TVS showcased the Zepellin Concept at the Auto Expo 2018. While the Indian manufacturer has filed a trademark for the name, there is still no official announcement of the launch of the motorcycle. The Chinese manufacturers are known to copy other manufacturers and it looks like they got ahead of the TVS. Meet, the JSX500i manufactured by Xianglong. It takes all the design cues from the Zepellin.
The Zepellin itself was liked by people because of its design which was unique. TVS would have placed it as a cruiser in the Indian market. So, it would have to go against the likes of Royal Enfield Classic 350, Bajaj Dominar 250, Honda H’ness 350 and Bajaj Avenger also.
The Zepellin Concept was showcased with a 220 cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine that produced 20 bhp of max power and 22 Nm of peak torque. The engine was mated to a 1200W electric motor that provided torque assist and it ran on lithium-ion batteries. The rear wheel was driven using a 6-speed gearbox and belt drive. These specs would change when the motorcycle hits production
Copycat more powerful than original
Surprisingly, Xianglong, the manufacturer of the copycat motorcycle has made their motorcycle more powerful than the Zepellin Concept. The JSX500i is powered by a 471cc, twin-cylinder engine that is water-cooled. The engine can produce 44.87 PS of maximum power and 41 Nm of peak torque. It comes mated to a 6-speed gearbox. Xianglong claims that the JSX500i can achieve a restricted top speed of 150 kmph. On paper, the specs look quite good and powerful. In fact, the specs are even more powerful than the TVS’s flagship Apache RR310.
The JSX500i also comes with Up-side down front forks but unlike Zepellin they are not finished in a golden colour. It runs on 17-inch alloy wheels that use 20/70 front and 150/70 rear tyres whereas the TVS’s motorcycle used spoked wheels. The copycat has a length of 2,150 mm, a width of 890 mm and a height of 1,180 mm. The wheelbase of the motorcycle measures 1,460 mm with a ground clearance of 140 mm.
It does have some differences when compared to Zeppelin such as an upswept exhaust pipe and taller handlebars. The design language of the motorcycle is quite similar such as a hexagonal headlamp, a sculpted fuel tank that looks muscular, an engine cowl, a single-piece stepped seat, gills on the side panels and a square radiator. However, the Zeppelin Concept did have more of a cruiser stance because of the scooped out seat whereas the JSX500i looks a bit commuter-ish.
Since TVS showcased the concept motorcycle at the Auto Expo few things have changed. The “Zeppelin” name has changed to “Zepplin”. So, it is not missing an “e”. We do not know if they have done it because of some trademark issue. The manufacturer has also added an “R” to the name. So, the name for which the trademark was filed is “Zepplin R”. We have not yet seen any spy shots of the upcoming motorcycle. There has also not been any official announcement from TVS.