Riding Season!

From autumn last year through to spring this year, I’ve been riding out on the bike every chance I can get. We’ve had a long dry spell with little or no rain. Our merry band of motorcycle mates has been great company for short escapes beyond city limits. Call it revenge motorcycling if you will- but if 2020 shocked us into submission, 2021 gave enough dire warnings lest we got too comfortable, and 2022 took all our energies to get back to normal life, then 2023 surely calls for some bravado! With this objective in mind, we’ve been stepping out eagerly, on two wheels and four. 😊

All manner of bikes. All manner of rides.

A company offsite in mid December to the coffee country of Coorg, provided a good opportunity to create a motorcycle trip for ‘official reasons’. We would save on fuel, get there faster, be environmentally friendly, etc. The office folks did not have much say in this and were readily convinced. Acceptance of the same reasons by la familia was another matter altogether. I was in the middle of elucidating the benefits of two wheels over four when my kid cut to the chase with “ Daddy, you just want any excuse to ride out don’t you?”. 😊

Cold, fog, dawn, open highway. ETA 60 min to rendezvous.
Rendezvous. A foggy start to our official tour.

It’s a great feeling when you thumb the starter before dawn in your empty parking lot. After weeks of planning, anticipation and excitement, that calming sense of purpose as you roll out on the exit ramp is incredible. I think it’s one of the essential joys of motorcycle touring, to see it all come to that moment, when you start the ride. You’re sort of done with the rigours of…

All the gear? Check.

Pannier balance? Check.

Tail bag strap adjustment? Check.

Phone mount secure? Check.

Did I forget my sunglasses? Third pair of underwear? Check.

Charging cable? Check.

Did I lock the house?

Darn it, let’s just ride!

An early start and meet up with my fellow riders on the Hassan highway was interrupted by heavy fog within a few miles. Don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but fog + motorcycling is a bit of a no go. It’s a complete dampener (no pun intended). In less than an hour we were chilled to the bone and begging for that hot cuppa.

After some delicious dosas and piping hot filter coffee- perfect antidotes to frozen fingers- it’s all smiles.
We moved off the highway to explore a short trail in an ageing forest.
Dry leaves and mulch littered the landscape. But the forest was beautiful, with that mid morning sun filtering through the haze.
A Scram 411, A KTM 390 Adv and my Royal Enfield Himalayan. All have adventure in their genes but are configured completely differently.

We reached Coorg around midday. An incident en route which I’d call amusing and terrifying at the same time, became the unusual highlight of my ride.

My friend on the Ktm decided to gun the throttle at the first sight of the twisties. Snaking through coffee plantations and tall silver oaks, the ghat section approaching Madikeri is a joy to ride on. While the Ktm disappeared, the two of us took on the bends at a gentle pace enjoying the scenery. As we approached town, Google maps announced a short cut to our place of stay. I heeded Google mausi and followed her advice down progressively narrowing lanes which ended in a super steep 45 degree incline leading right into the tiny courtyard of a very rudely awoken Kodava gentleman. With barely a few feet left to spare, I managed to turn the bike around just to see my friend on his Scram following right after!

Now the only way out of that courtyard was that steep 45 degree incline down which we’d just come down. I was suddenly aware that my bike was loaded with panniers and easily tipping the scales upwards of 220 kgs or so. That’s typically the weight of a large 1000 cc adventure bike. The point to note is the large adventure bike comes with a really powerful engine and truckloads of torque. It would have made short work of that incline in front of me. A meagre 32NM of torque mated to just 24 odd horses on the Himalayan suddenly made the task ahead really daunting.

I let the Scram go first. It’s a lighter bike and had lesser luggage. The rider pulled up without much hassle. My turn. A silent prayer on my lips. Engage first gear. Build up revs. Twist of the wrist. Release the brakes. The Himalayan jumps forward. So far so good.

Halfway up the incline I think I hear the engine knocking- I wring the throttle as far as it can go, my heart in my mouth…uh oh.. if I lose traction now, it’s a long long way down to the valley floor beyond the homestead. From somewhere in the depths of its heart the bike pulls out a last reserve of power and tractors up to the top. It takes agonisingly long seconds. But it gets me out. Hats off to all the brilliant engineers at RE! 🥵

It was ironic that our four day trip to Coorg involved a nice ride in on day one, three days of conferences and sessions with office folk behind closed doors and a rain soaked ride back to Bangalore on day five. But in the end it was all good.

I’m out on the same highway in the following month. This time on a Ninja 650. This is a seriously fast bike.

More rides followed in the next couple of months. I seriously considered purchasing a friend’s Ninja 650. On a ride out towards Bellur cross, I’m cruising at 150kph plus speeds on the Ninja. It’s a seriously fast bike and eager to input. The sense of speed is enormous, the feel sporty. This bike impresses with its smooth bulletproof engine. My friend’s machine is nearly nine years old but none of those years or wear and tear have affected its performance in the slightest way.

When the Ninja has smoked the horizon, and the Himalayan no longer has to play the underling in the ‘catch me if you can’ game, I take it down to its comfort ground- a dirt trail by the water. (it’s where the Ninjas dread to tread) 😊
Rocky Ridge Cafe and the environs beyond are revisited with a team mate on his Interceptor 650.

I followed up on the test ride of the Ninja 650 with yet another breakfast ride to Rocky Ridge Ridge Cafe, this time with a Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 for company. To know more about how we came to discover this place read this.

The backroads leading to Rocky Ridge are a delight to ride the Interceptor on.

The beautifully surfaced back roads leading to Rocky Ridge, are full of gentle arcing curves which beg you to take them at full throttle. These roads are mostly devoid of traffic (except the odd farmer on his newly bought tractor). As I lean into one of these sweeping curves at 80kph, I realise what it is about the RE twins that the Brits are going ga ga about. You see, at these speeds, on roads like these, with gentle twisties, the 650 twin engine is an absolute gem to experience. Think of a B Road in England, lined with hedges and the hawthorns on a sweet summer day. And a happy motorcyclist wearing smiles in an open face helmet just trundles by on his Interceptor, scattering the dragonflies. It’s idyllic. That’s the notion the RE’s engine lulls you into. A gentle idyll. It promises more power on tap, but is happy to chug along sweetly at 60 to 70 mph. It’s perfect for what they call ‘lazy riding’. When you’re never short on power, but never in too much need of it.

A B Road somewhere in the UK. Perfect for enjoying an Interceptor or GT 650. Back home in Namma Bengaluru you can head out on the smaller state highways and back roads beyond city limits. For more information go here.

The perspective here is that the RE 650 Twin is not about all out performance like the Kwacker’s 650 twin. I feel, the engineers at RE had a different goal in mind. The Kawasaki is a high revving engine with more than one and half times the power output of the RE. It’s decidedly smoother at high speeds. And although it’s not bad on roads described above, it’s not so endearing at low speeds. It’s at these speeds of 80 to 120 kph that the RE 650 twin comes into its own. It’s buttery smooth gear shifts and even engine note, and promise of generous low end torque is an absolute dealbreaker. I’m sure it sustain a top whack of 160kph or so easily, but it will be way past its enjoyable nature at that speed.

Papa Himalayan Baby Himalayan face off!

Umm, is that a larger Himalayan? Heck no, it’s gorgeous! You have to tear your eyes away from this beauty. A friend of a friend who joined us on the next ride had brought the Ducati Desert X along. A few jokes ensued on the resemblance of the Himalayan to the Ducati. Did Pierre Terblanche have a hand in shaping them both? Brothers from another mother?

Add some white fairing to the Himmy, and you’d be fooled for a few seconds. But only a few. The Desert X is incredible!

Well the Ducati is striking to say the least. And an easy crowd puller. So much so, that it almost overshadowed the raja bike. The BMW GS 1200. The undisputed king of Adv motorcycles. And how.

I surge ahead as the lights turn green. The big Beemer is mightily comfortable. It’s an open highway and on this Sunday, Bangaloreans are at their motoring best. I can hear some howling super cars behind me, had spotted an Audi TT and a Porsche 911 Carerra going neck and neck a few miles back. They’ve caught up.

The tacho climbs as I rev the bike- I know it’s a matter of seconds before they pass me in a blur. The big Beemer is not ready to give up yet. I can see 156kph on the speedo and the cars have gone ahead. Flashing brake lights fill my vision ahead and I can hear squealing tyres…what’s going on here? A large speed bump. They are skirting this cautiously now. Crawling underwater as far as I’m concerned. I’ve throttled down to about 120kph but there’s no time (or space) to brake or cut speed. I’m on pegs. The Beemer squeezes between the two cars and sails over the speed bump. There’s no wobble. No lurch. Nothing. A clean landing which I almost didn’t feel. Behind me, my friend following on his Ninja 1000 observes my rear wheel in the air, and gawks as the moment passes. Later, at breakfast he recalls the moment and how he uttered something so profane, I can’t write it here. 😀

I repeat, Mightily Comfortable.

My friend takes me through a pre ride checklist as I sit on his bike. It’s more akin to a Captain and co-pilot exchanging notes and running through flight controls prior to takeoff. The BMW has electronic suspension which is activated at the touch of a button. It has multiple modes for (wait for it) turn signal indicators! There’s on the fly selectors/ toggles/ switches etc etc. I’m in a cockpit.

On the ride, we enter a small village which hosts a legendary breakfast place. In one narrow village lane, the bike stalls. At this point in time I’m expecting a dozen warning lights to pop up and completely fluster me. None of that happens. I downshift to neutral, thumb the starter, pop the clutch, drop first gear and off we go. Yup, it’s still just a lovable old motorcycle underneath it all. And May I say. Mightily Comfortable. 😃

Enroute to Sabbanahalli lake. The little Himalayan in the company of biggies.
Mirror mirror on the wall. Who’s the smoothest mill of them all?

Which brings me to the Ninja. Nope this is another one. The 1000. Is it fast? Yep. But I didn’t feel it like I did on the 650. Is it smooth. Yep. But I didn’t feel it like I did on the 650. Ok. Wait what?

Yep. It’s fast. But it’s not manic. It’s mature.

Yep it’s smooth. Too much to qualify. So you don’t feel it.

Is it like a car? Far from it. You feel everything. Enough said.

In an elusive quest for the perfect bike, for his current and future needs, another colleague and friend has recently settled on a 2023 Ktm 390 Adventure. This is easily the most talked about, most versatile bike in the adventure segment in India right now.

An early morning ride out to Murugan Idly, which serves lip smacking dosas from 6:00 am. We are witnessing this strangest phenomenon. Every few miles I’m alternating between dazzling sunshine and a light fog. It’s a bit crazy. The sky when visible, is a brilliant blue. My friend has switched to sunglasses. We pause and admire this freak of nature.

The cloud bank in the distance signals another area of fog we will be crossing. But right here, we are in glorious sunshine.

While the dry spell lasts, before the summer really scorches us, we intend to ride out to the mountains. That’s something to look forward to. Riding season ain’t over yet!

Yonder blue mountain calling! 😊

Happy Sundays in the saddle…

Brilliant weather, a gorgeous route, great company and a British Twin to make your day. Happy Sunday!

The monsoon had been making its way rapidly across the South when we first decided to go for a spin down into neighbouring TN. This would be a slightly longer ride than the usual breakfast sortie, with an interesting route and a promising breakfast at the Rocky Ridge Farms Cafe (https://www.rockyridge.in). I’ve now done the route twice already, where the second ride had more friends join in- such is the allure of the route and the breakfast place. 😊

Stop for a breather, a bit of a view, a little banter, with the crew.

Now if you live in Bangalore and are tired of the usual dash to Bellur Cross or halfway to Hyderabad for a bite to eat, then think of this place as a welcome respite. Be cautioned however, that this route is best enjoyed at a slow gentle pace, with lots of scenery along way, places to stop, soak in and build your appetite.

An early start had us cruising down Hosur road post dawn. After the toll, we soon turned off towards Thally. I’ve been on this road before, quite a few years ago, on my first outing on the Himalayan. You can read about that ride here- Lost in the hinterland. The road to Thally has since undergone a massive transformation. The broken two lane blacktop from our earlier ride was now replaced with a smooth four lane state highway, which cuts travel time in half.

This place is a hidden delight and a restful haven. Serves great grub for many a hungry biker!
At Rocky Ridge Farms Cafe, the owner has thoughtfully provided racks for keeping your riding gear away from the eating tables. 😊
Breakfast at Rocky Ridge Cafe is a yummy buffet spread washed down by loads of good coffee, juice or tea.

After a sumptuous breakfast at Rocky Ridge we moved on towards a 50km circuit that promised a lake, a forest and a waterfall. This route is the highlight and also includes a narrow and twisty hill section, with equal parts tarmac and gravel, which is a delight to ride on an adventure bike.

Riding the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC. What a brilliant, playful machine this is!

I rode my friend’s Triumph Scrambler 1200XC, for good stretches on these rides. With Mark Knopfler belting out ‘What It Is’ in my Bluetooth headset and a roaring twin cylinder pumping oodles of torque under me, I was having a ‘best of the British’ time! This is a bike that redefines ‘easy with an attitude!’. Roll slow and it purrs to your input. Wring the throttle and it jumps like a startled hare- the rear slides, traction control cuts in arresting it in a fraction, I strain to keep the front wheel pointed straight while feeling an adrenaline rush! All transpires in a few seconds. Cruising at 80kph or 120kph is pretty much the same. The tall suspension flattens everything in its path. The bike’s fantastic geometry and handling belies it’s big engine weight. In all of this, however the bike is super friendly and comfortable. Takes some getting used to, but you never lose the feeling of being in complete control, at all times. Compare this with the other two bikes I rode the same day- a Ducati 1100 Scrambler and a KtM 390 Adv. These are power hungry, raging beasts and do not want to be tamed!

This lake is a few kms down the road from Rocky Ridge Cafe!
Sunday idyll.

A beautiful lake with a solitary fisherman’s skiff was the first point of interest, on the circuit. This was a gorgeous setting, with wind blown grass and native wildflowers all round the lake shores, surrounded by hills. We spent a short while here taking a few photos.

Motos by the water!
Wayfinding in the countryside

Beyond the lake the circuit climbs through some hills with narrow switchbacks, that is pure adv motorcycle territory. For this stretch I had the 1100 Scrambler. The Ducati is super aggressive to throttle input and would be a blast on city streets. However here, I was having trouble keeping up with the Triumph, the Himalayan and the GT. This was because the narrow hairpin bends occurred one after another every 100 metres or so, such is the nature of the hill track. What this implied was me having to downshift at the corner, rev the throttle when half way through the turn, shift up and then immediately cut down on speed and downshift again in half a minute at the next corner. This was tiresome. The Himalayan and the Triumph in comparison, lumbered on smoothly through the bends in one gear, right up to the top. The smaller wheels on the Ducati also were not reassuring on the gravel edges of the asphalt. It was hilarious. I was easily on the fastest motorcycle in the group. Yet I came up last.

View from the top!

The views at the top however, were very rewarding for any latecomer. What’s also nice is that this trail is not on any tourist map. It’s just a road that leads from one village to another, with a hill range in between.

Riding a spirited bike like the Scrambler up to the top was challenging but fun!

On the way back, three of us, riding in close formation, had a scary moment. A snake suddenly tried to cross the road ahead of the leading bike. Panic braking ensued. We were more concerned about whose wheel the poor creature would get wrapped up under! Luckily, all of us (snake included) just about managed to dodge each other. Whew! Just one of those things to consider when riding in India- expect the unexpected!

Heading down into the valley.
Adv Moto heaven.

This reptilian encounter notwithstanding, we had a great ride! We’ve discovered a new hideaway with great food and beautiful back roads to explore beyond. Can’t wait to return to the neighbourhood and catch up on what else it has to offer!

The route offers plenty of spots to take a breather and revel in natural beauty around you.
More folks join in on the second ride. A KTM 390 Adv and a Scram 411!
On the 2nd ride, the lake has changed character after the first rains. Gone were the grass banks, blue skies and clear water. It was still nice though!

Hot damn! It’s a Scram!

Royal Enfield have aced it again. The internet is abuzz with the good looks, nimble manners and all round worthiness of the new Royal Enfield Scram 411. Inspired by a few reviews- I went in for a test ride and was pleasantly surprised. It’s a fun bike with a peppy, retuned engine, great body balance, very agile dynamics (was filtering easily in peak hour traffic, thanks to that smaller front wheel) and confidence inspiring on-road manners. Have compiled some feeds from my favourite YouTube Channels below, where the motorcyclists are coming back grinning from ear to ear! 😊

Image copyright- Royal Enfield





Best of what’s around…(B’lore)

Over the past 11 years, I’ve pretty much covered almost every exit route out of Bangalore, in the format of lazy Sunday breakfast runs. These early morning rides have enabled new friendships fostered by our common love for motorcycles, exploration of some great back roads and discovery of some excellent places serving delicious local cuisine. You can read more about some of these rides here- https://yonderbluemountain.com/tag/back-road-beautiful/

Have captured below, images from rides in and around rural Bengaluru that I’ve done over time. Most of these areas are not more than a couple of hours ride from the city centre, so depending on where you live, some of the spots may be closer than an hour for you! Next weekend, if you are craving that mouth watering thatte idly or shavige bath all washed down with a hot kaapi, at the end of a short and sweet ride, do look up these places on Google. Give a shout to your moto mates and get going!

En- route to Manchanbele Dam
Nelligudde Kere
Wind Hill, Ramanagara. Savanadurga in the distance
At Sabbanahalli lake
A trail near Nandi hills
En route to Chota Ladakh off Kolar Road
Chota Ladakh!
Off Berigai -Shoolagiri road
Muningara Dam
Sanamavu Reserve Forest, Thenpennai River
Ragihalli State Forest
Savanadurga State Forest
Harohalli Jigani Road skirting the Bannerghatta Wildlife Reserve
Jawalagiri Forest
Manchanbele Reservoir

If you can’t ride, read.

I can imagine how frustrating the current situation might be for an avid motorcyclist. Coronavirus has affected several countries around the world and the motorcycling fraternity in many of these countries would be raring to ride out at the slightest easing of restrictions.

Out here, for a good part of three months, I did not even look at the motorcycle. I stayed home, stayed put, stayed safe. Come June, with the lockdown lifted, I did roll the bike out. It needed a battery replacement, which got done. And on 16th June, we quietly accomplished 4 years of being together through thick and thin. To celebrate the occasion, I went for a quick highway run with my cousin, who also owns a four year old BS3 Himalayan. The short ride, gave us a chance to reflect on two things-

1. How much we had missed not riding

2. We were really among the last of the breed, with our BS3 Himalayans. With the success of the EFI Himalayan in the last couple of years you don’t see many of the older ones about. I felt lucky to have this simple forerunner of a machine. And it felt great to have it running so smooth and true four years on.

Short highway run within the district to clear cobwebs from my mind. Seen here with the other BS3 Himalayan, both 4 years old.
The Himalayan has evolved over the years, but stayed true to its core purpose of being an everyday, everything, anywhere use machine.

However, aside from this small outing, for most of the Lockdown, I consoled myself browsing through some of my favourite reads on the shelf.

Here’s a glance at my budding motorcycle reads collection. Would strongly recommend all three, if you haven’t had a chance to get your paws on them yet.

Looking through them brought back nice memories of my own rides and good times with the bikes I’ve owned and ridden.

Here’s hoping that the world overcomes this crisis soon, and we find ourselves back on our machines, rolling happily into the new millennium.

Himalayan update- 23000kms and counting…

A few weeks ago, I finally managed to lay hands on the last item required for build ideas I had for the Himalayan. 23500 kms and 3 years, 8 months in the making, I’m very happy with the way it has turned out. Almost everything added to the bike is a genuine Royal Enfield accessory. No cheap aftermarket bits and bobs here.

Himalayan, circa 2020
Himalayan, circa 2020
Retro-tourer, circa 2020.

In my last post Essential Upgrades, I had talked about replacing the worn out stock seat with a Touring Seat. The Touring Seat took me more than 6 months to locate and buy. For some weird reason, Royal Enfield does not have online sales for bike accessories. And this one is a best seller that almost every dealership runs quickly out of.

For more than a year, I ran the bike without any kind of wind protection. I was glad to get rid of the fiddly stock visor which had a serious buffeting issue at high speeds. However, I still felt the need for a smaller cowl or fly screen to complete the look of the bike.

Made a quick sketch to see how a flyscreen would look.

A quick sketch on my iPad convinced me that a flyscreen might just do it. Got myself an Interceptor 650 flyscreen the next day. Had to convince my mates at Highlander, my friendly neighbourhood Moto workshop, to file and shape the mounting bracket. But other than that, it was an easy fit.

Short Flyscreen from the Interceptor 650. A high intensity LED bulb from NightEye replaces the stock bulb in the headlight.

Here’s a summary of additions to the bike at 20000kms.

  • Upgraded the handle-bar to the Braced Handlebar Kit (Part no. 1990206). The handlebar weighs 20% less than the stock bar, is beautifully finished, and Made in Taiwan. From Royal Enfield Brand Showroom, BTM Layout, Bangalore.
  • Installed Bar-End Finisher Kits (Part No.1990220) for the same handlebar. From Royal Enfield Brand Showroom, BTM Layout, Bangalore.
  • BMC Lifetime Filter for the Himalayan- Sourced from Big Bear Customs, St. Marks Road, Bangalore.
  • Brake Reservoir protector from the Continental GT (535). (Available at most Service Centres)
  • Metzeler Tourance Next tyres- 90/90-21 to the front, 150/70- 17 to the rear. (Orion Motors, Koramangala)
  • Short Flyscreen from the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, (Royal Enfield Brand Showroom, BTM Layout)
  • Royal Enfield Aluminium Panniers with mounts (Royal Enfield Brand Showroom, BTM Layout)
  • Royal Enfield Touring Seat for the Himalayan (Royal Enfield Brand Showroom, BTM Layout)
  • NightEye headlight replacement bulb (Sourced online)

To know about other bits of DIY which shaped the bike, and my overall ownership experience, you can catch up here. If you are a Himalayan owner and have done some fiddling yourself, do drop me a line. 😊

The bike setup feels perfect for lazy ganders through backroads like this. 😊

Lead me not into temptation…

The Royal Enfield Twins are here at a killer price. They have everything going for them- looks, good manners and grace. I’m sorely tempted! Makes me look at the Himalayan in a new light…will it stay or will it go? Now how do I lay me hands on some extra bit of cash, so I can have the best of both worlds? 🙄

Interceptor. Pic courtesy: Royal Enfield

This is how we used to roll…

On Nice Road, did a dry run with the bikes ahead of our ride to Coorg. Testing the Go Pro Hero 3. Circa2013. Soundtrack: Asleep at the Wheel/ The Cinematics

Reduce to evolve

In spite of a ‘swearing in’ ceremony, where I resolved to keep the Himalayan as stock as possible, I’ve let customisation instincts get better of me. So like the C5, I’ve gone ahead and pushed the Himalayan down the weight reduction path. Allow me to explain. 😊

Stripped Moto. Sans everything. Well, almost everything. 🙂

Last month, my bro-in-law and me rode up to Horseley Hills. On this ride, I loaded the bike with a top box, Studds side cases, a back pack, a trail bag, my camera bag and saddle bag stays. Halfway into the ride, three things happened.

1. At speeds above 100 kph there was a jarring vibration from the front visor.

2. On rough tarmac, broken surfaces, the rear mount and top box, although packed to the brim, rattled a lot.

3. We pulled into a restaurant parking lot, where while navigating a speed bump, I forgot to downshift. The bike stalled, halfway over the bump. Within seconds, the bike tilted over, the weight was too much, and I had to let go. It took some effort, from both of us, to pull it up again.

Horseley Hills-Givi top box, Studds side cases, saddlebags (missing from photo), screen.

I also wanted to understand how the bike fares, loaded up in this fashion, on a ride. My learning was, a top box is a no no. Side mounted saddle bags or panniers are much better. A loaded top box on a loaded bike, affects handling only ever so slightly, but never eases up the feeling that you are dragging more weight.

Sometime around last year, another nagging thought had got me questioning a statement made by Royal Enfield CEO- Siddharth Lal. “The Himalayan is designed to be your only bike”. If this were my only bike, what would qualify to make the quintessential ‘do it all machine’, without looking like a large kitted to the brim caravan on two wheels.

I wanted a no frills work horse. A pack mule that does the job. Convenient for commuting and adequate for short tours. I should always be confident about handling it’s fully loaded weight on any terrain. The bike should retain its core character, and its puppy dog friendliness. What was absolutely essential for this purpose had to stay. The rest had to go. So, on a DIY weekend after the Horseley Hills ride, I got down to removing bits and bobs, which I figured, had no real functional purpose whatsoever. Here’s a summary of what I did.

The visor– After two years of use, I’m still not entirely convinced that the screen/ visor on the Himalayan, has any real use. The screen is not adjustable on the fly. It affects road edge visibility when dirty, and in my case, is worse because it’s completely blacked out. At speeds where it’s supposed to deflect wind from the rider, it shakes like a leaf. As for the looking good part, I have a concept sketch from Pierre Terblanche, for the Ducati inspired fairing for the Himalayan. The current visor looks nothing like it. Hence, in my opinion does not do justice there either. Time to get rid of it permanently.

Concept sketch for the Himalayan- note how the fairing integrates the tank with headlamps

Rear luggage mount (carrier)- This might be harder to justify, as this is a very handy accessory on the bike, which comes factory fitted. I removed it for two reasons. Reason no 1, is an instance, where the rear mount broke under very nominal weight of the top box. (RE_issues ). It put a big question mark on the quality of this part.

Reason no 2 revolved around the need for putting in a replacement carrier. It so happened that in the interim that I replaced the broken carrier, I started liking the clean, unhindered look of the tail light assembly. I decided to keep with the look. Mounting something like a backpack on the rear seat was taken care of by saddle stays.

Front fender- with the screen gone and the rear carrier gone, the bike started looking more scrambler, less adventure tourer. Now the Himalayan has a beak like front fender, fixed below the number plate mount. Ride the bike for a couple of days and you realise that this fender is a purely aesthetic device, sans function. The front mudguard on the tyre does its job perfectly. So the fender had to go. A couple of instagram posts convinced me that the bike would still look good.

Rear mount gone, saddle bag stays retained.

Here’s how the bike looks now without the front fender!

Need to get a pair of knobbly tyres now!

In the near future, the plan is to get rid of the entire headlight frame and assembly, which is independent of the handlebar and front suspension, and make it a true scrambler. Until then, I’ll be happy with its current avatar. 😊

Miss the old hag…

Circa 2016#25kgweightreductiontest#airportcoffeerun