Tag Archives: motorcycle

Himalayas on a Triumph Street Triple



Ever since I can remember, I have forever been in love with travelling. And it was but
natural that the bug bit even harder once I was introduced to motorcycling. This was
many years back. I have been riding motorcycles for more than a decade now and it’s
really hard to believe I’ve been doing anything that long; many other hobbies have
come and gone by but this is one passion which has remained ever since I was introduced to it. Why, you ask? I don’t really know. There’s a clairty in the entire
experience perhaps, a richness that accumulates.

So, you can imagine when travel & motorcycle came together, my happiness knew no
bounds. I have also been touring on motorcycles for half of my life now! And trust me,
there is nothing better than touring on 2-wheels. And when this winter I got an
opportunity to visit the Himalayas yet again and that too on one of the most amazing
motorcycles (read cult!) ever, I, ofcourse couldn’t have let this pass by.






So, on an usual winter morning in the Capital which, for your reference is really cold
& foggy (or smog, whatever you want to refer it by), I along with my colleague
Krishnendu Kes (who was on a KTM Duke 390) started off for a beautiful destination
in the Himalayas, Chail. Now, before I move ahead with the travelogue, I would love to
let you know how much am I in love with the Himalayas. Probably, you are too if you
love travelling even half as much as I do. You see, Himalayas humble you. You almost
feel like a speck of dust in this vast expanse; the Himalayas make you feel the silence.
Like that is perhaps the ultimate truth. All else is pointless noise.

Anyhow, without getting into the philosophical side of things, let me continue. Well, it
as really cold and we kept riding at a decent pace because we wanted to reach our
destination (Chail) before nightfall as neither of us wanted to ride in the hills during
night. Not that we are inexperienced but because there’s no use torturing your body
because of the cold. And once the sun goes down, temperatures can drop pretty

I was riding the Triumph Street Triple S and was having a gala time. That 765cc 3-
cylinder motor has all the power & torque that you could ever need. Overaking was a
breeze and maintaining three digit speeds almost became a joke. Also, the fact that the
seat was comfortable, the riding posture was not sporty (unlike litre class superbikes)
meant that I was pretty relaxed on the highway as we sped towards the hills which was
a couple of hundred kilometres away.

Eventually, we did hit the hilly section and realized that for a good few kilometres, the
roads weren’t ideal. There was construction work going on and also the fact that there
had been landslides earlier meant that many sections of the road was in pathetic
condition. I feared the worst simply because big bikes like the Street Triple S aren’t
really meant to handle bad roads efficiently. But boy, was I proven wrong and how!
The suspension took all the potholes and bad roads in its stride and this did take me
by surprise. I played with the torque curve on the hilly section keeping the motorcycle
on 3rd gear and playing with the curvaceous roads.



Also, the fact that the Street Triple S has two ‘riding modes’ meant that I could actually
put it on the two different modes and feel the difference outrightly. So, to name them,
the modes are ‘Road’ and ‘Rain’. Now, as the name suggests, the ‘Road’ mode is meant
for the road and gives you full 112bhp of power on tap. But the interesting bit here is
that the ‘Rain’ mode doesn’t really cut power in any way but rather dials down the
response of the throttle so as to prevent wheel-spins. However, with ABS and
traction-control, I was really confident riding the motorcycle on the hilly roads and on
extremely bad patches of roads that we encountered in between.

Finally, after more than 8 hours of constant riding, taking breaks in between for
pictures and ofcourse to fuel up the motorcycles and our respective tummies, we
reached Chail just after sunset, the total distance covered being a shade over 400kms.

I wasn’t really exhausted. Tired yes, but not exhausted. Maybe it was the motorcycle
which helped me relax in way of the sitting posture or the overall experience which
took care of me.

Now, Chail is an amazing destination in itself. And since we were at such a quaint
little town up in the Himalayas, we wanted to stay at the best possible property that the
place had to offer – the Palace, Chail. And we got lucky as we got great prices and
discounts because the ‘season’ hadn’t started yet. Happy, we checked into our comfy
log-hut and after having a sumptous dinner crashed for the night.

The next day was pretty uneventful as we explored the surroundings and I mostly kept
taking photographs of the Street Triple S. She’s such a looker, I tell you. No matter what
angle you look at her from, you cannot get enough of her. Whether it be that small
bikini fairing or those thick Showa 41mm front USD forks, everything is just so
beautiful and high-quality. This particular Street Triple S that I was riding had a few
extra bits added to it, namely, a Triumph branded rear seat cowl which I thought made
the entire motorcycle look even sexier, an Arrow after-market exhaust which ofcourse
meant the motorcycle sounded out of this world, and a quick-shifter. Now, this quick-
shifter works during upshifts, so, no auto-blipping down-shifting shenanigans here!
But, I didn’t really miss the auto-downshifts as I was too busy in enjoying the
motorcycle and the ride, overall.

After spending two quiet days in the lap of the Himalayas, the 3rd day came when we
had to ride more than 400kms. back home to the Capital. You see, when you enjoy
something in life, it becomes really tough to let go of it. You get attached to it
emotionally and in ways that you cannot really describe. That is exactly what had
happened to me. I got attached with the Street Triple So. So much so that while riding
back to Delhi, I could not help but feel a sense of sadness because I knew once I was
home, she shall go back to Triumph India. That, really made my heart break.

Eventually though, we rode back to Delhi. The ride back was non-stop. We were tired
but the motorcycles did not even budge. It was as if the machines could go on forever.

I have been in love a few times now and I can safely say, what I felt for the Triple S was
nothing short of pure, unabashed love. I sure hope she and I would be able to get back
together for one more adventure, very soon. Till then, the memories shall suffice…

Motorcycle: Triumph Street Triple S
Total distance covered: 900kms.
Fuel efficiency: 23km/litre (highway run mostly)

Royal Enfield Himalayan – 2 weeks of ownership

I would be pretty frank here; I am not that big a fan of the brand Royal Enfield. I’ve always thought about them as heavy & slow motorcycles which require a lot of maintenance, something which I do not quite understand. I am someone who needs his motorcycle to be ‘ready to ride’ whenever, wherever I’d want to.

So, when I got a call from Royal Enfield about riding the Himalayan and keeping her for a period of almost 4 weeks or 1 month, I was taken a little aback, but accepted the offer happily. You see, the Himalayan is unlike any other motorcycle that RE has ever created. It looks smashing, undoubtedly, and the 411cc engine as I discovered is really nice.


It has now been 14 days (give or take a day or two) that I’ve been riding her, and in this period, I have ridden close to 550kms in city. I am yet to check her highway capabilities, but I think even on the highways, the bike should perform beautifully. On papers, 24.5bhp might not sound too much, especially given the fact that it has got a ‘big’ 400cc engine, but don’t let the figures fool you. The torque is fantastic, and it makes sure you can putter around town at 40km/hr. in 5th gear. On top of that, the commanding view that you get while on that super comfy saddle of the Himalayan is something that one needs to experience to be able to really appreciate. The front sports a big 19-inch wheel while the rear does with 17. But, the most important question which I’ve been getting all through these 2 weeks of riding from people all around me is, “kitna deti hai” (What is the fuel efficiency?). Well, I’ve been getting anywhere between 22 and 27km/litre depending on how I ride the Himalayan, which for me is more than satisfactory.



Yes, there are certain niggles which I am not too happy about, like the gear-box is one of the worst ‘boxes I’ve ever come across. Shifting from 1st to 2nd is a pain, and I completely believe finding an oasis in the middle of a vast desert would be much easier than finding neutral on the Royal Enfield Himalayan. Also, it has started leaking oil, and that is something which disappoints me BIG time, especially because I’ve had her for hardly 500kms. When I picked up the bike from RE office, it had 2700kms on the odo. So, I don’t see any reason whatsoever for a brand new machine to start leaking oil. But then again, it’s an RE thing, I guess.





Overall though, I cannot help but be satisfied with the overall experience till now. Yes, the niggles does irritate me at times, but when I look at the Himalayan as a package, it brings a smile on my face for sure. I am not sure I can suggest anyone the Himalayan with all my heart, but if you are looking for a motorcycle which is super-comfortable and does what it is pretty much meant to do, then, by all means go with the Himalayan.

I shall share a small vlog and more pictures as I spend more time with the white beauty…

From the Land of Lama

I’ve been to Ladakh on a few occasions earlier, but somehow every-time I go there, I discover something new, something exciting, something which I’ve never discovered on my earlier trips. And generally, I prefer driving to Ladakh instead of just comfortably taking a flight and landing in Leh. Driving/ ridng to the place makes you see a myriad of things and makes you experience a lot. You get to see different places, you get to meet new people on your way (and hopefully make friends), and ofcourse, you get to do it all at your own leisure.

Well, this post isn’t really the travelogue so to speak, but more of a prologue to what is to come – a proper full-blown travelogue and photographs about Ladakh and ofcourse the short travel film about #Ladakh which I’m editing as I type this. That would take about 2 more weeks to complete; till then, I would like you all to look through these few pictures and a small video which I managed to film, and is dedicated to the friends that I’ve lost.

The following are just a few pictures which I wanted to share. The rest shall be shared with the travel-story, and also IN the film that I’m editing right now. 🙂 Till then, please enjoy these.

View of Leh City from Leh Palace

The roads that have been cut through the barren landscapes

The gorgeous landscapes that adorn the entire region

The tributary of Zanskar river flows through...

I met a lot of motorcyclists traversing through the region during this trip. And I managed to photograph one such amazing group on their Triumph Tigers and BMW R1200s

The sun setting behind the beautiful Himalayas

We are just a speck in this huge Universe...

The Happy Monk - at Lamayuru Monastery, Ladakh

Leh City from Shanti Stupa

Yamaha RD350 Photographs

Recently, I got to photograph a wonderfully restored Yamaha RD350 which a friend owns, and is crazy about. For the uninitiated, the RD350 is a motorcycle that was produced by Yamaha. It evolved from the piston port, front drum-braked, 5 speed Yamaha 350cc, the R5.

A licensed version of the RD350B was assembled in India between 1983-1990 by Escorts group under the brand name Rajdoot 350. It did not repeat the success of the RD350B in the Indian market, which some attribute to a high purchase price and poor fuel efficiency. However, it established Rajdoot/Yamaha as a performance bike manufacturer in India. There were two models for the Rajdoot 350 – High Torque and Low Torque.

Compared to the Yamaha RD350B that made 39 crankshaft bhp, the ‘High Torque’ version made 30.5 bhp (22.7 kW) and the later ‘Low Torque’ made only 27 bhp (20 kW), the engine being detuned in the quest for better fuel economy. By the time the production ended in 1990, the bike was nearly 100% sourced in India, with very little Japanese parts content.

The RD350 was the first sporting motorcycle built in India, and it still enjoys cult status, with many RD clubs around the country. Enjoy the pictures. 🙂














BonkersVille – KTM Duke 390 road-test

KTM Duke 390

The time couldn’t have been more perfect; the overcast skies had just given way for the evening sun, the golden glow from the edge of the helmet signalled a beautiful dusk, while some streaks of dust were blowing around courtesy the cool winds. One ride of this brilliant machine, the KTM Duke 390 and my sweaty palms and forehead were begging for mercy for what lay in-between my legs was a motor that could very well write itself into the history books! I know what you are thinking; after all how can a “mere” 44PS engine be so good or, for that matter so bloody fast? I know you are thinking, it is a motorcycle after all; how fast can it go? I know you are thinking that I have, perhaps, gone bonkers.

With 44PS on tap and a top whack of 160km/hr.+, the KTM Duke 390 is anything but normal. Take, for instance, the fact that with a twin cam, 4-valve configuration, nikasil coated cylinders, forced lubrication and vertically stacked transmission shafts, which is so KTM-ish, this thing manages an absolutely staggering 300bhp/ tonne. That is just phenomenal, and it is the least I could say!

Yes, it might seem like your Duke 200, but let me make it crystal clear, that is where the comparison ends. The KTM Duke 390 shows us what practical performance means, it shoves us in the face with pure power and brutal acceleration, and a hundred things more. I need to settle down for my nerves are still tingling with the wonderful sensation. A bike like the 390 Duke can give, even the seasoned riders all the power they would ever need to go as fast as they possibly could think of on public roads. When I say, there would be absolutely nothing that we bikers could crib about as far as performance is concerned, I say the truth.

KTM Duke 390

KTM Duke 390

KTM Duke 390

With the KTM Duke 390, what KTM has effectively done is, they have raised the bar of motorcycling (especially Indian motorcycling) to an entirely new level; it is the perfect mix of usable power, a brilliant price and a wonderful feel of being satisfied with your machine. First glances can be deceptive; for someone who is looking at the 390 Duke for the first time, it might seem a carbon-copy of the Duke 200. Even when you take it out on the roads for a spin, there are hardly any eye-balls which will take a second look at the machine. They probably will think it to be a Duke 200, after all. But, if you look a little closely, changes are apparent. There are the 390 decals on the fuel tank, the ABS equipped disc rotors, those gorgeous little hand guards and a slightly fatter rear tyre. Quality has not been compromised on, and I, during my short stint on the Duke 390 failed to find any faults on the machine, quality wise.

As much as I am happy with everything else on the Duke 390, I was a little disappointed from the sort of localization that Bajaj has done with it. From the branding to the handle grips and the switch-gears (which has been sourced from the Pulsar), and many other small bits on the machine which have been sourced locally. Now, there is nothing really wrong in doing it; adversely, it does bring the prices down. Howsoever, upset I was, I am happy to say that Bajaj has not compromised with the quality of the localized parts at all.

Enough talk about boring tid-bits, let’s get down to riding it! It doesn’t matter if you are looking at simply pottering around town or are looking at blasting down that favourite highway of yours, the KTM Duke 390 is up for all that and much more. When ridden slowly, it’s as docile as you could possibly think of, but when the throttle is opened wide, this thing is an absolute maniac of a machine! I mean how else can you describe a 0-100km/hr. time of 5.5 seconds odd; that’s almost the sole territory of some big boys (read fast 4-wheelers) and those things cost the Earth! As long as you are below that 4k RPM mark, you feel that the machine is somewhat unhappy; it just urges you to wring the throttle a little more. And as you pass the 6k RPM mark, there is a certain push like someone has kicked the crap out of the machine, and there is just no looking back from thereon. This machine blasts past everything else on the roads like there is no tomorrow. However, a word of caution for the newbies – please don’t just wring the throttle wide open, for the Duke 390 will let you taste dust in no time whatsoever.

As far as the gearing is concerned, KTM has done a brilliant job, really. The first 5 gears are spaced out perfectly to be able to potter around town or blast down the roads, while the 6th gear is ample tall. What this essentially mean is that you can cruise at a lazy 120km/hr. on the speedo while the engine has enough juice left in it, incase you decide you want some more thrill. I weigh in at 62kgs, and with me onboard, hitting the 2nd gear at a fast pace meant the bike did wheelie a couple of times. This was a little unexpected, but a LOT of fun indeed. This machine has a lot of surprises in store for a rider who can really ride her hard; surprises which I am sure will surprise even the most hardcore performance enthusiast, let alone a newbie! Overall, the mill of the Duke 390 is an absolute crazy, high-revving, adrenaline pumping unit which should keep you happy for a long time to come. If you think that this is not really a practical machine which can be ridden on a daily basis, I would really suggest you either take a test-ride and be beaten at your own words, or better still, just take a hike.

KTM Duke 390

KTM Duke 390

KTM Duke 390

KTM Duke 390

KTM Duke 390

KTM Duke 390

KTM Duke 390

Braking on the KTM Duke 390 is another of its huge plus point. It is taken care of by the Bosch 9MB 2-channel ABS system and comes as standard in the awesome package that the 390 has to offer, overall. Ofcourse, there is the switch to turn ABS off, but I don’t really see a point in turning such an important safety feature off. Front brakes have a single 300mm disc with radial mounted 4-piston caliper, complete with ABS, while at the rear a 230mm disc does the job with single piston caliper and ABS.


All was well in the KTM land, but then it decided to throw in another big surprise – the pricing! With an on-road price of Rs.2 lakhs, this thing screams value for money. No other manufacturer in this country offers anything even remotely close to this machine, at double the price! With a price-tag like that, Bajaj has absolutely hacked the competition dead center, where it hurt them the most. This price, as I see it will be really hard for the competition to match up, really. If you are looking to get a new machine, and can afford a 2 lakh rupees bike, then you don’t really need to look any further than a spanking new KTM Duke 390.

As the sun set, and my ride came to an end, I couldn’t help but wonder what a machine this has turned out to be. All that hooplah before the launch was so worth it. With this, KTM has delivered a knock-out punch on the face of their competition. This evening might have come to an end, but it sure is a new dawn for Indian motorcycling. Thanks to the guys at Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen, the word ‘bonkers’ just got a new meaning altogether.

* A special thanks to KTM Gurgaon, for providing the KTM Duke 390 for road-test and photo-shoot.

*Also, a huge word of thanks to Manfrotto, for providing with tripod and photographic support.

The brilliant Honda Goldwing Review!

Honda Goldwing Review and photo-shoot

Honda Goldwing Review and photo-shoot

Just completed a photo-shoot and review of the wonderful Honda Goldwing. To read through the entire article, and to look at the photographs of the machine, please read on: A Rolls Royce on 2-wheels || Honda Goldwing.

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