Bajaj Auto’s two wild 125cc KTM concepts — the Race and the Stunt — were created by city-based team that gave us the Pulsar series of sporty bikes. Adil Jal Darukhanawala brings you the dope on the bikes that will vroom into the global market from Bajaj’s hi-tech Chakan plant.
Ready to race is KTM’s tag line and when you couple this with the performance DNA and back-end manufacturing strength of Bajaj Auto, only wild things can happen. The first glimpse of this exciting future came to light at this year’s Milan motorcycle show where the KTM-badged Race 125 and Stunt 125 were showcased. MADE IN PUNE
At first sight, it seems that these bikes were devised, designed and thought out at the KTM works at Mattighofen in Austria, but that isn’t exactly the case. The bikes’ styling can be attributed to Europe, this being the handiwork of KTM design consultant Kiska Design. But the rest of the bike — including the frame, engine and gearbox plus suspension and overall detailing — comes from the same team that gave us the Pulsar range of motorcycles. Both prototypes that appeared at Milan were built from the ground up here at the Stars Ahead R&D department of Bajaj Auto at Akurdi. And they will roll out into the world market by this time next year from Bajaj Auto’s Chakan plant. THE PULSAR TOUCH
Both the Stunt 125 and the Race 125 might seem much too wild, but then so was the case when the first Pulsars emerged in 2001. Both Bajaj KTMs feature lattice-type frames into which the all-new 125cc engine is hung, employed as a stressed member. This engine and gearbox is from the same Joseph Abraham-led team which designed and engineered all Pulsar engines to date including India’s first ever four-valve engine which will debut on the newest Pulsar day after tomorrow (more on this on Thursday). THE DESIGN
What you see in these two bikes are the building blocks for the new wave of machines from the Bajaj-KTM combo. The lattice frame is the structural aspect that pins everything together and also a design element. Abraham and his team have ensured that the thought behind the stunning design is also executed in the dynamic medium. It is therefore but natural that the upside down front forks and a single monoshock unit at the rear (directly bolted to the aluminium swingarm) make their appearance. While the showbikes did have these from long-time KTM tech supplier WP Suspension, the units for the mass-produced machinery would be made in India under licence from WP Suspension. Both bikes feature Brembo disc brakes front and rear, with the orange Stunt featuring petal discs in keeping with its overtly sporty turnout. Both bikes also come decked with Marchesini alloy wheels, those on the Stunt tastefully sporting two-tone wheels. SINGLE-CYLINDER ENGINE
The single-cylinder engine powering these two concepts is the first platform undertaken by Bajaj Auto and KTM for their next range of machines. It can be built in many displacement sizes from 125cc upwards. In Europe, the beginners’ class mandates a cubic capacity of 125cc and a power limit of 15PS. The new liquid-cooled engines, in their mildest state of tune, meet the 15PS mark effortlessly, given that they are capable of much more thanks to the four-valve head operated by twin overhead camshafts and employing electronic fuel injection. The compact nature of the engine is evident in the way it is hung in the frame and also canted a bit forward. The Stunt version is performance personified with its twin can exhaust system (using upmarket Akrapovic units) while the Race version has just such an innovative approach with its underslung exhaust. There would be a choice of either a five or a six-speed gearbox and the entire package works on the absolute optimum power to weight mantra. FOCUS ON YOUTH
“We are focusing more on our younger customers, that is the future,” said KTM’s head honcho Stefan Pierer, when he took the wraps off these two bikes at the Milan motorcycle show. It could just as easily have been Rajiv Bajaj espousing the same here. The duo took just under a year and a half to get their first all-new platform underway. And as is clearly visible, one just can’t wait long enough for these bikes to hit Probiking showrooms.