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Bold, beautiful and a bike to boot

Bold, beautiful and a bike to boot
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First Published: Tue, Oct 20 2009. 07 37 PM IST

Updated: Tue, Oct 20 2009. 07 37 PM IST
For a bike enthusiast in India, the unveiling of this motorcycle is among the biggest bike launches in the country. Bajaj Auto’s Kawasaki Ninja 250R, launched in Pune earlier this month, is a killer machine: The 250cc four-stroke bike with six-speed transmission comes with a double overhead camshaft (DOHC), liquid cooled parallel twin engine that churns out 32bhp@11,000 RPM, Kawasaki’s trademark UNI-trak rear suspension, 17-inch wheels, full fairing (a shell placed over the frame of bikes, especially racing models) and 290mm front and 220mm rear disc brakes.
The Ninja touches 0-60 kmph in 3.42 seconds and can do a 0-100 kmph in 8.1 seconds with a top speed of 169.1 kmph. Yes, at Rs2.69 lakh, it doesn’t come cheap. But such power-packed machines aren’t usually light on the pocket.
The big deal about the Ninja 250R is that it’s the closest you can get to a superbike in India. It is big, has enough power to outrun most four- and two-wheelers on Indian roads and is a value-for-money proposition.
Looks matter
Designed after the ZX10R, the 2009 Ninja 250R is dimensionally on a par with most modern litre class bikes. Its meaty rear, with a monoshock, completes the Ninja’s international standard fit and finish. Available in Kawasaki’s standard green and black colours, the console is analogue retro that matches the bike and leaves room for significant upgrades. Its curves flow seamlessly into one another, complementing the quality plastic covering the beautifully researched machinery inside.
And if you want to add a personal touch to the bike, you could buy after-sales accessories online, including exhausts, blinkers and under-tail covers, among other things. Such customization options are readily available because of Ninja’s presence in the international market.
Unmatched performance
Sticking to its stereotype, the Ninja 250R, although less in capacity compared with its bigger brothers—the ZX6R and ZX10R—still packs a serious punch with its 32bhp, pulling the machine using two cylinders in-line. India has the fuel-injected version of the bike (Euro model), which makes it crispier and more fuel-efficient than its carburetted counterpart. Bajaj Auto claims the Ninja 250R offers a fuel efficiency of 42 kmpl.
The power delivery is linear, ensuring you have ample pulling power in almost any gear: The low- and mid-range torque are good enough to carry you even in typical Indian traffic situations.
Handling and ergonomics
The riding posture of the Ninja is not extreme, but is sportier than any current Indian-bred motorcycle. This, despite the bike’s clip-on handles. It is big enough to accommodate bigger-framed riders, and the pillion rider has enough space for a comfortable ride with a handy pillion grab strip.
The bike is a dream for both track junkies and mountain nomads. It leans beautifully into the corners with sharp handling and agility, making it worthy of the “R” suffix (which signifies that the motorcycle has the characteristics of a racing bike). The IRC tyres lend enough sticking power too. The fairing protects the rider sufficiently from wind and the riding position is reasonably comfortable for long trips.
So if you have cash and a passion for bikes, look no further. The Ninja 250R is one of the best motorcycles you can get for its price. It may not give you the punch of a superbike, but packs enough super force to make you happy.
Two-wheel Brutes
2010 Hyosung GT250R: The Comet GT250 (Naked Version) was launched by Kinetic in India in 2005 with a price tag of around Rs1.8 lakh. The new version, 2010 Hyosung GT250R, has EFi, projector lamps, full fairing and everything a superbike comes with. If relaunched in India, it could be the only real threat to the Ninja and is expected to have a price tag of Rs2.25-3 lakh.
Bajaj Pulsar 220: The fastest Indian bike with 20bhp, this is the closest indigenous motorcycle available, but comes nowhere close to the power, style and aura of the Ninja. Bajaj Pulsar 220 is available for approximately Rs80,000.
Honda VTR250: This motorcycle looks rugged owing to its street-fighter appearance. And it has the power to boot. It could come at a significantly lower price, considering it has a lot less plastic. This bike could carve its own niche in the Indian market. It should cost around Rs2-2.5 lakh.
CONNECT
Use your old hard drive as an external drive for back-up
You can use your computer’s old hard drive as an external drive for back-up or extra storage. All you need is an enclosure kit. An enclosure is basically a new outer shell that protects the drive, since it is no longer tucked inside the computer. The enclosure also supplies the drive with ports for power and cables, so it can be connected externally to the computer with a USB. The eHow.com site gives a rundown of the process at bit.ly/3wvNdp. Enclosures are available in all shapes and styles, and come in models for the 3.5-inch hard drives usually found in desktop computers or the 2.5-inch drives used in laptops. Make sure you get one that is compatible with your old hard drive. Most kits usually include cables and installation instructions. You can find enclosures at computer parts sites such as Ultraproducts.com, Tigerdirect.com and Newegg.com.
©2009/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Powermat
You can charge your cellphones and hand-held game machines by placing them on a wireless magnetic induction charging pad from Powermat. You can lay up to three devices on the pad. When they’re in the right position, a pleasing tone sounds and you feel a slight magnetic tug. Each device needs a special sensor, though. It eliminates the tangle of cords and even saves energy because plugged-in charging cords draw power when not connected to a device. Powermat draws less power than standard cords.
©2009/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Convert audio
While popular players, such as Apple iPod and Microsoft Zune HD, don’t play files in the open-source Free Lossless Audio Codec (Flac) format, many companies such as Samsung and SanDisk make players that support Flac and other less common audio formats. Thanks to compression technology meant specifically for audio, Flac is gaining fans for its higher-quality sound compared with other digital formats. The “lossless” part of the acronym means that audio is encoded with no loss of data. Other formats such as MP3, Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) discard bits of data to compress the original audio track into a smaller file size. It is also possible to tinker with certain MP3 players to get them to play Flac files. For example, the open-source Rockbox firmware (Rockbox.org) brings Flac support to a variety of portables.
©2009/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Cleaning cameras
Most camera stores sell kits with brushes, microfibre cloth and liquid solutions designed for cleaning digital camera lenses. Don’t use cheap and unreliable products as these can damage the anti-glare coating on some camera lenses. You can use a microfibre cloth to wipe smudges and fingerprints from the LCD screen on the back of the camera. For stubborn smears, lightly dampen the cloth with little water. You could also add a thin plastic screen protector to the LCD screen after cleaning it.
©2009/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Sundeep Gajjar is an avid motorcyclist and the founder of xBhp.com, a popular motorcycling community.
Photographs by Sandeep Gajjar and Aryan / xBhp.com
Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com
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First Published: Tue, Oct 20 2009. 07 37 PM IST