Sunday, 3 May 2015

5 reaons why buying a Duke 390 was one of the best decisions of my life

1. Reliable
Whenever someone asks me ‘How’s the bike?’, my first response to them is not the speed or the performance of the bike but one word, that it is fucking reliable. Trust me when I say this, you can take this bike out for a long ride on any given day without having a slightest worry or doubt about its performance on a long ride or whether it leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. For me, this peace of mind is what matters the most when I ride. So far my longest ride has been a 1700km over 3 days. It had mix of terrain and I never faced a single problem with the bike and its performance, not even a clutch cable breaking. I wasn’t even carrying the basic spares but that’s how much I trust this bike. I am yet to take it to Leh and that will be a different review altogether but so far over the 27000km I have ridden on this over last 1.5 years over all kinds of roads and terrains, this bike has performed way beyond my expectations. 

2. All round performer
If you are riding it in the city, you will love it for the quick acceleration punch it gives required for quick overtakes in the city traffic. Or its ability to maneuver across the traffic because of its light weight and superb handling. The gear-box is six speed but for city riding you will never cross 4th gear (unless you ride in low rpms like me). Feels good to leave everyone behind at every traffic signal halt :P

Now talking about highway riding and touring on this bike. No doubt the seat is hard and it’s not the ‘most’ comfortable seat for touring, but I have noticed that over these 1.5 years of owing the bike the seat has taken the shape of my but and I feel that too soft a seat is not good for your back and a seat little hard like this one keeps you in alert mode over long rides and doesn’t make you fall asleep. I won’t deny that there were slight cramps in my thighs after the long rides but I guess that’s the case with most of the bikes- please correct me if I am wrong. Talking about the riding position, it is slightly aggressive and your feet rests slightly behind the regular position but over the time I have got comfortable with this riding position and I can’t deny I like it this way. Makes it easier for me to stand on the foot pegs too.

You can easily cruise on this bike throughout the day at the speeds of 110/130kmph which are according to me is a safe range for touring on Indian roads. Although it can still reach a maximum of 170kmph but why push it to the limits when the job is getting done in much less load on the engine. Find a patch of smooth roads and you can easily cover at least 70-80 km in an hour.

Have taken this bike for lot of off-roading as well and it has performed superbly. Durable and rugged performance. It’s not a very heavy bike so you can easily lift it in case you fall.

3. Low maintenance cost
As I mentioned above the bike is very reliable, this means less problems with the bike. This doesn’t mean you don’t pay attention to it and skip the regular services. That will be silly and do not expect any bike to perform if you ignore its regular service visits. But looking at the other general problems which other riders face on their bikes, I can say that I haven’t faced such small problems so far like breaking of clutch/throttle cable, breaking of chain, oil leak, wheel locking etc. and so I never spent money to fix these problems on my bike which are very common otherwise. You will however spend money on changing the tyres very soon because the Metzelers which come as a stock tyres with this bike wear out very soon. They are just wonderful tyres and there is no doubt about it but a new set of Metzelers will cost around 16,000-17,000 Rs. which is very expensive. Many of the Duke 390 riders shift Michelin tyres and they are very close to Metzelers in performance and are much cheaper. Anyways going back to the point, daily riding on Duke 390 is free from majority of common problems.

4. It's a headturner
It’s not a beautiful gorgeous and best looking bike but you will still find people asking about the bike and giving a second look to your bike. May be it’s the looks of the bike (same as Duke 200?) or may be the sound of the bike, I don’t know. I am just happy with the attention I get in the traffic :P

5. Value for money
I was all set to buy Duke 200 when Duke 390 was just about to be launched. I was expecting it to be around Rs. 2.7-2.8 lakh on road price and that was far out of my budget. But I was shocked to see that Bajaj launched the bike at a much lower price and I paid Rs. 2.03 lakh on road in Chennai. You find it expensive ? I will say the for the whole package of features of the bike along with the world class engine performance, this bike is a steal and a GREAT value for money. This bike is a clear winner in terms of value for money when you compare it with other brands in this class. 

All I can say is that I am very happy with this bike. Ofcourse nothing is perfect in this world if you want to know some of the negatives associated with this bike, head to RiderZone by our star moto writer Mr. Akhil Kalsh and click here to read the article. I am just mentioning him just because I love all his articles and I'm a fan :P

Nevertheless, whatever motorcycle YOU buy or are riding, RIDE SAFE! 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

LED Spot Light fixture on KTM Duke

So this was pending for lonnng. I had purchased these two LED spot lights, bought it from as I got a good deal (mind you they take 40-50 days to reach India via free shipping). So I was in procrastinating mode and never got it fixed and just kept asking around friends on the ideas on where should I fit it, the clamps and fixtures and all. I was acting lazy. Now after moving to Gurgaon this was on top of the list and last Sunday I managed to go to Carol Bagh to get it done. This write-up is just to share the pictures of the installation process for other riders to see if they want to do something similar. 

These are the lights and they come with complete set of clamps and allen keys and bolts along with them.
(Metzeler in the pic above got changed to Michelin Pilot Street Radial soon)

I was hesitant in putting these lights on the forks cuz didn't want to mess with the paint and I also didn't want to open the fork clamps. So our guy Mr. Saleem suggested that I can put the lights with the help of a strip on these joints on the headlight casing:

After being satisfied that there will be no problem in turning the handlebar completely and the strip will withstand the load of the lights even on a day long ride I gave a go-ahead to the mechanic. He quoted Rs. 300 to fix the lights which seemed pretty reasonable amount. 

He removed the headlight casing and the panel cover on top. Meanwhile I managed to take a transformer picture of myself:


This is how the metal strips looked after fixing:

The electrical connection given was not direct to the battery but with the enging ignition. I am sorry I missed the wiring part and hence not able to explain it in detail here. He fixed the switch with the joint of the LH mirror and took the wires within the cable locks on the handle bar.

And the switch:

After this when he tried to fit the headlight casing back, it wasn't fitting properly and so he told me that he will need to cut a bit towards the end.


Once fitted back, this is how it looked.


This post is incomplete. I will complete it by updating it with the review of the lights itself.

Till then, keep riding!

Part II! (Updated- 1-May-2015)

Today I clicked some pictures with and without these lights on for comparison purpose and you can see the difference below:

1. Headlight low beam, LED  OFF /ON (click the pic to enlarge)

First pic is with LED off and second pic is with LED on. As you can see there is an increased , longer visibility (2nd circle on top) and wider range (1st circle on top, and botton two circles).

2. Headlight high beam, LED  OFF /ON (click the pic to enlarge)

I rarely ride in high beam mode because I hate riding against it myself so I don't want others to suffer because of my high beam. However in high beam mode, there is small difference in range and visibility with these spot lights on. 2nd pic is with LED lights on. 

Now you can decide if this difference and increase in range and visibility is good enough for you to buy these lights or not!

However they look cool too ! 

My next plan is to install two jerry can holders on the bike. If you know any leads do give suggestions by commenting. Thanks!

Ride Safe!


Saturday, 14 March 2015

4 reasons why I hate those 'entertainment news' sites

No creativity
We all know that all they do is post links of videos and build a whole write up around it and publish it as an 'article'. I supose they call it entertainment news. As soon as TVF or AIB uploads a new video, their story about it is already up. Something interesting going on in Quora, a new post is up. If they really want to show some interesting and entertaining content, they can also show some common people doing interesting stuff in India or around the villages, for example the innovative minds in Indian villages and their scientific inventions, etc. GIF reactions? Sorry I forgot how to feel angry when someone rides rashly in traffic because I guess I am supposed to react with a gif animation of Ranbeer Kapoor feeling angry. I have a feeling they have one team working on extracting gif animations from movies and another one working on giving captions. 

Useless content
Sometimes they write such useless stuff that even if you end up reading it, you regret that you wasted time in reading it. See some of the examples below of what I am trying to say here:


No thanks it's not.

Who wants to read such stuff? No I really want to understand what is going in the minds of the writers of these posts? Do they think people are so dumb that they will appreciate such time wasting crap? Stuff like this takes the mind away from rational thinking and that is why I hate it. Can I see something like ’12 interview questions which are meant to trick you’ and their possible creative answers? No? Oh yes sorry because that will require some  grey cells to burn right?

Poorly researched work
I don't know if they are under work pressure or something, but sometimes they end up making silly mistakes in their articles because of not doing proper research. I have personally corrected some of statements and facts they made. Even if they are trying to give some good content they don’t seem to be very serious about it.

Objectifying women
Well not in all of them but especially in Mensxp I have observed some weird titled posts which demean women in minds of the young men. I don’t know if this particular writer is eternally horny for some reason but if on one hand we are struggling in our society for the women to get them the respect they deserve and not to be treated as sex objects, such posts do not help at all!

I am not completely against such ‘entertainment news’ sites but when it comes to content like these, I think we all should be aware enough to comment on it on how its wasting our time and expect some better content from them. Some of you will say if you don’t like their posts do not go on their websites. True, I have un-liked all their Facebook pages and I do not visit these websites. But these are my views on whatever I have observed so far and I see no harm in sharing my views with you all. 

Saturday, 14 February 2015

How To Ride a Motorcycle Safely in India?

I have been riding motorcycles for 6 years now. I do not count the riding experience of anything before that because I didn’t have a driving license then. Roughly more than 60,000 kilometers done with the two motorcycles I have owned in past. Each kilometer ridden adds to your experience towards becoming a better rider. However riding in India is not a cakewalk for riders. Bad roads? Well not really but the bigger threat to riders is all the elements around which if neglected could make the ride unsafe. In this article I am just trying to help you all on how to ride a motorcycle safely in India. I do not consider myself as an expert rider and this is just what I have learnt over last few years of riding. If you consciously follow these points while riding I hope it can help you avoid some accidents on road.
Riding Gear:
Most of us neglect the need of riding gear. To be honest, it is the most important way to help you stay safe on the road. If you are a sensible rider and not a maniac, you can easily assume that most of the accidents happen on the road. In case of a fall or a similar incident, riding gear is the only thing which can save your head and body or at least reduce the extent of the damage/injury.

A complete set of riding gear may consist of – a good quality DOT certified (preferably full face) helmet, riding gloves with knuckle protection, a riding jacket with in built armor to protect shoulder, elbows and back, riding pants with thigh protection and in built knee guards, riding shoes which are at least ankle length.

Now you can buy all this stuff starting from few thousands rupees to lakhs of rupees depending on the quality of the gear you wish to purchase. It is always advisable to invest in good quality riding gear (especially helmet) because they work the best in protecting you in case of a fall or an accident. You can read about benefits of wearing a helmet from my other post. Also watch this video to know the importance of buying a good quality helmet, just imagine if it was your head under that cheap helmet in the video!

You might argue that how can I ride every day and all the time in full riding gear. Well honestly with Indian weather conditions, you can’t. However it is advisable to wear minimal riding gear all the time while riding- full face helmet, gloves, and ankle length boots.

Avoid road rage:

I ride 50 km every day to and from work and believe me I have seen traffic and people on road at their worst and least sensible behavior. It’s like people leave their brains in fridge at home before they come out to drive/ride. Such traffic idiots who do not know how to cross the road, idiots who change driving lanes suddenly and without indicating etc. might become the cause of an accident! These idiots get on your nerves and you wish you could just kill them right away. However I have learnt that it is best to not to argue with such idiots and keep riding away with a calm mind. #OmShanti 

You will also meet some maniacs on road every day who will try to race with you. Even if you ignore them completely they will not stop teasing you by riding madly around you trying to prove I don’t know what. When I was returning from my Ride to Kolli Hills I met such an idiot on road. The problem with such idiots is that they think just because you are in full riding gear and riding a decent machine, you are trying to race with them. He kept riding along me in a mad way as if he was a circus artist. He even provoked me to race and kept following me till my home! LOL! I did not utter a single word and kept riding at my own speed as if he didn’t exist. Such jobless assholes!


Look for unexpected elements:

While riding in city or on highways you must always be alert. Unexpected elements such as a dog or a cow might appear out of nowhere on the road making you panic brake. Panic braking might lead to skidding if your tyres are worn out and this might lead to a fall if you fail to control your bike. While cruising on the highways always maintain a speed comfortable enough for you to handle the bike even if you have to brake hard at times.

Other unexpected elements could people turning up on road out of the bushes, and again..out of nowhere. Cars and bikes changing lanes suddenly could also disturb your riding and giving you a jolt. Then another important area where you have to be extra careful are the junctions on the highways and the streets joining in the highways. You will see cars entering the highway from these streets with the largest turning radius possible without paying heed to the incoming traffic from behind. They end up taking up your line of riding in the road making you apply brakes hard. Again, no fault of yours but your safety was at risk. Always slow down at the junction and such streets joining the highways.

Changing lanes:

Believe it or not one of the biggest irritating and even a safety risk factor are the people turning left/right without indicating. Same for changing lanes. They never use rear/side view mirrors or the turn indicators on their vehicle.  

Such people make me feel that if automobile companies do not fix the turn indicators and rear/side view mirrors in the vehicles, they will save so much cost. People don’t use these things anyways. Always use turn indicators 20-30 meters before you are going to turn. Use rear view mirrors. Do not ride in the blind spot of mirrors of other vehicles. People who use rear/side view mirrors can’t see you if ride close enough in the range of blind spot to the vehicle. See the pic below to understand this.

Use intuition:

Sometimes on the road you have to rely on your intuition, to predict the traffic around you. Such as the bus moving in front of you, will it turn left or go straight? If you knew this you would plan your lane change and vary speed accordingly. But the bus driver hardly cares to indicate. Look at the bus number, see the route where it is going. If you ride on the same road every day you should be aware of such things by now. This way you can guess whether the bus will turn or go straight.

People on road on two wheelers tend to look to their sides whether someone is coming from behind, instead of looking in their rear view mirrors. When this happens I always slow down because this means that guy is going to change lanes!

Some other points:

Slow down at speed breakers, they are there for a reason.

Ride with your headlights on. Even if its day time switching on your headlight increases your visibility on the road for the people in front of you whether they are driving in same or opposite direction. A headlight on is more visible in the rear view mirrors of the cars and hence they are aware of your presence on the road. However during night time riding with high beams could blind the other guys coming on two wheelers from the opposite and hence a risk to yourself. Nobody likes to be blinded by the stupid high beams.

Do not mess with the truck drivers on the highways. One small turn of their steering could prove fatal for you. Whenever overtaking these trucks always honk enough to show them your presence.

Always keep your bike in fully functional condition. Get the brake pads checked. Pay attention to the life of tyres and know when it’s time to change them. If possible, invest in a bike which comes with ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System). I ride a bike with ABS and believe me it’s a life saver. ABS is a safety feature in a motorcycle prevents wheel locking when brakes are applied hard and all of a sudden. Anyone riding a bike with ABS will agree with me on this! Always apply both the brakes. Applying both the brakes reduces the braking distance considerably.

And last…respect the traffic rules.

Well this is all I have on riding a bike safely in India. If you think I missed out on an important factor please let me know in the comments!

Keep Riding. Ride Safe.

(All the pics above are sourced from Google :P)

Friday, 6 February 2015

My thoughts on AIB Roast

Just like everyone else out there, I too have an opinion on the AIB Roast controversy. Keeping it short and crisp:

A Tension!

Its human nature to feel desired, needed by friends, society, people. Its natural to feel the need for attention of others, because it makes us feel important and gives us some kind of undefined value to ourselves. What do people do to get this attention?

Some people just ask for it. They are very outspoken in demanding attention and do not miss any chance to make others feel that the world will not be a better place without them. Whether or not they actually are capable of doing a task, they will never stop bragging about how they could have done things in a better way than the others. Any charity they do, or if they helped someone, you will get to know about it without asking. You just cannot miss recognizing such a person around you.

Then there are people who after doing charity want to update it on Facebook/Twitter. Although they do not talk about it much but all they want is more likes. Actually Facebook/Twitter have taken the need of feeling important to a new level. I still do not understand the deep sub-conscious pleasure each Like on your pic brings or a retweet to your tweets on Twitter. Does it make us feel that we are better than others? In what way? Because we got more likes or retweets does it give an upper hand to us in social situations or professional? May be we have learnt to live with it without bothering for the answers.

At this point I would like to ask...myself. Selfie. Its very much evident that selfie is just an act or expression which demands attention of the world (once you upload it on a social networking site). Do you click selfies? Do you click selfies and look at it and admire yourself? Is it wrong to admire yourself? Apart from selfies, what are other ways to admire yourself? Can it be a smile you bring on someone's face? I do not know if its wrong or right. But should one send his/her selfies to others asking and expecting their good comments? How valid is that in feeling needed or to satisfy the hunger for attention? I do not know the answers. If you do please comment below!

The other kind of people which do not demand for any attention even when they actually complete important jobs or do some kind of charity or help others. They are okay if they do not get praised by others because it does not matter to them. They are okay if they do not get 100 likes or retweets and they just keep doing their job without bothering for others comments. Why are such people different from others? What else is satisfying their need for attention rather than someone praising them or liking their pictures/status? Again..if you think you know the answer do comment below!

I do not know in which category people like this belong to:

In this attempt to understand the need of attention by humans, may be I have raised more questions than trying to answer some. But I wanted to share it with you all to know your comments as well. Nothing more to write now..otherwise I will just raise more questions :)

Monday, 26 January 2015

Ride Story: Tada falls

3 day long weekend and we have another write-up here. Don’t worry I will keep it short this time. I was clear that I wanted to do a day-ride this time meant I wanted to be back by 5-6pm at my home. This meant that the ride has to be around 100-200km one way but there are not many places around Chennai apart from regular Mahabs and Pondi which I have done several times. However asked some friends around and they suggested Venkatagiri falls, Tada falls etc. I looked up both and finalized Tada falls which is 115km one way from my home. Also did some research and came to know that it has a bit of off-roading and a lot of trekking inside the jungle. Sounds exciting to me! So the route map:

And you see the dotted line there? This means only trekking:

Now I have ridden on this road before so route planning wasn’t a big task. I just wanted to start early and be back early and take rest. But I had no idea of the fun which was in store this time for me. So I started at 7am from my home and doing moderate speeds of 90-100kmph I reached 23km from my destination which was at about 08:25am and I was very hungry by this time and stopped for breakfast. Felt better after satisfying my stomach and I was back on the bike again. This road offered the views of clear blue sky ­­and greenery around.

Following the straight roads after taking a left from the main highway, few kilometers from the TADA falls parking spot the roads will end and the off-roading will start.

It’s not very tough but just kaccha road. Here first stop is for getting the entry ticket which is Rs. 25, they will charge Rs. 50 for a camera but they didn’t understand my action cam and I didn’t have to pay for it.

So the gates were opened and  off-roading started. I always enjoy riding off-road , fun!

More off-roading for 3km and you reach the parking spot and no car or motorcycle can go further. There is a small shop here where you can get tea and stuff. Also remember that this is your last stop to stock water, biscuits and such items because inside you will not get any. DO NOT GO INSIDE WITHOUT CARRYING WATER.

There are lot of monkeys around so be careful of your food and stuff.

As soon as you enter the place you witness this:

And after coming down the bridge, you are given the option of two paths (Sorry I don't have a pic to explain this). One which goes to your left and another towards right. If you choose to walk on the trail on your right, it’s tough but relatively easy. Lots of ups and downs, rocks etc. But if you choose to walk on the trail on your left, you are sure to have a good time and here you can experience proper ‘trekking’ inside a jungle. Lots of rocks, you will walk around/inside the water and this makes the experience the real deal. I chose the left trail.

The natural water is so clear that you do not get it see every day and suddenly realize that you are away from the noisy chaos that city life is. Once inside it’s just you and the sound of birds you get to hear. There are lot of butterflies inside and they will love to fly with you as you walk.

The trek towards the main falls can be divided into ..say 6-7 stages. If you choose the left trail near the stream of water as I did, you will realize that as you progress and walk/climb, the flow of water increases slightly. The trek consists of climbing and crossing several rocks, stream of water, you have to make your way between the trees and plants and be careful here some thorns might rub your skin off so make sure you are covered completely. At some points you will see that you cannot move ahead near the stream of water, here you have to climb your way towards the land if you wish you can come back to the stream of water. I was enjoying the sound of water flowing and it kept me going. The water was so clear.more pics:

 Someone felt the need of changing into new clothes in the mid of the jungle:

After trekking for sometime, you will reach a point where you have no option but to walk along the main trail. Walk on this for sometime again and reach the rocks and the waters. One thing is clear(apart from the water, as you are moving ahead, the curiosity and the excitement to reach to the main source of water also keeps increasing.
It’s just a challenging trek ahead keep going ahead you will not regret till you reach the end. More pics during the trek:

After a tiring walk and trek, I reached the final point. Once you reach here you realize that it was totally worth it. Because I had started to this place early , there was no one, absolutely no one around here and it’s just you and the nature. I decided to take a dip!

The view when you lie down in water and look up. The feeling here cannot be explained in words...this is pure and untouched nature.

The water is cold and there are lot of fishes inside the water but they will not harm you. However be careful of slippery surfaces on the rocks otherwise you can easily fall and break your head lol.

Now if you are expecting a huge water fall here, I would say you will be disappointed. There is just moderate amount of water flowing which the locals started calling as falls. Also this time when I went the water falls magnitude was reduced as told by someone. Personally for me, the whole experience of trekking inside the jungle and climbing up the tough terrain to reach all the way to up this point was what counted. I will never forget this experience.
By the time I finished relaxing in the water, people had started coming in, I asked someone to click a picture of me. Notice the huge rocks!

As I walked back I chose the main trail on the land side which is comparatively flat and easy. This because now I had experienced the trek in the jungle and had to reach back to the bike little faster. 

As promised, I am keeping this travelogue short. This time I realized that the trekking part was more fun than the riding part and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have lot of footage from the action cam which needs sorting and stuff so I will try to add a video to this post later, till then please manage with the pics!

Update (5th Feb): Here is the video! 

Anyways when I reached back to the bike it I decided to have a tea. While sitting amongst monkeys I relaxed for sometime and started riding back at 12:30 and reached home by 2:15pm. Some pics while riding back:

This place is a trekking paradise and if you love trekking you should definitely visit this place. I can’t deny that the sound of water is still ringing in my head :) 

Once in a while, go to some place which makes you feel one with the nature.

Keep Riding.