The Chinese stalwart
Bikes offering better mileage and ride comfort are practical for people who spend hours commuting to work negotiating Dhaka traffic everyday. Lower handlebars may have more style but after hours of slouching, you will inevitably end up at the physiotherapist's, draining your wallet to fix the aching lower back. The Haojue Cool 150 we are reviewing here goes above 40 km on a litre of petrol in city traffic. The seat and handlebars are also proportionately placed to allow an upright sitting position so you can use the dilapidated streets of Mouchak with minimal damage to your spine.
While its ground clearance is enough to ride over potholes effortlessly, the seat height is lower than most bikes of its class, providing a lower centre of gravity which makes it easier to manoeuvre in the city traffic. In most cases, lower centre of gravity, which can be achieved with lower seats, facilitates better control, balance and eventually boost confidence of the riders.
During our test drive, we attempted to push the 150 CC bike to its limits and pulled it from zero to 90 kmph on a one kilometre stretch of road. The bike remained surprisingly smooth and very little of the engine vibrations were felt at high speeds. Since the engine delivers most of its torque at a comparatively low RPM range (3,000 onwards), it accelerates surprisingly well at low speeds. We are convinced that it reaches 0-40 kmph faster than most Corollas in Dhaka. Equipped with a front disk and rear drum brake, and weighing only 136kgs (curb), it stops quickly, if you know how to apply both brakes simultaneously. However, to avoid hurting some *sensitive* part of your body, you have to brace yourself before braking that hard. But that's the case with most contemporary slant forward bike seats.
Although it seems less bloated than most 150CC bikes, the separate handlebars, angular headlight and tail cowls and aero-style tank flaps lend it a sharp, if not sporty, appearance. The LCD backlit dashboard shows speed, fuel, battery charge and most importantly the gear you are in. It also has a red warning light that starts to flicker when it's time to drain the old engine oil.
The bike is sold at Karnaphuli dealerships for 1.10lakh. It comes with 10 years engine warranty, four free service coupons and an assurance of finding spare parts at the dealerships.
Engine: 4 stroke, air-cooled single cylinder 150cc.
Max Power: 11.3 hp (8,000RPM)
Max Torque: 8.3 lb-ft (6,000RPM)
Transmission: 5 Speed
Starter: Electric & kick
Ground Clearance: 178mm
Tank Capacity: 13.3L
Brakes: Front Disc/drum; rear drum
Tire Size: Front: 2.75-18; Rear: 90/90-18
Available colours: Blue, Black, Orange, Grey, Red
Price: Taka 1,10,000 with 10 year engine warranty (for manufacturing defaults). For more details, contact Karnaphuli Industries Limited.