HARLEY FAT BOB – SLEEK & MEAN

What is a Bobber?

bobber, originally called a ‘bob-job’ from the 1930’s through 1990’s, is a style of custom motorcycle. The typical construction includes stripping excess bodywork from a motorcycle; removing the front fender, and shortening the rear fender, which is “bobbed” (as in bobtail), and all superfluous parts removed to reduce weight.

FullSizeRender.JPGThis style of motorcycle has found a large audience in the last decade or more. It reinforces the aggressive, bad boy attitude that a said “rider” wants to make whilst riding.

Harley- Davidson introduced the new Fat Bob in 2018. The stance was different from the usual design language that Harley is known for. The Fat Bob was aggressive, mean looking with an in your face LED headlightCOLLAGE 3The Fat Bob screams “wild “in every breadth of its design language. The only place one sees chrome is on the cylinder heads and gearbox. The motorcycle comes with the slashed rear fender, is shorter in length compared to the other bikes in the Softail family.COLLAGE 1.jpgPowering the Fat Bob is the widely appreciated Milwaukee- Eight V-twin four valve air-cooled 1745 cc engine which puts out 145NM Torque@3200 rpm. One gets 16-inch alloy wheels which house a 150/80 front tyre and 180/70 rear tyre.COLLAGE 2.jpgThe Fat Bob has a 14-litre fuel tank giving you enough gas for your 150-200 km weekend trips with an ARAI claimed mileage of 15 kmpl. The bronze header pipe heat shield further adds to the “wild” look that the Fat Bob is going with.

The Fat Bob comes with Harley’s keyless start as standard. The key is just used to lock and unlock the bike. Quality, fit and finish is very good as is expected from premium motorcycles nowadays.COLLAGE 2 copy 3.jpgHow’s it to ride?

The moment you switch the Fat Bob on, the engine comes to life with a loud and powerful grunt. Then shift into first gear, let go for the clutch, and the massive 145 NM of torque comes into play. Making you forget momentarily; you are astride a 309 kg motorcycle.

The bike takes off so fast, leaving a trail of melted rubber behind… With you smiling crazily under your helmet. The sheer noise and ferocious power on display makes people turn, motorists scamper to get out of your way. The throttle response on low speeds is very impressive. Getting to 100 kmph is easily achieved on the Fat Bob. The motorcycle is very relaxed cruising at these speeds.1.jpgSuch motorcycles are designed for straight open roads where one can ride endlessly. Riding in the city, the bike tends to heat up, courtesy the stop-go nature of our traffic.

The trick is to let the bike cruise, which it happily does even at low speeds. Switching off the engine at traffic lights is also advisable. The clutch does tend to feel heavy in bad traffic, but then again, such bikes are not designed for such a commute.

All the motorcycles in the Softail family use the same frame, but are tuned specifically as the need. The Fat Bob has the sharpest steering geometry with a 28-degree rake angle as well as the shortest wheelbase amongst the Softail family. It comes with Showa dual bending valve and upside-down forks which immensely help in the braking and steering duties. It’s not surprising that the front-end demands some serious muscle to turn into corners.

The Fat Bob is a low-slung motorcycle. So naturally, I had a bit of trepidation on how the suspension would deal with our roads. The Fat bob boasts a terrific suspension setup. It dealt with bad roads with ease despite the ground clearance being just 120 mm. One must be careful going over the god-awful speed breakers that plague our city roads. The seat is comfortable and offers good lumbar support.FullSizeRender (1)The Verdict:

The Fat Bob is designed for the rider who enjoys an aggressive ride over long distances. Someone who wants to have fun riding cross country. This is not a motorcycle for the lazy rider who just wants to cruise around. Powerful premium riding performance is what the Fat bob offers.

If this is the bike for you then… The Fat Bob retails at Rs 14.69 Lakhs ex-showroom Mumbai.

MONSTER RIDES

Ducati India in the last while has been aggressively promoting their motorcycles. They have a strong Ducati Owners Club Programme worldwide, which is now present in India too. One of their strongest products in the line has been the Monster Range of bikes.

IMG 1.jpg

The Ducati Monster (called Il Mostro in Italian) is a muscle bike designed by Miguel Angel Galluzzi and manufactured by Ducati in Bologna, Italy, since 1993. It is a naked bike, characterized by an exposed engine and frame. The trellis frame in the Ducati Monster is an integral part of the motorcycle’s design, allowing for both aesthetic appeal and for structural efficiency.

In 2005, Monster sales accounted for over half of Ducati’s worldwide sales. Ducati motorcycles use 90° V-twin engines, which they call L-twins, with desmodromic valves, and tubular steel trellis frame, designed by Fabio Taglioni (1920–2001).

The Monster line has had numerous variations over the years, from entry level 400 cc (24 cu in) bikes up to top of the line 160 hp (120 kw) multi-valve, water-cooled super bike-engine versions, with as many as nine different Monster versions in a single model year. The Monster’s elemental simplicity has also made it a favourite platform for custom motorcycle builders, showcased at competitions like the Monster Challenge.

Rotormouth / Outventures spent 5 days with the legendary Monster 797 last week. Stylish, good looking and muscular, are the words that come to mind when you spot the Monster 797

Ducati have down the years redefined the way naked street bikes look and perform. The Monster has a rounded headlight, beefy looking petrol tank and the familiar Ducati single-piece steel-tube trellis frame. The exhaust pipes bend and turn into a thick looking can.

COLLAGE 4.jpgThe equipment on the Monster 797 doesn’t have aids like rider modes or traction control. The Monster comes with ABS as standard. One gets the Ducati Multimedia System (DMS), which you can access via a USB port under the seat. Using the DMS you can access your phone and navigation on the instrument panel.

The riding position is sporty and comfortable. The handlebars are wide with low foot pegs. All this has been done to make riding in the city or highway a comfortable affair. The 797 uses a backlit instrument cluster which is common across the other Monster models. The display is easy to read even in glaring sunlight.

The bike is powered by the Desmodue, 803cc, air-cooled, L-twin motor that develops 75PS at 8,250rpm and 68.9Nm at 5,750rpm.  Maximum percentage of torque is available at around the 3500-rpm mark. That’s why when you get the bike rolling, release the clutch slowly for a smooth pick-up

Power delivery across the band is smooth and linear with a crisp throttle response. The 797 is not a high-strung track fiend, but something you can ride every day. That doesn’t mean it’s a slouch on the track. Friends who have ridden it on the track have come back praising it’s track worthiness!

COLLAGE 3.jpgThe Monster 797 gets non-adjustable 43mm Kayaba upside-down forks up front and a Sachs mono-shock at the rear. This helps keep the bike stable entering or exiting a corner, making quick direction changes. The tyres you get with the bike are the Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres. These are wrapped around 10-spoke 17-inch wheels.

COLLAGE 2.jpgThe ride quality is top class. I spent hours in the saddle riding for meetings in all across the city. Not once did I feel stressed or too tired considering I was riding a 800cc bike. The handling inspires confidence helped in by the fact that it just weighs 193kg and has a short 1435 mm wheelbase. Flicking it around city traffic where every minute, one must make direction changes was very easy. The same can be said,when you throw it into corners.

Braking is sharp and precise. One, gets twin 320mm four-piston Brembo M4.32 callipers that offer good stopping power. The Bosch ABS works well and inspires confidence even in the inexperienced rider.

The Monster 797 is an easy, fast, nimble motorcycle. The type you can ride everywhere in the city daily. The perfect motorcycle for someone looking for their first big bike. For the veteran experienced rider too, the Monster has lots to offer in terms of overall performance.last.jpgAt Rs 9.15 lakh (on-road Mumbai), the Monster 797 is your initiation into the world of Ducati. A world where motorcycling is treated as an art form and performance is king.

THE RETRO EYE-CANDY! SOFTAIL DELUXE

Last week I spent a few days with the Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe. A motorcycle that combines style, luxury and old-world charm. The first sight of the Softail Deluxe is spectacular!

IMG_4808

Back In 2017, Harley-Davidson decided to merge the Dyna and Softail lines of motorcycles into one Softail family. A bold move, something the purists didn’t take too kindly then.

Then they decided to take the new Softails into a new design direction with some of the iconic models. This was again very gutsy, considering Harley as a brand is hugely driven by the “heritage” tag their motorcycles carry. While the new Fat Bob and Fat Boy designs were contemporary and funky, the Deluxe remained true to the original and classical design brief. Thus, keeping the traditional Harley customer base happy.

The Deluxe is a classic retro-themed motorcycle all the way. Lots and lots of chrome is on offer, 16-inch wire-spoke wheels with white-walled Harley-Davidson-branded tyres by Dunlop.

COLLAGE 1.jpg

The Softail Deluxe is an attention magnet if there ever was any! Starting with the large LED headlamp which is flanked by the two smaller auxiliary LED lights. Then comes the attractive angular indicator holders at the front and rear, the chrome garnish on the edges of both fenders. Which is offset by the eye catching Electric Blue paint scheme.

Swing your leg over the bike, and the view that greets you is one filled with chrome through and through from the dual fuel caps, the easy going pull back handlebar, the shiny instrument cluster housing and the top circumference of the three lamps. The Deluxe comes with a low single seat, but as is the case with almost all Harley models, an optional pillion seat can be added.

The build quality and finish on the Deluxe is of the highest standard. The chrome-treated engine fits tightly within the frame with minimal gaps, the wiring is concealed well, and the engine’s oil-cooler is housed at the front of the frame. The motorcycle comes with a keyless start/stop system. The only time you need a key is to lock the handlebar.

There is an alarm system that goes off if someone sits on the bike. The only way to deactivate the alarm is take the key close to the motorcycle to turn it off. There is unfortunately no button on the key to turn it off. This can be annoying at times as in the building complex’s we live in, there is always some fool who likes to sit on the bike to click selfies!

COLLAGE 2.jpg

What’s the engine like?

The Softail Deluxe comes with a 1,745cc twin-cam engine that has impressed everyone. The Twin counter-balancers have ironed out excessive vibrations making the ride very smooth. The throttle response is very good with massive amount of torque on offer. Open the throttle and you will zip by faster than can be imagined. But this is not the kind of bike you want to ride in a rush or flat out. This is a motorcycle to lazily cruise down the highway, accessing torque whenever you need to.

The Softail frame neatly hides a mono-shock which allows the engine to be rigid-mounted. The higher levels of stiffness results in a considerable improvement in the handling department. One of the other reasons in the way the Softail rides so well on our roads is, courtesy the new Showa suspension on the front and rear.

For a bike that weighs 318kg, the Deluxe wears its bulk very lightly.  A low centre of gravity matched with stability, meant I was weaving through heavy traffic very easily.  I was riding and flicking the Softail like most other motorcycles which was fantastic considering its size. Truth be told, this makes for a fantastic commuter, something I don’t mind riding daily. Hats off to the Softail designers for making this possible!

COLLAGE 3.jpg

On the open road at higher speeds, stability is constant with an excellent suspension. This suspension system is extremely refined soaking in bumps and inconsistencies. I rode the Softail on all sorts of roads in the city and highway. At no junction did I have to worry about road conditions, of how the bike would handle that! The Softail has 115mm of ground clearance which means one must be cautious and slow over speed breakers.

The bike’s braking is top draw with the ABS system working smoothly. In situations involving quick braking and sudden stops, the Softail performs with flying colours.

For the prospective Harley buyer who’s in the market for old school candy with just the right amount of modern technology, the Softail Deluxe is the motorcycle for you.

COLLAGE 4

Priced at Rs 18.65 lakh (ex-showroom, India) it’s expensive, but also one of the most desirable bikes out there.

And you can ride it every day too…

APACHE RTR 160 4V – THE POCKET ROCKET

The first time I rode an Apache RTR was almost a decade back. It was an Apache 180 and we rode to Bordi and back. The impressions that I still have about the bike, that it was quick, nimble around traffic with superlative cornering ability. I wish it had more top end power but then the category it was competing in was controlled by that infamous line “Kitna Deti Hain?”.

Years have passed by, lots of bikes across categories have come and gone. Yet, I always look forward to riding an Apache RTR motorcycle.

TVS Apache bikes have come to redefine the way small and medium size bikes can have a high FTR (Fun to Ride) element to it while still being economical and well priced.

first.jpg

In the last one month, I have been lucky to spend time with the APACHE RTR 160 4V on 2 occasions. My 1st impression on seeing the bike is; this is a good-looking bike which shows off its racing pedigree.

The TVS RTR 160 4V has been modelled as a smaller version of the Apache 200 4V. You can tell what the brief to the RTR designers would have been while designing this bike. To create a bike that is compact, has racing bike ethos, is forward leaning in stance with a stand out strong design.

COLLAGE 1-2.jpgCOLLAGE 3-4.jpg

For the enthusiast, I must mention that the extended fuel tank cowl is home to ram-air intakes. This cuts drag and controls the flow of cool air over the engine keeping the temperature in check letting the engine run efficiently.

The sharp design continues right up to the tail piece of the bike. The LED headlamps are also designed in a fashion, to make the RTR 160 look like a street fighter.

The motor in the RTR 160 4V is built around the new four-valve engine platform, which is what the 4V stands for. The 159.7cc single-cylinder produces 16.6 hp in the FI variant. The carburetted version makes 16.3 hp at 8000 rpm. Peak torque figure stands at 14.8 Nm for both bikes making it the most powerful bike in this segment.

COLLAGE 5-6.jpgCOLLAGE 7.jpg

The Apache RTR 4V feels comfortable the moment you get on the bike. A smooth and fast pickup is something I have experienced in all the Apache’s I have ridden so far. The RTR 160 4V is no different. The 1st day I rode, it was a mix of all sorts of road and traffic conditions. Not once did the commute feel cumbersome. The RTR 160 is fast, extremely flickable, helping one manoeuvre easily in traffic. Cornering gets even better in this motorcycle. The disc brakes on this bike are sharp and responsive. The ride quality is very good, potholes, speed breakers and such, are handled quite adeptly. The power delivery across the band is uniform and linear. The single piece contoured seat is comfortable in traffic or while riding hard into corners.

The RTR 160 4V presents a strong case for young buyers looking for a first ride that is reasonable to buy, easy to maintain and awesome to ride. The RTR 160 4V is also a great bike for budding racers to learn on.  Take this out on a race track on track days. It will surely hold its own on the track. This is testimony to the numerous titles TVS Racing has won with the race spec version of the same motorcycle.

From commuting to riding fast on the track, this is the bike to start with! So, what you budding bikers/ to-be racers waiting for! Go to a TVS dealership now and check out the APACHE RTR 160 4V.

LAST.jpg

Pricing for the Apache RTR 160 4V starts at Rs 81,800/- for the carburettor single disc version.  The carburettor dual disc version starts at Rs 84,800/-. The Fuel Injected Dual Disc version starts at 91,800/-

All prices are ex-showroom Mumbai.

XDIAVEL IN THE HOUSE!

If Harvey Specter from Suits rode to work, the XDiavel would be his motorcycle of choice. Power cruiser that’s mean looking with the kind of torque on tap that makes riding insanely fun…

DSC_0157.JPG

A motorcycle that redefines what the modern power cruiser has evolved into in this century. First time you lay eyes on the XDiavel you are awestruck. The design lines are sleek, sharp with the trademark Ducati fit and finish. Ducati has always been known for making motorcycles that are the perfect mix of design and kickass performance. The XDiavel is no different.  Ducati fits a 152bhp, race-developed twin to the XDiavel because Ducatis have to be fast, furious and fun to ride. The XDiavel has riding position tailor made for a remake of the cult classic Easy Rider.

The low seat is comfortable and supportive; the handlebars aren’t too wide or too forward or back. The footrests are positioned high enough for ground clearance in corners. The bike comes with key-less ignition. The key only being used to open and shut the fuel cap.

Switch on the motorcycle and a loud grunt greets you. Start the motorcycle, give a whack to the throttle and you are greeted with a ferocity that means serious business. The moment we hit an empty patch of road after 20 minutes of traffic, the Xdiavel shows what happens when a sport bike maker like Ducati designs a cruiser. The acceleration for 0-100 is stunning. One can tell that this bike has been geared for acceleration rather than an academic top speed figure. Open the throttle and the Xdiavel goes like a Shoaib Akhtar express delivery trying to rip the top layer of tarmac from the road.

DSC_0106DSC_0113

Cornering and holding the road is something the XDiavel excels at. After a few hours of riding on sharp twisties and bends it became obvious how the 240 mm rear tyre and 40 degree lean angle on the XDiavel comes into play. Peak torque comes into play at 5000 rpm but even at 2000 rpm you have enough and more for fierce acceleration on open highways. This is testimony to how right Ducati has got the power to weight ratio in the XDiavel.

The XDiavel gets Brembo’s M50 callipers, which are superb. Will braking be a reason to buy the XDiavel? I don’t think so. Interested buyers would be more interested in the multiple riding modes on offer and the cornering ABS that comes with it. And if that is not enough to whet your appetite, you also get launch control and cruise control!  I started in the “Urban’ mode that cuts the power to 100 bhp along with electronic comfort blanketing. This is tuned to make riding in the city on a daily basis an easy affair.

The ‘Touring’ mode gives you the full 152 bhp on offer, but is delivered with finesse and moderate electronic interference.  The ‘Sport’ mode lets you use the full range of power with minimal Traction Control, anti-wheelie and stability control in place.

DSC_0123.JPG

The XDiavel comes with full LED lighting with the switch gear being back-lit too. The TFT instrument panel is simple and easy to use. The menu for changing settings and display is logical and easy to work with. The switch gear is well laid out too.

Ducati’s first ever belt drive should keep transmission lash to a minimum and be virtually maintenance free.

I rode it over 4 days in all sorts of traffic and road conditions. A complete head turner, I lost count on the number of time people asked me questions such as ‘how much average does it give” “What does it cost” “is it comfortable to ride”… Selfies were clicked galore, with people posing around the bike every time I parked.

The XDiavel is the kind of Cruiser you want to ride all day, albeit on open highways with no traffic. Like I said at the beginning of my article if you fancy yourself as Harvey Specter and wanna ride every day this is the bike for you…

The XDiavel is priced at Rs 15.87 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) and the XDiavelS starts at Rs 18.47 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

If riding fast and furious in style is your thing then look no further. The XDiavel is just the motorcycle for you…

ducati copy1.jpg

table

 

The Baadshah amongst Bikes

The Indian Chief Vintage…
a motorcycle designed like a vintage piece of art….

The last decade has seen the entry of all the top motorcycle brands in the India. The motorcycle enthusiast responded to this like a person who finds an oasis in the desert!
For people who grew up in the last century the thought of buying a premium motorcycle came fraught with a sense of lunacy and madness that you would associate with a B- Grade masala Hindi film! One had to deal with shady motorcycle dealers, mechanics and an errant government mechanism. And with no financing options available then, one had to be a rich man’s son or daughter to buy such a motorcycle. But the drama didn’t end there. Post purchasing the bike you had to always keep a lookout in the papers hoping that Mr. X who you bought it from wasn’t in jail for vehicular fraud!

DSC_0024

That is all history now! Name the bike and it yours for owning, courtesy financing and leasing options being available. Premium motorcycles from the range of 6 lakhs to a crore are available to such an enthusiast. I have been lucky that I have owned a few 400cc motorcycles in the past and have ridden multiple liter class motorcycles. But nothing has come close to a day I spent with the Indian Chief Vintage. Before we get to that let’s look at the history of this company that designs motorcycles like art on wheels.

Indian motorcycles were first produced in Springfield Massachusetts at the turn of the century from 1901 to 1953. In that period, they went to become the largest manufacturers of motorcycles in the world, took the first three places in the 1911 Isle of Man TT trophy, riders set world motorcycle speed records. Having manufactured and supplied motorcycles to the US Army during both the World wars of the 20th century it all ended in 1953.

Post that the company saw a chequered run in terms of people trying to make unsolicited claims to the brand, trying to set up a consortium to revive the brand, but it wasn’t anything permanent or long term. Finally, in April 2011 Polaris Industries Ltd the off-road and leisure vehicle maker and parent company of Victory Motorcycles announced its intent on acquiring Indian motorcycles. With this move the production facilities were moved to Spirit Lake, Iowa. Production commenced in August 2011. In March of 2013 they unveiled the new Thunder stroke engine and the motorcycles based on that went on sale in August 2013.

In 2014 Indian motorcycles entered the fast-growing premium motorcycle industry in India. And right away one could see that this is a motorcycle which is designed like a vintage piece of art. A motorcycle that harks back to a time gone by when riding a motorcycle was as much of leisure as a discovery of new places and adventures.

DSC_0131

Here’s my story with the Indian Vintage:

It’s not every day one wakes up and rides an almost 400 kg classical cruiser. Well I know lots of friends who do that regularly and that explains the joy they have plastered over their faces.

This happened to me one autumn morning. My first sight of the Indian Chief Vintage was one of awe. It’s such a majestic looking motorcycle which is as regal as they come. Old world charm and style is what this motorcycle signifies. The Indian Chief Vintage’s design is completely retro paying an ode to motorcycles from the 1940’s. Whitewall tyres, teardrop fuel tank, wide floorboards, leather saddlebags embellished with leather fringes add to the classic appeal. A large headlight along with two smaller aux lamps come with a chrome finish. An adjustable windshield also comes on this motorcycle which is extremely useful on long rides. Walk around the bike and you notice how the classic design showcases itself in the fenders, the fuel tank which has heritage font of the iconic “Indian” brand embossed on it.

The instrument panel has an analog speedometer and fuel gauge with a multi-function digital display. The ergonomics are spot on. The controls feel very good, the handlebar falls into position perfectly, the switchgear is top draw with the buttons positioned just right. The leather seat is extremely comfortable with the option of having a backrest to help those long hours in the saddle on cross country road trips. Another nice feature is this bike is keyless ignition. The key just needs to be in your pocket and bag for the bike to start. But the moment you more than 3 metres away this becomes disarmed.

Press the starter and the Thunder Stroke 111 engine comes to life. You get to hear a loud bass and throaty grunt of the 1811 cc V-twin engine that makes 138.9 NM of peak torque at 3000rpm. Now I am a good and experienced rider but that didn’t matter to the Indian. I managed to stall it twice before gathering my senses and getting it to move. The Indian weighs close to 400 kgs which becomes very apparent when you are stationary at signal lights.

The bike has plenty of grunt to accelerate cleanly from lower speeds at a higher gear. You can comfortably amble away at 70kmph in 6th gear on the highway and pass another vehicle without having to downshift. All it takes is a twist of the throttle and the enormous torque comes into play. The engine is very smooth and extremely refined at any speed. Even when you go past 100kmph there is a relaxed sense of comfort due to the stability this bike offers making you confident to push it further.

This is a motorcycle that needs to be ridden on long and empty stretches of highway. The one thing that happened very frequently on my trip to Pune and back is the kind of attention this motorcycle attracts. At rest stops, traffic signal, even while riding on the highway strangers would come up to pose for pictures and ask how much it costs.
Get ready for all this attention and more when you ride the Indian Chief Vintage!
This is by no means a reasonably priced cruiser. At 26.83 lakhs this is a full bodied premium heavyweight cruiser which could be termed as “old-school cool” but still comes with the latest and modern tech.

If riding on weekends in leisure and style is your calling, then the Indian Chief Vintage is the motorcycle for you. So, what you are waiting for. Go test ride it today!