Sunday, November 7, 2010

SBS Transit : Volvo B9TL Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 (Batch 1 & 2)

 Update - After this post was published, a fellow transport enthusiast Darryl highlighted that the B9TL no longer has the name "Olympian" and is simply known as B9TL.

Update 2 - Joey points out that the bodywork is named Wright Eclipse Gemini 2, and not Wright Gemini Eclipse 2.

Update 3 - Batch 1 is registered under the SBS7500D - SBS7686B series (excluding regos ending with 4, and equipped with ZF EcoLife 6AP 1410B transmission. Batch 2 is registered under the 77XX series and using Voith DIWA 864.5 transmission.
The batch 3 Wright B9TLs, which are configured to 100% fully low floor made a debut on 23rd Nov 2011 and are registered in the 3XXX series.

And that is quite a mouthful there for the name of these new double deckers that hit the road recently!

SBS7501B part of SBS Transit's newest fleet addition/replacements for Wheelchair accessible buses.
The Volvo B9TL Olympian chassis was first brought in by SBS Transit with in house ComfortDelgro Engineering (CDGE) bodywork sourced from various kit suppliers.

ComfortDelgro Engineering bodied- Volvo B9TL Euro III.
  • Known as Singapore's first Wheelchair accessible bus (photos by Edward Yeo), this series of CDGE B9TL had several innovative ideas implemented, such as a new seating arrangement on both decks, one piece glass for the windscreen and a curved front that moves away from the traditional "blocky" double deck design. Though it does have some issues of its own like a roaring radiator and vibrations that affects some of the units in this variant.

The announcement that SBS Transit purchased a new fleet of B9TL Euro V chassis that would be bodied by Wright took the community by surprise, given the recent purchases of new buses being bodied by local/regional bodyworks.

Debuting on the roads on the 1st November, 3 units of Wrights were deployed. SBS7501B and SBS7506M on 185, and SBS7505R on 60.

The Wright B9TLs are like evolved version of the CDGE variant.

At first glance, the first thing that strikes any commuters would be the design. It looks similar to the CDGE
front, but yet different and has the "oomph" to capture anyone's attention on the roads. The large Hanover Electronic display signage, three piece windscreen with an egg-shaped (oval) glass gives a very modern look

The front is striking and attractive, with the Wright trademark design lined in sliver and the bubble front.
There are two extra holes below each headlamp clusters, SBS Transit did not forgot to fit in more headlights. They are empty molds by Wright designs which is not specified for usage in the blueprints.

It is like the CDGE B9TL bodywork, evolved.
The rear of the bus is also reminisce of the CDGE B9TL, complete with the Volvo badge on the bottom left.
The Hanover EDS is not placed within the bodywork but on the upper deck windscreen to allow easier maintenance.This is an all Wright design except the fact that the engine cover lacks the Wright trademark logo, instead just a hint of the pattern without the lines. One notable difference is the signal light is available for the left and right and is more at the top for better visibility to road users behind, and does not look out of place anymore unlike the KUBs and CDGE B9TLs.

On board the Wright B9TL

The ticket dispenser now sits in a housing for its own.Transitlink machines anyone? ^^
The interior is familiar yet different -The top aircon duct curves and the wheelarch cover on the left.

Another familiar layout.The Wright's design of glass, curves and black with grey trims here are very pleasing to the eyes.

Not to mention the WAB space, the backrest is on a very cool black "background"

Layout is similar to CDGE but the Wright curvy poles everywhere, with a curvy aircon duct.
Though SBS Transit did not configure this to be a fully low floor interior like the KMB Wright B9TL, it offers a wider aisle to enhance passenger comfort. Plus the colour scheme of light tan brown with purple grab pole is more comfortable than the dull brown now commonly seen on all the K230UBs in SBS Transit's fleet. The CDGE build quality does not feel cheap anywhere, as the builds were supervised by Wrightbus.

Upper deck

Upper deck is similar, but there is the 2X2 additional aircon ducts on the side of each aircon ducts
The asymmetry is part of the Wright design, due to the location of the staircase.
A blue tint to shield from the sunlight...
 ...not very useful in the evening and morning sun. CDGE's B9TL has a much darker tint for the whole upper deck windscreen.
It's not a straight staircase, but it gets the job done.
All the lighting covers on the top and bottom deck is clear colour instead of opaque white. Very attractive in day and night!
EDS housed on the compartment on the bottom left.
View from the rear to front. The updated design aesthetics creates a very modern feel..
Aircon outlet.
Ride & comfort.

The ride was a smooth, pleasant and a very quiet one compared to the CDGE B9TLs now which are rather noisy after a few years in service. The usage of the red colour seats covers by SBST which traps heat makes long journeys uncomfortable a while; the CDGE B9TL's yellow seat covers are instead much more  comfortable. Though the bell kind of irritating with its loud blunt "BEEP" when pressed in this pleasant atmosphere.


The Wright B9TLs are overall a very charming addition into SBS Transit's recent fleet renewal.

The hype created by this B9TL variant lives up to expectation. There are minor issues cropping up, such as the upper deck windscreen with sun and the bus stopping buzzer. But the modern look, updated interiors coupled with the smooth performance and quiet interior will win every commuter's hearts as more of the Wrights enter revenue service.

- (buses[IN]gapore!)

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