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Bajaj V150 Valor launched

27th January 2016

 

150cc | INS Vikrant | Aircraft carrier | Indian  

 

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The word "launched" is perhaps very appropriate when used in connection with the new Bajaj V150 Valor. That's because this Indian motorcycle, currently being teased out by the manufacturer, is fabricated using steel from a recycled aircraft carrier, specifically INS (Indian Naval Ship) Vikrant.

 

This ship was originally ordered as HMS Hercules, UK number R49. It was a Majestic Class light fleet carrier. The vessel was laid down in 1945 on the banks of the River Tyne by UK shipbuilders Vickers-Armstrong Ltd. But with the war over, defence procurement suddenly changed, and Britain was in any case skint. So construction stopped in 1946 and Hercules was mothballed.

 

In 1957, the Indians bought the vessel, and UK shipbuilders Messrs Harland and Wolff took Hercules to Belfast for finishing. By 1961, it was commissioned as an Indian warship, INS Vikrant, and it served with distinction during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War.

 

 

In 1997 the Vikrant was decommissioned and was intended to be converted into a museum. That plan failed, so it was decided to convert it into a training ship instead. But that notion was also scuppered due to inadequate government funding. And eventually, after a lot of legal wrangling, the ship was converted into scrap and was sent for recycling.

 

That's the potted history, anyway. Of course, the chances are that the new Bajaj V150 Valor motorcycle is also made from bits of recycled gas pipes, drain covers, broken milk bottles and whatnot. But the idea of using an aircraft carrier arguably gives the bike a certain mystique or cache.

 

Then again, how the hell do you really know what it's made from? And what difference does it really make? Steel is steel, isn't it? While you're mulling over that, here are some details of the bike.

 

It's a 145cc, single cylinder air-cooled lightweight machine nominally sold as a 150. There are five speeds with around 14hp on tap. With its "cafe racer and scrambler" design elements (ho hum), the Valor is due for launch on 1st February 2016.

 

And in case you haven't heard of Bajaj Motorcycles, here are some more facts. The firm was founded in 1945. It builds motorcycles, scooters and three wheelers, and it's the sixth largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. It's also responsible for the Platina (100cc), the Discover (100cc, 125cc and 150cc), the Pulsar (100cc, 125cc, 150cc, 200cc and 220cc), and the Avenger (220cc).

 

Each new Valor will be sold with a sticker or decal bearing the legend: "made with the invincible metal of INS Vikrant". And if that impresses you, you know what you have to do.

 

 

 

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