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Friday, June 10, 2011

Are you ready to drive the powerful Ninja 650R

It probably reflects the metamorphosis – the way India is changing.  There was a time when most Indians were identified to have ‘middle class mentality’ – trying to squeeze in as much for as little as possible – it was a generation of people trying to save everything and spend only for necessities.. but now…..

The Company is the same – Bajaj auto – leading vehicle manufacturer in India having its factory in Pune, Aurangabad and Uttaranchal.  Its oldest plant at Akurdi no longer rolls out vehicles but serves as a R&D facility.    Amidst its various brands there was the brand Chetak named after the legendary horse of Raja Rana Pratap Singh.   It was launched in 1972 and ruled the market for decades.  People used to wait for years after booking, vehicles were sold at a premium, some said they got it by paying in foreign currency which was extremely scarce those days.  There were stories of it being unavoidable dowry in the mid 70s and early 80s.

A very sturdy simple one – those days in Bajaj vehicles,  the engine was mounted on one side and hence those owners touted that others would find it difficult to ride.  Scooters innately would skid but still the population loved it.  It was the success story of ‘Hamara Bajaj’.  I remember taking delivery of Bajaj Chetak after paying Rs.16200/- [all inclusive on road on Jan 1990] – after a few months, the version changed.  The first days I felt like flying in heaven. 

Those were the days of Bajaj scooters which had sort of forced Lambrettas out of the market and then there were motor cycles of Rajdoot, Yezdi and Enfield Bullet.  With not many cars around, the 1980s & early 1990s were the age of two wheelers and their riders. 

Then the came the colloborations and two-wheeler manufacturing tie-ups – Ind Suzuki, Kawasaki Bajaj, Hero Honda, Rajdoot Yamaha and more.  Maruti was initially rolled as the common man’s car – there have been brands aimed at the upper 2 wheeler segment selling as economy cars which includes the Tata Nano – which targets the two wheeler owner with family.  

Now comes the age where the bikes cost more than Car.  Yestereday,  Bajaj Auto and Kawasaki  launched the highly anticipated Ninja 650R. This world renowned motorcycle deftly combines ample power (72 PS), serious torque (66 Nm), perfect ergonomics, nimble handling and supersport styling. It will be sold and serviced exclusively through Bajaj Probiking, India’s largest dealership network for premium motorcycles.

At a price of Rs. 4.57 lacs (ex-showroom Delhi) the Ninja 650R is expected to create a new market for riding enthusiasts seeking a premium sports motorcycle.   The vehicle has a 4 storke engine; 649 cc displacement, digital fuel injection, 6 speed transmission, wheel base of 1410 mm.   The marketeers would claim host of features such as triple petal disc brakes, MotoGP display, daylight running lights with hazard indicators, under-slung exhaust and a twin cylinder engine tuned for 91 Octane fuel to make it best suited for India and its diverse riding conditions.  Some of its specifications are :  Liquid cooled – tensile steel frame -  dual front brakes of  300 mm Tripe Petal disc with two - piston calipers -             Single 220 mm Petal disc with single piston caliper for the rear – tank capacity of 15.5 litres – kerb weight of 204 kgs and  Fuel Capacity  of 15.5 Litres and  Overall Dimensions L x W x H   2100 mm x 760 mm x 1200 mm.  It is learnt that the Ninja 650R is the  European spec version which produces about 72 Bhp of peak power at 8,500 rpm and a peak torque of 66 Nm at 7,000 rpm.

The Premium Bike segment in India is hotting up.  Besides Bajaj and its Ninja, there are, S&T Motors from Korea or better known for their Hyosung brand in the range of Rs 4.75 to Rs 5.69 ex-showroom.   There of course is Harley Davidson.  Perhaps the initial ones will be imported from other facilities abroad as CKD and will attract customs duty.  

The version had already been launched in European markets and reportedly doing well as 650R  ER-6.

So what do you want  -  Power, Premium, Looks, Ruggedness – high price no economy.  Ride on and enjoy.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.


  1. nice article Ji. I too bought a Bajaj M-80 for Rs.11,800 during May 1990, used to go everywhere in that - twice to sholinghur from chennai - and then sold it for Rs.10,000 in 1995. That was the resale value of bajaj M-80. I bought a Suzuki Samurai later which i continue to ride.

    also loved to sit in the pat pattti service in delhi during late 80's early 90's. this was a bullet with a carriage attached to seat 6-8 persons at the back. a lovely way to travel in delhi, which i miss now-a-days.

    Once i touched a Harley Davidson owned by a colleague; what a lovely feeling it was.


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