Bangalore - Pushkar: A bike, a free soul and the journey

Discussion in 'Travelogues' started by Roomy, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. Roomy

    Roomy New Member

    Feb 23, 2015
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    Note: This is not a travelogue in its purest sense, but a thread in which I will detail the planning/preparation, the trip as it happens and the experience that comes with it.

    A little background before I jump right onto the trip
    Last year, four of us based in Bangalore(Myself and three friends) did the Leh-ladakh circuit starting from Delhi through Manali to Leh and then to Kargil, Srinagar, Amritsar and back to Delhi in 15 days. The trip was a revelation as that was the true long road trip that I had in which the draw was the ride itself with the places coming in second to that.
    Fast forward to 2016, our plans of a grand NE sojourn is down the drain as all three of them have shifted abroad for better opportunities. I initially planned to do NE solo,riding from here and then riding back. I had even began a thread on the 'other' bhp forum for the same but sense quickly prevailed and I realized its not pragmatic given my time constraints(Oct 30/31-Nov 17/18).
    I contemplated a full South India ride, a trip through the east coast and return through the west coast, Leh Ladakh V 2.0 and many others. The voice inside my head made me abandon all due to a very complex algorithm of reasoning that is too startling to be presented to public. One fine morning, as I was wasting my life away in the chaos of Bangalore traffic, I opened up to the possibility of a grand Rajasthan tour which can give me a chance to enjoy the Land of Kings with all its splendor, history and diversity. As luck would have it, my planned vacation co incided with the 'Pushkar Mela' 2016(If you haven't heard of it ever, chance are you doctor just woke you up from your Coma). And so, I finally have a destination. All that's left was place pins on the map, chart the route, get your bike, pack the bike and set sail.

    Or is it?

    The Leh trip last year was on rented bikes(D200 for me, a real life extended test drive!) and so the ride part was well take care by the numerous options in Karol Bagh. The bike I had was a Yamaha RXZ which isn't really suited for highway marathons as it strains the bike and rider at sustained runs of over 80 Kmph and the suspension isn't exactly what you'd prefer when you are going to be spending most of your time on the bike.
    Here's a pic of her when I rode her through the Dhimban ghats and Satyamangalam to Kerala
    [​IMG] IMG_20160811_114446.jpg
    And that sparked my hunt for a used bike and the initial shortlist contained only two Austrians, the D200 and his bigger badass brother the D390. I had fallen in love with the 200 in the 3000+KM's I had spent with it, the bike pulling on and on in the hills whereas the RE's were constantly heaving and panting with a fuel economy to die for. The used bike market soon had me looking at the D390 as the gulf in prices there was very very tempting for a guy like me. You had more power on tap, hell yeah and more importantly you had ABS which tilted the balance for the D390 once and for all. Finding a good used bike wasn't as easy as I initially thought and the more I searched I understood that the purchase will stretch my already stretched to the max budget. Moreover, I wasn't entirely convinced with the reliability of the bike and how it would hold out given the notorious failures that crop up out of nowhere as has been documented in multiple forums. So, I was again locked up with the voices inside my head fighting it out in a way that would put any accomplished lawyer to shame. Like the mythical churning of the ocean which brought forth multiple items, I was presented with options like the 200RS, Impluse, ZMA and even an RE. Then, at the very last came the very modest contender that was to blow away all the fancy competition and present itself as the only true touring bike with proven credentials and enough grunt to leave the others in the RVM, the very unassuming Jap, the Honda CBR 250.
    As luck would have it, I was able to find a good bike within a couple of weeks(To add context, this is happening in June 2016). A 2012 ABS model with ~20K clicks, well taken care of, neatly kept with fram sliders and a radiator guard installed. Routed it straight to the hands of Karthik in Tansi Honda, followed by replacing oil with Shell FS, chain sprocket replacement and the paid service. A puncture fiasco meant that I replaced the rear with MRF REV C1(Made specifically for the D390, 150/60 compared to stock 140/70), I am still awaiting my front FC1 as they are consistently out of stock here in Bangalore. Initial reactions from my experience with the bike that includes one up/down trip to Kerala.
    IMG_20160907_072210.jpg Gear ratios of the 1st/2nd leaves me irritated in city traffic, maneuverability in parking lots is very limited because of the bulk and the restrained handle bar turning angle. The MID should be containing lot more info(Spoilt by the Duke MID), but the readouts are very easy to read and the instrument cluster is well laid out. Design has aged considerably but is still a classic and manages to get a couple of heads to turn every now and then. Brilliant mid range power, can corner very nicely but I am not an aggressive rider and havent reached anywhere near her limits yet. Has proven to be a worthy distance cruncher and can sustain triple digit speed for hours without any engine overheating or fuss. Legendary Honda reliability sealed the deal for me as I am sure she wont let me down in the middle of the road, finger crossed!

    Let the preparation begin
    Bike in hand, I started the preparations for the ride and first thing on my list was to upgrade the light as I am not entirely convinced by highway performance. An Osram NightBreaker will do duty for now for now to replace the stock headlight along with a pair of 15W Shilan CREE Led's ordered off Amazon. I ought to be doing the installation over the weekend and will keep you posted on how it goes. Next up on the list was Saddle/Tail bag to haul my stuff around during the whole trip. This had to be big enough to carry my stuff and still provide space for buying misc stuff that I may be tempted with and at the same time should not unsettle my bike at speeds.Straight up, the contender was the Viaterra Claw with its tried and tested product that is durable, rain proof, easy to install and most importantly light on the pocket. The only argument against it was I cannot mount an extra back pack on top without affecting the stability as it is a tail bag. The Rynox Nomad Saddle bags has not a single argument against it except for the price which has single-handedly moved it from 'Definitely' to 'Maybe'. I also had a look at the Road God's Triton S1/X1 which is almighty big and can also be converted to a backpack to move it around. From the description I doubt if it will suit the CBR as the will almost definitely brush the silencer, but definitely one all RE owners should be considering. I have written to them and waiting for them to get back.
    My brake pads are getting worn out and though the stopping performance hasn't let me down to date, I would definitely appreciate a little more feedback and a more progressive feel. The stock pads for the ABS model aren't cheap and cost~3K IIRC and I decided to upgrade to a pair of EBC sintered pads that are used extensively worldwide and also for trackdays. Ordered off the UK website and my friend will carry it down in Oct. I hope it lives up to the billing as I have shelled out quite a bit for them. These are the pics of the same that has arrived at my friend's place.
    The next thing is the most important on my list and that is the riding gear. I currently use an AGV Solare which has CE approved armor in shoulder and elbow along with a memory foam in the back. I have shortlisted the Rynox Advento riding pants based on the general feedback on forums even though they are expensive at ~8k and the lack of worthy contenders in the market. I am unable to figure out which full gauntlets I should be looking at with the primary retirements of being water proof and breathable(Leathers are off for this reason). Similar situation wrt riding boots and am most probably going for a pair of Orazo's due to their sheer VFM.

    Advice solicited for all the above and I have an open mind and listen to opinions. I would appreciate if fellow members can point me to the best roads for me to get to Rajasthan as I generally dislike highways and prefer winding SH/Village roads even if they slow me down.
    As things stand, I am riding Solo because lack of riding partners. Anyone who feel that we are in a similar wavelength and would like to ride along with me are most welcome. PM me, and we'll take if forward.
    Vilas Pandey likes this.

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