This article is written by Lokesh a bike passionate from Chennai
Pulsar to Ninja:
The massive growth in the buying power of Indian youth has pushed automobile majors in the 2-wheeler segment to launch new products in a never-before seen pace. However this fails to satisfy our youngsters who value individuality as much as functionality. Those who have money, time and patience import exotic rides (read Ninjas and Harley Davidsons). Others who only have time and patience turn to aftermarket products.
Bike modification has been favourite area for true bike enthusiast.To modify a bike and earn to lure eyeballs, you have to spend tons of time and few bucks. We will try to cover all the items related to the Bike modification / alteration in this section. Watch this space to know more……….
The versatality of this field is astounding. From tuning the bikes to deliver unbelievable performance to creating a superbike look-a-like, the possiblities seem endless. The most sought sfter alteration , as in the job market, is in the design department. One of the many things that can be done is to add a carbon-fibre fairing which gives the bike a dynamic appeal. Adding an engine guard is a double-edged sword. Though it may give the bike a macho look, in most commuters it looks unnecessarily bulky. While attaching a bigger fairing may look good, at times it requires changing the entire headlight assembly. Some wise(?) people use a vertical sticker on the headlight to make it look like a double light head lamp. And then there’s always the paint job that can render any colour to almost any part of the bike. The success of this attempt solely depends on the aesthetic sense of the owner and to a little extent on the quality of the job done.Except for the engine block and silencer where the paint starts to melt and causes discoloration, this idea does not cause any problems mechanically.
Beefy tires and sporty suspension:
The upgrades discussed above are not known to affect the performance in a big way, and stick only to enhancing the looks. However there are certain areas which influenze both the looks and handling of the bike. One such area which is frequently experimented with are the tires. Many believe that switching to wider tires lends a big-bike feel and look to the bike, but few realize that it takes a toll on fuel consumption and top speed. The trick is to either sacrifice the above factors or balance on’es selection to go with the bike’s overall theme and also not spoil the bike’s performance. Raised seats and heightened suspensions are also frequently seen in traffic nowadays. The ride quality that comes with this package is not very good and most often gets bumpy in an already spoilt road. Putting in more ‘moolah’ to get imported shocks or switching to a mono-suspension is a feasible option.
Skin deep — K&N filter and Iridium spark plug
A combination or a selection of the above ideas could make an onlooker go crazy guessing your motorcycle’s make. But what good is an expensive facelift when an age-old RD350 beats the crap out of your Honda CBR (read modified Pulsar) ? Not to worry as this too has been looked into. The first word that comes into everyone’s mind is ‘diffuser’ , the second is ‘loud’ and third is ‘cheap’. Freeflow exhausts are available or can be made in most lathe shops. These ‘sophisticated’ products allow the exhaust gas to the atmosphere literally throwing any environmental concerns to the wind. A performance boost albeit minimal s guarenteed but the uncivilized noise and smoke do not make it road legal not to mention the fuel consumption.
A little bit of automobile know-how would lead one from the silencer to the carburettor. Performance filters from companies like K&N are available for 100cc engines and above. This is one of the very few authentic products that is extensively used in the alteration procedures. K&N filters optimize the fuel-air mixture in accordance with the throttle opened at any instant of time by controlling the amount of air entering the carburettor. Unlike in a diffuser, the engine note becomes low and mean above a particular ‘rpm’ range. The power band range in the tachometer is also unofficially expanded allowing the engine to be pushed to a higher rpm than before effortlessly. The air-fuel mixture can also be changed by using a bigger nozzle for fuel supply to the carburettor. Together with performance filters the pickup and acceleration are noticably improved. Further alterations like changing the powertrain and certain parts of the engine-assembly provide much better results, but are quite expensive.
Few catchy trends in bike alteration among youngsters, like paint most part of the bike black have been followed up by bikemakers like Bajaj in their product upgrades. With everything said and done, not one of the afore-mentioned alterations are approved by any bikemaker in India, which seriously affects any guarentee or warranty claims that come with the product. But that’s a small price to pay for the owner’s pride and onlooker’s envy.