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Mean Machines

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 Navin Ansal, landowner, businessman and man-about-town is reputed to have a yen for exploring the great outdoors on one of his cruisers — either the good old Enfield Bullet or the Triumph Rocket. Hidesign promoter Dilip Kapur has a trusty Bullet and is famous for having explored all of South India. Enthusiasts say that there is something about exploring the countryside on a bike that cannot be matched, not even if you own the best SUV. Che Guevara rode one — and his Motorcycle Diaries remains a hot seller, 42 years after his death. Many years later, a 17-day journey on a cruiser by Robert M. Pirsig resulted in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a cult classic in the 1970s. Earlier, it was pretty difficult to buy a proper bike for long distance riding in India. Not any more. Here are the best options available in the market today...

Harley Davidson V-rod Muscle 
Muscular indeed. The newest among the family of all-American iron horse, V-rod is an aluminium clad liquid-cooled, 122 hp, 1,250-cc revolution V-twin engine that has been especially designed in collaboration with Porsche Engineering. 
Its 240-mm rear tire ensures comfortable streamlining thanks to low seating posture and relatively light steering supported by its 19-inch front tire. Optional ABS (anti-lock braking system) is especially useful in case you get too carried away with speed. Referred to as the “motorcycle with menacing looks”, the body is powder-coated and the satin chrome adds to the shine. It surely will make you feel like the king of the road.
2009 Indian Chief Standard
when Tselikas purchased the rights of Indian motor-cycles in July 2004, the biker community was apprehensive whether or not the new owners would maintain the same glory and tradition of the classic Indian motorcycle. In 2009, they revealed the all-new Chief Standard. A super-advanced version of its 1922 variant, it is powered by air-cooled power-plus, 105-cubic-inch engine. The pushrod-equipped mill (helps in creating high-pressure) has an undersquare 3.97x4.25 inch bore/stroke with a 9:1 compression ratio. It also sports a 68.4-inch wheelbase, and comes with brembo brakes. Now, that’s what we call fully loaded.
Suzuki Intruder M1800R
Among the modern day bikes on the road, the Suzuki Intruder can easily be mistaken for small Joe’s mammoth. The machine is among the most powerful mass-production cruiser bikes and uses race-proven braking technology. Powered with the V-twin, 1,783-cc engine equipped with SDTV (Suzuki Dual throttle valve) digital fuel injection system, the bike is a pleasure for any traveller. The engine has the biggest pistons to generate force, supported by the biggest rear tyre on a production bike circuit. Perfect for lone travellers. 
Proud owner: Ali Velshi, CNN’s chief business correspondent
Yamaha Vmax
One of the best-selling Japanese bikes of all time, V-max has been in the market since 1985. The 2009 VMAX is powered by an all new 1,679-cc liquid-cooled four-stroke DOHC 65 degree engine, which offers an unforgettable acceleration experience and produces 200 hp (or 197.4 bhp) at just 9,000 rpm. Instead of the V-Boost on the original carburated V-Max, the fuel injected Vmax uses YCC-I (Yamaha chip-controlled intake) and YCC-T (Yamaha chip-controlled throttle) for high levels of power. The suspension front and rear is humongous: 52-mm diameter inverted forks with TIN-coated tubes. It is also equipped with anti-lock brakes and slipper clutch. Perhaps the fastest cruiser on the road. 
Proud owner: John Abraham, actor
Royal Enfield Classic 500
roaring on Indian roads for decades, Royal Enfield’s bikes have gained cult status. Taking that tradition further is the new Classic 500. Inspired by the retro look of Royal Enfield’s J2, a model that shot to prominence in the early 1950s, the classic 500 is elegance personified. The single cylinder, four-stroke engine produces 27.2 bhp at 5,250 rpm power and a whopping 41.3 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. 
Proud owner: Gul Panag, actress
(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 08-02-2010)