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Old 2nd January 2013, 12:30   #1
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Default One month with my Avenger 220

Intro : I was never a bike kind of guy. Though I was very keen about cars, I couldn't care less for the Indian or International 'bike scene'.

Flashback : I bought (rather got gifted by Mom) my first bike a little over 6 years back. A Pulsar 150 DTSi UG2. Since then, it was my daily ride. And for me, the excitement of owning the first bike died down in a few days. The Pulsar had been with me through busy, rush and careless city rides, relaxed open road rides in the evening, through lazy rides that you wish you got home as early as possible, ridden her when it was raining, ridden under scorching summer sun, went through punctures, minor accidents, scratches, slight dents, have over-sped through the highways, tried overtaking/ride alongside cars to look at the chick inside, missed periodic services, ridden through almost every hour of the day, ridden with drained batteries, ridden with fused out headlamps, ridden with broken indicators, with dirty number plates, without horn, without a working speedo-odometer, ridden with a pillion or two, ridden with expired insurane and pollution certicates, have gotten humiliated and fined by the traffic cops. Have been through almost all the situations that an average careless bike owner could be. Still, I loved my bike and had decided long time back that it would never be sold. Though the daily up-keep of the bike was poor, I had strictly followed all the running-in procedures, changed engine-oil in time and till date haven't ridden the bike without warming up for a minute or two after I start the engine first time of the day (probably habits developed from the love for our family car and having seen how my Dad maintains our car).

So when did I start liking bikes?


One fine day a few months back, I was sitting there having a tea/sutta with my friends, my Pulsar parked by the side. We were talking about the RE C350 since one of my friends had just bought one. I was telling him about the importance of warming up the engine before running and general things like that and then the subject got changed and we started talking about my bike and about buying a new bike. I looked at my Pulsar standing there on her center-stand, with her scratched headlamp, with mud underneath her, and with dirt on the mudguards and engine. I had a moment and it struck me hard that I haven't been giving her the attention that she rightly deserved. I felt guilty.

"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted." - Aldous Huxley.

About an hour later, I was home, washing my bike of all the dirt, I took my time and peeped into all the nukes and corner of her and cleaned her until late in the evening. I went to sleep deciding that I have to take for a full service the next day. I remember I was wondering why the hell was I so careless about the bike till then. The next day, took her to 'Bhagavathy' (a reputed workshop in the area) and I got back bike after about 3 days with every single piece of equipment on her working(except the side-stand indicator). Have to say that they did a good job. The gear-shift became smoother and the bike now is very comfortable at 55-60kmph than it used to be. I went for a small ride and was happy rest of the day. I enjoyed that ride and started riding just for the sake of riding my Pulsar. Like one of my petrol-head friends had pointed out, I noticed the Pulsar getting better and better as the engine warmed up. For my next weekly off, I gave the train a skip and went home to Kochi from Trivandrum on my bike (210kms one side).

Till now the Pulsar has done over 83,000kms (rough estimate since the odo was not working for almost two years, the odo now stands at 66,8xx kms and running). And the last time I checked, she returned a mileage of above 55 kmpl (reserve to reserve) which is just plain amazing for an old 150cc Pulsar. But still the looks of the bike were a far cry from how she performed - a prominent scratch on her little headlamp doom/fairing along with other scratches and slight dents at noticeable spots. It doesn't suit her at all. I decided to give her a 'facelift' and a few weeks, two re-paints (painted myself with a couple of aerosol cans) and 3 headlamps later, she looks close to how she should be looking - dressed in Matte Black, sports a twin-headlamp and now turns many heads for a second look. And it now has a wider handle-bar which is good for long rides.

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With the few trips on my Pulsar and with the minor cosmetic mods and re-paints I had started liking motorcycles in general. Became a regular visitor at xBHP and BCMT. I started skipping the train to my hometown more often and started riding my bike to Kochi. I had started a liking for two-wheelers and on one of those rides back home on one of those perfect evenings, I knew I wanted a new bike for more bike trips to come.

The only question was which bike?

Last edited by GTO : 2nd January 2013 at 14:50. Reason: PM coming up on adding attachments the right way
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Old 2nd January 2013, 12:39   #2
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

The name of the game was 'A tourer, no less than 200cc'.

The list I drew up : Hero Karizma R, Karizma ZMR, RE std, Electra, C350, TB350, Bajaj Avenger, Pulsar 220.

Shortlisted : Karizma ZMR and Bajaj Avenger.

ZMR: The needle was swinging heavily towards the ZMR. I hadn't ridden the ZMR yet, but had ridden Karizma R and had liked it. Yes, I'm aware that ZMR is FI'ed and Karizma R is carberated and there would be difference in how they rode, but I have a faith in the Honda engine so the engine side was not a question for me. The Karizma had everything that I was looking for, but I couldn't swallow her looks at all. The first thing I would've done if I had gotten the Karizma was to strip her off all those awful stickers. Applied the imagination using Picasa on one of the pics I copied from google search:

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Avenger 220 : Later that day I got a chance to test-ride a friend's brother's Avenger that had a little over 3000km on it. Contrary to some of the reviews I had read, I found her cruising well at 80 without much complains. After that test-ride (plus considering the price advantage) the balance between ZMR and the Avenger stayed level in front of me. The avenger almost has everything that I'm looking for too. I have good faith in Bajaj from my experience with the Pulsar and the for the next couple of days, the only thing in my mind was whether its the ZMR or the Avenger. If only I could find a reason to ditch one of them from my mind...


I went to the Bajaj showroom the next day and asked for test ride on Avy to confirm my first impression. Unlike the four-wheelers, the Sales guys are not very keen when it comes to giving two-wheelers for test-rides. I told the SA that I was not looking for a point A to point B bike, but a bike for touring and it was very important for me that I test-ride it, so the SA there arranged an Avenger for test-ride and I promised her that I would let her know whether I am buying the Avenger after test riding the Karizma. I called up the Hero guys near Muttam, Trivandrum.

"Hello

"Hi I had visited yesterday night when you guys were closing. Can I test-ride a ZMR if I come today or tomorrow?"

"Sorry sir, no test rides. Ippo test-rides kodukkaarilla"

"Why?"

"bla bla bla...."

That was an excuse to push one off the cliff. The balance was not level anymore. No test-ride, no purchase (yeah, bad reason to take a decision, but I had to find a reason else the confusion would go on for months and the purchase would be hard unless I buy both the bikes) The next day, I went to Pioneer Bajaj and booked the bike by paying Rs.500/-. And on thursday evening (6th Dec) I got my Avenger that I rode out of the showroom over two lemons placed under both the tires. This was exactly two days after my birthday .

One month with my Avenger 220-avenger-108.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 2nd January 2013 at 14:51.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 12:42   #3
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

Initial impressions:

Riding : Short gears. The bike reaches 50kmph real quick. The gears are more like that of a city bike than a cruiser. Very very short. In a few seconds of starting from still, you will find yourself in the 3rd or 4th cog. However, the good thing about the short gears combined with the relatively higher torque figure is that you don't have downshift often during the city rides, but I presume, on the flipside, that Avy will run out of steam at speeds in excess of 70kmph. Avy does okay at 70kmph speeds and its too early for me to comment on 70+ speeds as the bike is still running-in. One thing I noticed is that I feel vibrations on the handlebar at 60kmph, but it smoothens out as I cross 60-65. Could be that 60kmph is where its resonant frequency at.

It is almost impossible to find the neutral when the engine is running, but once we the engine is turned off, neutral comes easily. It really is a pain in the back when you stop at the signals.

Ride Quality : Pretty good on smooth roads and feels very stable. Even on patchy roads, the ride is good, specially the front suspension. But, on bad roads, I mean really bad roads with huge gutters and humps, you will know how hard the rear suspensions are. Bajaj could've brought the Nitrox unit on the Avenger. It does a good job on Pulsar and the same unit here would have made the ride much softer.

I did a 200kms ride to Kochi couple of days back and I'm completely happy with the ergonomics. The wide seat helps.

Handling : Even though the bike does not look 'flickable', it can do okay in the city, but at slow speeds you can't steer the bike very well. The avy is quite stable at straight roads with a pillion. It climbs up the inclines with no complains even with a 'heavy' pillion. Cornering didn't seem like an issue for me even with the lengthly forks, may be I got used pretty fast

Little surprises :
  • Helmet holder/hook - I wasn't expecting this on the Avenger.
  • Gear shift : I was expecting the gear-shift to be a little rough and tight initially, but it is surprisingly smooth for a new bike. On my Pulsar, it was a little hard during the running-in period.
Little things that might distract you:
  • The chrome finish on the rear-view mirrors could've been a little more shinier and clean.
  • The puny horn. The sound of the horn on this bike is a joke.
  • Absence of a kick-starter and tachometer.
The good things:
  • The riding posture.
  • The wide front seat.
  • The peppy torquey engine.
  • The feel you get when you sit low and ride on the highway.
  • The Chrome extravaganza adds a look of class if looked at from certain angles.
  • The speedo-odo meter and the fuel guage looks fantastic when lit in the night.
The bad things:
  • Welding marks - very visible.
  • The pillion seat is too narrow and hard. The back-rest gives a little comfort to the pillion for short-rides though.
The handle lock is a little confusing in the first to lock. I had to go back to the showroom to check how to lock the handle, but got used to it now.
The handlebar sits between the indicator and my eyes, so there is no line-of-sight to the indicators and the lights on the console does not fall in the range of the corner of your eyes, so many a times I found myself not noticing the indicator blinking even.

1st Service: Took her for the first service in a week after the bike did 590kms. Costed a whooping Rs.605/-. They charged 450 bucks for the oil and the rest if for chain lubricant and tax. I'm doubtful of the oil's price and need to check it out somewhere outside. They do sell Bajaj DTSi oil at independent lube shops.

Let the pics do the talking now:

Last edited by DudeWithaFiat : 2nd January 2013 at 13:05.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 12:54   #4
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

The choke is here. I couldn't find it first and at the showroom I was amazed that there was no choke on the bike.

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Even the handle weight gets the chrome treatment. Adds class to the look of the bike.

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Comfortable rider seat:

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Welding marks :

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The back-rest is a relief for the pillion and adds to the look of the bike.

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Last edited by GTO : 2nd January 2013 at 14:53. Reason: PM coming up on adding attachments the right way
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Old 2nd January 2013, 13:13   #5
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

The wide rear tire adds some muscle:

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The silencer could've been a little more longer to match the cruiser looks:

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On the hills

One month with my Avenger 220-t4.jpg


Parting shot

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Last edited by GTO : 2nd January 2013 at 14:55. Reason: PM coming up on adding attachments the right way
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Old 2nd January 2013, 15:01   #6
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

Congrats for your new Avenger. It looks best in black.

I had considered it a few months back when I was in market for a new bike. But unfortunately I was apprehensive that it might be uncomfortable for me because of my height(I am 6 and have a back problem). Can you comment how the Avenger fares for tall riders? I haven't got the oppurtunity to lay my hands on an Avenger for a long ride.


Regarding the engine oil, it costed me Rs.380 for my P180. AFAIK the same oil goes into the Avenger heart. you can check my thread for more info:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...ip-report.html
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Old 2nd January 2013, 15:18   #7
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

Congrats on the Avenger. We are in the same boat, mine is an one month old Avenger 220 too!

The rear suspension is adjustable, but the service center refused to it (rather incapable of doing it). I plan to get a shock spanner and do it myself.

Don't worry about the service cost. I paid 566/- just about Rs 40 less than yours.

Mine was vibrating even after 50, but gradually the engine seems to have opened up and now there are no vibes till 65.

The bike requires 1.2L of oil.

Wish you many happy miles!

Last edited by para_7k : 2nd January 2013 at 15:25.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 16:09   #8
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

Congratulations on getting the new Avenger. It looks good in black.

I do steal a ride or two- from my son's Avenger which incidentally is a 200cc.

I did expect continuous torque from the engine, however I felt it is the same high-revving engine doing duty on the Pulsar. Probably my experience with the Bullet 350 spoiled me.

I hope they have done something to the exhaust note, my bike reminds me of an electric sewing machine! (Not that I complain). Interestingly Avenger's fore-bearer the Eliminator which was is driven by a friend of mine had part of the silencer corroded - thanks to his dog's habit of marking his territory - and the exhaust note turned to be awesome! Talk of benefits of having a dog

While the seating and ride are comfortable on good roads, I guess it undulates a lot. Hope they fixed it. Moving the shock's adjust nut to extreme didn't help much. Probably the batch of shocks were too soft.

I also wished that they changed the lock which is what ole Rajdoots used to have. Even an RE seems to be offering an integrated lock now-a-days. It's kinda delicate, had to replace one.

Since it is a tourer/chopper styled bike, they should have provided a hazard warning switch as well. Not sure if they added it now.

Do miss the kick-starter when the bike's battery is drained - have to resort to the 2nd gear jump start jugaad!

It would be nice if you can add the factory designed wind-shield which IMO is fairly effective in protecting against the wind but its mounting is something Bajaj should improve, it vibrates and can be a li'l irritating sometimes.

Since you seem to be riding long distances I suggest keep some spare indicator bulbs which tend to konk off often.

Wishing you many safe and enjoyable miles ahead
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Old 2nd January 2013, 17:33   #9
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashis89 View Post
Congrats for your new Avenger. It looks best in black.

I had considered it a few months back when I was in market for a new bike. But unfortunately I was apprehensive that it might be uncomfortable for me because of my height(I am 6 and have a back problem). Can you comment how the Avenger fares for tall riders? I haven't got the oppurtunity to lay my hands on an Avenger for a long ride.


Regarding the engine oil, it costed me Rs.380 for my P180. AFAIK the same oil goes into the Avenger heart. you can check my thread for more info:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...ip-report.html
Thanks Ashis. One of my colleagues who is about 6' tall has bought an Avenger two weeks back. He hasn't complained yet, but being a low-rider the Avenger looks very small when its ridden by tall riders. Because of the front-set footrests, I believe tall riders will be comfortable with the position as well.
Yep, I had read your thread before. I don't believe/trust the service center guys when it comes to services and oil-changes. As soon as the free services are over, I'll be servicing the bike with my regular mechanic. I'm also planning to change the oil at 5k even though the manual says only a top-up is required at 5k.

Quote:
Originally Posted by para_7k View Post
C
The rear suspension is adjustable, but the service center refused to it (rather incapable of doing it). I plan to get a shock spanner and do it myself.


Wish you many happy miles!
Thanks Para, and that is good news. I'll be getting a shock spanner myself and adjust the suspension.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonya View Post
I did expect continuous torque from the engine, however I felt it is the same high-revving engine doing duty on the Pulsar. Probably my experience with the Bullet 350 spoiled me.
Thanks Soonya. Yes, its the same high-revving engine, albeit in a different state of tune. And yes, you are right, your Bullet has spoiled you

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonya View Post
Interestingly Avenger's fore-bearer the Eliminator which was is driven by a friend of mine had part of the silencer corroded - thanks to his dog's habit of marking his territory - and the exhaust note turned to be awesome! Talk of benefits of having a dog
You are lucky. My dog marks the territory on the tires lol. The silencer getting corroded was a known issue with Bajajs. My Pulsar 150 had the silencer corroded and I had to replace the muffler. I doubt whether the dog was the real culprit

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonya View Post
I also wished that they changed the lock which is what ole Rajdoots used to have. Even an RE seems to be offering an integrated lock now-a-days. It's kinda delicate, had to replace one.
My friends new RE C350 does not have an integrated lock. Not sure about the Electras and Thunderbird. I'm kind of okay with two separate locks. It is just a matter of getting used to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonya View Post
Since it is a tourer/chopper styled bike, they should have provided a hazard warning switch as well. Not sure if they added it now.
No, they haven't added it yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonya View Post
Do miss the kick-starter when the bike's battery is drained - have to resort to the 2nd gear jump start jugaad!
Yes, a kick-starter would have been good. It would have added to the rugged looks too, but I guess Bajaj didn't find it economical to add the provision for the kick-starter for Avengers alone. AFAIK, the P220 does not come with a kick-starter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonya View Post
It would be nice if you can add the factory designed wind-shield which IMO is fairly effective in protecting against the wind but its mounting is something Bajaj should improve, it vibrates and can be a li'l irritating sometimes.
Yes. I'm planning to add one. The showroom guys here does not sell it and I heard that the factory designed wind-shield costs over 2000 bucks. I'm looking for after-market shields too. How do you think it will affect the fuel efficiency? Would it give an aero-dynamic advantage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonya View Post
Since you seem to be riding long distances I suggest keep some spare indicator bulbs which tend to konk off often.

Wishing you many safe and enjoyable miles ahead
Thank you. Going on a Trivandrum - Kodaikanal trip on Jan 18th. Will be posting a detailed travelogue.

Last edited by DudeWithaFiat : 2nd January 2013 at 18:01.
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Old 4th January 2013, 13:30   #10
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

Congrats on your new bike , I have been using it for almost 2 years now .Its a good bike overall only if you kill that "Fastest Indian" in you . It is a bit underpowered as I believe but still the ride quality is premium in urban conditions.
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Old 5th January 2013, 10:32   #11
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

Not too sure about the impact on FE of a wind-shield.

My take was it saves me the whoosh on my chest on highways, and deflects air away from my face (some air in the hair is fine ). And it looks cool.

Anyways, I bought it for the fun of riding and I didn't much bother to check for mileage.

I even contemplated to install the new UCE of RE 350 but gave up for it is too much of a hassle. I wish Bajaj developed a low revving, deep throated engine with oodles of torque to make a good bike better rather than plonking their city-slicker. But fantasies are fantasies! Bajaj are you listening?

I agree with you on the finding the neutral - it is quite an irritant, one needs to cut the engine and bring it into neutral as you mentioned. Till now I thought it was the problem with my bike. Alas there are co-sufferers!

And how is the right mirror adjustments? I tried every trick but it never gives me a comfortable setting to set it farther so that I don't have to peer over my shoulder in every situation. I even swapped left and right but to no avail. That's one gripe I wish I could solve.

I am also not a great fan of the gearshift quality, they do not engage positively ala a Yamaha, or smoothly like a Honda. Especially I find the shifting between 4th and 5th a bit frustrating, which I think is always a guessing game!
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Old 7th January 2013, 10:20   #12
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonya View Post

And how is the right mirror adjustments? I tried every trick but it never gives me a comfortable setting to set it farther so that I don't have to peer over my shoulder in every situation. I even swapped left and right but to no avail. That's one gripe I wish I could solve.
Mirrors are just right for me. I think it also depends on how wide or lean you are (please take no offense). I'm of average build, but for a broader person, I guess the mirror will do a good job if they are placed in horizontal. In the newer models I see they are fitted vertically, but in the older pics of Avenger I see the same mirrors horizontal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonya View Post
I am also not a great fan of the gearshift quality, they do not engage positively ala a Yamaha, or smoothly like a Honda. Especially I find the shifting between 4th and 5th a bit frustrating, which I think is always a guessing game!
An update on gear-shift: It has become tighter. Could engine oil decay be a reason for this? I have always suspected oil-changes at service centers. I'm planning to change the oil anyways though service center guys said they had changed the oil at the 1st service. Through the engine oil indicator slot, I see the oil which is blacker than it should be.
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Old 7th January 2013, 11:05   #13
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

Happy to note that the gear shift quality has improved.

No offense taken. I am about 5'6" not too heavy set I guess but I somehow felt the mirror base seems to be culprit. Tried moving forward backwards, left-right swap etc. The particular piece of mirror probably is a challenge - both of them (with the ball based adjustment) seem to have less travel to far right.

Anyways, some challenges one needs to live with!

I do get it serviced regularly at the company service center. Not too sure if engine oil is the culprit. I had the same feeling about gears even on the Pulsar. Again, not too sure if it is my expectation or a not so light foot
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Old 7th January 2013, 11:11   #14
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

Congratz on the new acquisition and the pics are nicely done up......btw how much did you had to shell out for that helmet?
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Old 7th January 2013, 12:38   #15
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Default Re: One month with my Avenger 220

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonya View Post

I am about 5'6" not too heavy set I guess but I somehow felt the mirror base seems to be culprit. Tried moving forward backwards, left-right swap etc. The particular piece of mirror probably is a challenge - both of them (with the ball based adjustment) seem to have less travel to far right.
We are about the same size then. I'm happy with the mirrors, but have to say that the mirrors give out an impression that it covers almost half of the entire India, but it covers only as much as any other motorcycles' RVMs, albeit gives you a taller view. That is, instead of getting a view of the half or a part of the car or the motorcycle by your left or right back, it shows you the entire bike or the person or the car, which is a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonya View Post
I do get it serviced regularly at the company service center. Not too sure if engine oil is the culprit. I had the same feeling about gears even on the Pulsar. Again, not too sure if it is my expectation or a not so light foot

BTW, have you gone on long trips on the Avy? Any suggestions particular to Avy to be checked before a long trip other than the indicator lamps .
I'm not a fan of company service centers unless you know someone there on a personal level. I have heard too much stories (from the staff themeselves) about the things that happen behind the curtains at the service centers. After the free services, I'll go to my regular friendly mechanic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJD@NewDelhi View Post
Congratz on the new acquisition and the pics are nicely done up......btw how much did you had to shell out for that helmet?
Thanks SJD. The helmet (LS2 Cartoon) costed me Rs.2700/- at Kochi.

Last edited by DudeWithaFiat : 7th January 2013 at 12:54.
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