We are standing outside the International Eye Centre in Colaba on a rainy day. The first monsoon showers have just hit Mumbai, but this place does not smell of the usual fish and chips cocktail that is omnipresent in this part of town. Looking around, we spot a grey 7 Series, a grey X3 and a full-blown RS7, again, in grey. That clearly explains the smell of petrol in the air. They say, you can judge a man by the vehicle he owns, which undoubtedly explains the exhibit about Dr Cyres Mehta. Cyres is famous for two things – being one of the fastest cataract surgeons in the world and having a garage full of fast cars and bikes. And here in this upscale Parsi vicinity, there is a Kawasaki H2 lurking in one of his… wait for it… six garages! This man is clearly all about living life in the fast lane.
On the other hand we have Vicky Jaising who is a superbike fanatic and began his riding journey on a CBR400RR, almost two decades ago. Vicky is currently training to be a coach at the California Superbike School and runs the Performance Racing Store, based in Mumbai Central. And what better than a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10 RR for the man who loves carving corners with one knee kissing the ground.
Cyres and Vicky are two petolhead buddies and between them both, they have owned almost every sportsbike the world has seen in the last 20 years. And they are clearly not inclined towards the Marquez territory of age, but more on the Rossi side. In our heads we are wondering who in the right state of mind would buy and ride one of fastest bikes in the world on Indian roads? In Vicky’s words then, “the passion is fuelled by the oil within.” Amazed by the line that would put even Shashi Tharoor to shame, we went on to explore what has made them bikers… for life.
Cyres begins the conversation by telling me, “You basically have a biker’s soul or you don’t. And once you have it, there is not much that can do to take it away from you. We have had our fair share of issues with motorcycles. When things go wrong, the family takes the major hit. But we work around those as we love motorcycles.” Cyres has always owned just one bike at any given point of time. Both of them agree on the BMW S1000 RR being the best superbike in the world right now.
Vicky has just gotten rid of his race-spec Daytona 675R and a Tiger and he has a clear explanation for that. “It was bought with the mind set of keeping the wife happy, because the terminology in her head was: ‘lesser cee-cees are safer’. Well the lie could not be hidden well. I ‘endured’ that motorcycle for two years. It is a great motorcycle, but I missed the power and the speed that a 1000cc can bring. And what better than getting a WSBK champ in the garage?” Cyres has just sold off his S1000RR and that has got me really curious. Why would you sell the best superbike ever made? But then he tells me that his first bike was a Harley-Davidson 883! That was enough to shut me up.
“There is nothing like the H2 in production right now; nobody has put a supercharger on a conventional motorcycle. There is no legal bike in production for drag racing; some guys do make those but their pistons come flying off in most cases. We much rather not try it ourselves and let the factory do the R&D and produce a full-blown supercharged superbike like the H2, to boost the output effectively,” claims Cyres, with his eyes beaming. I realised that I was entering a ‘no entry’ zone.
But what do you really do with these bikes in our unpredictable traffic as well as road conditions? Forget riding, Cyres tells us that these bikes cannot be left unattended when you are going out and you always need your ‘boy’ riding along with you on his Activa to keep a watch. Obviously, to bring the best out of these bikes, you really need to head to the track and both Cyres and Vicky swear by the Buddh International Circuit. However, they also feel that the Chennai circuit has a charm of its own. “By the time you hit half the straight on the BIC, you have already hit 280kmph and there is not much top end left after that on a litre class bike. While if you derestrict the H2, and flash the ECU to add 50bhp, the bike should hit 330kmph on the straight, easily. I am looking forward to that.” says the doctor.
What if we had a race between them on their individual bikes? “Listen, you can’t compare the ZX-10 RR with the H2 around corners. They both have their own purpose in life. And you can’t match Vicky in the corners anyway,” claims Cyres in his defence. However, both of them agree that none of the litre-class machines can beat H2 in an outright drag race. Take your pick then.
The duo eke out the maximum from their bikes and ends up getting a new one within every two years. Their bikes obviously get performance mods such as carbonfibre parts and ECU remaps. Both the bikes in these pictures are completely stock as they have been just delivered three weeks ago. They haven’t even been run-in but Cyres and Vicky have made truckloads of plans for the Kawasakis. But after owning a bike that is the Bugatti Veyron of the motorcycle world, how do you upgrade? “Every time we buy a motorcycle, we think it’s the best one that’s around and then come one or two years, things change and the bar is raised. As of now, we think these bikes are the most superior in their respectable segments but having said that, we (like everyone else) feel that every motorcycle that we buy is the best. With our experience, we have also realised that while Italians (read Europeans) design beautiful machines, they can never be as reliable or usable as these Japs.”
Adding to Vicky’s claims, Cyres starts explaining the H2’s pros, “See, the odo currently reads a 25 odd kilometres and I haven’t gone really far away from home. It is absolutely usable in city conditions, the engine is butter smooth, fuelling is spot on and the Brembo monoblocks are excellent too. The suspension is setup perfectly for our roads. It doesn’t feel cumbersome or heavy like the Hayabusa and the ZX-14, which make you feel that you are riding a buffalo. There is a lot I am looking forward to.” But after giving it a thought, both of them finally give in to the question. What comes next?
“As is the case with cars, turbo charging is the future. The H2 pulls at 4000-5000 revs like a litre bike pulls at 8000-9000. Power delivery is extremely linear, just like how it is in a supercharged car.”
But all this just adds to a lot of unwanted weight and makes the bike less agile than featherweights like the Ducati 1199 Superleggera or the BMW HP4 Race.Cyres agrees, “That is going to be something next on our wish list, given the money. I mean, who would spend Rs 1.2 crore rupees on a bike? That is car money. We love cars too but they are more expensive to buy and maintain.”
“But you are already halfway there,” laughs Vicky, pointing at the H2. “See, there is nothing in the world that comes close to the joy of riding a motorcycle when the engine is revving at 12,000rpm. So as of now, it’s these two Kawasakis for us. Let us explore them to their maximum potential and then we will surely look for more.”