To scorch the track on two wheels, we roped in the incredible skills of a professional bike racer, and the fastest Indian at the BIC, Simran King.
Year-after-year, the performance of these machines goes only one way – up! At the same time, the chassis, tyres, brakes, and electronics (of the big bikes) have become so good that anyone in a pair of leathers can show up and claim to be an expert rider. Truth be told, most of us belong in this category. While we do evaluate them seriously, we also love fooling around on these bikes.
In our ‘Best of’ annual mega-test, lap time is the most important objective factor – because it offers a uniform method to virtually test every dynamic factor of a vehicle, be it power, high-speed stability, handling, braking, etc. And, since, we love to drive and ride, this is very important to us.
Amongst the bikes we tested, the fastest of the (street-legal) bunch was the Indian FTR 1200 S and the slowest was the Hero Pleasure Plus. But the Hero Maestro Edge 125 and Hero Pleasure Plus were so slow that we simply didn’t consider their times. So, for all practical purposes, the slowest lap that we took into consideration was that of the Bajaj Pulsar 125, which was 21.9 seconds slower than the Indian – that’s a spread of .23 points per second.
Now, this is serious business! So, of course, we need an expert – someone who knows his way around a racetrack and is plenty quick. So, meet Simran King: young, blindingly fast, and a professional motorcycle racer. While he’s a well-known face in the Indian motorcycling community, here are some of the highlights from this 23-year-old’s CV.
He’s a two-time JK 1,000cc motorcycle championship winner – 2015 and 2017 – and has finished as 1st runner-up at Bahrain SBK (2018-19). Not only that, Simran is currently the fastest Indian on the BIC, with a lap time of 1:58.163 (of the full circuit) on his souped-up Yamaha R1. So, we couldn’t possibly have asked for a faster rider to test these machines!
Before Simran started clocking lap times on the bikes that were present for the jury round, though, we thought it best to set a benchmark time on a proper sportbike. Now, for this year’s jury rounds, we had hoped to get our hands on some big contenders, such as the BMW S1000RR, Ducati Panigale V4 R, and Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.
However, as luck would have it, none of these bikes was available. However, Simran showed up with his very own race-ready Kawasaki ZX-6R. And, straight away, he got down to the serious business of clocking a staggering lap-time of 1:03.3 of the short loop.
Now, this doesn’t qualify as our ‘Performance Bike of the Year’ because, well, it’s not exactly stock. This is a full-blown track machine that features a number of modifications. Sure, the 636cc inline-4 unit is untouched and produces 128bhp and 70.8Nm of torque. But the chassis, bodywork, suspension, and brakes, everything has been dialled up to 11! The ZX-6R that you see here has a CRC race-fairing, K-Tech rear suspension, Brembo T-drive brake rotors and Z03 brake pads, Dynoject power commander V, DNA Airfilter, Akrapovic full racing exhaust, and more…
On top of all of this, the bike was fitted with Pirelli SC2 superbike slicks that cling to the track like a leech. The performance and handling, then, was unmatched, and the lap-time set by the souped-up ZX-6R was simply mind-blowing. The benchmark time that it set will remain unbeaten, we suspect, for a long, long time. Well, until the Lamborghini went out on track anyway. Read on to find out more…