Tough Choice!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 1 Comments

Been 3 months since my last post. Things are going great. My best buddy got into his dream institution. One more is struggling. Future looks hopeful.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This is a gist of my experiences with bikes. Learnt riding dad's CD100SS at 11, progressed to Bajaj Caliber 115 at 14 (if you remember the hoodibaba ad from 2003 Cricket worldcup). Bought my first bike in 2011, when I had to do a 38 kilometer highway commute to office on a daily basis. A 2010 Yamaha ss125, which is pretty much a great ride in city, however loses that "edge" on highways because of small engine capacity. Except for occasional punctures, my ride has never ever let me down in the last 4 years. Great pickup, pathetic mileage, cool looks even before fz's started storming the city! The longest ride i had was the one from Chennai to Vellore, which was a good experience with a 125cc.

SS125 2011~2015
It's been four years since I started planning for a bike, decent city handling and good touring capabilities were primary requirements.
I had returned to Chennai, got into a startup, started living my dream. There are few more bits and pieces that would complete the jigsaw. A powerful bike and a good camera are worth mentioning. Started analyzing all that's available on market. There were limited options based on price band. My max budget was not exceeding 2.5 lakhs. I had to go through a lot before I could decide on something. 

Was very keen on elder siblings from KTM's stables. However had to decide against them as their riding position was bit off for me and had stiff suspension, which I felt uncomfortable. Liked the ABS part though. Next came CBR 250 ABS version. Called  all the showrooms across Chennai out of which 2 gave very vague answers and wanted me to deposit 5000 in cash and they "Might" get bikes in future and they will allot that to me. Remaining denied flat out that one cannot just get hold of that bike. It's not available was the answer to my queries. They were bidding hard to sell a 150 CBR, any colour, immediate delivery. But it didn't just strike the chord! (while this is being written, news is that Honda supremo almost confirms facelift 250 and 150). 

 Hyosung was the next choice. Aquila is a proven name, been in this country for ten years or so. Twin cylinder 250cc, wonderful cruising abilities. But price tag was on the other side of my budget. So Nope. And my friend was wary of their spares and service capabilities. There was no sign of R25 or R3 anywhere near, looks like may be in distant future(again while this piece is being put together, there are rumors that it might be R3, and definitely in a few months). A biking enthusiast friend suggested Karizma. I have been in NCR for so long that I couldn't bring myself to consider one, let alone purchase. I even went to the extent of considering the infamous “Inazuma”. Price works for me. Looks didn’t score well. Twin cylinder, which actually should mean good touring capabilities. But the downside, they had sold like 300 odd bikes in the last financial year. And it gets better. When I actually started considering that, there came an announcement that finally Suzuki axed INAZUMA.

 Honestly till this point of time I wasn't even considering a Royal Enfield. Had to look through all their models. Read reviews, feedbacks, pros and cons. Finally decided I would have to choose between desert storm(classic 500) and thunderbird 500. Test ride of both showed me the small differences, and riding position. Riding is more upright in the classic, more relaxed in the thunderbird. Initially I thought thunderbird 350 will do fine. When I came to know that 500 has a fuel injection, there’s no turning back on that. Some might feel what’s the big deal? But choosing between carburetor and FI made the deciding point. Enquired at i-speed motors Ayanavaram.
day out with showroom TB500!
Staff were responsible and courteous. Read on a forum that RE offers experience rides. Inquired about the same and took a thunderbird 500 for a full day. Definitely wanted a experience ride, because had my reservations on the thumper’s wading through capabilities. Wanted a bike that would be nimble as well. A big one as big as thunderbird 500 , tipping the scales at 196kgs? I didn’t imagine it would be nimble in any possible way. But a day’s ride proved me wrong. It zipped through traffic. Bike was so nimble that I could practically swoosh through any bend that I wanted to, only disadvantage being the breadth of the vehicle, which warrants caution while tackling hard twists. 

There was an empty highway and smashing rains on the return journey. Which had me fall hard in love with the thumper. Paid booking charges on the same night and delivery happened in 10 freakin days!

Thunderbird 500 Marine blue it is.

Looking forward - (s)miles ahead!


Pradeep said...

Wow!! Congrats! Nice choice. You will love it and live it.

If you wish to get a mail everytime i ramble!