The overall impression from the Bangkok
International Motor Show was that motorcycles are getting larger,
their exhaust systems are becoming less of a visual feature, and if it
falls off the side-stand, you will need a sky hook to get it upright.
Expat big bike enthusiast Alan Coates prepared a
few details on some of the big bikes that caught his eye.
BMW K1200 R 163 BHP (120kW) 1157 c.c. water cooled
in line 4 cylinder 4-stroke (new engine, gearbox and drive-shaft).
Over 200 kph for only 970,000 baht.
Suzuki Intruder M109R 1800 cc Custom Cruiser (in
the H-D Mode). Note M109 stands for 109 cubic inches engine capacity.
Weight 315 kg (695 lbs.) 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, 2-cylinder, DOHC,
4-valve, 54 degree V-Twin.
Honda Fireblade CBR 1000RR Supersports 998cc.
Inline 4 Cylinder, Liquid-cooled 4-stroke, 16-valve DOHC. 170 bhp at
11,250 rpm Note: Underseat exhaust and silencer almost vanished!
“The new force to be reckoned with on roads and the circuit.”
Yamaha Roadliner S Custom Cruiser (Midnight Star in
Europe) V-twin, 4-stroke 1,854 cc with a compression ratio of 9.48:1
giving 73.60 kW (100 BHP) @ 4,250 rpm Dry weight is 320 kg. “The
XV1900 Midnight Star is a rolling work of art, a moving masterpiece, a
vision of power and speed, elegance and beauty. The XV1900 remodels
the classic streamliner look for the 21st century with flared fenders,
teardrop fuel tank, sweptback handlebar mounts and spurred swingarm.
And this mega-cruiser sets new standards in high-class design,
craftsmanship and quality of finish, with the kind of painstaking
attention to detail never seen before in the cruiser class. At its
heart is a mighty low-revving, high-torque 1854 cc air-cooled,
eight-valve V-twin engine and long ’n’ low aluminium frame and
swingarm – at once totally traditional and ultra-modern. XV1900
Midnight Star – the cruiser that will leave you stirred, not
Yamaha MT-01 Muscle Bike. 1670 cc 4-stroke, V-Twin
engine, OHV, 4 valves per cylinder Air cooled with a relatively low
compression ratio of 8.36:1 giving 66.3kW (90 HP) @ only 4,750rpm. But
the grunt is enormous. The MT-01 is the bike that started the Torque
Sports revolution. This motorcycle is like nothing you’ve ever known
before – an air-cooled 1670 cc V-twin that rocks like a sports bike.
The MT-01 is a revolutionary motorcycle, with a soulbeat character
that unleashes maximum torque at 3,750 rpm, when most engines are
still half asleep. That’s the whole idea of Torque Sports –
mega-thrust is right there, the instant you grab the throttle. And
this mega-capacity, long-stroke engine is bolted into an aluminium
supersport-derived frame with R1-style truss swingarm, 43 mm
upside-down forks, low-slung rear shock, radial-mounted calipers and a
uniquely chiselled, radical design.
MT 01 Muscle
Kawasaki VN 900 Classic Cruiser. The smallest in this range of H-D
look-a-likes that includes a 1,600 cc and a monster 2,000 cc model.
Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke V-Twin, 903 cc giving 40 kW at 6,000 rpm.
“Long, low and ready to cruise, the VN900’s styling is evocative
of the VN2000. This effect is further enhanced by the voluminous
engine design, the attention to detail and the craftsmanship evident
in the seductive, hand-sculpted bodywork. Like the VN2000, the 900
Classic has a quiet and efficient belt final drive. In addition to
reduced maintenance (compared to chain final drives), belt drives
offer a smoother ride quality than shaft drives.”
The “real” Car of the Show
Forget about the fact that “Bentley” as a
marque is owned by VW. Forget about the fact that W.O. Bentley, the founder, did
not like forced induction engines. Just look at the specifications of this motor
car and it is difficult not to be impressed with this very British sporting
To just add that extra British flavor, on the Bentley stand
was your archetypal Englishman, James Barclay, complete with very British three
button suit. James is the PR and Event Manager for SE Asia and Australasia for
Bentley, and was a walking front of knowledge on his cars. I fully realize that
many visitors to the show enjoy the bevy of young things on the stands, dressed
in skimpy and ridiculous plastic outfits, mouthing the specifications and
regurgitating PR handouts, but I am afraid I go to the show to learn about the
vehicles, from people who know something about them. James Barclay is one of
James was quick to point out that the Bentley was designed,
built and engineered at the one site at Crewe in England. There Bentley has some
third generation Bentley employees, lovingly making the interiors in their own
wood and leather shops. Incidentally, the hides come from a special farm in
Austria, where there are no barbed wire fences, and 12 are used inside one
Continental GT. The cars are hand assembled, and it takes two shifts, just to
hand stitch the steering wheel. James assured me that the only robots used in
the assembly of a car set the windscreen in place and look to engine sealing.
The rest is the labor of love by real human beings.
The Continental GT and its four door cousin, the Continental
Flying Spur, are very impressive vehicles, just sitting there, but the
performance of the GT is just staggering. The 12 cylinder engine develops 552
bhp (411 kW) and generates 479 ft.lbs of torque (650 Nm) at 1,600 rpm, barely
past tick-over. That power and torque is enough to propel the Continental GT to
198 mph (318 km/h), and cover 0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds. When I expressed wonder
at the quoted 198 mph, James replied, “This is an overengineered product. They
can do 200 mph, and they have the largest brakes in the class.” And he says it
with such authority, you just have to believe him.
You become aware of the history of the marque, running from
1920 with the first 3 liter Bentleys, then through many troubled years
financially, but ones where they still produced exemplary sporting carriages, up
until the re-birth, in many ways, in the late 1990’s. James says, “We keep
one eye on the heritage and one eye towards the future.” The Bentley
Continental GT, the Continental Flying Spur, and the soon to be released
Continental GTC (convertible) do all that.
At 21 million baht for the Continental GT, this buys you a
hefty slice of history, as well as a hefty performance car. I could live with
the Continental GT, unfortunately, the piggy bank does not run to such
Car of the Show?
Once again, I have to hand it too PVA Motors for bringing the
incredibly cheap Wuling Scorpion to the Bangkok International Motor Show. This
little work-horse now has a five speed gearbox and disc brakes at the front, and
still only costs 275,000 baht! You can adapt it to many body styles, depending
upon your needs, from a product carrier to a people carrier to a mobile
retailing stand. If you want to contact them about the Wuling Scorpion the
contact number is 07 293 8370, and you can even get finance on it!
Last week I mentioned many vehicles featuring in-wheel motors
at the Bangkok International Motor Show this year. This is no innovation
however. I asked who was first with this idea? The answer was Dr. Ferdinand
Porsche in the Lohner-Porsche of 1902.
So to this week. Which motor vehicle manufacturer was bought by the British
Central Equitable Trust – and why?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!