    Low maintenance.
•    Fix mounted seat.

Low Downs –

•    Little overpriced.
•    No protection from water and mud hitting your shin during monsoon.
•    No rear disc brake.
•    No kill switch.
•    Screws and bolts catch rust in 5-6 months. (But again we are located close to the sea.)

Modifications:

–    The rear end of the bike has compatibility for installing a trunk to store luggage. The weight load capacity is 7kgs.
–    On the front wheel you can remove the reflectors and mount a mud flap which is seen on Bajaj Discover. This will stop the water/mud coming on the shin area.
–     Since there is no main stand, in the event of puncture fixing the tyre will be troublesome. Best will be to fill the tube with puncture resistant gel. You can find the products from established brands like Motul and Oko.

hero impulse mod

Source: MyBikeMyWorld