Pics: Firdaus Shaikh
Words: Yatharth Singh Chauhan
Those of you who have been a regular to our reviews section would know that we, at Motoroids, have been busy spending time with a lot of machines and have dished out first drive impressions of everything ranging from a Maserati Ghibli and Audi Q7 4.2 TDI to a KTM 390 Duke and Ford EcoSport. Amidst all of the vehicle testing and report writing, we did manage to end up in a barren phase, in which we didn’t have any new car/bike to put through our testing regime.
While Deepak was quick to announce his plans of getting Leh’d and summoned a spanking new TBTS 500 to his duty, we were left behind thinking of ways to pump up our adrenaline levels in the gloomy weather.
Not the ones to let the heavy downpours and flooded streets dampen our spirits, we were quick to call the good folks at Nebula Automotive Pvt. Ltd. to rescue us from the perils of boredom and send us a couple of their new ATVs to keep us busy.
What followed were some sweet exhaust notes, an unexpected audience, a lot of mud plunging, sideways action and an afternoon full of fun!
Interested to know more? Read on for answers to all of your questions.
Tell me more about Nebula Automotive Pvt. Ltd. . .
Nebula Automotive Pvt. Ltd. are sellers of a line up of ATVs in India. Regulars here would remember that we reported in detail when Nebula added three new vehicles to its product portfolio last year. With the addition of these three vehicles (Trike, HS 800 and AX 700), Nebula Automotive offers a full spectrum of 12 vehicles ranging from 200cc Junior/Uniage ATVs to 800cc twin seaters ideal for both budding off-road-ers and fun-seeking rookies.
We tested the HS 800 and the AX 700 ATVs to quench our thirst for unadulterated action and were seen grinning ear to ear even hours after we returned the vehicles.
While we will be publicizing the test reports of both the vehicles we tested, this review will be focused only on the HS 800.
So what’s this Nebula HS 800 all about?
The HS 800 is a four wheeled, two seater All Terrain Vehicle that certainly looks the part.
Powered by a 8 valve 800cc V Twin, the HS 800 has a max speed of 70 kmph. The motor comes mated to a CVT gearbox and as is expected from a vehicle in this genre, power can be transferred to all four wheels to endow the ATV with some mud plunging capabilities.
Looks: The Nebula HS 800 surely looks like it means business and features a roll cage, a foldable windscreen, a 3 spoke sports steering, sports seats, off road footwear and a tow hook positioned below the front grille. At the back, the Nebula HS 800 gets a small loading bay to dump in your camping gear and most of the other stuff you would fancy carrying along to your off road destination.
Our only grouse in the looks department is that the five spoke chrome wheels, together with flavourless stickers on the body, are reminiscent of cheap toys that come from one of our not-so-friendly neighbors.
What about the ergonomics?
Ergonomics: We always say that vehicle ergonomics play a vital role in making a vehicle that wee bit more appealing and human factors become all the more important when it comes to vehicles like the one you see in the images here.
This ATV comes with a plastic dashboard that gets a centrally mounted speedometer along with other tell-tale lights. The switches for the headlights & foglights are placed right below the speedo console and it does take some time getting used to the rather odd positioning. Also, the switches seem to be of average quality and it does take time registering which switch is meant for what. Not something too likable when you are busy thinking of the approach angle between your ATV and the next hurdle coming your way.
As we said above, the HS 800 comes equipped with a Four Wheel Drive system and the same can be selected/de-selected using a lever between the two racing seats. The lever, while easily falling to hands, could have been a tad smoother in operation and made shifting in to and out of 4WD mode a lot more effortless.
As for the sports seats, we have nothing but good things to say about the very supportive and comforting sports-type bucket seats. The seats can be adjusted for reach and come with manual adjustments (what else?).
Can you tell me more about the engine?
Engine: As we told above, powering the Nebula HS 800 is an 800cc V Twin motor that comes mated to a CVT gearbox. The water cooled motor has MPFI system and has a Bore x Stroke of 91mm×61.5mm, with compression ratio being set at 9.2:1.
Leaving all the figures aside and coming to seat of the pants, the engine is a free revving unit and while the absence of a tacho means that we aren’t too sure, the engine does seem to rev to the moon and rev smoothly at that. Nebula has decided to refrain from revealing the power figures but we reckon that the engine has around 35 hp of max power on tap.
The CVT ‘box ensures that the power delivery is seamless and coupled with decent power, makes driving off the tarmac all the more effortless. The engine has been tuned to offer low-to-moderate torque lower down the revs and the motor seems to hit its sweet spot as soon you decide to stop feathering the accelerator paddle. We did manage to drive the vehicle in slush, over small cliffs and on pools of water and not once did the HS 800 feel under-powered.
We believe that only the most hard core of the off-roaders and dune bashers would crave for more juice from the engine.
Okay, what about the suspension and the brakes?
Suspension and Brakes: Suspension duties on both the ends are courtesy independent double swing arms. As for the brakes, the HS 800 comes equipped with ventilated hydraulic disc brakes on all four wheels and quickly summing it up, the HS 800 has enough stopping power to out-brake that old 800cc Japanese hatchback you grew up driving.
The HS 800 doesn’t offer the proverbial magic carpet ride but what it does ensure is that you spend hours trodding over assortment of terrains without breaking your spine.
The steering, as is obvious, is non power assisted. However, the talking point here is that it boasts of pin point accuracy. Piloting this ATV is reminiscent of using a typical entry level digital camera- just point and shoot! We never intended to go apex hunting in a Nebula HS 800 and we didn’t. What we rather indulged in was some sideways action and man does this thing drift! Step on the gas, turn the wheel to lock, let some over-steer take control and you will find yourself putting on a good show for all the bystanders.
Is it really good off the road?
Being capable off the road is a pre-requisite for any vehicle which boasts of “all terrain” credentials and here is where the Nebula HS 800 really impresses us.
The HS 800, complete with its all terrain tires, torque-y motor and all wheel drive machinery, comes across as quite a mountain goat. Not satisfied with the mud plunging, we took the ATV to small cliffs, into water-filled potholes deep enough to swallow half of my Baleno and over enough rocks to scare even the bravest of rock climbers and the HS 800 didn’t let us down on even a single occasion. There did come a time when the boulders bogged us down but we were soon to realize that switching to 4L mode simply makes a mockery out of all that inhospitable terrain.
The HS 800 does seem to be capable of enduring through more of such landscape, which is nothing short of commendable. Especially since Nebula makes no bones about the fact that it isn’t targeting the serious off roaders with the HS 800.
So what is the final word?
Conclusion: In case it isn’t obvious to you by now, the Nebula HS 800 offers a poka-yoke design for gratification. Nebula isn’t targeting the most serious of off roading enthusiasts with its products. Instead, their ATVs focus more on those looking to buy an ATV for recreational activities and a splendid recipe for fun the HS 800 does provide.
Priced at INR 16,50,000, the Nebula HS 800, albeit expensive, is a good way to keep yourself cheerful, even when your friends are busy exploring the motorways around Leh.
Go to next page for Nebula HS 800 complete Image Gallery
Go to next page for Nebula HS 800 technical specs
- Type 800cc, Water cooled, twin v-type cylinder,8 valve
- Bore x Stroke 91×61.5
- Compression Ratio 9.2:1
- Gas supplying system type High-pressure oil pump, 2-fuel spray nozzle
- Ignition EFI
- Starting ELECTRIC START
- Transmission CVT
- Drive Train Axle
- Suspension/Front independent double swing arm
- Suspension/Rear independent double swing arm
- Brakes/Front Dual ventilated hydraulic disc
- Brakes/Rear Dual ventilated hydraulic disc
- Tyres/Front AT25 x 8-12 radial
- Tyres/Rear AT25 x 10-12 radial
- L x W x H 2650mm x 1330mm x1860mm
- Wheelbase 1935mm
- Ground Clearance 260mm
- Fuel Capacity 30L
- Weight withtout loading 529kgs
- Highest speed 70km/h