Raid de Himalaya – A Mysorean’s dream

Raid de Himalaya 2015

This is a story of Vikas Bharadwaj working in a small kpo industry (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) and extremely passionate about rallying. His passion took him to the 2015 edition of Raid de Himalaya which is considered the world’s second toughest rally in terms of navigation as well as physical endurance and only next to the deadly Dakar.

Vikas at the Raid De Himalaya

After 3 long years of planning, Vikas was finally able to participate in the 17th Himalayan Raid in the Alpine Class. His machine was the modest Bajaj Pulsar 150 which went under heavy customization along with suggestions and support from many leading champions of the country like Nataraj from TVS, Vishwas SD (Banglore), Chirag Takur (Shimla) and Vijay Parmar (One of the organisers). 12825604_909379442490591_147656910_n

Landing in Delhi for the first time, Vikas spent couple of days roaming around Delhi, Agra and Chandigarh. He had the opportunity to visit the country’s first formula1 track at the Buddh Circuit and the famed Taj Mahal.

Vikas on an Indian Scout at Buddh International Circuit

At the Buddh International Circuit on an Indian Scout

Come October 9, 2015 things just got real. Vikas says, “I still remember that day. I woke up at 5am and awaited for a start slot of 7:29am. Finished the first Transport sector 20 minutes earlier and started my first competence stage. Managed to crossed the SS (Special sectors) and by the time I started the second Competence stage, I felt as though I had lost my breath and died. A few seconds later, I realized that that it’s not me but my ride. I had lost the throttle wire. Since I had already entered the sector, my time was already counting. Without any option and with some help from my co-riders, I literally started pulling the skinned wire for the next 365 kms. The roads were not kind either with dirt tracks most of the way till I reached Manali by evening. Even though I had lost a lot of time, I was happy that I finished Day 1 but felt sad that the preparation was not up to the mark.”

Vikas's Ride, Pulsar 150

Vikas’s Bajaj Pulsar 150 cc

“While my journey came to an end, it was a huge learning for me being a privateer without any support. I realised that preparing mentally, physically as well as mechanically well in advance is crucial for success. Biking is more than a passion and sport for me and I’m working hard to go back and participate in the 18th Raid de Himalaya.”

Raid de Himalaya 2015 RouteStandings Chart

Vikas is looking for support and sponsors to give his best this time. If you are keen to support him or know individuals and corporates who would be willing to support this Mysore lad, do reach out to us or Vishal directly on +91 9731864634.

Toyota bids farewell to first gen Innova

Toyota Kirloskar Motors entered the MPV/SUV segment in 2000 with the Qualis also know as Kijang in global markets. This 7 / 8 seater van became an instant hit in the country with its sturdy and reliable performance even though it came with an outdated look. However, by 2005, Toyota decided to pull this off the market and replace it with the more refined Innova. Diehard fans of the Qualis still swear by it and continue to maintain their prized possession. Click here for a detailed post on the Qualis on Team-BHP.

Toyota Qualis

Toyota Qualis (Pic courtesy TopSpeed)

Innova with an updated international design was priced slightly higher but attracted both private individuals and fleet owners who sang praises of its refinement and reliability. With multiple facelifts (no changes to the engine though), the Innova continued to rein the charts as the most popular MPV for 10 long years with the highest resale value in its segment. Ex: If you owned a G4 model in 2009, you could still sell it for the same price today. Others competing with the Innova in the segment are Mahindra Xylo, Tata Aria (will be relaunched as Hexa this year), Renault Lodgy, Honda Mobilio, Maruti Ertiga and Nissan Evalia. While some of them are strong competitors, they haven’t been able to topple Innova’s market leadership.

Toyota Innova First Gen

Toyota Innova First Gen

Toyota has now decided to phase this popular model out and launch the second generation Innova Crysta with class leading features and design aesthetics. The Toyota Kirloskar plant in Bidadi rolled out the last production vehicle of the Innova on Friday (11th March) with employees giving a warm farewell. Toyota Employees bid farewell

The new model is expected to offer a refined 2.4ltr engine with better fuel efficiency, class leading features along with an option to go automatic. Priced higher than the outgoing model, Innova Crysta is expect to reach the showrooms by May 2016. Until then, let’s ogle at the images and videos.

Toyota Innova Crysta_AutocarIndia

The new Innova Crysta (Pic courtesy AutoCarIndia)

Here is the Youtube link to the promo video

KTM India – Delighting riders since 2012

To extend their dominance in the Indian biking segment particularly beyond the 125cc range, Bajaj Auto in collaboration with Austrian manufacturer KTM, launched its popular model, the Duke 200. This pocket rocket churning out close to 25 bhp was a game changer in the starved performance biking scene in the country back in 2012. The icing on the cake was the price of Rs.1.17 lakh (ex-showroom), thanks to hyper localisation by Bajaj. The Duke 200 is currently sold at around Rs 1.44 lakh (ex-showroom).

Duke 200_1_IndiaCarsbikes

The 2014 model of KTM Duke 200, 200cc with 26 hp

The Duke 200 with its light weight body had a massive power-to-weight advantage and soon became a popular option among youngsters who earlier had to be satisfied with the 150cc Pulsar which put out 15 bhp or the 225cc Hero Karizma with a modest 17 bhp. Both were very capable bikes in their own right, but the Duke 200 was a class apart.


KTM 390

KTM 390 – 44 hp, 375cc single with ABS and sticky imported Metzeler tyres

Encouraged by the response to the Duke 200 (sold 11,000 units till then), the company decided to take it a notch higher and in less than 18 months, launched the bigger more powerful Duke 390. Priced at Rs 1.8 lakhs (Rs 2.14 lakhs on road in Bangalore), the Duke 390 (375cc engine) was capable of churning 44 horses and achieve a limited top speed of 175km/h. The specs were mind boggling for us and we couldn’t digest the fact that KTM and Bajaj were able to give us this package at under Rs 2 lakhs along with an industry first ABS as standard and performance Metzeler tyres.



Kriegers, one of the early KTM 390 clubs of Bangalore

Biking enthusiasts across the country made a beeline to the KTM showrooms across the country to test ride the 390 and fought to be the first to get their hands on one. I was one among the lucky few as well and have never regretted owning this mild beast. Ignoring a few finishing defects, the bike has always brought a smile on my face and its low cost of ownership and easy maintenance has enabled a lot of us fulfill our dream of owning a performance bike sooner than expected.


Both the 200 and 390 based RC series come with cosmetic changes such as full fairing, projector headlamps, integrated pillion seat and clip-on handle bars.

Bajaj Auto’s Chakan plant had more surprises in-store when they brought out the RC 390 and RC 200 in 2014, two super sport models based on the same two engines and priced at Rs 2.05 lakh and Rs 1.60 lakh (ex-showroom) respectively.

Rumor has it that the company is now working on launching an adventure sport variant to take on the highly awaited Benelli TRX 502 scheduled for a September launch and the recently launched Kawasaki Versys 650.

Kawasaki Versys 650

Newly launched 2016 Kawasaki Versys boasts of a 650cc parallel twin (68 bhp) with fully adjustable front and rear suspension and a smart locking system for side boxes / panniers

With the right kind of products and pricing, Bajaj Auto and KTM will be able to extend their dominance in the mid range performance category for years to come. But, we do hope they bring a twin to India in the near future.

Renault launches new Duster with AMT option

Renault DusterEnough has been said and written about Renault’s Duster which entered a segment that was only serviced by Tata Safari and Scorpio (if you compare the price points). However, pretty soon, we saw the entry of Ford’s Ecosport, Nissan Terrano (A premium version of the duster with some cosmetic changes) and most recently Hyundai’s Creta.

While all of the above are very capable compact SUVs, the Duster stands apart with its durability and rock solid stability. Tata’s Safari is comparable to Duster in comfort and off road capabilities, however, the former is an outdated model and is very bulky considering it can seat only five people. The Creta is posing a stiff competition to the Duster with its overall Hyundai refinement and looks. But, I don’t think a Creta owner would like to throw around his car in the dirt, something that comes naturally with the Duster.

Duster_Amazon GreenTo keep up with the growing competition, Renault recently launched the 2016 Duster with 32 changes to the vehicle and in a few interesting colors. We also see the 6 speed AMT (Automatic Maunal Transmission) gearbox being introduced in the top variant. The existing Petrol and Diesel (85 & 110ps) engines continue to power the 2016 Duster.

Additional features include – New Rear View Camera with guidelines, Climate Control, Auto-up/down window with anti-pinch, New Media Nav and Centre Fascia. On the safety front, the Duster will offer ABS, EBD with Brake Assist, Dual Airbags, ESP and Hill start assist.

Prices start from Rs 863999 for the base petrol RXE variant and go up to Rs 1373999 for the 110 ps RXZ All Wheel Drive variant. The most popular model is the 85ps RXL priced at Rs 1043999. All prices are ex-showroom Bangalore.

To find your nearest Renault showroom, view this link.