Saturday, November 29, 2008

Looong break

Well, there's no excuse for such a long break from blogging, it's a mixture of office work + watching tons of torrent downloaded movies (good ones, not what some dirty minds might be thinking of :P ) + Laziness + poor time management which has led to this sorry state of affairs. It's not that biking suffered all the while, i managed 2 rides from the time i last posted. One was a one day ride, while the other was a 5 day ride, got lots to post about, i hope someday i will get back the groove and the posts shall flow.

Getting back to the daily grind till then.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Miniature Garage

After weeks of playing GTA San Andreas, after killing N number of people in it and blowing up cars and bashing up cops :P Iam doing a write up, Got lots of to post about, will start off with a smaller one this time.

Added few more miniatures to my small collection of 1:12 scale models. This time caught them at Shoppers stop in Garuda mall. What I didn’t notice while buying them was that these maals are old stock (almost a year old!) and they are selling at Mrp of Rs 375/- while the earlier ones I bought from Coupons store near my old office in Hosur road were of new stock and I had bought them for Rs 345/- each :( Well, i guess I will have to hunt coupons store next time onwards. This time I added two bikes and a jeep. The Two bikes are Suzuki GSX R1000 and my first tourer bike Yamaha FJR1300

The Jeep is a 1:27 scale model, it costed Rs 495/- I bought it for the colour and the finishing. I liked the detailing that went in to the bonnet (literally!) and the tyres! The jeep looks very real indeed! The red and black combo was irresistible, next iam looking for a decent looking Hummer or a SUV like pajero.

Now these additions bring up the population of miniatures to six 1:12 bikes and one 1:27 cage. While there is one more 1:18 Honda CBR 600RR which i consider irrelevant due to it’s poor finishing. The bikes in my miniature garage so far are:
Honda CBR 1000RR
Aprilia RSV R1000
Suzuki GSX 1300 R (Hayabusa)
Suzuki GSX R1000
Yamaha YZF R1000
Yamaha FJR1300

My elusive hunt for BMW GS1200 continues, I guess these stores don’t stock it coz it is “ugly” bike compared to the other “dhoom” bikes :P Need to find more touring bikes in future. Did a small photo shoot one night with all the miniatures using my N73, was too lazy to reach out for my camera :P but the pics turned out to be good. Few pics from the photo shoot:

For the entire album, click here
For older photo shoot, click here

Saturday, August 2, 2008


No, not me, but one person whom I least expected to! Santoosh got R1fived few days back and it was a shocker to me.

Why? Because he already had one of a kind beast bike, which I had ridden earlier. On asking why, I realized that he hardly had any options.
Broadly, he had considered these bikes:
Karizma, Bullet (unit construction TB) and R15 (as it is the latest in market)
Yes, no Pulsar 220 :P coz it’s just not reliable enough for him or for that matter, me.

This would give him just smoothness and refinement over his torque machine Pulsar. No power difference. Plus the headache of costly spares and Rs 80K plus for a 5 plus year old model in market didn’t make sense.

Well, he did try out a thunderbird in earlier ride, but he was not impressed with vibes. He also test rode the new Thunderbird with unit construction engine, but he felt that it was bike with identity crisis, as it didn’t sound a like a bull any more, the thump was missing, the “feel” was missing. Also the over all package didn’t appeal to him. Also paying 1 lakh plus for a vintage looking bike didn’t make sense. I don’t blame him either, he’s still a young chap and needs to have a fancy looking bike for obvious reasons :P

This one impressed him not because of it’s power or blah blah. Purely because it is a ground breaking product. He took the test ride with a pinch of salt and the usual sarcasm that it is technologically overloaded poser bike, but one ride made him change his mind. Now that is one aspect that I didn’t get, for a guy who’s bored out his Pulsar 180 to 200 cc and earlier ran with an Esteem’s piston (!!) how can a 150cc poser looking bike impress such a sound bike techie guy?

So we decided to find out. Me and sachin had gone to Cramster to buy some gear for our mangalore friend sujay, Santoosh stays near by so we dropped by to his place to take a look at his new set of wheels. It was the first time I saw a R15 in flesh, must say, it left quite an impression!

Pics: Click here

SBK owners should be cursing themselves! Coz R15 is no less than a SBK when seen from side and front. The entire front and side is Ala the bigger brother R1.It’s easy to get fooled that it’s a SBK when seen from front :P

The fit and finish on this bike is something unmatched by ANY Indian bike that I have seen till date. Plus it’s loaded with technology like FI, Daisil cylinder, Delta frame, mono shock (different from unicorn mechanism) Liquid cooled engine! It’s got it’s own radiator! Not to forgot the full faring unlike the bikini and thong farings on Karizma and Pulsar 220 :P

The rear of the bike is not that exciting, looks like Yamaha limited to copying only to front and sides of the bike, the rear looks like a normal Indian bike. The fit and finish impressed me, the joints are not awkward, plastic panels don’t have shitty gaps, The paint quality and plastic quality is mind blowing.

While I was still taking pics and admiring it, sachin literally jumped on to it :P He wanted a ride badly to see what is that Yamaha chaps are yapping about and how santoosh got coverted to a Yamaha owner. One ride and back, sachin didn’t want to get down from the bike :P I was like, what is there in this bike that made him not to get down from the saddle. While, I wanted to try out the bike, I was also thinking of santoosh, it was just a 2 day old bike and any one who’s bought a new bike, that too costing 1 lakh plus, wouldn’t like to give any one a ride so soon. But santoosh generously asked me to take it for a ride, I was bit hesistant initially, and just wanted to sit on it and feel the riding posture and stuff.

Hmm, the riding posture is unlike any other Indian bike, the footrests are way way beyond than Karizma, The split on handle bars appeared very narrow for me. Sachin clarified that the posture is similar to Yamaha YZF R6, which he had ridden earlier. But then, I have never ridden or even sat on a sbk, so I guess all sbks have such narrow handle bars. Then I took it on a short spin. It was initially difficult to judge the turn due to shorter handlebar and it’s small movement would make the wheel turn a lot, later I got used to it. The engine is very very silent, the gears are like Honda, butter smooth, throttle is crisp and very precise. Gear shifting is something very very precise and enjoyable. The rear view mirrors are functional unlike pulsar 220’s show piece mirrors. No vibes nothing! I forgot to mention, as soon as ignition is turned on, the rpm needle rises to the max and drops :P Just like self test or something.

Bike is full DC. Has 35 watts dual headlamp. One comes on in lowbeam and both are on in high beam. The clock was missing from console : ( that’s something I’ve gotten addicted to in karizma. The horn was typical wimpy single horn like herohonda : ( But apart from these minor glitches, the bike is indeed a marvel in Indian market. Yamaha claims atleast 130 or 135 kmph on this 150cc pocket rocket, I don’t doubt that either, with it’s 6 speed gearbox and all the gizmos, it will rape all Indian bikes in straight line and corners. The rear tyre looks deceptive but gives excellent Pirelli/Michelin kinda grip. But they are surprisingly zappers and are tubeless. The rear disc break is very much like drum brake, no nasty rear wheel locks. The front brake is very Karizmaish, I got the same progressive feel in R15 front brake.

Ground clearance looked acceptable, but I was apprehensive about the front shocks. The gap between the front faring and front mudguard looked inadequate to swallow Indian road humps and craters, but I guess we will have to find out in one of the rides. Yes, rides! Santoosh intends to use this track machine for touring! Now that is something we will have to see. The riding posture and limited space to carry lugguage is something iam not sure about, but then again, he will figure out a way soon I guess.

Well, finally I can sum up by saying that R15 excited me as a bike enthusiast with all it’s ground breaking technology, fit and finish, performance etc, but as a tourer, Karizma still makes sense to me. I guess Karizma will continue to be my touring machine till some worthwhile upgrade in terms of a tourer comes in to market. But R15 makes sense for that perfect weekend ride out of town and to ride around town. If I was in Santoosh’s position, I guess my choices would have been limited to new Thunderbird or R15. Not a Karizma as it’s 5 year old model and over priced. I guess the tourer side of me would have made me bite the bullet and take my chances :P

That being said, I congratulate Santoosh on his new procession. Let the kms flow brother!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ride to Kailashagiri and Unisey Thopu

Wanted to do a short ride on a lazy Sunday. Had left the planning to professor, but with a condition that this time the route and place should be new. Trust the professor for routes and as usual the ride plan was in place with Professor in lead. As usual there were last minute drop outs and four of us ended up doing this short ride. Professor had east ward plans towards chintamani (AP) route, I hadn’t ventured towards that route so I readily agreed.

Riders and Bikes:

1. Professor – Unicorn
2. Vasanth – Karizma
3. Balaji – Thunderbird
4. Santoosh – Pulsar 180/200 :P

Bangalore>Hoskote>Chitamani Road>Kaivara>kailashagiri>Devanahalli>Bangalore

My Pics: Click here

Ride Log:

Met up with Santoosh first near ulsoor and waited for my colleague :P Balaji. Then we three proceeded towards the hanging bridge where professor was waiting for us. The road towards hoskote from there was full of traffic and with odd potholes and humps. It was frustrating initially to ride, later got in to the groove. Just after hoskote, the tarmac improved and traffic dwindled. Santoosh and Balaji were ahead of me and professor was tailing me, so I proceeded further, happy that I could raise the throttle after a long time. Then I could see Balaji behind me honking! I had over shot the deviation and went straight seeing the good roads! So took a U turn and joined the junction were the other 2 were waiting. This was chintamani road and it was fabulous to ride on. No potholes, no traffic and no road humps! Good smooth tarmac and some good short curves. We stopped at a curve to take a butt break.

I started taking pics. I wanted to try out the bull, so off I went for a short spin on it. On my return, all were suggesting that I dump my zma and get a bull as it was suiting my profile! Balaji was using all his convincing skills to make me a bulleteer :P But, iam not a bull type person, it’s fun for me to take a bull for a spin once in a while, but a bull cannot replace my zma’s practicality and ease of use. Santoosh felt the bull pangs :P Off he went with the bull, while we tried to take few “bull riding” shots of his :P

He had another point of view, that of vibes! Well bull and vibes are part of it’s character, but he seemed to have hard time accepting it :P Next it was professor’s turn to take the bull for a spin! Bull’s seating was higher than professor’s unicorn, so it was difficult for professor to keep his foot on ground. After the initial discomfort, professor took off with the bull roaring while we took a few pics of professor with bull :P

Professor was excited about bull’s different feel, but the practical problem of seating height made his reconsider bull as his next choice. Even we felt that it would be difficult for professor to manage a bike with high seating height. We all suggest professor to try out Avenger 200. It was time to move. Balaji wanted few orkut profile snaps, so we obliged :P It was already 8.30 Am and we were feeling hunger pangs, so we moved from there towards Kaivara. We reached Kaivara by 9 Am and found a local hotel there. Had tasty Dosa, lemon rice, bondas and all munchable stuff. We decided to hit a park cum zoo in the outskirts there. The Zoo is maintained by forest department and has monuments galore. Ranging from 9 planets to astrological signs to gods to even streets named after seasons! Few Monuments had old poetry written on them.

After walking for a while, we found few interesting monkeys under a tree and Balaji was trying to get a close up pic of the primate :P

Then we found a Crocodile resting in it’s enclosure followed by a peacock enclosure.

Later we found couple of wolves in their enclosure, it was difficult to get a good pic of these fellows as they were restless and running all around.

Next up was porcupine! I had never seen one, it was difficult initially to see it as I mistook it for shade and broom :P and also make out whether I was clicking it’s ass or face :P both looked the same :P thankfully the fellow was eating and I could click!

Next up was a huge open enclosure for deers. I had only seen two variety of deers during my outing to kerala and bandipur. Those were spotted deer and sambar deer. Here, there were close to 5 different species.

One young deer was very friendly and Balaji was feeding grass to it through the fence.

After that we saw few Cobras coiled up in their enclosure. The python was not to be seen at it’s enclose so dropped by a lazy bear in it’s enclosure.

We had completed one huge round of the zoo and it was time to move on to kailashagiri. After a cool drinks break at a shop near by, we moved on. The approach road towards kailashagiri was mini ghat road, it was fun taking corners. Soon we approached the entrance. We had to park the bikes and walk for a km or so. We dumped our stuff at a near by temple office and we climbed the steps towards the cave temple. Kailashagiri is a series of temples inside a monolith cave. The huge rock has been carved out using some high tech equipments. I forgot how many years they took to drill such a huge hole inside the monolith rock! But the entrance was deceptive, once inside the carved out space was as big as a huge hall!

Work is still in progress in cave and they are still digging and drilling. The completed portions are open for public. We came out after the visit and rested for a while, the scenery outside was good too.

We moved on and on our way down from there, found a small dam. We parked for a while there, but had to move on as there was no shade. We hit chintamani main road after sometime and hit a dhaba for lunch. After heavy lunch and chat sessions, we moved on towards Unisey thopu or tamarind groove. Professor was telling that the trees were very old, prolly some centuries together. Before moving out after lunch, I swapped my zma with Balaji for his bull. It was fun riding a bull for close to 30 kms. The riding posture, feel etc were exact opposite of my zma.

We stopped midway to enquire routes, this time santoosh wanted to try the bull, so I hopped on to his torquey pulsar. I was surprised seeing the direction boards pointing to devanahalli as it led towards the new international airport. It turned out that this tamarind groove is situated near the new airport! We found the first of trees by the road side and went in for snaps.

The trees were huge and old, but had strange formations. Each had number stapled on them. We moved on and we towards the number 1 tree, it is the oldest of the lot there. We parked the bikes underneath the tree.

Few trees were dying out due to old age, but their offsprings were hale and healthy. I was glad that atleast this part of greenery escaped from the airport work. The scenery was good, calm and cool with birds chirping, interrupted frequently by planes taking off or landing.

After whiling time there, it was time to move on. While Santoosh and me felt that going via new airport highway would be nearer, Balaji and professor had to go via KR Puram hanging bridge. After a final tea break, we parted ways. Santoosh wanted to check out the new Airport, so he ventured towards airport while I headed home and reached by 6 pm. Over all it was a short sweet weekend ride. Thanks to professor for this discovery!