Wednesday, May 02, 2007

One Down Rest Up

My first mobike was a Hero Honda which had the All Up gear system where I had to use my heel to kick on the rear of the pedal to gear up. I had got used to this gear system so much that that was one of the reasons why I stayed away from Bajaj and Yamaha for a long time. When I had a chance to move away from Hero Honda I had chosen TVS which had the same way of shifting gears. But now I use a Bajaj Discover 125 CC mobike and this one has an All Down gear system. After a long time I had to literally unlearn things to get used to the new gearing system, but I think its worth for the quality of ride Discover gives me. Nevertheless I decided to do a usability analysis of the different types of bike gears on Indian mobikes.

There are mainly three types of gearing systems on Indian mobikes viz All Up, All Down and One Down and Rest Up (ODRUP).

Coming to think of it gearing up of a vehicle is more of a conscious user effort than the gearing down process. Most of the times gearing down happens by more of an instinct or by an impulsive reaction to a situation on the road or the traffic. In that case I would say gearing down should be the easier action than gearing up.

Kicking the gear pedal using the toes seems to be comparatively the easier and faster task than kicking behind the pedal using the heel. So according to my previous logic the All Up gearing system makes sense as you consciously gear up using your heel as the bike’s speed increases and impulsively use your toes to change the gears down i.e. the same logic behind using my toes to use the brake pedal. By this way the results of both of your feet’s action are consistent i.e. I only use my toes to slow down my bike, be it the gear or the break.

But what about the first gear? Most of the time my mobike is stationary when I would want to shift to the first gear. Obviously we can consider that as a conscious action but for the reason that my bike is motionless, that action could be made easier using my toes. So then it becomes ODRUP. My conclusion on the most usable mobike gearing system in this way is One down and the rest up.

Hero Honda CBZ, Hero Honda Karizma, Bajaj Pulsar, TVS Apache and all the Yamaha bikes (not quite sure about Yamaha) are the bikes which have the ODRUP gearing system. I also heard that ODRUP is an international mobike gearing standard and soon all the Indian bikes will follow this. That has not happened yet but my doubt is why Hero Honda, TVS and Bajaj have given different gear systems for their different models. At least they could have followed a consistent standard among the models that are from the same stable.
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