Times Auto Awards 2017

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Times Auto Awards in association with evo India and Fast Bikes India, which is now in its tenth year, seeks to recognize the best of this rapidly growing industry. To win this most prestigious and coveted of awards, the game the manufacturers have to play is one of pushing boundaries and exceeding expectations. Like each of the years that have gone by, this year too an elite jury were burdened with the onerous task of sorting this year’s best from the rest over two days of exhaustive evaluation at the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) in Chennai. With no less than 57 four-wheelers spread across segments and body styles and 43 two-wheelers ranging from commuters to step through and superbikes, the jury had its task cut out.

Two-Wheeler nominees …

Motorcycle of the Year upto 160cc
The premium commuter class saw the legacy-laden Suzuki Intruder battle it out with the Hero Glamour.

 

Motorcycle of the Year upto 250cc
The KTM’ 250 Duke went up against the Yamaha twins FZ25 and Fazer25.

 

Motorcycle of the Year upto 500cc

First faired motorcycle launched by Benelli in the country, the 302R went against the KTM 390 Duke and Bajaj Dominar 400.

 

Scooter of the Year
From the stylish and contemporary Honda Grazia to the Honda Cliq, and the first offering from Okinawa, the Ridge, this class is an eclectic mix of products from style, practicality and electric combo.

 

Neo-retro Motorcycle of the Year
For those who look out for modern classics, this class was dominated by Triumph’s Bonneville Bobber, Street Scrambler. But giving them a run for their money was Indian Scout Bobber and BMW R nine T.

 

Cruiser of the Year
Obviously dominated by the Americans, this category saw two Harley-Davidsons, namely Fat Bob and Street Rod and the Indian Roadmaster.

 

Sport naked bike of the year
This category was dominated by Italian and British manufacturers. The Triumph twins, Street Triple S and Street Triple RS faced strong competition from the Ducati Monster 797 and the MV Agusta Brutale 800.

 

Adventure Bike of the Year

Three contenders, the Ducati Multistrada 950, Honda CRF 1000L Africa Twin and the BMW R1200GS stood toe to toe in the battle for adventure supremacy.

 

Superbike of the Year

From the brilliant Ducati Supersport, rider friendly Suzuki GSX-R1000R and the engineering epitome BMW S1000RR, this category saw the pinnacle of competition on track.

The Evaluation

With a firm emphasis on credibility and integrity, a foolproof evaluation process had been crafted for the jury members of the Times Auto Awards in association with Fast Bikes and evo India. Two full days had been set aside for the jury to put the four-wheelers and two-wheelers through intensive testing and evaluation on the 3.7km long Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) in Chennai. To keep the playing field level and to remove any ambiguity, vehicles that were not sent for evaluation were summarily disqualified. In effect, this ensured that all jury members evaluated the same vehicles.

Although conducted on a race track to provide the jury with a fully controlled testing environment, this evaluation process had less to do with outright speed and more to do with the jury member’s area of expertise. As a result, while motorsport enthusiasts concentrated on dynamic abilities and performance, vehicle design experts focused on design. Industry stalwarts looked at engineering and craftsmanship while other members evaluated the contender for its overall value proposition. In each category, the jury members ranked the contenders in descending order with the winner of each category becoming the contender for the overall Car of the Year and Two-Wheeler of the Year awards, which would be decided on the basis of points allotted to each contender by the jury members. Needless to say, the winner of the overall Car of the Year award and the Two Wheeler of the Year award would be the one with the maximum points.

The Jury

The jury of the Times Auto Awards in association with evo India and Fast Bikes India is an eclectic mix of experts from different walks of life. Together, they form a composite that accurately represents the desires, demands and aspirations of the Indian consumer and critic alike. The idea is to have different people evaluate each product from a different perspective and then bring it all together to form an overall assessment of each product at the end of the jury evaluation round.

Bike Jury from L-R = Sudhir Sharma, Anindith Reddy, Ikjot Singh Bhasin, Akshai Varde, Aninda Sardar, Aishwarya Pissay, Adil Jal Darukhanawala, Shyam Kothari, Varad More, Sirish Chandran and TT Varadarajan

This year’s jury included:

Adil Jal Darukhanawala  – A man who needs to introduction, Adil has been the man behind many of India’s automotive titles and today heads a team of enthusiasts who bring out India’s youngest and fastest growing two-wheeler magazine Fast Bikes India. He’s also editor-at-large for evo India.

Sirish Chandran – The editor of evo India magazine and publisher of Fast Bikes India, Sirish heads Project GTO Publishing, India’s youngest media start up. An automotive journalist for well over a decade and a motorsport enthusiast to the core, he’s dabbled in rallying as well.

Aninda Sardar  – Assistant editor of evo India and Fast Bikes India, Aninda’s expertise lies in evaluating cars and bikes from a balanced perspective, one that spans the gap between enthusiast and the consumer.

Sudhir Sharma – The founder and chief executive of INDI Design, Sudhir believes that the ‘brand is the business’. Over the 21 years that he has been working, Sudhir has helped several companies undergo brand transformation, including Bajaj Auto.

Varad More – Known to friends and fans as Speedy, Varad has been championing the motorcycling cause in India for nearly a decade. An ace rider he is quick to pick up on the critical aspects of anything that moves on two wheels.

Anindith Reddy – That this Formula 1600 and JK National Racing Champion should be on the jury of a car awards is a given. But what people don’t know is that he is also a bike enthusiast par excellence.

Shyam Kothari – One of India’s most decorated motorcycle racers, Shyam has multiple rally and motocross national titles. He is the smoothest, fastest and perceptive rider you can find. He is also the first Indian rider to make it to a factory team

Ikjot Singh Bhasin – Ikjot is a bike enthusiast to the core. A regular attendee of trackdays at the Buddh International Circuit and founder of Riderz Planet, Ikjot has a sharp eye and a keen understanding of motorcycles.

Akshai Varde – Akshai is the man behind Vardenchi Choppers. Devoted to his custom building business, Akshai is a passionate bike and car enthusiast with a keen eye on detail and engineering aspects.

Aishwarya Pissay – A rising star at TVS Racing, Aishwarya is the current female rally champion and also the champion of TVS’ One Make Racing series.

TT Varadrajan – TT is the man who brought the famed California Superbike School to India. An excellent rider, his approach to motorcycles fuses childlike enthusiasm with the maturity of years of experience.