Making a Choice. Motorcycle!

I was trying to manage without a motorcycle since I sold my old bike. It was a Bajaj Discover. A pretty good one, decent mileage, but over four years of use drained much fizz out of it. I was not planning to sell it anyway. But one day someone with a generous offer and instant payment came and I let that go.
Two months since that, I am badly in need of a bike. Anyone who started motorcycling at the age of 14 and enjoyed it for more than a quarter century can’t be weaned just like that! I need a bike!!
Definitely I need a better one. More power, but should have good kmpl. That was important. Anyone saying they don’t care about mileage is either filthy rich or, spending someone else’s money or simply lying! If I were rich enough not to consider mileage, I would have booked a Suzuki Intruder. Wow!
The bike I wanted for long was Avenger. But not many endorse it. Bad mileage too. No pro-biking service centers in 70 km. Sorry to Avenger.
Pulser? Actually I love it. But there are more of them in the road than needed.
Hunk. Well, I don’t like the looks, what’s that ugly thing they screwed to the tank?
Unicorn. Sure, a good candidate. But have 3 months booking. Not worth for that waiting. But have some very strong points, riding comfort, mileage and puncture proof tires.
Apache. Too much vibration, doubtful durability. (Actually, I don’t know much about that. Not common in my area. Net search returned the above impressions.)
Now the choice narrows down to Yamaha FZ 16 and Suzuki GS150R.

The Yamaha is a definite head turner, no arguments. I would say it’s the first bike in India with some radical design concept. Good power too. 14 bhp and excellent midrange torque. I almost booked it. But, again buts..! FZ16 is designed for city commuting. Its engine and ergonomics are best fitted for that. Excellent for a rabbit chase, but not good for long distance ride. Pillion rider position is also not comfortable. Worse for women. I love long distance biking and my wife frequently pillion rides.

And the last choice, Suzuki GS 150R is yet to be launched. All the information I could get from the net were that given in their brochure only, like the engine balancer technology, six speed gear box and the dual mode engine function. The picture of the bike was not very impressive either.
I rang up the local Suzuki dealer and asked if a demo is available. Fortunately there was one.
Compared to the other 150 cc bikes, this one looks definitely bigger. The parameters are bigger than that of FZ, but I am not very sure about the other ones. Looks are much better than that evoked by the pictures. I liked three parts most, the headlight, tail lamp with integrated indicators and the instrument console. All these three are better than anything else in the Indian streets. The only competition for the headlight would be a Pulser 220. The tail lamp is LED with white crystalline wrapping. Very clean and decent. The integrated turn signals match the assembly very well. The instrument console has an analogue tachometer and the remaining functions are all digital. It also has a gear position indicator. Much hyped, but not very needed I believe. Another functionality is the gear up-shift timing signal. That too, just a gimmick I think. But the entire appearance of the instrument console is great.
But when you go through the brochure, you will understand why these three parts are such unique. They are either derived or straight taken from the great GSX-R. Designed with effort and talent.
The remaining body parts are just amateur work. Nothing very outstanding. The design doesn’t seem to have done around any particular theme. The fuel tank is massive. Remember the surprise we had when we first saw disproportionate tanks in Pulser? Now that our thresholds have set high, Suzuki dares to fix an even bigger tank. Holds 15.5 lits. Anyway the tank and the side wraps to the tail end give the bike a masculine look. The tank is all metal unlike that of FZ.
The fuel cock is a straight steal from Unicorn. Bad, I say. That thing would be more appropriate on a fan regulator than on a bike. It’s the same with the chrome trims which is also an imitation of Unicorn. Don’t suit both the bikes.
The riding position is very comfortable. A sixth gear itself indicates that the bike is designed for long trips too. Like the FZ, this engine also have good midrange torque that practically translates to excellent pickup and effortless city ride. The engine is very quite, thanks to the balancer tech. (FZ16 don’t have that but R15 have) The engine have dual mode, economy and power. I read somewhere that it remaps the ignition, but the showroom person says nothing that big is there. It only changes the timing indication for up-shift. Anyway more tech than the modes in TVS and Bajaj.
Suzuki leaves the option for kick starting too. FZ don’t have that. I like to have a kicker for some confidence.
Now the final decision;
Looks: Yamaha clear winner.
Engine power and pickup: Yamaha slightly ahead. Suzuki engine seems to be more refined.
Riding Comfort: Suzuki better, especially on long distance.
Pillion rider comfort: Suzuki
Sixth Gear: Suzuki – yes, Yamaha – No.
Fuel efficiency: Suzuki way ahead.

As I am past the age of adrenalin thump, I decided in favor of Suzuki. Waiting for the delivery in mid January. I will update this review, once I have some real road experience.

Sample medicines, Global warming!

So at the end of the day, the table is piled with packets of all size and colors- ‘samples’ they say it. But don’t be mistaken by the size of it, the actual sample that come out of it often will not satisfy a single patients daily requirement. They play with the size and volume of the packing.  Do they really think, the doctors are so childish to reckon on the size and color? Quite often we feel embarrassed on finding just two tablets in a cigarette packet sized box. So if we want to give those samples to one of our patients, we need to unpack each packet, and then put ten packs worth to a single box, ‘cause we don’t want to belittle ourselves and our patients. We are used to this cheating but the patients are not!
These are all our personal inconveniences. Forget it! Let’s consider the real situation.  I have just opened up a sample packet, which contained just two small capsules. (The pink one in the picture.)  A 25x15 cm sized glossy card paper, with color printing. How much you would have paid for that if you had bought that as a greeting card? How much simple notebook or textbook pages it would have made with the same amount of pulp and energy?  This is the situation of just two capsules. Now think of the total amount of paper, then trees, electricity, manpower etc etc wasted for the entire lot of that medicine. Now think of the wastage on the other products of that company. Even worse, think of the total wastage of the precious resources made by the 6000 and more odd pharmaceuticals that operates in India! And if you care, imagine the amount of carbon dioxide produced in the process.
I know.. I know about recycling. But I bet, 90% of these sample packets never go for recycling. They end up in hospital or home incineration.
I don’t have exact figures. But my mental arithmetic tells me, it could provide every poor child in India with their books if they could save all those paper.  If they don’t believe in charity, they could at least save a thousand acre of forest or so much of polar ice. But that won’t sell the drug!
But I have decided. I won’t accept samples in disproportionate packing, hereafter. I am concerned. . I do care.

Hormones or No Hormones?

Some twelve years ago, at a restaurant at Trichi, I made that prediction. We were on our way to thanjore to attend a conference. The hot topic of those days were hormone replacement therapy for the menopaused.  Lekha, my classmate was in all support and was arguing vehemently for the HRT. There I said, ‘In ten years time there won’t be any hormone replacement. This is just a passing fad!’ Sure it was not a learned opinion. Actually it just came out of my pure jealousy, for we men had nothing of such kind. We too had problems, who says we don’t?

My classmates, almost all of them ladies virtually tore me down. They said in ten years time every middle aged women will be taking the pill. That ten years have passed. And none of us were correct!

Those days, we thought it would take care of every middle aged problem, spare arranging marriage for the children. (Even that was thought possible, for it enhanced mood, memory and cognition.) We counseled ladies, once you stopped having your periods, all your bones will go weak and it start breaking altogether. We told them, your heart will get clogged with all those ‘cholesterols’ and you are the next in the line for an ‘attack’. We in our kind of society was shy to talk about sex and libido, still we sure did give some hints.  There was some concern about the risk of breast cancer. Then again we had data. So we reassured them, ‘HRT sure increases the risk of breast cancer, may be three or four unfortunate females in a lot, but not before it protects the hearts of a thousand!

So HRT was a panacea. The best thing ever happened after the creation of Eve.

Of course there were skeptics. They thought about alternate ways. (Even they were not daring enough to say that, it is simply a transition phase in life and we have to take it up with dignity and wisdom. But I am a man and I won’t understand!) There came all those multivitamins, anti oxidants and pound soyas. There were advocates for yoga, meditation and even regular coitus. Our Professor had a simple revelation; he said it isn’t fair to advise regular coitus, for many women of that age, a capable mate is a distant possibility.  So one of my Madams went a step further, and recommended in her next presentation- ‘regular masturbation’.

So twelve years have passed. Data and experience accumulating. In between someone called Women’s Health Initiative came up with some startling information.  HRT actually increase the chances of cardiac accidents and strokes. So is the risk of thrombo embolism. Contrary to the earlier belief, estrogen only therapy actually showed a decreased chance for breast cancer, but gets cancelled once you add progesterone which is supposed to protect your uterus from cancer. So the effect is nullified.

So, where stands the HRT now?

The scientific community presently recommends it purely as therapeutic and definitely not as prophylactic as we used to.  For those of you having ‘hot flushes’ and dryness HRT is still there and hormone is the gold standard. For every one else, you are flooded with choices but not hormones.


Creative Zen Stone Plus

With almost every mobile phone sporting an MP3 player and expandable memory, the relevance of simple MP3 players are ever diminishing.  But still they are useful, like while workout, to at least some of us. I hate to carry a phone on jogging for I like no distractions while on these simple indulgence with nature.

Creative have introduced their next gen Zen Stone. It is Zen Stone Plus. Here they have added a small but very nice display, thereby providing lot of interactivity. The display is monochrome, blue OLED which is very neat and pleasant to the eyes. ( I wish some one come up with a basic phone with such a display) With default setting, it goes off after a few seconds of input, saving energy.

In addition to the music player functionality, Zen stone plus is also armed with a FM tuner, voice recorder, time function and stop watch. Something fine for a workout accompaniment. Wish it had a pedometer.

The controls are minimal and quite intuitive. ( Display helps.) You need  to hold down the power switch some 3 seconds to switch it on, and it takes another 3 seconds for the music to start. I think this 6 seconds is quite a long time. If you had just transferred some files it takes a little longer. Switching off also takes a few seconds of holding down. Little annoying until you get used to it.

A hold switch is notably absent.  I can’t say it’s a must.  But there is a shortcut switch which can be customized.

With the display added, we can now browse the music, not to the exact file, but to the folder. There are quite a few play options like repeat, shuffle and many combinations thereof. Again thanks to the display. Equalizer functions are also present.

The FM tuner doesn’t appear to be very powerful. I live at a FM fringe area and it doesn’t tune in anything, when bigger sets manage.


Though Creative provides some software, (need to download) it is not necessary. Once connected to computer, it behaves just like a drive. You can just drag and drop, copy and paste, delete, it is your wish. (use XP SP2 or Vista and WMP for ripping and all.)


The sound quality is quite good, with good thump and not much of distortions.

The stereo headphone jack is of standard size. That will be of great help in case you require changing one. Another advantage is that, you can connect it to standard desk top speakers if you need your music loud to all. Means, you need not spend on specific accessory.


The build quality is quite good. True to its name, gives an impression that it is tough as stone in built. The switches are all neat and precise. The head phone connector is quite deep and well fitting, so no fear of getting it loose over time.


Creative suggests a 3hour charging before initial use. So a full charging may take around that time. They claim 9 hr 30 minutes use with a single charging. But I am afraid it isn’t that much. ( I don’t have exact value, but may be around 7 hrs.) Another thing, you need to charge from USB. This can be inconvenient, if you are not using your computer for long durations and quite frequently.  A separate charger is available, but is quite expensive.


Unlike the iPod shuffle, it doesn’t have a clip or any thing of that sort to facilitate wearing. It is really a big handicap when you take it for your workup.  Quite a few accessories are listed in rediff, like wrist band and clip, but they are all prohibitively expensive.


Price: A 1GB model cost Rs 1900 with bill and 1 year warranty. (Same time, shuffle cost Rs 2500) Creative have also introduced 2GB and another model with built in speakers.


If you are planning to buy a low cost MP3 player (honestly, I can’t find many reasons for that.) then definitely, Zen stone Plus will be a better option. May be even above iPod shuffle. (Except for the clip)

Read it at Mouthshut

My older Revies

Here are some of my older reviews, published in
Please read on..