10 Interesting, Surprising or Shocking things from my True Wanderers Saga

The best day of the year 2014 — the day I was announced winner of wrangler’s True Wanderers ride.

From a thousand plus participants I emerged at the top. And the trophy was boy oh boy, what a beautiful machine — The Z800 by Kawasaki.

A brand new superbike and the recognition that followed, is the ultimate achievement of my life. I don’t know what can come close to beat this.

For those who have not read the winning story yet, here is the LINK. Give it a read and come back here for some more bonus stories.

For those who have read my blog, here are few addons that you won’t find there or anywhere else.

Presenting 5 interesting — surprising — shocking things that are products of my True Wanderers Ride timeline.

1.) Did you know I won this contest because of Royal Enfield –

Sounds surprising? but its true. You see much before True Wanderers 3.0 revealed itself, I had bought a Thunderbird 500 for my solo 36 days ride in the Himalayas. It was a long pending dream and since I was about to take a sabbatical from work, I thought this is a perfect window to fit this ride plan in. And so I left for the longest ride of my life on the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500.

It was a good trip. Regardless of how people keep talking about mechanical issues the brand faces, I had no single problem with the bike. Covered 5000+ kms and came home safe and at peace.

Just a week past by and I penned the travelogue of this ride. It was not easy to find the right words. And the write up, edit, rewrite and proof read… all went on for couple of weeks. When finally it was ready, I shared it here and in few forums for my friends and readers.

To qualify for the final round of True Wanderers, participants had to submit a travel story of any of their past rides. And when my friend insisted to participate, I submitted this 36 days Himalayas entry for the competition. You all know what happened next. So if Himalayas on Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 did not happen, Z800 wouldn’t have happened.

2.) Did you know half of the photos of this ride was shot on iPhone 5 –

I was carrying 2 DSLRs on this ride. One for the wide and the other for telephoto shots. Carrying 1 DSLR and interchanging two lenses would have become a bit of a time wastage. And time was very precious for this ride.

Removing the big cameras from the bag also takes a minute, so I had every intention of using the iPhone too, quite frequently, where I cannot lose any important moment. And it’s the moments timely captured that make amazing and winning photographs.

So at the end of the day when I use to select the best pics from the lot to upload on the blog, I realized most were from my iPhone.

3.) Did you know for the first time in my life I was frighten to get on the motorcycle –

What I planned for those 7 days was something stupid in theory. Right from the first twist of the throttle it was a drag all the way to the end. I was aware that every time I ride the bike I’ll have to push my limits to save time, which was very precious for this feat to complete successfully. And over that, the WTF incident right on day 1 near Surat brought all my confidence to almost zero level.

Thinking of all this was only making me afraid of going ahead in full surety. For the first time I felt an emotion that I thought I was immune to when it comes to motorcycling, …Fear.

4.) Did you know this ride gave me a serious injury on my shoulder –

In this mad rush type of ride, I had to also make myself aware to be careful about the damages physically I may incur. Not that I intend to hurt myself but its my theory that such rides always tend to give you some kind of injury. Mostly a minor one. Least I was expecting that I might get a serious shoulder injury.

This so happened that while coming down from Chopta, one corner had little black ice and slush. I couldn’t spot it from far and the rear tyre went in on the curve; this slid the bike against the hill side of the road and my shoulder brushed against the hard surface at a little high speed. The pain was there just for few immediate hours and gone; but upon returning home and checking up with the doctor I got to know that few tendons have been snapped. I’m still in recovery mode and it hurts when I raise the shoulder back and up. But hey, no pain no gain… I have a 10 lakh rupees supersport bike parked in my garage as my winning. Covers up much of the pain. 🙂

5.) Did you know I almost faced an unrecoverable breakdown of the bike on day 2 itself –

The packing for this ride went almost till the flag off time. Everything was done in so much of hurry that I had a feeling I forgot something important to carry. When I was reaching the flag off point, in my mind I was going over the checklist and wondering whether I forgot, or what I forgot that’s bothering me right now…!

Only when I covered 100kms it hit me that I forgot to carry the chain lubricant. It was very important for the ride. Already I was running on the last setting and lubricating the chain every 500kms was a must. The moment I reached Jaipur the inevitable took place. The chain started making hell of a noise and I couldn’t find a dam shop of motorcycle accessories on my route. Over that my preference was to buy a spray bottle so I can carry it on the ride ahead. Just lubricating with those local oil sprays won’t be enough. They barely stick on the chain (gets thrown off at high speeds.)

With that cranking noise I rode from Jaipur to Meerut and wondered that if I don’t find anything here then I’m officially thrown off my schedule. Staying exact on time with my itinerary was very necessary to work everything out for my story.

One, two times I event felt that the chain might snap or jump off from the sprocket. It was now totally dry. And just when my mind was preparing to face the breakdown; …spotted a good shop which sells exactly what I was looking for. A big can of chain lube; not Motul though but as if I was in a situation to complain.

In fact I almost came at a point where I was considering to apply my hair oil on the chain 🙂

6.) Did you know mosquitoes are responsible for the write up of day 0 and 1 –

If I have to win this thing then surely right from word 1 everything has to be awesome. Bullshit has no room in the story.

Day 1 & 2 involved in me covering far distances in short time so I kept the writing for last on day 2. After almost 48 hours I reached close to Lansdowne, found a hotel, checked in and thought of taking a nap first before I start writing the blog in the wee hours of morning. Just when I was tucking myself in, I realized the room is fully invested with mosquitoes. Not even half an hour I was able to sleep at peace.

These rascals were even coming under the bed sheet and tearing into my flesh. (I was just wishing for the mosquito bat over here.) Fuck the sleep I decided to start writing now itself. And decided to put whatever words that come out immediately from my heart and mind. I didn’t even proof read and straightaway published it.

I now realize that if there had been no mosquitoes, what content that arose from me that day would have been different. And that different would have not been the winning one because the winning one was from the mosquitoes incident.

Sounds so stupid but that’s what the chain of events show.

7.) Did you know on the last day I slept on the bus stop for an hour, only to be awakened with the title ‘Ghost’-

On Day 7 I had to ride from Meerut to Mumbai in less then 24 hours to complete my 7 days circuit. Meerut to Mumbai in 24 hours is pure stupidity. Even with my pushing endurance level, I was sure somewhere close to home I might snap. My sleep will take over my mind. But I decided to worry about it when the event nears. And so after 18 hours of rigorous riding, finally somewhere ahead of Modassa I was not able to hold on to. Physically I was so tired that I close my eyes and I would fall asleep.

I decided to give myself few mins break or atleast an hour’s sleep. So like how Dr. Arnob Gupta does, I found the perfect bus stop, parked the bike close to me and slept on the bench. Idea was to refresh myself with a power nap but I opened my eyes to something weird and funny. You see there was a marriage happening close by and the “Baarat” was going from the road where I was sleeping. They saw my bike and me lying on the bench, wearing all these weird things (gears), so they stopped to check this curious sight.

Just when they came close (within a feet) my eyes opened and I got up suddenly. In that dark ambiance I don’t know what happened but I clearly heard someone shouting ‘bhoot bhoot’ and they started running away. It was a LOL moment for me; I quickly spoke and calmed them down. Once relaxed they seem pretty annoyed with what happened and started telling me ‘Aisa koi kidhar sota hai kya…’ Once the show was over I hit the road once again, but this episode didn’t get out of my head till I reached home. Whenever I felt sleepy I thought of this scene, giggled and paced myself.

8.) Did you know I’m struggling to reach the ground when sitting on this bike (Z800) –

This is a funny one. I was not totally aware that this machine is so tall. I’m a good 5.8″ but despite, when I sit on the motorcycle, my feet struggle to reach the ground. So now I cannot move the bike if it’s stationary position and off. It’s heavy and massive.

And me regardless of being a huge person, have to be careful with this mean machine.

9.) Did you know as a prayer to almighty I rode on my bicycle from Mumbai to Shirdi –

I’m not very much in religion but my perspective of prayers and connection with Baba have always had a unique identity.

For some reason I felt a strong urge to be in Shirdi on the day of the announcement. I was already anxious and nervous.

For me riding to Shirdi from home is not a difficult task on my motorcycle. It’s just 3 hours ride from Mumbai. But again for some reason I had this feeling of putting my mind and body through rigorous levels to understand this unfamiliar urge I was experiencing.

So I decided to pedal my way to Shirdi this time. I anyways had a bicycle expedition in the Himalayas coming up, so pedaling to Shirdi will just become a perfect training thing for me.
What happen next, you all know. 🙂

10.) Did you know I cried like a baby when I saw this video –

[vsw id=”xZf2E56J8Y8″ source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]

10 Kinds of Bikers I Have Met Till Date

The social media has really made new speed records in connecting people. I started motorcycling 3 years prior to the time when social media kicked in.

Platforms like Facebook and Online Forums has connected us with like minded people around the country; for some even around the globe. With its help I too was able to get in touch with so many bikers than I ever could have.

The journey began from riding with a close group of college friends to big group rides, rallies and festivals. I realized we are so many in numbers.

As years went past, so did my liking for keen observation; I kind off figured that we have a breed among ourselves in this two wheeler world.

Based on my observation, here are 10 kinds of Bikers I have met till date.

1.) The Obvious Showoff

show-off

Somewhere in our time all of us have been in this category for a span. Showing off intentionally or unintentionally was the first days of our biking. Be thankful if you exited this category sooner than ever.

These kind just love showing off, forever. They are into biking for nothing more than seeking attention. The word ‘Showoff’ is enough to give you the whole picture.

You can spot these guys easily when they are in front of you and usually are dum dum.

2.) The Wrong Company

wrong-company

Pure criminals; they ride Motorcycle for the only purpose of theft. They even steal them and participate in petty to moderate crimes in the neighborhood. A shame and nuisance to the society and give a bad name to the ideology of Bikers.

Beware of these kind. Don’t get yourself in trouble.

3.) Know it All

know it all

These kind have done some biking. By ‘some’ I mean a 2-3 years of active riding. They are in the primary standard but act like they have PH.D; they love to project that they know it all. They dwell on half knowledge and try to act winners by demotivating the fellow rider. They only make wrong decisions and justify why it was right thing to do. Never a team player and insecure riders. Very weak and jealous emotionally. Pure backbiters.

Beware and don’t bother to argue with them. Otherwise the idiot will bring you down to his level.

4.) Fame Gamer

fame

They have nothing much on biking, but they know all on how to stay in the limelight and be the most talked person. These kind have huge fan following and you wonder how the hell that happen. Rarely you’ll see them riding but find them very active on social media.

Riders love them, hate them and can’t ignore them.

5.) Dhoom Effect

dhoom face

These guys are purely into biking because of Dhoom movie. John Abraham is their ideal or Aamir Khan off lately. The character which these actors portray becomes their role model. They know shit about motorcycling and most of the time land up crashing.

You’ll find them after dark, indulged in some illegal street racing activities. A menace to pedestrians, society and to the men of law enforcements.

6.) Newbie Rookie

rookie

These have just started biking and have great potential. World is often unkind to them and don’t welcome in the group easily. Some are even ragged by elder riders and most of them are treated with the kids attitude. ‘Bacha hai woh’; Let me rephrase, ‘Naya hai woh’.

But these are the ones who turn out to be great leaders and trend setters. They surprise everyone with their performance and make the competition worry about.

They enjoy what they do and don’t get bothered by what the world thinks of them.

7.) The Professional

professional

The fastest of the lot. These guys are here purely for the sport. They have enrolled in racing schools, learned from the best and practiced on the track to be the awesome in racing.

Motorcycling is passion, motorcycling is their profession. They are the real celebrities of the two wheel world.

8.) The Stunter

stunter

Each one from this category have weird looking motorcycles; but that’s because they have done exclusive mods for pure stunting. Believe me when I say, this is a tough category. Each one of them has fallen, broken, hurt themselves and risen from the ground to get back at it again… and again.

The best ones practice daily and are creative in making something new happen on two wheels. They have no interest in any other kind of Biking.

9.) Adventure Junky

adventure-junky

These kind are the coolest. Motorcycle means adventure to them. Finding new routes, exploring new trails; traversing across the land is their only Mojo. They respect everyone around and expect nothing back. They are strongest when it comes to endurance and are quite seasoned.

You see them walking or taking public transport when heading to work and going to local places around; the bike only comes out when it’s the weekend and time for some adventure ride on the offbeat track.

10.) The Real Deal

PHOENIX-RISES

The hardcore and the elite group. These guys have seen it all and done it all; they have even been to the dark side and returned to tell the tale. Their lives are legend and their lifestyle a reason of inspiration and envy for the others. They are often great role models and guide a fellow rider aptly.

The average people refuse to believe such personalities exist in today’s time. These guys have a genuine fan following and are often soft spoken. Modesty and kindness are their natural traits.

Not all of us who began our two wheel endeavor, reach this position.

P.S. You’ll definitely meet many assholes who declare they are at this level. 😛 — Beware… 🙂

10 Things from Outdoor Travel Gear that I Always Carry on My Rides

When motorcycling became a habit, I started checking out for motorcycle products, accessories and other adventure items that can compliment my long rides.

Back then in 2003 there were not many stores as you see today. It was just a handful of lot.. and in this narrow options, one name was prominent — ‘Outdoor Travel Gear‘.

OTG is located in Mumbai and delivers products all over the country. There are many products I have bought from here that have aided my motorcycle rides and mountain expeditions. The store has a special place in my memory lane.

Here I’m listing 10 products that I have bought from Outdoor Travel Gear that you’ll always find in my bag.

1. Waterproof Dry Bags –

Even when its summer or winter season, I expect the rains to bestow upon you anytime and anywhere. No matter if you intend to stay dry, you’ll encounter water someway or the other. Light rains, dew, slush, water crossing, bikes on boat, … there are so many scenarios and unimaginable circumstances where you’ll come close to water.

To protect my gear, I always carry a 10 liter and a couple of 5 liter waterproof bags of BOLL in my luggage. They fold up so thin that hardly any exclusive place it required for it.

Everything that I want to keep dry and moist free, I put it in the dry bag first and then the whole thing goes in the backpack. These bags also have variation and types in size and functionality. You can checkout which suits you the best.

2. Premium Quality Bungee Cords and Net:

There was a ride where I was carrying premium quality bungee cords and a net which cost me around 1000 bucks; where the same number of items my fellow riders bought for just 50 bucks. Now that’s a mountain difference when it comes to pricing. But see the results, the local bungee gear of my fellow riders didn’t even last for 500kms. At the end of the ride the hooks were snapping or getting straight, losing its curve grip; where mine! well now its been over 6 years and it still rocks. More practical way to say it, the life of the gear lasted through 5 big rides.

(The fact is that these expensive cords have sturdy hooks and strong locks attached to the bungee. No doubt that the cord itself is of good quality but the hooks play a vital role, hence they are expensive)

3. Hydra Pack:

Buying a simple mineral water at places sounds more convenient, but honestly you land up with lot of plastic along. You really don’t want to throw those empty plastic bottles just anywhere. And if you are at a location like the Himalayas, you really don’t want to leave a mess behind, specially plastic. Surely you can be responsible about it but otherwise I have found carrying a hydra pack is more convenient. When the bottle gets empty, the first thought that comes in mind is to get rid of it. At halts whenever there is some water left in the mineral bottle, I just pour it in the pack. Water also remains cool during hot days and can sip some even while riding the bike.

Hydra pack can be easily stored in your gear. I use a backpack which has a compartment exclusively for it. This gear has come to my rescue at many places; especially during solo treks. I tend to use it as that ‘extra supply’ or ‘reserve’.

4. iPhone Rainproof Cover:

Never ever I can do a ride without my iPhone. Be it going to even a local market place I need this gadget with me. Like I said above, in India you can expect rains to fall upon you anytime anywhere. In any season, the rain Gods may have a jump on you.

I always have been cautious in securing my gadgets against weather; definitely I won’t leave the phone out of it. An iPhone rainproof case comes to my rescue. This cover is always in my bag and it does the job fine.

5. Inner Glove:

I love to shoot photos throughout the ride. But when I wear my biking gloves it becomes difficult to handle the camera swiftly. The only solution I figured to this dilemma was combing two gloves. What I basically did was bought a simple thin mesh gloves which has the protective guard on knuckles; ideal for summer. During the winter I just wear the cold killer inner glove and put on the mesh one over it. So at least for two seasons — summer and winter, I have a solution where I can ride with gloves on, and use the camera conveniently.

(I’m yet to figure out a thing for the wet season.)

6. Quechua Winter Jacket:

I have said it before I will say it again. The is one thing I never underestimate is the weather of our country. How unexpectedly it can change no one can tell. And most of the time I have landed myself in a pickle because of underestimating the climatic condition. I just leave thinking I’ll manage but I land up with teeth chattering situation inside my helmet.

Now on I have started keeping a winter jacket to protect myself from the cold climate if extreme situation arises. And my favorite one is of Quencha, for simply because, its not thick as a fleece jacket, takes very less space in the bag and can take on little water splash too. Plus its a great alternate walk around jacket.

7. Set of Keychain Carabiners:

Long or short ride, I carry them as many as possible. Till date they have come in use in so many unthinkable ways.

Very recently we were coming back from Goa, and a fellow rider wanted to mount his backpack on the rear seat, as it was getting uncomfortable to ride with. The last bungee rope had snapped and was of no use. What we did now is use the straps of the bag to tie it on the rear seat. Followed by locking and fastening it to the bike using these carabiners. It held the luggage on to the seat firmly. And the ride was also comfortable all the way to the destination.

You’ll always see a few carabiners hanging from by belt loop of the jeans.

8. Buff:

This was never in my wishlist; I bought it in the first place on advise of OTG team. They had mentioned, it has multipurpose use and it will be very handy on my kind of rides.

Right from first day of a ride after buying this, it has been my most favored gear for bike rides — right from using it as a face mark to wearing it on my hand to protect the tattoo from the sun. Be be short or long ride, I never leave without my buff. For the record, it can be worn in 12 different ways.

9. Dry Inside Base Layer:

Once I had got this idea of wearing two layers for a ride to Himalayas. The intention was to avoid wearing anything thick. The fleece jacket takes too much important space in the bag. Since my threshold of winter is quite high, I decided to get myself a base layer which I can wear inside and put the bike jacket over it while riding or a t-shirt when walking. (Two layer clothing worn this way, is ideal for winter and cold mornings)

The Dry inside base layer of Knox is the best one I felt. It throws out the sweat and keeps you dry inside, just like how the name suggests. The product is also antibacterial and odour resistant, so it can be worn a few times before sent for washing.

10. Headlamp:

Carrying a source of light is a must for any ride. There are so many good torches and light devices available in the market. But I always thought of one scenario, where your bike tyre is punctured in the middle of night, on a solo ride.. How the hell you’re gonna hold the torch when you need both hands to fix the problem!

Headlamp is the best way around this; just wear it on your head and find light in any direction you look. Petzl is the current brand I use. This items is always in my bag.

10 Things to Do in Ladakh for a Biker

‘The Roof of the World’, as Ladakh is referred to as, bears the ultimate challenge for every two wheeler enthusiast. I’m fortunate to ride there twice in my lifetime, and all the way from Mumbai. After reading and exploring the region I felt there are some places or activities here that many riders often miss out on. Hardly any detailed info is mentioned about them or if there is then its in bits and pieces. Here I tell you about 10 things to do in Ladakh for a biker once entered into the high land.

Ladakh Himalayas

Ladakh Himalayas

There are the usual things one does, or rather must do/ visit, having gone up to Ladakh — the ride up to Khardung La, an evening visit to Shanti Stupa, exploring the Nubra Valley and an overnight stay at Pangong Lake, are some of the must do – must see list every Ladakhi rider indulges in. But, there are some less visited and unusual destinations that a biker must not miss out on and a few must-do things, after having successfully reaching Ladakh.

1. Tso Moriri

This is one of the largest salt water lakes of the Ladakh region in northern Himalayas. The lake is completely frozen – totally ice during the winter season while a magical sight greets you in the warmer months. Other than the mesmerising natural scenery, the area is also populated with some flora and fauna. It’s at a distance of 250 kms from Leh, situated at the end of Rupshu valley.

Due to the distance and offset location, many bikers chuck the lake from their itinerary for obvious reasons. However, if you can make it to this lake, every minute and effort invested will be worth it! The camping site, crystal clear lake, beautiful ambience, spellbound roads and the magnificent sunset are enough to make your stay memorable.

Tso Moriri

Tso Moriri

2. Druk White Lotus School

The school was all over the papers when the Aamir Khan starrer Bollywood movie, ‘3 Idiots’ released world over. The school spreads across a large area and is wholly sustained on solar energy. The architecture and design of this institution is marvellous. The school was damaged in the 2010 floods but has now been fully repaired and restored.

Here’s a tip: Make a contribution to the school, not in terms of money, but resources – books, stationery, etc., go a long way in the education of the Ladakhi children.

Druk White Lotus School

Students landscaping at the Druk White Lotus School

3.  Zanskar River Rafting

The real colours of Zanskar are a sight to see. It doesn’t stop there – the rafting experience in Zanskar itself is enough to get the adrenaline pumping.

The valleys of Zanskar are also referred to as the ‘Grand Canyon of Asia’ but why compare it with the west when it’s a unique site in itself!

Fun fact: The Zanskar River freezes in winter and is used by local people to commute through for trade. Otherwise, the temperature of the water is around 7 degrees centigrade and the river route has been graded as class IV.

River rafting in Zanskar valley

River rafting in Zanskar valley

4. Hemis Monastery Ladakh

“Jesus lived in India” – A Book by Holger Kersten says that Christ once lived in the Himalayas. The book itself was controversial, due to several controversies; the fact is, as the author has mentioned, Jesus once resided in Kashmir and in the Hemis Monastery of Ladakh.

The Hemis festival is held in June or July every year; it is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Guru Padmasambhava who founded Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. Hemis festival is the most popular of all the festivals celebrated in Ladakh. It’s a delight for the photo enthusiasts and a pleasure to watch for the avid tourist.

Hemis Monastery Ladakh

Hemis Monastery Ladakh

5. Photography in Ladakh

Indulge in some genuine photography of Ladakh and capture the true mesmerising colours of beauty around you – there’s plenty to capture.

Ladakh is a playround for photography — rivers, mountains, snow, desert, animals, vegetation, people; fields… the options are endless.

photography in ladakh

Prep your camera and gears for photography in Ladakh

6. Volunteer

We know you are on your holiday ride but it wouldn’t hurt if you volunteer for a cause in Ladakh. At the end of this task, you’ll really feel happy for what you did.

Go to the monastery and offer a helping hand. Enrol as a volunteer to organise a local program or try out our favourite — teach some skill or perform at the Druk White Lotus School.

7. Ladakhi Food

Feast your eyes on the Ladakhi Menu. Submerge in the sweet taste of apricots or challenge yourself in a momo-eating competition. Food in Ladakh has a wide variety to it. Lookout for organically produced goods and dairy-products in the Ladakhi menu. The most favourite of all foods are the Thukpas, Momos, Laksa, Phalley and a variety of noodle and soup based preparations always served up in amazing combinations of condiments and sauces.

Some restaurant suggestions from my side – German Bakery, Himalayan Café, La Pizzeria, Lamayuru Restaurant, Tibetian Kitchen and Summer Harvest are a few good ones in Leh.

The delicious thukpa

The delicious Thukpa

8. Shop Hop

When it comes to shopping, you have the Ladakh Apricot Store, the Tibetan market, locally made clothing and handicrafts and a whole lot of souvenirs. The place has local art work on offer, too; many of which are beautiful enough to decorate your drawing room with. By-products of apricots is what we suggest the most and get yourself a lot of souvenirs too, you’ll find many unique ones in the market and in the narrow streets of Leh.

Shopping done, hop into the local DTDC office to courier your baggage back home rather than carrying it back on your motorcycle.

9. Lala’s Art Café 

It’s the ideal place to sit with a nice book, sip up some tea and get lost in thoughts.

The ambience of Lala’s art cafe gives you the feel of ancient India. The stone steps, the old restored building and warm people – everything feels right out of a story book. The café showcases some amazing black and white soul photography and the entrance downstairs has deep carvings.

Sit out with your biking buddies and throw some light on interesting tales to share and entertain.

10. Kargil War Memorial


“The land of the fallen”
 – Yes, many Indian soldiers have either dedicated or given up their lives so that we can live free. Once a battleground, Kargil is now a peaceful place and although tension does emerge at times, our heroes are always high on alert.

A war memorial dedicated to the soldiers of the Kargil War has been erected just outside of the town of Kargil. A visit to this place is a must to know what exactly happened here. Feel the loss and offer your prayers and gratitude.

Kargil War Memorial

Kargil War Memorial
Also published in MyBikeMyWorld.com

10 Questions to Answer Before Buying the Ninja 300

The New Ninja 300 is the talk of the town. Bajaj made a quite press launch in Pune last week, where they mentioned the Ninja 300 is superb upgrade to the Kawasaki Ninja 250R.

With all the hot topics trending around the bike, the prime one is the price that has made headlines. This baby is all your for Rs3.85 lacs on road in Mumbai.

The motorcycle looks top notch but, is the bike really for you?

Here I have put 10 question that one should ask self if he or she is considering to buy the new Ninja 300.

Kawasaki Ninja 300

The New Ninja 300

1. Do I believe I can afford this motorcycle?

In Mumbai, the bike is priced at Rs 3.85 lacs. It may even rise close to Rs 4 lakh too. The bike is expensive, spare parts are not cheap either, and service – maintenance will chew away a good amount of bucks too. However, evidently, Ninja is a name one can blindly rely on. The quality and durability of the parts are superb. Hence, it just might be worth every penny put in.

2. Do I think that the price of this bike is justified?

As already mentioned, the quality of the parts and components of the Ninja 300 are state-of-the-art. It’s rare to face an issue of a break down or a fault in power and performance aspects of the motorcycle.

The point is that a tempting refined feel of the motorcycle can be felt in the first ride itself. But somehow the price has also gone a little over the top. However, if you can fit in the bill, why not? Surely, this bike means serious business.

3. If I put little over a lakh rupees in the price of Ninja 300, I can buy a Ninja 650 instead!

That’s too subjective answer. The Ninja 300 is a racing beauty while the Ninja 650 is the sports tourer. They both differ in many aspects. It’s totally up to the individual! Just to get things in perspective, even the 250R has been taken across the country for road trips through Ladakh and Kashmir!  And, 250R is a pure track machine! Nuff said!

4. Is the Ninja 300 really worth it?

Take the pricing off the mind, just for a second. Every feature in the Ninja 300 has an analysis behind. Kawasaki have not just gotten up from a deep slumber to launch the 300. They have most definitely done their homework and brought out something they can proudly say, its the next gen of the Ninja 250R. It’s a worthy motorcycle and commands respect.

5. Does this bike satisfy my main requirement! Touring, Sport, etc?

Riders must consider asking themselves the most important question — what do I see myself doing with this bike? In India, we have riders who tour on a cruiser as well as on sportsbike. Bikers have ridden to Khardung La on a Royal Enfield as well as on a Ninja. Knowing the very purpose of buying this bike needs a serious thought.

Kawasaki Ninja 300

2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300

6. Should I go for the KTM Duke 390 instead?

Duke 390 is the much awaited bike of the year. The price of the motorcycle is speculated to be half of what Ninja 300 is set at. If price is the only the deciding factor, KTM Duke 390 may appear to be a sensible buy!

7. What if I spend on an alternate bike and invest in motorcycle protective and safety gears!

Ninja is a bike that represents power, performance and dynamism. Your protective and safety gears should not be ignored at all. And when riding a sportsbike, you cannot go in for just any cheap — local gear or accessory. You really need to invest on proper sturdy safety products and gear. The best ones start from Rs.10000/-upwards. So, it makes sense if you consider upgrading your safety gear instead of your bike.

8. Can I afford the maintenance of this motorcycle?

Kawasaki riders already know very well how expensive the service and maintenance of the Ninja can get. The service cost itself, minus the consumables is close to Rs1000. So, we can easily expect a premium bill for maintenance on the 300 too. One good thing about the Ninja, however, is all parts and components used in the making are known for their longevity.

9. If I already own a Ninja 250R, should I upgrade to this bike? Should I pin my hopes on the Pulsar 375 instead or wait for any other bike to be launched?

Ninja 250R is already owned by many riders in India. Despite double the price of CBR 250R, the bike has a strong fan following. If a current Ninja 250R owner opts for the Ninja 300, s/he will not be jumping a big leap in terms of upgrade. Yes, everything in the new Ninja 300 just went a level higher, but taking into consideration the condition of the roads we have here, in India, Ninja 250R lives up to the highest expectation.

Pulsar 375 will be out by 2013 year end. One never knows what cards Bajaj intends to play. It may be well worth it to wait and watch before making the final decision.

10. Should I take a test ride first! Or wait for some user reviews to come out!

There are some motorcycles which you just have to take a look and end up feeling yes, this bike is made for me. It’s rather difficult to explain but, for instance, there are many who have felt this when they saw the KTM Duke 200 first. Do you feel the same about the Ninja 300? This one has to be answered by the individual. Whether to test ride it? Whether to read up rider reviews?

Kawasaki Ninja 300

Kawasaki Ninja 300

These are but just simple guidelines before taking the big plunge. It’s best to analyse it on an individual basis. Pretty soon I’ll put the first ride review of the new Ninja 300. Visit Wanderlust Biker later again.

Would you like to know what happened at the Kawasaki Ninja 300 press launch?

10 reasons why you should buy Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500

Thunderbird 500 is the most anticipated bike from the Royal Enfield stable. It’s the first bike from Royal Enfield which has undergone significant upgrades and uprates. Many riders have their eyes set on the machine and awaiting anxiously for its launch. But for those who have doubts in their mind about the bike, then here are 10 reasons why you should buy the Thunderbird 500.

Thunderbird 500

1.    The Engine:
The 500cc loaded gun, that’s what I’ll say. Earlier there were rumors that it has the same classic 500 engine but lately news (unconfirmed) is that it might have a more perfected version of the Classic 500 engine. Whatever it may be, one thing is for sure that this engine will allow the rider to take the speedometer needle up the 100 mark with just flick of the wrist. The rider now can maneuver through twisty hills and steep slopes easily. The engine has what it takes to lift the heavy beast and cater the rider’s wish promptly. The bike also has a 41mm thicker front fork and an oval shape swing arm to handle the substantial power.

Engine of tb 500

2.    Fuel Tank:
The whooping 20 litres fuel tank is a dream come true for Himalayan riders, where availability of fuel is scarce. Taking into account a worst average figure, will also deliver 500+ kms on a full tank. And carrying additional fuel in jerry cans mounted on the carrier is a boon. The rider can now actually cover 1000kms with the full tank and additional cans of 10 litres each.

Fuel tank

3.    Instrument cluster:
The twin pods located in the front suits the styling of the bike. Having the standard speedometer, tachometer and fuel indicator, the console also has two trip meters (digital) and hazard lamps (a first from RE). The fuel cap is also located on the top right side of the tank. Very similar to German bikes during World war.

Console

4.    The Seating Arrangement:
The seat design is very similar to Harley Davidson. The rear seat now can be removed to accommodate luggage or mount a carrier. Anchors for bungee cords have been provided and the grab rail is also very useful feature for touring enthusiasts.

Seat

5.    Brakes:
What good is a powerful engine delivering high torque and taking you up to 3 figure speeds if the braking system is not top notch? The bike comes with not just front but even rear disk brake of 2-Piston caliper. It will effectively get you down under controllable speed, immediately. The rider can now experience confidence at higher speeds and during emergency braking.

Disc Brakes

6.    Tail and Headlights:
The tail lights come with LED lamp with the all new position light guides. And the headlight is the real seller. Not just having a 55W bulb but now it has a projector for the lower beam and halogen for the upper. Both working in combination to give ample spread and penetration on the road. So now night riding is fun and exciting.

Headlights

7.    The New and Improved Styling:
The black finish engine, raised handle bar, redesigned foot pegs, low seat height, new mirrors are various small features which add up not just to the styling of the bike but a fatigue free riding experience.

8.    Ergonomics :
The new handlebars, foot pegs and seat have been redesigned, altered and changed for better reach and ergonomics. The bike has been designed to replicate a true touring machine.

9.    Luggage compatibility:
With the feature of removable pillion seat, now there is more compatibility to mount a carrier on the bike. Enormous space for luggage and other items is now created. Plus the bungee hooks are very useful to secure stuff using cords.

10.    Cost factor:
All this you get at a cost just 10k more than the Chrome from Royal Enfield. And the spares are also priced at fair figures.

One may raise the question that this bike is not in par with the KTM, Bajaj or Honda but a true rider will understand that Royal Enfield  cannot be compared with any other bike. It’s always the need and requirement that has to be filled much above the satisfactory level. Thunderbird 500 does just that. You can take this bike to far corners of the country at ease and comfort.

Kudos for Royal Enfield.