Keoladeo National Park India: A Cold Weather, Beautiful Birds and The Ninja 250R

A Quick Log of Keoladeo National Park India Trip:

The Keoladeo National Park India or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India is a famous avifauna sanctuary that plays host to thousands of birds especially during the winter season.

– Wikipedia

The place is a paradise for bird watchers and photographers. During the winter months the sanctuary is flocked by noisy tourists, annoying kids, avid bird watchers and photo enthusiasts – Amateurs & Professionals.

Keoladeo National Park Trip Collage

This is one place that has become a ritual in my annual rides. Its now the 3rd year, during winter I have rode to the park from Mumbai. Every time the ride was at ease but this year time was the biggest constraint. January 26th had comes on a Saturday and Sunday is the usual off. I just took Friday off from work and left from Mumbai on Thursday evening.

Based on the calculations I had made on distance, along with other study and analysis I was totally aware that I’m gonna play chicken race with time. But knew the gravity of the situation so I was mentally and physically fully prepared for the ride.

Bike Ridden:

Kawasaki Ninja 250R, 2010 Model

Total Kms Covered:

2600+ kms via NH-8 and NH – 3 spread over 4 lane, 2 lane and single highway, with little offroad and traffic jam city roads.

Lessons Learned:

  • 1 litre of water should always be in your bag.
  • 1 pair of cloth comes always handy.
  • Keep a very cool mind in city roads of any State.
  • Fuel up much before the tank of Ninja hits reserve.
  • Do not ever underestimate cold of the North.
  • Dry fruits now should become a must for long rides.

What Was The Best:

  • The Super Duper cold wind blowing on my face near Udaipur.
  • The cheapest and comfortable stay at Bharatpur.
  • New contacts made with authority people of the park.
  • Covered almost the entire park (25 sq.kms) on foot.
  • Some of my best bird shots.
  • Longest night ride ever; 10+ hours.
  • Endurance has gone a level up.

What I Missed:

  • No python shot this time either.
  • Was very keep to take photographs of Woodpecker and Siberian Crane.
  • Boat ride in the park.
  • Full frame DSLR.

The Story:

Day 1 (At Dusk): Realizing Cold

Started the ride around 4.30pm from Mumbai on 24th January, 2013. Plan was to reach as far as possible by midnight. Reality is that I was so excited I landed riding all the way upto 6 in the morning and reached somewhere near Udaipur.

The weather was so cold that despite wearing all layers and jacket, it was becoming unbearable. So I checked into a hotel for few hours nap and a break from the chill. By 11am I started the ride again… with least number of halts I was in Bharatpur by evening 7pm.

Found a very cheap and clean place to stay for the 2 nights and prepped my gear for tomorrow’s shoot.

P.S. The vegetarian food of Rajasthan is just finger licking delicious.

Day 2 (At the Park):Nature at its Best

Bharatpur park is 25 sq kms in size. The cycle or rickshaw are good options to cover the park but nothing beats walking in the entire region to shoot some good bird photos. I have always taken the 11 number bus and had the same intentions this time too.

Within just half an hour of entering the park already I got 5 satisfactory shots. My joy and excitement was totally at the top and I spent every minute looking for those rare and exotic birds.

By lunch time I covered one side of the park and reached the canteen. Got my energy level up and stuffed myself with some nutrients and drinks.

Around evening 5pm I covered almost 80% of the park and was very happy with what I captured since morning. Once it was fully dark I got one rickshaw who for a nominal fare dropped me to the main entrance of the park.

Hotel was just 5 mins away. Went back and got everything ready to leave early morning tomorrow.

P.S. Food in the park is not great; best if you pack your lunch with you. And more than the main track in the park, you’ll catch the real action on the pathways made by the authorities.

Day 3: (At Mad Rush): The Bullet Train

Since beginning I was totally aware that the only tough day would be today. Weather would be bone chilling cold. Strong wind, 4 lane, 2 lane and single lane highway; to cover distance of 1200+ kms… and all this in less than 24 hours.

Without wasting a single minute I started at sharp 6am and just blasted my way through NH – 3 until I hit a 2 lane highway. From here on it was a steady pace under 80km/hr.

After covering some 500+ kms I started to wonder when the hell this highway will turn back on 4 lane. Called up few friends and got to know from Indore onwards is my runway.

But by the time I reached Indore it was past 6pm. Almost sundown.

Even though the night was dark, the 4 lane highway is in such a good condition and I was able to keep pace at 100 mark.

It was tough after 8pm. The moment I had some dinner, I felt the sleep and exhaust slowly creeping in. Had to stop a lot of times to give a break to myself.

Tiring times, but this is something I really enjoy. Pushing the limit and setting new bars for myself.

At wee hours of morning, 4am, I was in my residence. Going flat on the bed just for couple of hours and immediately back to wok (office) to move on with the rest of the day.

No Pain, No Tiredness and No Aches. I think my body just got a level stronger compared to my previous long run.

 I wanted to keep this blog a short one but some how the word count has gone over the top.

Now no talks; enjoy the pics.

Bharatpur National Park
Bharatpur National Park

Just for the birds and not photography

Tourist flocking Bharatpur National Park

The Real Alloo Paratha

Flying Bird

Painted stork

Angry parrots

Antlers

Nil Gai

Owl sleeping in Bharatpur National Park

Evening snack

Painted Stork

The Woodpecker

The END? 😉

Timberland Radler Trail Camp Shoes

Carrying two pairs of footwear is a difficult task on bike trips. Especially when you intend to pack light, carrying one for pure biking purposes while the other for casual wear. Biking shoes obviously are on your feet most of the time but accommodating the other pair is a dilemma. So now, what would be the best thing to do?

While browsing on the web I dug out a pair of cool folding shoes designed by Timberland for trekkers and hikers; but that which a rider can make good use of too!

A rider can just fold and zip-up a pair of Radler Trail Camp shoes and simply put them in the luggage or just hang them in style.

When you are at your destination or not riding on a particular day, you don’t want to put your feet back in your biking shoes. Simple lightweight footwear always come handy on these bike trips. They’re even better if small and portable – tiny enough that they hardly occupy any space in your luggage. Radler Trail Camp shoes do just that.

Redler Trail Camp Folding Shoes

Redler Trail Camp Folding Shoes

  • Cool features of these folding shoes
  • Water-repellent
  • Lightweight,
  • Fleece-lined,
  • Unisex,
  • Treated ripstop fabric,
  • Removable OrthoLite footbed for underfoot warmth and comfort,
  • Compact upper design,
  • Features 42 per cent recycled rubber lug outsoles for superior traction in the woods.
  • Durable Green Rubber™ used
  • A clean profile and slight lug for traction

 

OrthoLite:

OrthoLite comfort foam insoles provide breathability, moisture transport, antimicrobial function and long-term cushioning. The ultra-breathable material used won’t break down or lose cushioning over time – and your footwear will remain comfortable and supportive.

Green Rubber™

The shoes feature Green Rubber™ outsole made with 42% recycled rubber.

Timerland Radler Trail Camp

Timerland Radler Trail Camp

You can comfortably and confidently wander around your destination wearing them. They are available at Timeberland stores or you can buy them online through Amazon for a reasonable price of USD50-70 a pair.

Note:  Women must order a size smaller – so if you normally pick an 8, simply order men’s 7.

For those who like to take impromptu hikes on their bike rides, but always seem to have the ‘wrong’ shoes for the occasion, these ubercool shoes from Timberland might just be the answer to that.

Photos: Timberland

Also penned by me in MyBikeMyWorld.com

Bajaj Discover 100T Review And Specifications

The Bajaj Discover 100T, or the Ultimate100, as they call it, is not one of those power packed super machines. But, with great fuel economy, effective power output and comfort, Bajaj has once again proved that it knows the pulse of the daily commuter who needs a good ride! I’m impressed with the impact this 100cc motorcycle has had on me, after a quick ride over our Indian roads.

A few months ago, Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto said that he has very high expectations from the new 100cc bike that is being developed by Bajaj Auto, and that, in the technology segment; it will be the most advanced 100cc bike. The much awaited bike was finally launched in January 2013, in India.  Bajaj also plans to export  the 100T to Brazil, South Africa and South East Asian countries.

At the onset, the bike does resemble the Discover 125 ST but a closer look reveals several differentiating factors. Did you know that the ‘T’ stands for Touring?

Bajaj Discover 100T

Bajaj Discover 100T

Power, Performance and Delivery

The Discover 100T is powered by Bajaj’s patented 4-valve DTS-i technology which delivers an unbelievable 10.2 Ps of power. In simple words, that is 30 per cent more than any other motorcycle in the 100cc segment. Be it a single rider or along with a pillion, the bike hardly even struggles when it comes to power and performance aspects. The low as well as mid level torque output is pretty decent. What you can actually feel is the ultra smooth engine under you.

DTSI Twin Spark

DTSI Twin Spark

For a 100cc bike, the power, performance and delivery in Discover 100T is dreamlike. The bike can reach a speed of 80km / 45 miles per hour rather swiftly. The 5 speed gear system (all up) is effortless. Pull the clutch in and just a simple touch of the toe shifts the gear. The tall gearing ratios have been set so as to give you the most out of the engine.

Fuel economy tag put on the bike is 87kpl / 204mpg.

Most Advance 100cc Engine

Most Advance 100cc Engine

Handling and Comfort

The light weight bike has an upright seating position and is easily flick-able when it comes to manoeuvring through traffic. The super soft cushioning is something you are bound to like. The foot peg positions are positioned such that once your feet rest on them, the knee grabs the tank unknowingly. I could feel the confidence while turning irrespective of the speed.

Discover 100T

Discover 100T

Styling and Lineaments

From a distance, it looks much like the Discover 125ST. Get a closer peek, and notice the difference in its rear mudguard, chain cover and a few other aesthetics along with its nitrox rear suspension. The trendy looking 10-spoke new design alloy wheels and aluminium side sets along with contrasting two tone graphics make the 100T, a premium two wheeler in its class. DC ignition and headlamp gives flicker-free lighting, even at low speeds. A feature, rarely seen on bikes in the 100cc segment.

In Appearnce Similar To Discover ST

In Appearance Similar To Discover ST

Braking and Suspension

The wheels have drum brakes and are very effective. Surely, you won’t miss the presence of disc brakes, a feature which comes with all bikes, at least on the front wheel.

New Nitrox Rear Suspension

New Nitrox Rear Suspension

The new nitrox rear suspension and a quality built fork in the front provide a bump free riding experience. The suspension has been tuned well for pain free riding even on district or village roads , i.e., harsh roads, where you tend to find uneven surfaces. There is enough stability at all speeds, including corners.

Here’s a tip: At turns, make sure you have a tight grip and total control over the handle. An inexperienced rider might find it difficult to manoeuvre the bike properly on U-pin curves, especially with a pillion behind.

Drum Brakes Given At Front And Rear Wheel

Drum Brakes Given At Front And Rear Wheel

Instrument cluster and console

The console has the same standard features and info as the Discover 125. Analogue speedometer, odometer, single trip meter, neutral light, upper beam indicator and battery condition info. To add style,  the Bajaj logo glows on the right corner. The appearance and presentation of all the info in the instrument cluster is pretty neat.

Simple And Neat Analog Console

Simple And Neat Analog Console

Our Take

Bikes of 100cc are not meant to be in the league of powerful machines and their primary USP is the bountiful fuel economy. Bajaj has managed to get the mileage and satisfying power in one motor itself. The unbeatable mileage and a very effective power output, which is more than any other 100cc bike, makes the Bajaj Discover 100T a truly premium entry level motorcycle.

As always, Bajaj has lived up to its promise.  The bike is certainly a daily commuter’s delight and is sure to be a winner among riders in both cities as well as in remote regions of the country.

In India, the bike will cost INR 58850/- on-road. Pricing in Brazil, South Africa and South East Asian countries will be known once the export plan is revealed.

Bajaj Discover 100T

Bajaj Discover 100T

Game changer

After the launch of Bajaj’s first premium entry level 100cc bike, the automobile industry in India seems to be waking up and shaking up! Is it then a wonder that several other brands are following a similar path to launch bikes classified under the premium 100cc – 125cc segments?

 

High Five for

  • Superb mileage
  • Comfort and styling

Wish it had

  • A tachometer
  • Digital console (At least in one pod)

Going Offroad On The Ultimate 100

Going Offroad On The Ultimate 100

Tech Specs:

Engine – 4 Valve DTS-i
Engine Displacement – 102 cc
Max.Net Power – 10.2 Ps @ 9000 rpm
Max.net Torque – 9 N   9.2 Nm @ 6500 rpm

Ignition System – Digital CDI
Choke – Auto
Starting – Self + Kick start

Clutch – Multiplate Wet Clutch
Transmission – 5 Speed Constant Mesh
Frame – Semi Double Cradle

Front Suspension – Telescopic Fork with Anti-friction Bush
Rear Suspension – Nitrox  Twin Shocks with Gas Canister

Front/Rear Brake – Drum 130/110 mm

Front wheel / tyre – New design alloy / 2.75 X 17” 41P Tubed
Rear wheel / tyre – New design alloy / 3.00 X 17” 50P Tubed

Fuel Tank – 10 L (3.5 L usable reserve)

Wheelbase
– 1305 mm
Seat Height – 780 mm
Turning Circle Radius – 1915 mm
Ground Clearance – 165 mm

Kerb Weight – 121 kg
Max Speed – 100 kph*
System – DC Ignition
Battery – 12V 5AH

The Ultimate 100

The Ultimate 100

Penned by me and published in MyBikeMyWorld.

RAJASTHAN jaunt 2012

It had been over 6 months since the Spiti Valley trip. And had just come home from Goa where I had gone for the New Year 2012. Rides were going good but still felt some thing was missing.

Just two days after this thought a friend from my first Leh trip back in 2008 mentioned about riding to the state of Royals… And yes Rajasthan plan was ON.

In just couple of days our itinerary was ready and we were ready to make the circuit this winter.

I won’t be able to make this log in a full story as I have been on a hectic schedule in recent times… so this will be a full photo feature entry.

Hope the photos are treat to the eyes…

We were 3 on two bikes. Me on Ninja 250R and Varun – Anita on the Classic 500.

Our ride went from the coldest part of Rajasthan to the remote region of Dholavira, up to the Golden city and far east to the life in the wild – Keoladeo National Park.

And so it begins on a fine morning...

Green on Green terrain

Jodhpur

Colors of evening.

Winter effect.

View from our room, Jaisalmer fort.

The Dual.

Painted stork.

Abstract.

I was so jealous here...

The Model of the ride.

New Terrain.

The only photo of all 3 together.

The Blue city

Jodhpur puppets

Meherangad

Our machines

Snapshot

Checkout where my bike was parked...

Attitude parrots

Mafia stare

SAM

Twins

Mt Abu sunset

Dholavira stay

Trevor's tank

Winter effect

Fire God arrives

All dressed up

Where is the father...!! jerking..?

Umaid Palace

A Local

The Model of the trip

At Mount Abu hotel.

At top of the fort.

All twinkly

Jawant Thada

Colos of night

Check out the bull.

Light as feather I hope.

Clouds of evening

The red face monkey

Peahen beauty

Desert storm in a sand storm

Road to Dholavira

Trying the impossible.

The Green Machine

Morning sight in Dholavira

Biggest sunset of the trip.

Getting the evening colors.

Sunrise at Dholavira.

A new friend.

At the edge.

Lunch time for the kid.

Quenching thrist.

Morning flight

That will be a big hangover.

Entertainment inside fort.

The young one.

Nilgai

He looks tasty.

A good looking bird.

Thats the fun in wildlife photography.

Parrot home

Blending bowl.

Long tail bird

Elastic neck bird

Treading the paths of wildlife.

Fat parrot

Spotted an Orange bird.

This will make a good dog bone.

Wish I could get little more closer.

Giving a guest appearance.

Trying to camouflage.

Evening flight

White spotted deer.

Sleeping time

Sharp as it can get.

DOF

Brahmi ducks

At Ranthambore.

Looking for food.

Standing tall.

Mortal combat

Our Driver

Going offroad

Long walk

Cigarette is not the answer

Solitude

Friends among, no religion bias.

Dual flight

Mirror effect

Young photographer

Dusk closing in

Best way to travel in the park.

Creepy lake

My favourite bird

Nice peak

Handsome bird

Dusk at park.

Thats a huge water tank on a remote place.

Boeing 747

The ride ended with a good note of making back together safe and sound. A new dawn awaits to head back on the highway. But until then, its the office office game in foreplay.

Happy New Year – Mandrem Beach Goa 2012

My dream was to spend New Year in Goa at least ones and finally in the end of 2011 it came true. 2012 began on the sand of Goa. A trip to remember for life time.

I’ll not go in the detailed log but I’ll just say I had lots of fun. Here are some pictures I took, they themselves will speak a 1000 words…

Happy New Year – Goa 2012

Mandrem

Colors of evening

Sunset of Mandrem

Flying fish

And the backflip fish.

Wave jump

Our stay in the backdrop.

Cute couple

Snake eyes and Duke.

Gorgeous

Full English Breakfast

Gorgeous

Kingfisher king of good times.

Run Man Run

Walk on the beach

The wind is high.

Lunch

Hulk and the Gang.

Fashion angle

The clean and clear waters of Mandrem.

Cleaning time

Our stay in Mandrem

Tuna fish finger

Super Human

I want to learn this...

I love this beach

I can go flat under those shacks the whole day.

Kunal trying something, I think.

Our neighbour

The loby :-)

Night jam session

The 2nd day sunset.

What was he thinking...

For love and romance.

Goa's drink

Morning exercise

And he comes on the ground finally...

For humans and animals together...

Business as usual.

Should have carried a tripod...

Click...

All ready for tourists

Its Goa, what are you doing on the laptop...!

Power naps

Crab print..!!

Trying geometry

Looking out

A Family

I would love to have a house like this.

And they say we don't care...

He looked freaky.

Adventure is the real thing.

Ways to see...

Colors of interesting building around.

The sunsetting and flag hoisting...

A little daredevil.

A floored night

Camera shy people

Oh God no...

For the lovers and the alone.

Sales and Marketing on the beach too.

Waiting for after dark.

Boating in fisherman's boat is a fun thing to do on beaches...

Getting ready to attack me...

Here he comes again.

He looks in sun bath mood too...

All making efforts to get the sand hulk ready.

Also the croc from before.

Thirsty Hulk

DSC_1858My morning companion.

Run man Run

The Big Hulk.

A colorful morning.

Some pannings.

Oh God no again...

OMG what happened Nilesh...!

Just a fruit...

The way to ride in Goa...

The kekada man.

Shopping to make sangria

A clean and less populated beach.

I think I can settle down here ;-)

A sunset to remember.

The croc ...a practise before hulk attempt.

Brothers in arms.

Getting him out.

The art and the artists.

Cleaning after

He was totally numb.

Even they are wondering whether its real or not...

What are you trying...!!

The most common pose but still favourite.

The big leap.

The kekada man again.

The cake before we began from Vashi as it was Nilesh's birthday too.

Alien

Alien revealed

The new year creation.

The table of getting high.

Takes significant amount of the beach.

Last sunset before the new year.

In a different white balance.

The creator.

Tripod tripod tripod...where are u...

An evening to remember

Minus the water from the earlier pic.

Just before we left from Mumbai.

The zooming Palm beach highway.

Foggy cold NH-17

Bullet needs some poha.

Fixing the bikes somewhere on NH-17

Finally me in frame.

Waiting for a big wave.

Check out my footwear.

Snake eyes.

Water fun

Take off

Relaxing.

Getting little exhausted now.

The ideal beach shoes.

Effect of very big wave.

Here comes a big one.

Full front impact.

Jumpin

Wave stoppin but I'm not Rajnikanth.

Water play was super duper fun.

Western style

Human whale

Martin gave this to me for my throat and it worked swell.

Tp outside shack in the night.

Gossip evening

Oh I miss this food.

My hobby and profession, the one on the left ;-)

Now I'm hungry.

The night scene.

Hilarious menu

Heading in the waters for Goa.

Return we had a warm climate.

Caught an interesting army vehicle on return.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I have decided that my New Years will be in Goa only. The fun I had here I don’t think I’ll have anywhere else.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review

There has been enough uproar about the Thunderbird 500 ever since its launch in September. Is this bike is worthy of all the praise and hullabaloo? I rode it on road, off tarmac and on bumpy stretches. Here is my take on the performance, handling and various other aspects of the motorcycle.

thunderbird 500

Power, Performance and Delivery

The engine of Thunderbird 500 is the same from RE Classic 500, as speculated even before the launch. The 499cc single cylinder, 4-stroke, twin spark engine churns out a power of 27.2 bhp and torque 41.3 Nm @ 4000rpm. Simply put, this means despite the heavy weight, coupled with that of the rider and a pillion, it has enough power to lift off almost immediately to reach a three figure speed under 12 seconds.

thunder bird 500

The power and torque available in low and mid range is as satisfying as the CL 500. With just a twist of the throttle the bike shoots off instantaneously from a stationary position to an aggressive speed. What I loved about the bike was when you slow down, you don’t need to shift the gear lower.

thunder bird 500

The bike can take you back to the higher speed without making that inevitable knocking sound, effortlessly. The only other bike I know which executes this efficiently is the KTM Duke 200.The bike has a top speed of 130km/hr before the rpm needle hits red line.  I managed to take it up to 125 and the bike feels stable and very much in control. There were couple of times when we got a false neutral but after riding for an entire day we safely concluded that if you shift the gears perfectly the chances of getting a false neutral is rare.

Handling:

thunder bird 500

The Thunderbird 500 will surprise you big time when it comes to handling. Regardless of the heavy weight of the bike and cruiser position, the bike not only gains high speed instantly but is also swift around the corners. Now don’t go trying knee scraping over this but let’s say that in the earlier version, the rider had to slow down considerably on turns. However, on a Thunderbird 500 you can safely go in and out of the curve with a proper lean. On city roads, you might actually be able to cut through traffic if you are a skilful rider. The length of the bike is not as long as most cruisers are, giving the rider an advantage of going through narrow ways. Most people compare the handling of this bike with Japanese masters like the Kawasaki or Yamaha. But, I personally think the Thunderbird is from a whole other league.

thunder bird 500

The foot pegs location, the new handle and the seat design are all great features for a comfortable cruiser. For a person of average height, the bike gives a stress free ride. Also, there is less vibration on this one as compared to any other RE bike. The result? A delightful ride!

thunder bird 500

Styling and Lineaments:

There’s no doubt that the RE Thunderbird is very popular among the cruiser bike category. It’s one of the ideal touring machines for any rider. Although the 350 version was updated to twinspark unit construction engine, the performance was more or less the same. Having said this, it was high time that Royal Enfield came up with significant upgrades to the well known cruiser, keeping in mind today’s technology, styling and appearance preferred by the rider.

thunder bird 500

 

thunder bird 500

Thunderbird 500 is just what the doctor ordered. Not only the engine but several aspects of the bike have been upgraded. Starting with the headlights, Thunderbird 500 gets a projector lamp and is fixed along with a LED ring that grabs instant attraction. The H7 bulb 55/55W fire a bright beam enough to illuminate the road quite a far distance ahead and a little of side range too. Night riding just became super fun. The tail lights now have 5 streaks of Light Emitting Diodes which even in the darkest night you can spot it from a distance. Overall both the lights, head and tail give the bike very modern stylish stance. But wait, it doesn’t stop here. The list of new features is long and commendable. The seat of the bike has now been split into two. And the pillion seat is also removable so a saddle bag can be mounted on the bike. The back rest has been redesigned and the consoled now has digital numbers in it. The body of instrument cluster, suspension, exhaust pipe and frame of headlight, taillight and indicators, all are chrome finish. If you observe from the sides, the engine and the area around has been given a black paint job which draws a favourable attention and the tank is now large to take in 20 litres of fuel, very muscular in appearance and the fuel cap is located at the top right side above it.

thunder bird 500

thunder bird 500

No doubt that this is the best looking bike ever made by Royal Enfield. The attention to details is worth applauding. Also the bike looks strong and sturdy since the build quality has been improved significantly.

thunder bird 500

Braking and Suspension:

For the first time ever, Royal Enfield has brought disc brake system in its rear wheel. 240mm disc in the rear while front has 280mm. Braking is one aspect where I think Royal Enfield has the potential to upgrade its performance. The front brakes did perform well but until you are not used to it, you may not be able to stop the bike exactly where you want. The rear did a fair job in slowing the speed. But if only the calibre had been placed the other way around, it would have been easy to judge the life of the brake liners. Currently, the calibre on the rear wheel is placed such that the rider cannot judge the life of the brake liner, unless s/he bends down right to the ground level.

thunder bird 500

The telescopic forks in the front and twin gas-charged shocks in the rear are perfect to give a smooth ride to the rider. Even when ridden on rough patches with occasional dive in potholes, the bike feels stable and polished. Pretty decent in offroad terrain, too. But for the pillion the picture is little different. On smooth tarmac no issue at all but on offroad/rough patches he/she may feel some discomfort.  

thunder bird 500

Instrument cluster and console:

The body of the instrument cluster is the same twin circular pods from the earlier Thunderbird, but the new blue back lighting touch up and a digital screen is bliss for the eyes. It has a chrome finish and rubber cushioning between the mounts so no vibration or shock can damage the device. Other than the must haves speedometer and tachometer, you’ll also find – digital odometer, twin trip meters, average fuel-efficiency, service due warning and hazard light indicator. Some of them no other Royal Enfield bikes have seen. After dark, the blue lights really make a glowing appearance and it’s not very difficult to read the data at high speeds. Kill switch is the standard button in red and the mode selection is very user friendly.

thunder bird 500

Our Take:

Royal Enfield has done their homework well, having studied the needs of a rider and what s/he expects from a cruiser. With latest technology upgrades and ‘n’ number of features loaded on the bike, Thunderbird 500 is a good buy. A Royal Enfield fan would love to own this machine. And if you are into pure touring it’s the ideal machine for the rider.

thunder bird 500

Game changer:

Thunderbird is no more in the category of affordable Royal Enfield bikes. It now stands in the premium class with a price tag of INR 182000 on road in Mumbai which comes close to  USD 3450, making it the most expensive bike made by RE. It’s now the flagship model of the brand and promoted as the best cruiser on road in India. Along with the launch, the brand has also unveiled their catalogue for the apparels and biking gears of RE series. Right from leather and textile jackets to stylish buffs and motorcycle boots, one can buy them from a RE dealer.

thunder bird 500

High Five for

•    New features
•    Power and performance
•    Stylish stance

Wish It had

•    Tubeless tyres

Modifications:

Fans and owner of Royal Enfield bikes have always gone for various after market accessories to mount on the bike depending on their utility. For Thunderbird 500, you can start by fixing a leg guard on the bike so the body is protected from a fall.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Specifications:

Engine Single Cylinder, 4 Stroke, OHV, SI Engine, Air cooled, and Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection
Displacement 499 CC
Bore x Stroke 84 mm x 90 mm
Maximum Power 27.2 bhp @ 5250 rpm
Maximum Torque 41.3 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Transmission 5 Speed constant mesh
Ignition Digital Electronic Ignition

Dimensions

Ground Clearance 135 mm
Width 895 mm
Wheel Base 1350 mm
Length 2060 mm
Height 1300 mm

Tyres
Front 90/90 – 19
Rear 120/80 – 18

Electricals

Electrical System12 Volts – DC
Head lamp Projection type headlamp, H7 bulb 55 / 55 W
Instrument cluster Digital cluster with LCD
Tail Lamp LED lamp with position light guides
E-Start Starter Motor0.9 KW, DENSO

Brakes

Front 280mm Disc, 2-Piston caliper
Rear 240mm Disc, single Piston caliper

Maximum Speed

Speed 130 Kmp
Suspension
Front Telescopic 41mm forks, Stroke 130 mm
Rear Twin gas charged shock absorbers , 80mm stroke

Vehicle

Fuel Tank Capacity 20 ltr
Compression Ratio 8.5 : 1
Air Cleaner Paper Element
Engine Oil Grade / Qty15W 50 API, SL Grade JASO MA
Weight (Kerb)195 Kg (with 90% fuel &oil )

Taichi Drymaster Storm Jacket: A Review

You don’t want your aggressive riding jacket while riding for city meets or close destination rides.

I tested the Taichi Drymaster on road under the sun, rain and wind and it is best to go light and safe frankly anywhere.

Tiachi Drymaster Jacket
You have a motorcycle jacket which does the job while riding and touring, but most of the ones available in India, are suitable for high speed touring and aggressive riding. They are not very feasible to carry them around once you reach your destination.

Here is where the Malaysian make, Taichi Drymaster storm jacket, comes to the rescue. It’s very suitable for almost all popular riding situations – Touring, bike night or a club meet. It’s designed to be used for all kinds of riding and correspond well with the needs of riding gear. This cool, light weight jacket can easily replace the most commonly used motorcycle textile jacket.

Some Quick facts:

  • Light weight material
  • Waterproof textile
  • Removable hood
  • Front left pocket 100 per cent waterproof
  • Removable industry standard guards on back shoulder and elbow
  • Compatibility to insert front /chest guard
  • Ventilation zips available under triceps and on sides
  • Adjustable Velcro straps on wrist, arm, waist and elbow
  • Cross zip all the way to the top
  • Breathable membrane
  • Stylish and fashionable


Available colours
: Charcoal green, white black, ice red, charcoal pink, black white and black red.

I wore it during the heavy Mumbai monsoons and came home, dry and warm. After using it on a couple of rides and a few visits around the city, I can safely say that it’s best suited for short distance touring, cool city rides and meets as well as club hangouts and bike nights. Since the material is light weight, it becomes easy to walk with it and blends in with any occasion, too. It’s not too flashy. And, the design makes a style statement. I kept my iPhone in the waterproof pocket and what a relief when I found not a single drop of water had reached the handset!

However, it’s not suitable during peak summer. You can wear it on a ride but you’ll sweat profusely when walking around with it. During winter, this jacket can protect you from cold winds and snow.

Priced at approximately Rs. 10500/- these jackets are available online.

I’ll certainly recommend this jacket to every rider. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’ll say this one deserves 8.

Also published at MyBikeMyWorld.com