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At Largest Market: Two-wheeler sales crash to 10-year-low in FY22

By General Posts

Two-wheeler sales crash to 10-year-low in FY22; motorcycles fall below 9 mn
India is the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers and also the largest market for it. (China being second)

One of the primary reasons for this downfall is the spiraling cost of fuel prices.
by John from https://www.newswwc.com/

New Delhi: Rural distress impacted the Indian two-wheeler segment, one of the largest in the world, in a big way that their sales in 2021-22 fell sharply, for the first time in ten years, to 13,466,000 units, as per the latest data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). It was in 2011-2012 that the two-wheeler sales were close to this number at 13,409,00.

( India’s Financial Year is calculated as from 01-April-2021 to 31-March-2022 )

Throughout the year, demand for motorcycles and scooters was impacted by rural distress and higher ownership cost amidst soaring fuel prices. Sales of two-wheelers, particularly motorcycles failed to gather momentum even during the festive months, leaving the companies burdened with a pile of unsold stocks. As a result, the overall sales of motorcycles fell below the 9-lakh mark for the first time since 2016-2017, SIAM report said.

One of the primary reasons for this downfall is the spiraling cost of fuel prices. Barring two months, petrol prices escalated in almost all months of FY22, sometimes even thrice a month that severely impacted the demand of entry-level motorcycles which is the primary choice of the budget-conscious low-income consumers.

New motorcycle sales are directly correlated with fuel prices, as 62% of the country’s fuel sales are consumed by the two-wheeler segment.

According to market experts, spike in auto fuel prices has triggered the rate of deferment majorly among the consumers of below 125cc two-wheelers that hold about 80% of the total market. Besides, shortage of semiconductors and high container charges have also deterred the production levels of OEMs.

Besides, frequent price hikes by the OEMs to overcome the spike in input cost coupled with moderation in rural demand hugely deterred the buying sentiments of consumers.

Additionally, electric vehicle demand continues to witness pickup in the states with higher government incentives like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Karnataka etc., which are also key markets for conventional two-wheelers.

All the segments except the two wheelers are in green. Passenger vehicle sales grew 13.2% to 30,69,499 units in FY 22 compared to 27,11,457 units in FY21. Sales of passenger cars stood at 14,67,056 units, utility vehicles at 14,89,178 units and vans at 1,13,265 units.

As fuel prices skyrocket and concerns grow over the running cost of petrol and diesel vehicles, the electric vehicles market has quietly started to build up. As fiscal 2021-22 came to a close, the green brigade — still small in numbers — seems to be coming of age, also charged by government subsidies.

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Electric Cars Can Kiss My Ass

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Eclectic article on Electrifying Changes in Our Lives

by the Wicked Bitch

Here it from the lady who has driven everywhere and tweaked the vehicle to get anywhere. ‘Charge’ up your courage and decide the road for your own fate.

“My dad bragged that I could tell a Ford from a Chevy by the time I learned to walk.. and when i did learn to walk, I left tiny handprints in the dust of an old yellow Volkswagen bug in the corner of the shop.”

CLICK HERE To Read this “Heart to Kickin’ Butt” article on Bikernet.com

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Crazy Affordable Honda Navi wrapped in miniMoto package Coming to the U.S.

By General Posts

from https://www.autoevolution.com  by Florina Spînu

Honda is finally bringing the Navi to the U.S.! Adding to the miniMoto family for 2022, the machine combines the looks of a motorcycle with scooter features. Given its compact size, it makes up for a sporty and fun commuter that’s easy to maneuver around the city.

Flaunting miniMoto aesthetics, the Navi is somewhat a cross between Honda’s Ruckus and Grom. It features a low 30-inch seat height that allows most riders to touch the ground with their feet and effortlessly hop on the ride. Not only that, but it’s easy to find a parking spot or handle it through the concrete urban jungle.

The bike weighs 236 lbs (104 kgs), including all of its standard equipment and a full tank of fuel, so it’s a light machine that can be transported on an RV bumper rack. It even has a storage unit that is big enough to carry a backpack, a jacket, or a laptop.

The bike is equipped with a 109cc air-cooled four-stroke single-cylinder, and it has scooter-like features that set it apart from other members of the miniMOTO family, such as a CVT transmission. That means no clutch, no shifting, no neutral or park. All the riders have to do is hop on, turn the key, press a button and start Navi-gating (pun intended).

Those who want to get a taste of what this bike feels like will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with it this weekend at the IMS Outdoors motorcycle show in Costa Mesa, California. The Navi is set to hit the U.S. showrooms in January (February for California) next year. The bike will be available in four colors: Red, Grasshopper Green, Nut Brown, and Ranger Green. What’s more, it is offered at a crazy affordable price of $1,807.

According to Honda, another five on-road models for 2022 will make a comeback: the Gold Wing tourer and NC750X adventure tourer, the Rebel 1100 and Fury cruisers, and the CBR600RR sportbike. Most of them will be available in multiple trim levels and will sport a fresh set of paint.

BMW R NineT Pure Option 719 First Ride Review

By General Posts

by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com

To most motorcyclists, the term “pure” evokes images of kickstarters, chrome finishes, and cable throttles. It takes us back to simpler times; a time before electronic nannies and catalytic converters. Back then, motorcycles were easy on the eyes—and the technology.

Charming as it is, nostalgia certainly has its limitations. Most riders aren’t rushing back to hardtails, drum brakes, and carburetors. Luckily, modern-classic motorcycles can cherry-pick the best aspects of yesteryear and today. At least that’s what BMW attempts with its R nineT family. Now, circular headlamps can house LED lights. Wire-spoke wheels can bear retro styling as well as tubeless tires. Design can be both timeless and trendy.

The four R nineT models express this dual nature to various degrees, but the Pure variant embraces the back-to-basics philosophy most. The main ingredients remain intact, but the Pure favors stripped-down practicality over performance. A steel fuel tank replaces the lightweight aluminum unit, a conventional fork steps in for the responsive USD front end, and the cockpit hosts just one round gauge.

Those concessions result in a $10,995 price tag, cementing the Pure as the less-is-more option in BMW’s feature-rich lineup. Since introducing the R nineT in 2015, the Bavarian brand has positioned the neo-retro naked as a custom-friendly platform. The Pure just takes that approach to the next level. Sporting a Mineral Gray Metallic paint job, the base trim is both comely and capable. However, BMW proved that the stock guise is just the starting point when it put an R nineT Pure Option 719 in our charge for a few weeks.

The Ultimate Customizing Machine
In 2021, the R nineT’s air/oil-cooled, 1,170cc, boxer engine earns a Euro 5-compliant update. While noise emissions regulations muffle much of the platform’s signature bark, it holds onto its bite with 109 horsepower at 7,250 rpm and 85 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 rpm. The upgraded shock absorber now boasts a hand wheel adjuster and travel-dependent damping while ABS gains cornering functions. Rain and Road ride modes now come standard and full LED lighting illuminates the way.

Despite those generous revisions, BMW went even further with the R nineT’s paint and accessories catalog. Each model now features series colorways along with BMW’s custom in-house Option 719 paint schemes and accessory kits. For an additional $1,350, customers can trick out the R nineT Pure with the Option 719 Aluminum package seen here, which includes an aluminum front fender, fly screen, tail cowl, and gas tank.

The brand’s Billet Pack Classic tacks on milled cylinder head and engine front covers along with an extra $1,050. Additional cosmetic upgrades such as spoked wheels and the design option silencer add another $975 to the bill. Of course, the House of Munich offers a Comfort Package that unlocks the Dynamic ride mode, heated grips, and cruise control. On the other hand, the Select Package prioritizes safety with traction control, engine braking control, and an adaptive headlight.

After all the extra components, software patches, and destination charges, the R nineT Pure Option 719 retails for $15,865. That’s still $80 under the standard R nineT’s $15,945 MSRP, but it’s a far cry from the minimalist machine that the Pure sets out to be. For that reason, we’re going to primarily focus on the model’s standard equipment, and that all starts with the big-bore boxer.
The Ride

BMW may have updated the eight-valve, opposed-twin to meet modern emissions standards, but the aging powerplant retains all of its vintage charm in 2021. Twist the throttle while in neutral and the bulletproof boxer still jolts to the left. As always, vibrations course through the handlebars and foot pegs at higher revs. Unlike most modern motorcycles, BMW preserves these quarks, chalking them up to the R nineT’s “character”.

The Bavarians may hold on to those old ways, but the boxer now delivers an even stronger punch in the mid-range. Road mode harnesses those pulses with a linear power delivery while Rain mode dampens the effect in the name of safety. Unsurprisingly, the mid-range surge is most prevalent in the optional Dynamic mode. Those looking to maximize the Pure’s performance potential may spring for BMW’s Comfort Package as a result, but Road mode was notably capable in nearly all situations.

While the flat-twin went flat out in the mid-range, the Euro 5-compliant tune also produces lean fueling at the low-end. After a few unintended stalls off the line, I learned to babysit the clutch away from each stoplight. The low-end fueling paired with the engine’s high rpm vibes produced a narrow range of usable power, and that quality was most evident on twisty roads.

Without a slipper clutch, quickshifter, or auto-blipper, the R nineT was best ridden with smooth inputs and a patient demeanor. Aggressively banging through the gears only unsettled the big boxer, and in turn, the chassis. Consequently, R nineT riders are encouraged to let the corners come to them. That’s when the modern-classic comes into its own. On flowy canyon roads, the 43mm fork and steering damper hold a true line while the Metzeler RoadTec tires provide more than enough grip for the available lean angle.

Knocking on the door of 500 pounds, the Pure isn’t the nimblest Beemer of the bunch, but the centralized mass makes side-to-side transitions less strenuous than expected. The rear suspension adjustment knob will please two-up riders, but in the single-seat configuration, users will set it and forget it. After experimenting with the top and bottom settings, the mid-position produced the best feel without sacrificing too much comfort. However, it’s hard to characterize the ride as luxurious in any setting.

Conversely, the dual 320mm discs and Brembo four-piston calipers outperformed the spec sheet with a strong initial bite and surprisingly direct feel from the axial master cylinder. As anticipated, the two-pot Brembo binder and 265mm rotor in the rear delivered a less responsive experience, but they did a great job of steadying the 483-pound naked at slow speeds. The R nineT Pure may not win any performance shootouts, but the package sure fits the bill for everyday road use.

The Fit
Throwing a leg over the Pure for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised by the wide handlebars, broad seat pan, and narrow midsection. The low foot pegs position the knee at a 90-degree angle, though the hard parts drag much sooner as a result. Up top, the reach to the bars is a slight stretch, but the tank cutouts allow the rider’s knees to relieve pressure on their wrists. If it weren’t for the thinly padded saddle and nonexistent wind protection, the Pure could double as a suitable touring rig.

In stock form, however, the R nineT functions best in urban environments and twisty canyon roads. While the standard equipment includes a bench seat, the optional seat cowl increases both form and function. The tail unit not only locks the rider into the cockpit but also acts as a storage compartment. The removable backplate enables users to stash legal documents, disc locks, hats, and small tools in the rearward cubby. It may not replace a backpack or accommodate groceries, but it’s a convenient and reliable solution for most naked bike riders.

Similar to the ergonomics, the streamlined electronic suite is straightforward and user-friendly. The single gauge doesn’t include a tachometer, but the LCD display reports engine temperature, ambient temperature, time, mileage, and trip distance. The analog speedometer is a nice retro touch while a dedicated button allows riders to effortlessly cycle through the ride modes.

With the Comfort Package, cruise control settings are located at the top of the left switchgear and the right-hand side hosts the heated grips button. Select Package features like the adaptive headlight unit and traction control work in the background, freeing the rider to concentrate on the road ahead. The simple but effective accommodations should satisfy most riders, but BMW’s robust add-ons collection will also serve those that enjoy the bells and whistles.

Conclusion
Thanks to the lack of flashy TFT displays and radar-assisted farkles, the Pure lives up to its namesake. The tried-and-true boxer produces just enough rumble to enliven the ride and the tech never presents a distraction. What the platform gives up in performance it gains in ease of use and enjoyment.

Even without the Option 719 cosmetic kits and additional electronic upgrades, the R nineT Pure is an excellent companion for the weekday commute and the weekend cruise. The modern-classic Beemer may have electronic nannies and a subdued exhaust note, but the entry-level R nineT still captures the pure fun of riding a good, old-fashioned motorcycle.

Car and Motorcycle Companies Now Making Electric Bikes

By General Posts

Lee Iacocca with his electric bike in 1998. It had a lead-acid battery with a 15-mile range and a top speed of 15 miles an hour.

by Roy Furchgott from https://www.nytimes.com

They see branding opportunities as the pandemic and a desire by cities to curb traffic propel e-bike sales to new heights.

The transportation industry has seen the future, and the future is 1895.

That was the year Ogden Bolton Jr. of Canton, Ohio, was awarded U.S. Patent 552,271 for an “electrical bicycle.” A century and change later, electric bikes have gained new currency as car and motorcycle companies like Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Yamaha have horned into the market with their own designs.

While the pandemic has accelerated bike sales, the overriding attraction is that cities worldwide are beginning to restrict motor traffic. These companies are betting that e-bikes are the urban vehicles of tomorrow — or at least vehicles for good publicity today.

“In the past 12 to 18 months, you have seen a lot of new brands come into the market,” said Andrew Engelmann, an e-bike sales and marketing manager at Yamaha, which has been in the electric bike business since 1993 and claims sales of two million worldwide. “We in the U.S. have not seen this new energy toward cycling since Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France.”

Credit the coronavirus pandemic, which has ignited bike sales of all stripes, but none so much as e-bikes. While retail unit sales of bicycles from January to October last year were up 46 percent from a year earlier, electric bikes were up 140 percent. Measured in dollars, regular bikes were up 67 percent and e-bikes 158 percent — so don’t expect a discount. Those numbers, from the market researchers at NPD, do not include online-only retailers such as Rad Power Bikes, so sales may actually be higher still.

Ogden Bolton aside, there is a historical connection between bicycles and motorcycles. Many early motorcycles came from bicycle makers that simply clapped a motor on a bike, often retaining the pedals in the style of a moped.

The automotive industry’s bicycle connection is more recent, with the likes of Malcolm Bricklin and Lee Iacocca introducing electric bikes in the ’90s. Both flopped. Mr. Iacocca’s design, typical for the time, was hampered by a lead-acid battery with a 15-mile range and a top speed of 15 miles an hour. Many car companies, including Ford, Audi, Maserati and BMW, have gotten into and out of e-bikes since.

“No car company has had any success selling an electric bicycle,” said Don DiCostanzo, chief executive of Pedego Electric Bikes, who in 2014 licensed a bike design to Ford. “It’s fool’s gold. It can never replace the profit on a car.”

Yet car and motorcycle makers are being drawn in. “I think they are seeing a lot of the same opportunity we see,” said Ian Kenny, who leads the e-bike effort at the bicycle company Specialized. “But I think there is a very big difference between demonstrating you can do something and doing something very well at scale.”

However, changes in the way people get about, especially in Europe and Asia, are enticing motor vehicle companies that operate internationally. Overseas, in cities that manage pollution and overcrowded streets by restricting motor traffic, e-bikes often fill a gap.

“In Europe, the e-bike is more of a fundamental transportation tool,” said Dirk Sorenson, an analyst for NPD. London, Madrid, Oslo and Paris are among the growing number of cities restricting downtown traffic.

The pandemic has American cities testing similar restrictions. Boston, Minneapolis and a number of California cities have instituted Slow Streets programs, restricting motor traffic on side streets in favor of cycling and walking. It even has UPS, Amazon and DHL trying out e-cargo bikes in New York.

“There is a huge opportunity for e-bikes in the U.S., which is a huge untapped market,” said Rasheq Zarif, a mobility technology expert for the consulting firm Deloitte.

Some companies are preparing now for the possibility that “micromobility,” as the buzzword has it, will catch on here.

“Let’s imagine Harley-Davison is not a motorcycle company but a mobility company,” said Aaron Frank, brand director for Serial 1, which builds an e-bike in partnership with Harley. “There is a strong argument we can do for urban commuters what Harley-Davison did for motorcycles.”

Other companies see e-bikes as a gateway to sell their primary products. Though best known for its motorcycles, Ducati North America wants e-bikes to “potentially turn people on to Ducati,” its chief executive, Jason Chinnock, said. “And we’ve seen that with people at some events and with the media reaching out.”

E-bikes may be more expensive than bicycles, but are cheaper than cars or motorcycles. And improved motor and battery technology is bringing prices down. Low-priced e-bikes with a motor in the wheel hub — similar to that 1895 design — can be had for about $1,000. Prices for versions with more complex, geared motors at the pedals can reach more than $10,000.

“Spending $1,000 on a bike seems out there,” Mr. Kenny said, “but when you don’t look at it as a toy — when it becomes transportation — it becomes a very different conversation.”

Price isn’t the only hurdle. E-bikes confront a crippling hodgepodge of laws. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission deemed “low speed” e-bikes (with a motor equivalent to 1 horsepower or less) a bicycle, states still decide where that bike can be ridden.

“It’s up to 50 states to define the use, and that’s been a big problem in the past,” said Claudia Wasko, general manager of Bosch eBike, a prominent manufacturer of drive systems.

The PeopleForBikes coalition drafted model state legislation to allow most e-bikes in bike lanes and parks. It suggests three classes of e-bike, with a top speed between 20 and 28 m.p.h. Twenty-eight states have adopted some version of the legislation.

Some companies may be less concerned with the future of mobility and more interested in getting some attention now.

“I think it’s a halo thing,” said Mr. DiCostanzo, whose company has produced e-bikes for Tommy Bahama, Ford and others. Halo vehicles represent a brand’s aspirations, like concept cars.

“I think that’s what it is for Ford,” he added. “They wanted it for window dressing, and that’s what they got. I think they sold 500 in the five years it ran.”

Mercedes, which is taking orders for its top-of-the-line Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team V11 e-bike at $12,000, said it was a chance to showcase its ability with high-tech materials from carbon fiber to paint.

“High-performance road bikes and e-bikes provide a great way to showcase such technologies into a range of consumer products,” said Damian Cook, a spokesman.

For some in the bicycle industry this all smacks of déjà vu. In the 1970s, a bike boom was thought to presage a new future for transportation in which cycling was central. But it failed. Though there were many contributing factors, roads weren’t made more bicycle-friendly and people didn’t want to arrive at work sweaty.

With the combination of Slow Streets programs, which address the first problem, electric bikes, which address the second, and a pandemic that has given people a chance to adjust to both, experts like Mr. Zarif find hope.

“When you give people a chance to try something, it reduces resistance to change,” he said. “As a society, the reality is we go forward — we don’t go backward.”