Econo-commuter bike segment is getting more and more crowded. There
are two sub-segments here: Premium, and basic. And there also seems
to be a cc war. Under 100cc and over 100cc. Every bike maker, re-bores
an existing cylinder and increases cc and jacks up the price. Some
bike makers plop for 110cc, others for 115cc. Still others go for
125cc or 135cc. This is just a ploy to jack up prices. Fact is,
the material and manufacturing cost of a 125cc bike is NOT 25% more
than the cost of making a 100cc bike, unless higher technology is
employed. Sure more cc does give more power, torque, speed and pickup,
but why should this COST US MORE, when it is NOT costing the maker
anything more? Fact is, as Peter Druckker (the guru of all management
gurus, age 90+, still alive and kick-starting) said, If you
are not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing
here? And seeing the bottom lines of all bike makers, there
sure is profit for them (and fun for us, maybe).
when TVS launched the Centra, I was surprised. When everyone else
is upping the cc and price, why TVS is downing the cc and price,
yet upping the technology? Altruism? Hardly! Realism? Definitely!
The upping of the cc and price will soon come with the new 125cc
Victor, but for now they (TVS) seem to be in a mood to go whole-hog
the economy way. In price, as well as fuel mileage. Let us see exactly
how economic the Centra is.
start with, the power plant is a 99.8cc engine having a bore x stroke
of 51 mm x48.8 mm, which produces 5.5 kw (==7.48 PS==7.38 BHP) of
power at 7500 rpm and develops 7.5 Nm of torque at 5000 rpm at a
compression ratio (CR) of 9.3. Air, filtered by a double polyurethane
filter element, enters a UCAL-Mikuni VM 17 SH carburettor to reach
the cylinder via an inlet manifold which is quite similar to the
one used in the HH Splendor and its siblings, since the engine itself
is horizontally laid out like the HH bikes. Compared to the Splendor
which produces max power at 8000 rpm at a CR of nine, the Engine
Life Factor (ELF) of the Centra at 1.433 is 3.25% better than Splendors
1.388, which means Centras engine should last 3.25% longer.
This is due to the fact that peak power in the Centra is achieved
at 500 rpms less than Splendor, even though Centra CR is higher
is other first-time-on-any-Indian-bike tech stuff inside
the Centra engine, which improves fuel economy. First, the cam followers
in the Centra are on ball bearings, which reduces friction between
cam and follower tremendously since rolling friction is just one-tenth
of sliding friction. Second, the timing chain guide is now Teflon
coated, further reducing friction. Third, the piston itself has
anti friction coating on its
outer surface. The rings too are super thin (just 0.8 mm thick),
which means reduced contact area between rings and liner, which
means furtherreduction in friction. Friction reduction means fuel
fuel saving is achieved by reducing fuel wastage during the deceleration
stage. In normal bikes, when we turn the throttle to zero (such
as while rolling to a stop at a traffic light), the engine is still
running and producing suction, due to which fuel is being sucked
into the cylinder and going waste, since it is not being used to
move the bike, since the bike is going to stop at the traffic light.
In the Centra, there is a cut-off sensor, which senses that throttle
has been closed, and opens a valve to allow air to be sucked directly
into the cylinder thru air cleaner, bypassing the carb. This reduces
the quantity of fuel sucked into the cylinder, making for further
more tech is the Variable Ignition Timing device. This is a microprocessor,
which senses the engine requirement and varies the ignition timing
to fire at the ideal moment suitable to achieve total burn for any
of four riding conditions by a four-curve map, covering parameters
such as cruising, accelerating, low throttle and cold starting.
The temperature sensor, which activates the microprocessor to do
its job, is in the crankcase oil.
result of all this gizmo-giri, is a wide torque curve (read better
Low End Torque) and reduced emission.
ON THE ROAD
off, the Centra has an all-up gear shift pattern (like HH), totally
ulta of the all-down traditional TVS pattern. On the road, the bike
performed exactly as I expected. People talk about the thin 2.5
front and 2.75 rear tyres and its supposed effect of road holding
and braking. Yet fact is that even the all time favourite RX100,
also came with the same tyre sizes and was none the worse for it.
The positive effect of thin tyres on fuel economy is a factor in
its favour, since after all this is supposed to be the ultimate
economy bike. So anything in that direction is taken as a positive.
is slick and the bike moves easily. It is not a Cheetah like the
RX135, but then who the hell is in a hurry? It easily stays with
the traffic and if you ARE in a hurry, it can go ahead of the traffic
as well as any bike in its class. In spite of its thin tyres, road
holding and braking is as good as the RX100 at similar speeds. Seating
geometry is comfortable and handling too is just as good. I prefer
the flat RX100 type seat so that I can slide my ass fore-and-aft
on the seat as per my ass requirement, but now-a-days almost all
seats are cusped, which I dont like, but you may like. You,
may like Aishwarya Rai, I may like Bipasha Basu. To each his own
I suppose. Nathu SinghKhairu Singhsame thing! I am saying
this bcoz I am not mentioning anything about its looks. See the
photos and decide for yourself. On the bike I tested, there was
no splashguard on the front mudguard (see photo). I hope TVS fits
one on it soon bcoz it is going to rain after a few months, and
nobody likes to gethis clothes dirty. The same goes
for the F2.
the rectangular swing arm, the chassis is quite flex free and cornering
was a breeze to the extent I could push the bike on terrible unknown
roads outside TVSs Hosur plant whereI tested the bike. The
bad roads on which I did the test were in a way good for me, since
it showed how good the suspension is. The pickup is of a piece with
other commuter segment bikes and so is the top speed.