my Next Bike trip…


A schedule for bike trip planned to Gujarat for work and leisure. Trip is expected to complete with 1800 km of ride. Trip also include about 150 km ride through Gir Forest, will be good opportunity to my long waiting for testing the Duke off-road.

Tentative Route map…

  • J’Factors

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INDIA BIKE WEEK, Domestic arena for the biker community


This and the last decade has witnessed a grand elevation in Indian auto enthusiasts. People are spending and to tap this huge, seller’s market many multinational auto makers are engaged in pushing their exclusive presence & competition here. This is true for Supercars and advance Performance bikes. But for this blog, I ‘ll concentrate on a Motorcycle playground.



There is a colossal swell in number of bikers, and surprisingly contribution is flowing form all directions, from far-reaching towns and country land. Today biking era has reached to its infancy of maturation stage, formation of larger brackets but still unorganised for banking in through branding, commercialisation and sweepstakes & merchandising. Although it is getting there and ‘Online Social Media’ will be largely responsible.



Currently in existence are large autonomous groups and, sponsored and autonomous. INDIA BIKE WEEK, the first organised platform for bikers, is a big leap that will alter the course, presence and roadmap of biking community in India.



INDIA BIKE WEEK or IBW is backed up by the history of a event organiser company ‘70 Event Media Group’ whose presence and experience is served Globally. IBW ’s main function is to syndicate individuals and biking groups to form a larger brotherhood, and organising events & festivals at all scales.



‘India Bike Week’ festival to be commenced in Goa from February 2013 is one such event, it is a largest multi-day event ever introduced in India. This festival will serve as a common and introductory platform for bikers, exhibits & promotional opportunities for individual & small enterprise field professionals and finally branding companies. Festival stages many sporting, biking and gathering events.



IBW also coordinate regional /city wise weekend rides, brunch gatherings, brotherhoods, news & newsletters, blogging, and few other services through their network. One can always step forward to get involved with IBW through volunteering, blogging, exhibits & merchandising and participant. In days to come, expecting IBW will develop some quality information exchange platform and media circulation to expand its reach and critical presence in this sector.



IBW is one of the big steps on Indian Biking court and has a serious potential for the growth. Their present planner, events and PR coverage certainly looks promising, now it is to see what shape, direction & place IBW acquire in future. Nevertheless, such events and large bodies will open the gate to fresh commercial and tourism opportunities, even for unprofessional but skilled classes like mechanics, build-offs & customisations.



-J’Factors

Hollywood since 2011


I’m a movie freak, have followed through most of average to good, major & minor releases since past 7 years in all genres and few aspects of international cinema, viz. French, Korean, Latin and Japanese movies.



Recently saw ‘The Impossible’ and ‘Gangster Squad’ which motivated to me blog this article, also have been reasoning and discussing on this for quite some time.



Hollywood journey till the mid of 2011 has been exhilarating, comprehensive and highly entertaining. But post 2011 releases and production there is a makeshift in presentation and conception, and this appear to be consistent irrespective of the production and direction. there are always few exceptions.



Virtually be 2011 form a dividing line, then in pre-2011 period productions were more generic & organic, – the heart was performance and reality – and 2011 &later, which is supremely dictated by special effects, 3D technology and virtual reality.



Technology is turning cinema from Reaction to Action based. Albeit nothing wrong with that, on-going revolution in visual & sound technology makes special effects indispensable for moviemakers as well as to the viewer delight. But it has also been weakening the script and performance effect, and impact of the characters.



Animation, action or adventure, Digital technology is cardinally overdone in most of the releases. Instance, quality of Animation movies are getting adoringly remarkable but then every now and then comes a big disappointments, like Madagascar 3 -a perfect example of over-personifying the characters.



This is even overwhelming in Action and Superhero movies. One good example if the Transformer series, where Transformer 3 was a blow off with over done animation and special effects and thus killing the character and their peculiarities……



then there is Sherlock Holmes series. 1st part released in 2010 excellently portrayed the strength of the fiction character whereas the 2nd part was made lengthy, inessential special effects that made presentation weak, partly unbelievable and shifted trait of character to superficial.



List of such, 2011-12 releases goes on and on. Green Lantern, War Horse, Hangover Part II, Dark Knight Rises and many of the 3D releases.



Trend emphasis the interest of Production houses to bank more from digital deployments and this is eventually killing significance of script as well cutting performance based releases.



Now keenly waiting for Promised Land, Broken City, & Die Hard 5.



-J’Factor


Preparing Duke 200 for a long Touring


I got Duke 200 delivered on 4th November this year, did first 1000 km by the 15th day. First long ride was 400 km run to Vapi [located at the southern border of Gujarat], experience was good but novice since followed the speed and RPM restriction.

After first service, and 1400 km began with 30 days touring to Southern India, which also was my first ever long touring experience.

Kick started on 8th of December, travelled for 27 days and 5600 km through 22 cities & towns in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra.

This is my experience with the Duke on touring. Note that review is only limited to long touring. Otherwise does not apply for street riding and short runs.

Note; Road lanes when mentioned refers to one side carriageway.

some Facts

– Bike, Duke 200 with stock components.

– Kilometre driven 5570 km & 27 days.

– Saddled weight, about 14 kg.

Gears

– Cramster Breezer 4.0 Riding Jacket.

– Knox Cross Bionic knee guard..

– DSG Mesh street gloves.

– Cramster waist pouch.

Roads, Terrain and milestones covered

——————————————————————————

– Tar roads, most part been good.

– Up-hill and down-hill roads with sharp, hair-pin bends, steep curves.

– 970 km ride in 11 hours

– Non-stop ride of 300 km on a well-maintained highway.



CONCERNS of Duke 200



Duke is a stiff for a full, multi-day day rides;

Long handle bar, foot rest, and riding position kept me always at the alert stance. Rare Mono-shock is underneath the rider’s seat and relatively hard for rough and irregular roads, only if KTM employs some kind of secondary piston based technology to further make it a smooth ride. The seating is a solid block too.

All these features contribute to a stiff ride when you are out on road for a full long day or a couple of weeks.



Discomfort zones;

Tail bone, trapezius muscle, and butt.



Stress on tailbone is a significant issue when heavily ladened and a long ride; need to get some extra padding done by rare length of the seat.

Slant, negative angle, adjustment of gear and foot-break lever will offer a more relaxed posture to the ankle.

Vibrations;

There are vibration between 6 -7.5k RPM but nothing that cannot be handled.



After few thousand kilometres engine did felt rough and loosing some ground. Fortunately it was also time for second service @6000 km, which was done in Kochi [or Cochin], Kerala.

Digital Fuel indicator, each bas is i too wide that represents substantial fuel level. This arrangement can get you misjudge sometime, esp. at locations where premium fuel is widely unavailable.

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OVERALL EXPERIENCE

———————————————–

PERFORMANCE was awestruck. Duke had excellent response to long touring reliability, high-speed cruising, curves & sharp bends, handling & stability.

HANDLING & Stability was consistently at its best behaviour. Give or take few instances when low tare weight provided less drag or traction for breaking at high speed, mainly on polished roads. There was a marginal displacement of rare tyre while breaking at high speed but never felt Duke oozing out of control or taking a fall.

Air pressure of about 30 PSI in rare-tyre gave me a good turning confidence.

Duke smoothly handled sharp bends @80kmph with all that luggage saddled, rapid manoeuvring, inclination at low gears and sudden death situation. High RPM on turns feed Duke with some extra stability and confidence that it could go a little more.

Blow from speeding heavy vehicles and SUV was near to negligible. Pressure and force could not shake the ladened Duke in most encounters, which in a single or two lane highway flows like waves.

Top speed achieved was 130-135 kmph, and did 110 to 125 for a good couple of hours with just 2 or 3 short breaks; engine temperature was well below 60-70% of its safe zone.

Digital meter, or cockpit view, as the company calls it is very functional. Clock, 2 Trip options, travel time, and average speed tracked the whole tour accurately.

WHAT I ENJOYED the most about Duke in this tour?

Nothing is perfect, posture stiffness and discomfort is for Duke on long rides. However, it is a worthy ride to out the hands on.

– Curving on sharp edges at high RPM. Appeared as if Duke almost handled itself through the turn and remain more stable at higher RPMs.



– Engine roar @4.5 -6 RPM.



– High speed manoeuvring.



– Handling, Stability & Control.



– Steep climbs are the 2nd to 4th gear.



– Digital readings and Trip functions.



– No sign of engine heating after a long, high speed ride.

ROUTE Experiences

Route 1- Dubera Forest route in Coorg district of Karnataka state [10 km patch]

Route 2- Talacuavery in Coorg district of Karnataka [last 8 km patch]

Route 3- Coimbatore -Munnar -Top Station [Munnar -Top Station, 25 km]

Route 4- Lakkidi -Vythiri [Wayanad district, Kerala]

Good roads with thrilling curves, some very steep, sharp & hairpin bends. Bike was stuffed & saddled, plus a laptop thus had to be very careful.

There was no trouble at all conquering sharp curves and steep inclination. None case of imbalance, loosing control, or if Duke could not handle the climb with all the weight on it.

Route 5- Munnar -Trivandrum [270 km]

Route followed was through Kottayam.

Route 6- Pune – Sholapur

Total distance done on that day was about 350 km, been a tiring 9 hours ride to Trivandrum. Roads were good but a single lane state highway running through civilisation at every 30-45 minutes, plus the Sunday & vacation traffic.



Pune -Sholapur highway was in a making, endless diversions and uneven roads. Speed was suppressed due to traffic and road condition, had to constantly work around with gears, turns, traffic and heavy handling. To add to this was a 3.5 kg laptop bag on my shoulders. It was by far the worst ride on Duke and generally.

Route 6- Vythiri -Bangalore -Pune [1220 km]

Route taken was Vythiri to Bangalore via Bangalore-Mysore Road. And bypassing Bangalore through Nice Rin Road to National Highway NH4, a part of Golden Quadrilateral project.

Travelled 970 km in 11 hours including about 65 mins break. Started @0600 hrs from Vythiri but being dark, chilly morning and bad road condition covered only 70 -80 km in 2 hours of time, was able to reach 90 /100 kph only after crossing Mysore. Top speed can be easily maintained from Nice Ring Road [Bangalore bypass route] till Kolhapur city.

Karnataka part of NH4 is excellent maintained, and it is a two /three lane highway. Took a coffee break at Bidadi, 18 km from Nice Ring Road, Bangalore and started for Pune by 12.30 pm. Once on NH4, consistently did 110 -125 kph. There were few diversions on the way, one or two patch was under maintenance and 20 km stretch from Hubli is a single lane but otherwise its all spick n span.

This route was one of the best, exhilarating experience of this trip! Desperately wish to get a test run of Duke 390 on this route, and for Mumbai -Bangalore -Goa -Pune route;



Duke gave out its core potential on this route, viz speed, long hours performance, stability and breaking.



NH4 highway from Kolhapur to Pune is characterised with unexpected potholes, unlevelled surfaces and rough diversions.



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FINAL WORD on experience

——————————————————–

Duke is great for short, couple of days’, touring but there are certain alternations to rider’s seat and mono-shocks to make it a easy touring ride.

Stiffness is a cause of good concern but, nevertheless, will not exchange it for any other ride. Duke was a great experience throughout the touring. It is a killer machine on open roads, curves, healthy manoeuvring, inclination, traffic, control & safety, handling & stability.

Best achievements are sharp bends, steep inclination, low-gears [3rd & 4th gear precisely] & high RPM performance.

I will get done some changes in design to rider’s sea,t to a softer one. Meantime, also have a meeting scheduled with KTM senior technical for feedback and suggestions. I should not expect nor desire any major change in the design and form-factor. After all the reason I got Duke is coz of its scrambler factor, performance and tough response.



———————–

a WRAP-UP

Duke is certainly not a long touring category but it offers a thrilling performance, handling and stable responses with peak confidence, making it a safe touring companion. Duke is a machine you dont want to see under-the-hood for long. There are few mandatory alteration required to support the spine and muscles but then every package comes with its own set of traits.



Bottom line, if you are not a big fan of cruising category or prefer a raw performance over total comfort then Duke is one of the best options to go for.



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FUTURE TOURS planned with Duke 200

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– A short off-road run to country side, will have a better judgment about its capacity to handle tough roads.

– Golden Quadrilateral route, 5,846 km highway connecting major cities of North -South -East -West.

– Mumbai -Delhi -Manali -Ladakh -Jammu.

– Maharashtra & Goa.

– Mumbai -Bangalore -Goa -Pune -Mumbai with Duke 390, if fortunate enough!


TRIP PHOTOS;

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Bike ‘Log, South trip, best riding routes so far -PART 1


It has been 18 days and 4500 km of being on road to Southern India, following grounds covered;

Hyderabad -Bangalore -Coorg -Bangalore -Coimbatore -Munnar -Kovalam -Trivandrum -Varkala -Kollam -Thenmala -Kottayam -Alleppey -Kochi [Cochin]

Now route to follow is,

Kochi -Calicut -Wayanad [Pookot Lake, Kuruva Island & Muthunga Wildlife]

Here are the list of routes impressed me about the South India.

Best Routes for riding; in chronology

01- Coorg,

  • Kushal Nagar to Dubera forest [13 km]

  • Madikeri to Talacuavery [25 km]

Kodagu or Coorg is a district, a beautiful hill station in the Karnataka State. Routes are filled with beautiful landscaping, coffee plantations, fields and wonderful people.

Dubera forest [10 km] and Talacuavery [25 km] is great for biking. Sharp curves, steeps,

good roads. Except the Talacuavery, roads are a mix of good, bad and uneven but the

last 8 km patch runs through forest with endless curves with a good road condition to delight yourself.

So far the best man-made and maintained landscaping observed even by small-time cultivators.

02- Coimbatore – Munnar [160 km]

There are two route for reaching Munnar, one from Kochi which is more popular and second one from

I’ve travelled both the routes, ‘Coimbatore – Munnar’ and ‘Munnar – Kochi / Kottayam’. and Coimbatore route is amazing, esp the last 70 km patch.

About 40 km runs through forest reserve and 30 km escalation to Munnar is a treat of

life, good roads, sharp curves, tea plantation all around and the Air itself & marginal Fog.

03- Munnar – Top Station [33 km]

All I could say is drivers & riders wouldn’t wanna miss it. Escalations, roads, curves,

landscape.

If you go to Munnar then I recommend to stay at the Top station, there are two

accommodation facility is available, average but worth spending the night there, it will be cold. There is a wonderful family running Forest Trail camping and trekking programs.

04- Varkala -Anjengo -Kadinamkulam Lake

This is about 25 km run through narrow country roads with beaches, backwaters, and coconut farms. The Kadinamkulam lake itself is beautiful, non-commercial and birds.

It is a very short run but beautiful, form Kadimamkulam you can catch up Kanyakumari- Panvel Road, to South it leads to Trivandrum and North to Varkala & Kollam.

05- Alleppey route.

06- Bangalore – Coorg, 230 km

Route has a two lane road but good, scenic and pleasant.

You can find all sort of modern world food joints within first 100 km from Bangalore, later part is mostly Cafe Coffee Day’s and South Indian cuisine restaurants.

07- Hyderabad to Bangalore

Straight, spotless four lane 600 km stretch. Did 100 – 130 kmph with no worries or a need

for breaking.

08- Bangalore -Coimbatore [360 km]

Again a good, straight patch to throttle. Route gets scenic after crossing Krishnanagari. Currently final 35 km patch is in development, thus bad and lot of diversions.

Worst patch to ride on; Pune – Sholapur.

Roads & Towns;

For most part of South, Roads are in a good condition but single lane, narrow in Kerala. State Highways runs through small towns and cities, all are well-developed. Hence this restricts the speed and thereby increased transit time.

A word of caution though, traffic sense is somewhat rude and mendable. Be careful !!!

Routes of Southern India are either green or blue, I personally experienced it more pleasant to cruise at 70 kmph rather than throttling.

People are pleasant and friendly.

35 days of cruizing, 6000 kms, 3 days of countdown.. and gearing up


It has been 10 years of riding and also of my first ride, a 180cc Pulsar by Indian economy and performance bike maker ‘Bajaj Auto’. Recently got KTM Duke 200!

have done many short, multi-day rides. And on several occasion planned a long trip, unfortunately all cancelled for some reason or the other. But now is a high-time for my first long and adventurous cruise. My first preference was North India but given a time of the year settled to South India instead, which as well offer diverse touring experience to suit your mood.

One can choose to ride for costal lines, mountain ranges, backwaters, forests, lakes and waterfalls, Sanctuaries, hill stations, adventure activities, ancient villages, Shrines & Caves, smacking cuisines and much more.

Routes planned runs through a small part of Karnataka state, Kerala state [from South to North], finally at Goa and back to Mumbai.

Terrain will be highway, hill roads, off-roads through backwaters, lakes, villages, will try to get a permission for riding through some part of Sanctuaries, and finally costal route to Goa and scenic State Highway ‘SH4’ known as ‘sagari marg’ from Goa to Mumbai.

Gearing up of the ride;

Routes plotted, measured and printed; Check!

Itinerary made; Check!

Final Checklist prepared; Check!

Daily Bike log, blog & costing format prepared; Check!

Basic repair toolkit, components, helpline numbers and instruction manual assembled; Check!

First Aid kit and First Aid manual packed; Check!

Luggage bags set, Check!

Basic self-repair course done; Check!

Pre-trip checkup and service done; Check!

Safety Gears, riding jackets, knee guard, gloves, shoes … Check!

Cooking & Camping accessories set; Check!



-Final mock packing in progress.

-Puncture kit, Foot pump Battery Booster & Motul C1 & C2 arriving tomorrow.

-J’Factors

How I want my Mumbai….


Mumbai city is among fastest developing metros of the world. Commercial and Financial capital of India, largest tax paying city for the Government, opportunity hub for aliens and ‘my city’ for the Mumbaikars !



You can get anything you desire here, money, glamour, city to raise your family. She is a place where it is easier to get rich than find peace and patience. Mumbai does have serenity and a breath of freedom if you choose to listen and leave all the urban gifts to simplicity and rest of humanity.



Situation was a lot different about two decades ago. There was a poor but developing infrastructure, and there was still the race to become rich as well as there was containment. What have made of Mumbai as it is today are step-by-step introduction of events and policies.



‘Liberalisation policy’ and Computers radically changed the business reach, competition and opportunity, it was a rich piece of pie accessible to any average citizens with a desire of wealth and will to work hard for it. Then came the evolution of Stock Exchange & Intl Corporates, brought ample of opportunity and money in the stream.



All these changes emerged Mumbai as one of the important cities. Rat Race existed then but life in Mumbai did not struggle to breath. But then things began to change, Capital interest in the city resulted in gradual detonations, various scams, financial crashes, real estate hikes, education hikes, etc etc.. and a struggle to survive begun for the people, esp middle- and lower section. So then what has been done to prevent it ??? and this question is for inhabitants and government.



Mumbai was and still is a the best of any worlds. But what she is today or govt envision her is certainly what I do not want her to be…



01- first thing first ‘Don’t Want’ it to be anything like Shanghai or Singapore, and certainly not naming

everything in Chinese!! why not make Mumbai of what she is and a part of Indian culture.



02- ‘Don’t Want’ Revenue collected from Mumbai and not even a good chunk of it spent on Mumbai.



03- ‘Don’t Want’ lifeline of Mumbai to be squeezed by few Capital and Political geniuses.



04- ‘Don’t Want’ it to see it develop to anything else other than a Metro with a mix of culture and a

blend of Mumbadevi.



05- ‘Want’ a good infrastructure and public utility so people can spend time with family and not on

the Road.



06- ‘Want’ Mumbai to be viewed for their inhabitant than just a bag full of money or people to exploit.



07- ‘Want’ banners and instructions educating people to keep Mumbai clean rather than political

faces around.



08- ‘Want’ festivals allowed without competition, item numbers and series of political and

sponsorship banners.



09- ‘Want’ a system where every life is measured precious and system made for the people.



10- ‘Want’ law and order to be strict and people in charge of law be paid well.



11- ‘Want’ Mumbai as a place where people shall work with the law and regime, rather than in fear of

them.



12- ‘ Want’ Mumbaikars to stand against corruption and not involve in one. Development of right

system will ask for few generation of sacrifice, why not start with ours.



13- ‘WANT’ all Mumbaikars to do their part, if government cannot change the system then let us

begin with the change.



Evolution of System involves People whereas Revolutionary System involves mainly force. And in Revolution there is a thin line between a good Leader and a Maniac in power. Building a good and corruption-free system is like a plan to acquire wealth, one needs to work hard, intelligently, sacrifice, be involved with people for development.



Always know that Freedom of Speech is a boon to Democracy only when it is made responsibly and with knowledge rather than just as a joke on social media.



Democracy works well only when people are active. For lazy, democracy will destroy the nation.