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Old 9th December 2013, 17:37   #136
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

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Originally Posted by man_of_steel View Post
So Sridhu, even the MRA with top support was also messing up with the handlebar stability in heavy crosswinds?
Yes. I think it was because the wind was buffeting.
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Old 3rd February 2014, 21:28   #137
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

My experiences with Flamberge on KTM Track day

First, before I say anything, I have to hand it to KTM & Apex racing for a brilliantly organized event. Considering that this was the first time such an event was organized, it went with absolutely no hiccups. Things started on time; at all times you knew what is happening and what will happen; and most importantly, it happened at the time expected.

I had absolute fun.

Now, for the details (Apologies for the lack of photos - I was having too much fun!)

Preparation

Most of the preparation went in explaining to my wife & mum "No, I am not racing". They could not fathom why a middle aged guy would drive 310 km just to drive around and come back. They were quite convinced that I am not telling them the entire truth.

Truth be told, I was myself not very sure about what to expect. I kept telling myself "Dont make a fool of yourself." "Dont crash - customer visit on Tuesday" (as though that is the most important consideration in a crash!). I only knew that I will drive well within myself.

Regarding preparing Flamberge itself, I just took it into KTM Kasturba road for a chain tension adjustment. (Long story, thought I would do it myself & screwed it up!) While there, met up with Iqbal who recognized Flamberge.

Getting There

Since the start was at 7 AM, decided to get to Vellore the previous day & ride early in the morning. As plans go, it was pretty good on paper. But not in action ...

I left at around 5 pm from HSR and decided that since Hosur road will be mess and because of the construction in the Tamilnadu side, I will go via Sarjapur, Bagalur & reach Hosur. Thought it was well worth the additional 10km to avoid traffic. Bad move.

The traffic was murderous on the Sarjapur road as well and it was almost an hour later that I reached the Attibele turn-off. In short, I had spent about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Shoolagiri and it was dark. Had a quick coffee & headed out.

Was cursing myself for riding alone in the dark. Met Vivek also heading the same direction just before the Krishnagiri turn off. Said I would follow him but just could not keep up with him safely. So, backed off. Reached Vellore by around 9 pm & settled in for the night

Left the next day at 6 AM thinking that it is about 80km away but it turned out to be 110km. So reached only at around 7:30 AM.

At the track

Joined the longish queue & got the number 52. Learned that I was in batch 3 (got later changed to 2). Totally around 80 people turned up. Apparently about 30 from Bangalore. A few from AP, KL too.

One guy from AP had this awesome sounding exhaust mod - made the 390 sound all grown up. No trace of the auto at all! (Forgot his name)

After breakfast, they got the first batch out on the track and the rest into a watch tower. I took out the camera, shot off a couple of frames & very innocently enquired if I could shoot. They said "Sure" and to their credit, did not snigger at all! Those 3-4 out-of-focus frames was all the photography I did on this trip!

The way Apex racing organized this was like this:

- Every group (about 27 people) rides as per their natural style for around 30 mins. All of us demonstrated our Rossis (apparently, much to the instructors amusement. They called it the "frog position"). It was quite scary with the foot scraped the ground a couple of times. It is not like TV at all - your first reaction is to jerk your foot away and that unsettles the bike. But it was great fun to lean the bike over sooooo much!!

The C6 curve was great fun - it keeps curving on & on & on!

- Then the got us into the room and told us about throttle control and Maintenance Throttle and then they sprung the drill on us:

This drill was about going around the track with (a) no touching brakes; (b) only in 4th gear (no changing gears).

After much protest we got on the track and after the first tentative lap, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. It was great to try and be smooth rather than fast.

- They brought back in and then told us about cornering - Entry-Apex-Exit.

They asked us to pick a few favourite corners to practice the E-A-E drill without losing our newly gained throttle control. I was noticeably more relaxed and in my opinion, faster. Whether I was or not, I was totally in control and completely enjoyed it.

- The final session they taught us about braking (smooth & progressive; front only) and told us to set the fastest lap we could. T-BHPian Niranjan just aced it and came in second with a time of 2:17.

I? I was Nolo contendere - had a minor crash & the handle bar was askew. Did not feel comfortable and went back in after a couple of laps.

Learnings

Smooth = fast is the basic take away for me.

I am used to chopping & whacking the throttle. This day taught me the importance of being smooth.

Technical explanation: When you chop/ whack the throttle the weight transfers to the front suddenly & the suspension reacts, making the bike unstable. Time is lost in regaining traction. SImilarly, with hard brakes.

The other take way is that there is no need to stick your knee out while turning, even on a track!!. The bike behaves just fine with your knees hugging the tank and leans over just as easily.

I feel a bit like Abhimanyu - I dont know why the pros all do the "stick the knee out & hang off the bike" routine. Must be for a good reason but they did not tell us why!

The Ride Back

I thought I will ride back all the way to Bangalore but better sense prevailed. I took a break at Vellore and came in this morning.

The ride was very enjoyable as I was consciously practicing smooth throttle and being relaxed on the bike. Was averaging 90kmph until I hit Hosur. After that it was a regular commute. This relaxed posture also fixed the pain I was getting on my RHS palm due to the glove. Since I was not gripping as tightly as before, the fold did not dig into my palm. So, that is another learning right there!

Final Thoughts

They asked the lone lady who rode with us (Mary ??) and me (cause I was the oldest guy there? Nah, cant be. Must be my good looks!).

I told that it was like getting your youth back.

What I did not tell: KTM is on to a great idea here, I think. They have the potential to generate a very loyal following and make the track day(s) red letter day(s) in the Indian biking calendar. I dont think they realize what genie they have let out of the bottle but I can see that it is all good. For a few lakhs, their customers get an unrepeatable experience and they, KTM, earn unrelenting loyalty.

GO FOR IT, KTM!! Make it an event.

The IBW is about networking but this, I think is all about riding. Brilliant!

This is the most fun you can have with armoured clothing on!

The only image, taken by somebody else, from the day:

My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective-ktm-race-day-self.jpg
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Old 3rd February 2014, 22:29   #138
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

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Originally Posted by sridhu View Post
My experiences with Flamberge on KTM Track day
GO FOR IT, KTM!! Make it an event.
I think is all about riding. Brilliant!
If I were to attend the track day, the honors of the oldest guy would have been mine . I am still thoroughly upset with myself for letting such a golden chance pass by But my Pune ride just took away lot of juice from my body and I felt hapless when the track day was around and finally dropped the idea. Anyways there is always another time and hope KTM makes this an regular event.
Now some due honors to you Sridhu. Thanks for the wonderful narrative and the learning shared by you. The no brakes only 4th gear is an interesting concept. we are used to blipping / engine braking and stuff like that and this is really unlearning some incorrect riding habits for many of us. I also liked the way you explained the entry-apex-exit and feeling faster as well as relaxed during the exercise. May be we should ask Apex Racing to release some videos about these techniques to get a better understanding of the same.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed going through your experience and hope this track event will become a regular feature for us.
Hope the handle bar issue is sorted and all is well.

Btw what riding gear were you wearing? Which jacket / pant / riding shoes/ helmet / glove?
I believe everyone was properly attired for the track.

Take care and ride safe.
Ashok

Last edited by ashkamath : 3rd February 2014 at 22:34.
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Old 3rd February 2014, 22:53   #139
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

Excellent write-up sir and great meeting you and talking to you there. I did not know you had a small fall, you looked perfectly alright at the end

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Originally Posted by sridhu View Post
..told us to set the fastest lap we could. T-BHPian Niranjan just aced it and came in second with a time of 2:17.
My time was 2:19 actually, the US guy who came first did a 2.17.8.

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Originally Posted by sridhu View Post
The other take way is that there is no need to stick your knee out while turning, even on a track!!. The bike behaves just fine with your knees hugging the tank and leans over just as easily.

I feel a bit like Abhimanyu - I dont know why the pros all do the "stick the knee out & hang off the bike" routine. Must be for a good reason but they did not tell us why!
Well,they meant we should just get the basics (throttle, downshifts, braking) right first before doing the hanging out stuff - they didn't want guys trying to just copy their motoGP heros and hang off the bike while grabbing the brakes mid-corner! The right body positions, including hanging off, would have been covered if they had a longer session time I guess.
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Old 3rd February 2014, 23:32   #140
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

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My time was 2:19 actually, the US guy who came first did a 2.17.8.
Well,they meant we should just get the basics (throttle, downshifts, braking) right first before doing the hanging out stuff -
Congrats Niranjan. I got to know about your conquest much earlier through your riding companion from Bangalore (yup. the same guy who also has a pulsar in his stable ). I was in constant touch with him since saturday morning and cribbing for not having made it.
Anyways Please do let some photos talk and also share some gyan that we could put into practice in whatever little portions as possible.
Ride safe,
Ashok
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Old 3rd February 2014, 23:50   #141
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

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My time was 2:19 actually, the US guy who came first did a 2.17.8.
French guy. I believe a group of them rode down from Pondy.
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Old 4th February 2014, 02:45   #142
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

Niranjan, hats off bro. That's a great time. What was your speed (indicated) at the end of the straight going into C1? Fotos would be great and is what is missing here please.

Last edited by ebonho : 4th February 2014 at 02:47.
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Old 4th February 2014, 07:18   #143
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

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Originally Posted by ashkamath View Post
If I were to attend the track day, the honors of the oldest guy would have been mine . I am still thoroughly upset with myself for letting such a golden chance pass by But my Pune ride just took away lot of juice from my body and I felt hapless when the track day was around and finally dropped the idea.
Ashok
Ashok: I think you did miss out! I was actually willing to pay for a day on the tracks just to sort out the obvious mistakes I was making while riding but getting it free & with expert instruction was just too awesome!

However, I think you made the right call with respect to not attending - my body was still aching & I was completely tired yesterday.

I still maintain that they chose to speak to me because of my looks. That is my story & I am sticking to it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashkamath View Post

Btw what riding gear were you wearing? Which jacket / pant / riding shoes/ helmet / glove?
I believe everyone was properly attired for the track.

Take care and ride safe.
Ashok
They insisted that we all wear full protective gear - armoured jackets, knee guards, decent shoes & gloves. Of course, helmet too. They did not allow you on the track if they were not satisfied with any of the equipment.

I was reasonably kitted out - AGV Jacket, Spartan pants, Rynox gloves & Sol Helmet.

Another thing I forgot to mention:

You can pay and ride at the MMSC every Sunday 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

They did not mention how much but insisted that full leathers & riding boots are a must. (My kit would not pass muster).

The other feedback is about the MRA screen: if you set it up to align with the shape of the headlight so that "it looks cool", the airflow is directed into the head for somebody of my height - 5'9". This was causing severe neck strain & pain even after 30-45 minutes. I raised it to a more comfortable height (almost full extension; the bottom bit was just below the instrument cluster) on the way back. (Niranjan was the inspiration for it - if he could set blazing laptimes with the screen at 90 degrees, it is certainly not impeding air flow!)

On the return ride, I had absolutely no neck strain at all.

@Niranjan: sorry about the timing, bro.
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Old 4th February 2014, 09:27   #144
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

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Originally Posted by ashkamath View Post
Congrats Niranjan. I got to know about your conquest much earlier through your riding companion from Bangalore.
Anyways Please do let some photos talk and also share some gyan that we could put into practice in whatever little portions as possible.
Thanks Ashok - you really did miss out. I didn't know you knew Santosh so well , yes we rode together there and were in the same track batch. I am as much an amateur as anyone though, so the only gyan I can give is to get some track time. The learning is immense and removes a lot of bad habits that seep in over time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
Niranjan, hats off bro. That's a great time. What was your speed (indicated) at the end of the straight going into C1? Fotos would be great and is what is missing here please.
I wasn't looking at the speedo so can't be too sure but I did see 163+ in my peripheral view a few times. You exit C12 in 4th, max out 5th quickly (128-152kmph) and then run a fair distance in 6th so I guess 160+ should be the norm.
I don't have any useful photos. But a certain TBhp Mod was there and he should be getting out a detailed report with photos soon.

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French guy. I believe a group of them rode down from Pondy.
Yes indeed, they rode down from Auroville - he was telling me about his bikes in US though so I assumed he's from there, my bad.
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Old 4th February 2014, 10:07   #145
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

A basic question, did u have to carry all the protective gears to participate or id they provide that as a safety mandate.

Great timing that is.
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Old 4th February 2014, 10:14   #146
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

@VW2010 - they were insisting on armoured jacket, gloves, full-face helmet & knee guards. They even disallowed a guy when they were not satisfied with the quality of the gear.

In fact, one guy pointed to my pizza box & said " you cant get on the track with that on". Did not believe me when I told him that taking it off is literally a 5 second job.

They were very particular about safety & wanted to avoid an incident at all costs. After the free run, they banned overtaking for almost all the runs. Even the "best lap time" run had a no overtaking rule on the corners.

Liked them for it.
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Old 4th February 2014, 10:43   #147
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

@niranjan: congrats buddy for the timing

@sridhu: great recap of the track day. I was also present, but missed meeting fellow tbhpians :( I was bike number 57 on 3rd batch! A friend of mine clicked few snaps.. will post them soon!
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Old 4th February 2014, 11:47   #148
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

I think we're ALL waiting for the photos and lap times (for those of us that did not quite set the track on fire like Niranjan did ;-) ). The KTM guys said they will be made available here: https://www.facebook.com/indiaktm. Still no sign of it though.

The KTM Adyar showroom guys have started uploading some 'unofficial' photos though here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adaya...508219?fref=ts
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Old 4th February 2014, 12:09   #149
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

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I think we're ALL waiting for the photos and lap times (for those of us that did not quite set the track on fire like Niranjan did ;-) ). The KTM guys said they will be made available here: https://www.facebook.com/indiaktm. Still no sign of it though.

The KTM Adyar showroom guys have started uploading some 'unofficial' photos though here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adaya...508219?fref=ts
Yes, eagerly waiting. Bumped their page many times yesterday hoping for an update!

And the cost of practice session at MMSC on Sunday 8AM-1PM is Rs1000. All leather suit is mandatory. I think currently they allow 2 piece leather suits too, not completely sure though. And goes without saying that other gears including proper riding boots are also mandatory.

And Congrats Niranjan for the timing. Couldnt meet you during the event.

Last edited by man_of_steel : 4th February 2014 at 12:13.
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Old 4th February 2014, 15:34   #150
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Default Re: My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective

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@niranjan: congrats buddy for the timing

I was bike number 57 on 3rd batch! A friend of mine clicked few snaps.. will post them soon!
Thanks. I was bike # 61 and # 58,59,60 were all my friends - I think we spoke briefly during the class sessions. You had a CF LS2 helmet right?

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Originally Posted by GreaseMonk View Post
I think we're ALL waiting for the photos and lap times
Quote:
Originally Posted by man_of_steel View Post
Yes, eagerly waiting. Bumped their page many times yesterday hoping for an update!
Please see attached timesheet for Batch 3 only.
It can also be accessed here: http://apexracing.in/time/live.html

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All leather suit is mandatory. I think currently they allow 2 piece leather suits too, not completely sure though
A single piece leather suit is mandatory. No two-piece allowed on MMSC currently.
Attached Thumbnails
My Flamberge (KTM Duke 390) Ownership report - A middle aged man's perspective-ktmmmsctimings_batch-3.jpg  


Last edited by niranjanrvce : 4th February 2014 at 15:48. Reason: added last note
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