BIKE OF THE YEAR
BLOOMBERG TV-AUTOCAR INDIA AWARDS.
How do you decide one motorcycle is better than the other? A quick look at the methodology of choosing a winner.
‘AUTOCAR AWARDS ARE BASED ON IRREFUTABLE FACTS AND FIGURES ACQUIRED USING ADVANCED DATA-ACQUISITION EQUIPMENT.’
Come January and the award machineries go into overdrive to put on the most prestigious and spectacular show. The motoring fraternity gets busy, dusting out their suits and preparing their speeches. Then, after an evening of wining and dining, the awards are locked away in their showcases.
So are awards irrelevant? Look at it this way. If a film wins an Oscar, ticket sales go up. Booker Prize winners sell more books. Emmy winners get more viewership. We admit the vehicles did not sell because they won the Bloomberg TV-Autocar India awards. They sell because they are excellent cars and bikes, like an Oscar winning film is an excellent film and Booker Prize winning book is an excellent book.
But what is excellence? Excellence is not subjective. It is objective. It is measurable. It is quantifiable. The jury’s decision is not only a subjective decision. It is objective and measurable. Autocar Awards are based on cold, hard, irrefutable facts and figures. The data used by the judges is acquired using Autocar India’s top-of-the-line data-acquisition equipment that measure numerous parameters of a car’s performance, that’s accurate up to hundredths of a second. This ensures pinpoint accuracy.
Our methodology is analyses of an exhaustive list of parameters with the objective of picking a single decisive winner. Each of our jury members is an expert and has a vast amount of experience with a wide range of vehicles. They are Hormazd Sorabjee, editor of Autocar India; Shapur Kotwal, deputy editor of Autocar India; Renuka Kirpalani, editor of the Autocar Show; Narain Karthikeyan, the race driver who needs no introduction and renowned automotive historian Manvendra Singh. The Bike of the Year jury consisted of Rishad Cooper, two-wheeler editor of Autocar India along with Kartikeya Singhee, consulting associate editor of the Autocar Show and champion motocross rider CS Santosh.
After driving the cars, each member of the jury rates the vehicles on various parameters like fitness for purpose, design, performance, ride and handling, driving pleasure, fuel efficiency, safety, ownership experience and relevance to the market. After the jury has rated them, the score sheets are handed over to auditors PWC who ensured a watertight methodology both in terms of eligibility and judging criteria.
The business of judging isn’t as simple as shooting off an opinion. It needs expertise and experience. Behind the Autocar awards is over 40 years of learning. Autocar UK, our sister publication has been part of the European Car of the Year Awards that was established in 1964.
No wonder, on a stage overloaded with a plethora of automobile awards, this award is the most coveted in the Indian automobile industry. Now, ladies and gentlemen, here’s what you have been waiting all year for. The winners of the 2014 BloombergTV-Autocar India awards, the best of the best. The award for the Bike of the Year goes to ...
WHAT MAKES THE SUZUKI GIXXER SPECIAL?
Deconstructing the Bloomberg TV-Autocar India Bike of the Year 2015.
‘SUZUKI HAS HIT THE NAIL SMACK ON THE HEAD WITH THE GIXXER.’
Fresh and eye catching, the Gixxer makes amongst the better looking 150s we have today. Shapely and contemporary, the naked Gixxer is a butch, macho machine with sleek, angular cowls. Attention to detail is at a whole new level relative to previous small capacity Suzuki bikes here, as seen in beautiful bar-end weights, the contoured saddle’s contrasting stitch sutures and top-drawer alloy cast footrests and mounts.
Riders are greeted with nifty digital instruments, including a cascading rev counter right at the top, a large and easy-to-read speedometer, a bar type fuel-gauge, gear indicator, useful clock and even a rev redline warning flasher, all nicely fitted within a compact LCD display. Much of this Suzuki’s feel-good factor comes from its grips and switches offering nice tactile feel, with the mirrors cleverly shaped to offer good rear view.
Power is by a Suzuki-built four-stroke, 155cc, SOHC and CV carburettor-fed powerplant. The air-cooled single-cylinder has long stroke dimensions, as fits its intended urban role well, with Suzuki stressing good torque output was a consideration when tuning the Gixxer motor. On the go, the motorcycle feels clearly tuned to delight in the circus of urban Indian traffic. The Gixxer puts out a healthy 14.6bhp at 8,000rpm, and 1.43kgm of peak torque that’s delivered nice and low in the powerband, at 6,000rpm.
There’s friction cutting measures, including roller cam followers and an inverted triangle piston skirt all aimed at enhanced efficiency. Thumb-started of course, the Gixxer thoughtfully also provides a kick-lever for emergency use.
The Gixxer’s 150cc engine is refined and silken smooth, while sounding a shade gruff when hard on the throttle, pushing the Suzuki bike to unleash all its performance potential. The Gixxer engine is flexible, with power building smoothly, a strong wave of acceleration apparent from right after idle. There’s good low- and mid-range grunt for riding effortlessly in city traffic, and there’s a bulletproof feeling of reliability.
The Gixxer comes with a five-speed gearbox, shifting with precise, light feel in a one-down, four-up pattern. The gear ratios are well suited to this engine, and the new Suzuki comes with a nicely weighted, light-feeling clutch. The Gixxer uses a single downtube, steel tubular frame that bolts in its engine as a stressed member. A clear advantage over almost all its 150cc rivals in India is the Suzuki offering the rigid benefit of fat, 41mm front forks, working with a seven-step adjustable single rear shock.
You sit ‘in’ the bike, with a nice feeling of control thanks to wide handlebars, these giving you excellent leverage when changing directions. The Gixxer’s upright riding position is comfortable, while long hours in the saddle prove this is well padded and roomy enough for even riders as tall as 6 feet. The bike is nicely sprung, neither too soft nor harsh when punching over potholes. The Gixxer rides with light, fleet-footed feel, turning into corners with a confident and willing nature. Straight line stability is good, and so are the light Suzuki’s high-speed cornering manners.
It’s unquestionable then; Suzuki has hit the nail smack on the head with the Gixxer. There’s nothing lacking on the motorcycle, for Suzuki is, on the contrary, offering more than most of the competition on this attractive new machine. There’s no two ways about it, the Gixxer makes a top-class 150, and a worthy winner of the Bike of the Year award.