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Old 11th September 2015, 16:23   #1
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Default Different bikes = Different riding styles!

Hello fellow TeamBhpian's. I thought of putting up this thread on "Different Motorcycles = Different Riders and Riding Styles" similar to another thread related to cars - Link (Different cars = Different driving styles!).

I thought it would great if all of us put up our experiences as riders riding different motorcycles we've ever owned/rode and still do. I mean we do have our ownership threads but this thread will be unique in a way in which we describe our former and current motorcycles. Like they say, "Four wheels move the body, whereas two wheels move the soul". Let me start with my list:

Rode but never owned:

1. Yamaha RX100 early 80's Japan Spec model: The first motorcycle I ever kick started and rode. Apparently this was also the first bike on which I sat as a pillion. The two stroke motorcycles hold a special place in my heart for all their tantrums as well as pure maddening acceleration and that rumbling sound. The smell of the white smoke emanated from its exhaust had a better smell than my perfume. I loved the acceleration and flickability of this motorcycle which revolutionized and popularized two stroke 100cc models offered in India. The ride quality was a bit hard owing to its stiff suspension. However this very setup combined with light weight gave it a good handling but it was buffeted by cross winds from heavy vehicles. It is a legend in its class of 100cc two strokes and has a loyal fan following and rightly so.

2. Suzuki Samurai Early 90's: This motorcycle belonged to my uncle who had traded off his Yamaha RX100 for this new motorcycle. It was a smooth, silent and sober looking 100cc two stroke from Suzuki's stable. The ride quality on this one was a tad better and the seat was generous and soft. The motorcycle never excited me but had that typical two stroke character and could catch speeds but not as fast as it’s siblings. This motorcycle served him for more than 12 years and I used to jump on it at every opportunity.

3. Yamaha Rajdoot RD350 HT mid 80's Model: The white smoke exiting that shiny twin exhaust pipe was nothing less than a steam engine locomotive pulling out from its shed. It was THE motorcycle to be on during the 80's and till date. Used to 100cc motorcycles I started it with a lot of hesitation as it was a 350cc parallel twin engine and a mad two stroke at that. It was a very well-proportioned motorcycle and very handsome. It had that typical Japanese motorcycle looks of the mid 70's. Well when I sat on the motorcycle and wringed the accelerator I was thrown back by its sheer torque and blazing acceleration. I felt like I am in some kind of a Fighter Jet taking off from an aircraft carrier. It darted like an arrow and the engine sound mesmerized me. I was floored and totally taken a back with this particular motorcycle. Infact I liked the riding position, handle bar, seat and that angry engine. As someone mentioned on this forum, "The idling of a Yamaha RD350 is like the Devil's heartbeat." It is one of the greatest legends in Indian motorcycling circuit.

4. Kawasaki KB125 early 90's model: My love for Kawasaki motorcycles started with this very model. A Kawasaki 125cc two stroke engine coupled with a beautiful retro Japan 70's design. The seat is what I liked the most it was comfortable and had a good support. The fuel tank design was another favorite of mine and so was the rectangular rear tail light. As I mentioned elsewhere it was an underdog among the Yamaha RX135, RX100, Suzuki Shogun, Shaolin, etc. I had a special liking for this two stroker from Kawasaki's stable. The engine sound was a bit rough but I enjoyed its rumble. Like its competition it was light and had good handling. It was exclusive among the Yamaha's and Suzuki's as one could spot very few of these on roads.

5. Jawa Yezdi 250 Early 70's model: Well this motorcycle was different from whatever I had seen and rode till I came across it. I felt it was a four stroke as I associated it with RE Standard. But it was a two stroke 250cc single with twin exhaust pipes which I again mistook for a parallel twin engine. Jawa motorcycles had that typical Eastern European looks as the parent company was based out of Czechoslovakia. I loved the unique design and overall shape of the motorcycle. The fuel tank was different from conventional teardrop fuel tanks of that era. It's kick lever would become the gear lever and the carburetor looked very different from what I had seen so far. The front and rear fenders were chunky and looked butch. The acceleration and power delivery was smooth and it had adequate torque. It's two stroke character was different from its Japanese counterparts. The seating had adequate cushioning and was comfortable. Most of the people I came across didn't like its sound but I loved it as it was something different from the regular two strokes that I had rode. This particular motorcycle has a fanbase and enthusiast number rivaling the RE Standard Bullet. I liked its tagline, "The Forever Bike".

6. Bajaj Pulsar 180 First Generation: A launch from a local manufacturer that took motorcycling by storm when it got launched. My friend had bought it brand new and I got a chance to ride it extensively. The engine was a bit rough but had adequate power considering it was a four stroke 180cc. The fuel tank design was unlike any other bike of that era. It came with disc brake and that timeless round headlamp with twin pod instrument cluster looked awesome. The ride quality was good and though it was a bit heavy it held its own well. The pillion seat space was a bit cramped nevertheless it was compensated by smooth ride. The acceleration was nowhere close to the two strokes but left a grin on my face every time I wringed the throttle. Like they said, "Definately Male".

7. Hero Honda CBZ First Generation: This was the first four stroke 156cc motorcycle to be offered in India which ushered in performance power motorcycling in India. It came with a decent capacity fuel tank and a reliable Honda engine. I remember riding one of my friends' silver colored CBZ and it was awesome. It had a toe only shifter and had a bigger rear tyre coupled with 18 inch wheels. The power and torque seemed good and it could ride all day at 80 KMPH comfortably. Infact I still ride my bro-in-laws' first generation CBZ. The motorcycle amazes me with its age, parts quality and engine refinement. The ride quality is good but the pillion seat is tilted a bit upwards but has decent space. It still starts on first kick every morning even after leaving it standing for weeks together. Maybe because it uses a CDI unit coupled with the ever reliable Honda engine.

8. Hero Honda Passion Pro: A no-nonsense commuter bike that does the best it is good at. The engine is borrowed from the equally legendary commuter the Splendor. The motorcycle has a good ride quality and seat space is generous. The engine is smooth and does not feel stressed while riding below 60 KMPH. This motorcycle along with Splendor has become a symbol of Indian commuter class. It is light and easy of manuever in traffic and sips very little petrol. Newer models also get electric starter and front disc brakes. This is good considering the traffic situation in our country. It is a very reliable workhorse and does its job from taking people from point A to point B. While riding this motorcycle it felt like a typical 100cc 4 stroke commuter motorcycle which is easy going and light on the pocket. It has adequate power to commute through the city's B2B traffic where speeds do not exceed 40-50 KMPH during rush hour.

9. RE Machismo AVL 500 early 2000's: The second RE motorcycle I ever rode and unlike the RD350 I didn't have a lot of hesitation to ride this one as I had already rode/owned a RE Standard 350 before this. The AVL Machismo 500 was one of the most beautiful motorcycles from RE's stable. The one I rode belonged to a cousin of mine. He bought it sometime in the early 2000's. The motorcycle came with a windshield and split seat assembly. It has a chrome fuel tank coupled with chrome fenders and a disc brake. The toolboxes had a flat surface unlike rounded surface like the Stanadard. I started the motorcycle and was sweeped off my feet by the sheer torque delivery of that motor. The acceleration was even better and all that weight and heft disappeared magically once it started rolling. The engine sound was muted and was a bit rattling compared to CI's maybe because of the aluminum metallurgy. I liked the muted sound of this engine but hated the rattles. The torque delivery was good especially in the bottom and mid-range coupled with a sublime ride quality. The stability and road holding was typical of an RE motorcycle. It is on my list of acquisition as an when I come across it.

10. Kawasaki Bajaj Eliminator: The father of Avenger, this was launched when we didn't have many cruisers in India except for RE Tbird AVL 350 and the Lightning 535. This motorcycle had a radical design of a cruiser with single contoured seat and forward foot pegs for that comfortable cruiser position. I rode a friends' purple colored Eliminator and found the ergonomics a bit challenging as I was not used to forward set foot pegs. The power delivery was very similar to that of Pulsar 180 albeit I felt the Eliminator to be heavier than Pulsar. The chrome bits added to the appeal and were done tastefully. I remember struggling with it while in traffic due to its longer wheelbase and a bigger turning radius. But it shined on the highways in terms of comfort and the only one fly in the ointment was its suspension which could've been better. This motorcycle appealed to buyers like my friend who wanted a cruiser with some power and reliability. It still sells in the form of Bajaj Avenger.

11. Hero Honda Karizma R: Another touring and performance motorcycle legend that changed Indian motorcycling when it comes to touring and performance. The Karizma I rode belonged to a cousin of mine who now rides a KTM Duke 390. I rode his Karizma as and when I got the opportunity and I should say it was very refined and smooth typical of a Honda. It used a 223cc engine derived from Honda which was tuned for a better low and mid-range power and torque. The engine was a relaxed on and could run along all day without breaking a sweat. The ride quality was good and so was the suspension, the seat was comfortable too. Like the CBZ this one too used to start at the first kick/crank. The drive train was ultra-smooth and gear shifts were precise. No wonder people are still craving for the original design and Karizma has its own share of fan base.

12. Honda Unicorn First Generation: Another no-nonsense commuter bike that I rode. This was my office colleagues' motorcycle which I used to ride when we used to ride back home from office. It was the first mono-shock motorcycle I rode and surprisingly it had a good ride quality or maybe because we mostly used to ride it two up. The engine was butter smooth like a typical Honda engine; in fact at the signals I used to feel the engine is off accidentally only to realize it was on. My friend still has it and continues to use it as his primary ride.

13. Suzuki GS 150R: One of the most underrated motorcycles from Suzuki’s stable due to poor marketing and lack of interest by Suzuki Motorcycles India. I rode this motorcycle for a couple of weeks and felt this is a very good motorcycle for what it offers. This motorcycle floored me on its flat torque curve delivery after my heavy crank RE Standard B1 1969 Bullet. It has an ultra-smooth engine with linear power delivery and comes with a 6 speed transmission. I believe no other 150cc motorcycle in India provides a super slick 6 speed transmission. The gear shifts are precise and slot in with surety and the engine does not knock, jerk or vibrate at all even while riding as low as 20 KMPH on fourth gear. Apparently the engine comes with a counterbalance shaft to overcome the vibrations and knocking is tuned to provide a strong bottom and mid-range power and torque delivery. The ride quality good and the cycle parts used are good quality. If I ever have to buy a 150cc motorcycle then this would be the one.

14. KTM Duke 390: This motorcycle needs no introduction. After the Yamaha RD350 this is the next big thing that happened to Indian motorcycling market. Although the RD350 and Duke390 are totally different, they still have something in common. From my riding experience it is the mad rush of power through that road tearing acceleration and picking up speeds like a dragster. My cousin owns this beast after having owned the Hero Honda Karizma R. I was in complete awe of this motorcycle and what it can do in addition to the equipment it offers. Every time I ride it I feel like I am in a rush to hit the highway and “Ready to Race”. Everything about this bike right from the trellis frame to the state of the art nikasil coated engine to the USD front suspension and ABS reminds of this as a supremely capable motorcycle. It is an awesome beginner’s bike to upgrade to half litre and litre class superbikes. I always jump at every opportunity I get to ride this aptly named “Hooligan”.

Rode and owned(current):

1. RE Standard 350 1996 Model: This legendary motorcycle needs no introduction. Ever since I was small I had my eyes on this motorcycle. This is the first ever motorcycle I bought with my hard earned money. It is a motorcycle with a relaxed engine and an equally relaxed gearbox. Kick starting the Standard Bullet was learnt over a weeks’ time with practice and patience. The motorcycle looked very intimidating to me at the beginning given its weight and all metal body. But once it starts rolling the weight just disappears magically. “The Thump” well enough said. I could connect myself with this motorcycle as I took it on long rides on long winding highways. The original suspension setup was a bit stiff so I retrofitted it with an Electra front fork and softer rear suspension. The torque delivery is to my liking and power is adequate enough for me to potter around in the city and cruise on the highways. The engine is also as per my liking where it is tuned for a strong bottom end and mid-range. I like fiddling with the mechanical ignition system and carb setup endlessly. Like my watches I like my motorcycles to be pure mechanical.

2. RE Standard B1 350 1969 model: Well this motorcycle was my desire to buy a vintage motorcycle with heavy crank. It fulfilled my dream of owning a vintage RE. This one comes with heavy duty box mudguards and an oil pressure relief valve screwed onto the crankcase to which the oil breather pipe is attached to. This motorcycle idles real slow and the beat is meatier and bassier even on the stock exhaust. The pickup is not that great but it builds up speed like an ALCO Diesel Electric Locomotive. The engine is smoother than my 96 standard and it runs like a charm. I use this motorcycle on weekends for city rides and small highway rides. I have retained the original stiffer front and rear suspension for its originality and authenticity. Every time I ride my B1 it puts a smile on my face.

3. RE Thunderbird AVL 350 2004 model: I bought this motorcycle for extensive touring purpose. I was a bit hesitant and unwilling to buy this RE motorcycle as I had some preconceived notions against it. Like its engine, design, ergonomics, looks, etc. But all my preconceived notions were wiped out once I rode it which prompted me to buy it. I went with it for long rides and was not let down even once. The power and torque from the AVL motor was adequate for me. I could cruise comfortably at 80-90 KMPH coupled with a superb ride quality and stability. It returned a decent mileage too. The cushioning on its seat as well as soft suspension aided in a comfortable ride. The ergonomics are good and is surprisingly flickable in the city. It is a very capable motorcycle and reliable too thanks to its CDI unit and a relatively trouble free engine.

4. RE Standard G2 350 1961 model: This one is under restoration so will share once the restoration is over.

5. RE Thunderbird UCE 500 2014 model: Well this was a purely impulsive buy from me. I was in love with this motorcycles’ torque delivery as it reminded me of the AVL Machismo 500. The ergonomics of this motorcycle is improved over its predecessor and gives the rider a comfortable riding position. This is coupled with enough power and torque to propel this motorcycle up to 100 KMPH with ease. I find it very comfortable for long rides where both me well as the engine are in relaxed mode. The kilometres just fly by while the Tbird500 gobbles up the roads both smooth as well as dirt tracks. It is a heavy motorcycle in fact the heaviest motorcycle currently on RE’s line-up. But the weight enables it to hold the road well and it does not buffet during crosswinds from heavy vehicles on the highway. I use this motorcycle for extensive touring as well short city commutes. But highways is where I take it the most.

That’s it from me guys. Pour in your experiences about your motorcycles and riding styles.

Last edited by GTO : 13th September 2015 at 11:03. Reason: Adding link to the same thread on cars :)
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Old 11th September 2015, 18:00   #2
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Old 11th September 2015, 22:13   #3
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Default re: Different bikes = Different riding styles!

Some are actually gifted with the skill of understanding before riding the hell out of a bike. Call it skill or natural instinct, when you have that in place it doesn't matter which bike you ride. You will adjust your style every time you ride any bike.

There are two steps in my process. First step is stationary when you check basics including switches, important contact points, the fuel based points, basic lights, indicators etc. This is the step where you sit on the bike get a good feel of the balance, the way the bike weight is distributed, and the overall sitting posture. Also during this test is when you check the clutch play, understand accelerator cable and response of throttle vs actually power delivery

The second step is when you actually move the bike in first gear. I usually ride it quite sometime in first gear with no acceleration using the torque of the bike. This is where i judge the overall balance, the brakes and the clutch.

And for the next few days i am riding to only gain incremental knowledge of the bike and hardly i am taking risks. When i say risk this includes throttle play, heavy braking, bending down on the corners and what not.

This has helped me seamlessly try any bike of any category. The sports bike myth of never buy a 1 litre till u get used to the 600cc to me is mute. For i jumped from a enticer to a 500 to a KTM390 to a 600 and multiple rides in 1litres with the same two step process. Never once i was worried about the power of any bike knowing its in my hands and my control.

Last edited by GTO : 13th September 2015 at 11:11. Reason: Typos
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Old 13th September 2015, 11:27   #4
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Default Re: Different bikes = Different riding styles!

Great thread, thanks for sharing!

Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
Some are actually gifted with the skill of understanding before riding the hell out of a bike. Call it skill or natural instinct, when you have that in place it doesn't matter which bike you ride. You will adjust your style every time you ride any bike.
I like to think that I'm like that with cars.

With motorcycles however, I learned it the hard way. There was a time that the RX100 was my daily ride. It was so chuckable & high-revv friendly (like the 1st-gen Honda City Vtec)! I learned the hard way that different bikes = different riding styles. On the way back from a popular beach, I swapped bikes with a friend who had an Enfield. Nearly lost my skin after taking a hilly curve the same way that I would with my RX100. The Enfield demanded a cool, calm & confident riding style (like my Mahindra 4x4). Then, there was the first time I rode an RD350. Revved it like I would my RX100 and nearly fell off! Lesson learned. Of course, these are from my newbie riding / driving days, but the learnings stand till date. Whenever you are with a new machine, spend some time understanding its power, behaviour etc. first.

The most user-friendly & forgiving motorcycle I've ridden was Rtech's ZZR400. Superb poise, very easy to handle and just the right power on tap. Fast enough, but not scary on Indian roads. You could high-revv it away to glory. This is one motorcycle that any rider can get accustomed to within a km. No special riding style required.
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Old 13th September 2015, 11:58   #5
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Default Re: Different bikes = Different riding styles!

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The most user-friendly & forgiving motorcycle I've ridden was Rtech's ZZR400. Superb poise, very easy to handle and just the right power on tap. Fast enough, but not scary on Indian roads. You could high-revv it away to glory. This is one motorcycle that any rider can get accustomed to within a km. No special riding style required.
That was a lovely bike. And he loved her. And was so good with her. Rode with him to Amby Valley once in the rains and was impressed by his control.
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Old 14th September 2015, 10:11   #6
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Bobby: In the by-lanes of my grandparents hometown in Deoria. This was manna for a xx year old. Add to that the low traffic in the early 90s, and the quiet of a small town, it is still these rides that I cherish.

CD100: This was my PG tenants bike, but since his commute everyday was walking a 100 meters, I had this bike for a couple of years after school, from 9 am to 6 pm. This was literally THE "fill it, shut, forget it" bike. 5 rupees of petrol was all it took to get from RKP 13 to south ex. Thats all it got. One time, a stone hit the exhaust near the flange, and there was a tiny hole, owing to big sounds. The owner didnt ride it for a few days, and when he kick-started it and drove off, he arrived to wherever he was going VERY LOUDLY!! I personally loved that sound. It was the nokia 3310 of Free flow exhausts.

RX-100: My brother got this one from one of his colleagues after a stay over since his car had gone kaput. It never went back. It was a single digit KA registration, and was the 1st and 2nd year bike of my college days. I was a few days late in getting to college, and, in fact, one of my closest friends from college days says the reason I got into their group was " He has an RX100. He must be OK." This bike was literally the screaming eagle. Painstakingly serviced in Shapur jaat, near siri fort, every 5k kms. Painstakingly, because the service guy was about 20 kms from my home. But there was something about RX's. When they came back from a good once-over, and and oil change, they were better than new! Unfortunately, had to be sold. Miss it still.

Bullet 350
This was my brothers bike, and was the Everest. I am not very heavily built, and this bike scared me. Till the time my brother got it, all i'd heard pf bullets was "heavy, worng side gearing, doesnt stop". My brother picked up this, a refurbished air force disposal bike for about 25k in 96. It never stuttered, it never broke down, and its the only bike on which I've ever broken a bone. My hand to be precise. and its still doing duty with one of my younger cousins. The wrong side thingummy and all the rest, they never came to be a problem. It was a pig to haul around, and I looked like a jack going around on it, but it was serious attitude to be riding to college on this. Two things wrong with it. It refused to go without cajoling., and when it went, it refused to stop without applying similar efforts. Ended up in some pretty scary moments in the early days.

P180: First batch, second 180 to be delivered in delhi(I'm inclined to believe that the dealer probably meant the 2nd one HE had delivered, but he was vehement in his view that he knew its the 2nd one in Delhi)
This girl was complete and utter, mad, song singing, flower kissing, "udta hi firoon" love at first sight. Those lines, the rear, and that power!!
I know 17 bhp is not much nowadays, but consider india in 2k1.
I got the max kmpl of 37 while running it in, and after that it never went above 30. It was ear wringingly fun, and the most worthy successor to the RX that was sold to finance part payment. It cost 60k!! Geez!!!
It is still a rare bike. It had major problems with its clutch, and the gearbox which could engage 5 neutrals, ANYWHERE!
Reliable, very, and gave me my first taste of what it felt like at 100+ on a bike. Unfortunately, also the bike that got me banned from riding for a couple of years, post which, the traffic and the crowd, and the road, they took away any joys that could be obtained from riding. Still parked, serviced when I remember, and covered. Its a major guilt trip to have it just sitting there. but the papers have also gone missing, and a black P180 is a big big target sign for Delhi cops.
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Old 14th September 2015, 10:25   #7
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Default Re: Different bikes = Different riding styles!

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
There was a time that the RX100 was my daily ride. It was so chuckable & high-revv friendly (like the 1st-gen Honda City Vtec)! The Enfield demanded a cool, calm & confident riding style (like my Mahindra 4x4).
GTO mate glad you liked the thread. Your experience is similar to mine when it comes to cars vis a vis motorcycles. I compare my RE CI Bullets to my first car the Opel Astra. It was heavy, elegant, poised and moved with grace like my CI Bullet does. My second car the Mitsubishi Lancer is much like my cousins' KTM Duke 390 totally mad with a surge of power to match. Being a self confessed Kawasaki enthusiast I second your experience on the Kawasaki ZZR400. I was/am always in awe of their motorcycles right from the 1970's Z1 to the retro classic W800 to the legendary KLR650 to the all rounder Versys1000 to the current Ninja H2R.

I would like to mention that posting about superbikes, heavy cruisers, dirt bikes, ADV tourers, etc. are all welcome on this thread. Let us all give small descriptions while summarizing our experiences on Different bikes = Different riding styles. I will also keep adding to the list as and when my rusty brain feeds me the data.
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Old 14th September 2015, 22:25   #8
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Default Re: Different bikes = Different riding styles!

1. Yamaha RX100
The bike that I learned to ride motorcycles on. My friend owned the RX and was always praising how good it is. Like most Indian bikes - single cylinder, low displacement, it was more of all mid-range.

A neighbour had bought the then just launched RX135. Felt similar to the RX100, or at least with my limited riding experience, couldn't tell any difference apart from different sound. Had my first ever, and unintentional wheelie on the RX135 attempting to take off from a just-turned-green light with a heavy pillion.
They all had poor brakes though, and poor lights.

2. Bajaj Kawasaki KB100
This was the other bike I rode a bit in my learning days. It belonged to my father's friend who visited often, rode very sedately and it gave him 55km/litre. Like practically all Indian bikes, all midrange with no top end. Handling felt nimble, but the early days I rode neither the RX nor the KB hard enough to explore the handling/high speed abilities.

3. Suzuki Shogun
This Shogun belonged to another friend who was then a fresh graduate.
This friend has heard a lot of praises for the Shogun, hence he bought the Shogun despite being an RX100 fan. Then one day he mentioned he loved the bike but found the performance underwhelming. I was surprised, and so I told him to show me. I sat pillion behind him, and off we went.

I watched the tacho as my friend rode, and he kept shifting around 4500rpm , and saying the RX felt faster. I hadn't ridden the Shogun hard before, but I knew its power was reserved up high, above 7000rpm with peak torque around 8250. We stopped, and told him to rev out in each gear and shift not before 7500rpm. He did that, a couple of minutes later we stopped, he had a wide smile on his face on discovering the Shogun's wild side north of 7000rpm.

4. Suzuki Shaolin
The Shaolin belonged to a neighbour, and used to be my wake up call every morning. The 5 gears ad in dry desert is one I still remember. The Shaolin had a better low end, but as usual it was more of a mid-range focused bike. The Shaolin I found highly praised in magazine reviews, but I wasn't very impressed, even though I'd pick it over the Yamahas then.

5. Hero Honda Splendor
The Splendor belonged to a friend, who loved it for its 72km/litre miserly sipping. Rode it only a few times, it was underpowered and typically mid range focused.

6. RE Bullet 350 Std
I rode this just once, albeit a long 7-8km round. Based on owner's guidance, who too was a neighbour and the Shaolin owner's roommate, I started the Bullet with ease using the ammeter on the console. Rode it pretty gingerly, with the brake and gear levers on the other side as conventional ; but I've seen some riders throw the Bull about like it was an RX100.

7. Hero Honda CBZ
My friend/college mate had a CBZ, the bike I loved and wanted. One day I asked if I could borrow it for a long ride (to Mumbai) and surprisingly he obliged. The ride was the one which Doc (ebonho) was challenged by a Bullet club member to a drag , against his Pulsar 180. Also the first time I crossed the ton, and felt wonderfully stable doing so.

The CBZ was a revelation in terms of handling. I found it very stable, and brakes superb. I got confident of leaning on this bike. I liked it best for its stability in turns. I felt it better than the ZMA, despite the ZMAs longer wheelbase and big swingarm.

I don't remember much vibration as magazines rile about, but the headlamps were definitely poor. Again, the top end wasn't strong with most of its juice being in the mid range. Engine felt between 4000 and 8000rpm, and the best sounding single four stroke.

8. Hero Honda Karizma
I ended up with a Karizma as my first bike, rather than the CBZ. The lower revving engine was bit of a downer for me, since I like revs, but overall the added power and refinement of the ZMA over the CBZ was compensation enough. My riding style didn't change even then, since despite lower revs, the ZMA is still typically a mid-range oriented bike. The only adaptation besides that was longer, heavier body which made slow speed turn radius bit cumbersome in tight spots. Even with the fixed fairing, I would ride like any other bike, I didn't find the fixed fairing/headlamp to be a bother in judgment or such. Engine felt best between 4000 and 7000rpm. Above that it was weak, but at least didn't get as loud/vibey as the Pulsars.

9. Pulsar 220 FI
Pretty much the same as ZMA in terms of size and power, being midrange focused. The handling differed in that the front felt better planted than the ZMA, whereas the ZMA had a better sorted rear suspension. Like most Indian bikes, feels best between 4000 and 7000rpm.

10. Yamaha R-15
Boy oh boy, if there's one thing that baby excels at, it's handling. On no other bike could I approach a corner and brake while leaning, without the bike's chassis/suspension being upset and want to throw you into the periphery. The engine was still mid-range oriented, but had a better top end relative to other single cylinder motors. Low end was weak though, and that meant I have to stay above 4000rpm to get meaningful shove.

I haven't ridden RD350s and Yezdis, but aside from the Shogun and R15, you ride most Indian bikes in terms of their mid range only. The R15 offers a far better handling to those keen on cornering, although most R15s are simply running commutes.

No comments on the Dukes/RCs, not ridden them to form an opinion.
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Old 14th September 2015, 23:43   #9
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Default Re: Different bikes = Different riding styles!

Here are mine.

1. LML Adreno.
Learnt riding on it. My first experience of a 'Dhoom jaisa' bike. Learnt how to balance by going downhill on neutral. Never had the guts to engage it on gears. Sheepishly rode it around for just 4 days to get a gist of motorcycling.

2. Bajaj XCD 125.
Very refined engine. Nimble bike. Felt like riding a bicycle. A perfect beginner bike, in my opinion. Shifting gears was a breeze particularly because it was the first time I was doing so. Tyres that could give competition to R15 V1.

3. RE Thunderbird 350.
My first experience of the thump. That too, just after a week of learning how to ride an XCD decently. Took to the 'big' bike like fish to water. Changed gears and twisted throttles to hear every symphony that the exhaust could produce. Fondly remember cleaning my aviators before every ride on the 'Bird. Became the talk of the town as well. Rode it for 2 weeks or so. Belonged to one of my Dad's staff.

4. RE Classic 500.
Rode for the first time on Bangalore streets on this. Rented from IndiMotard. Although the bike was in pitiable condition, the engine still had some juice left in it. Loved the torque and attention. Hated the vibrations and brakes. Somehow felt as if I had entered a different category of motorcycling after riding this machine.

5. Bajaj Pulsar 200NS.
A comfortable stance. Peppy engine. Heavy front end made manoeuvring taxing. Engine could do with a better initial range.

6. Bajaj Pulsar 220 (Naked).
The Pulsar I love the most. Scintillating engine. Adored the exhaust pipe and the horn. Caught speed in a flash although it had dicey brakes. One of the classic nakeds introduced in India.

7. KTM Duke 200.
Awestruck. Shocked. Bewildered. This bike actually left me scratching my head for hours after I got off the saddle.

Me - Hey D200 buddy, I've never ridden a bike on 3 digit speeds before. Should I ride an R1 then?
Duke200 - Duh! Are you for serious?!

It was that effortless. On top of it, you felt secure and safe as well.

8. Triumph Bonneville.
My first superbike ride. Nervous. Scared. Under-confident.
The Bonnie and it's scintillating Arrow exhausts made all that disappear hardly seconds into riding it. I personally feel that the Bonnie is a closet Naked. Exciting bike. Add arrows to it, and you've attained Nirvana. I don't know why people crib about it saying 'It's Small and looks like a Norton'. Don't forget, that even though the Nortons were 'small', they've created a legacy that shall remain immortal.

9. Kawasaki ZX14R.
When I first saw the ZX14R, I felt like a Cessna pilot being entrusted to pilot the Air Force One. It's gigantic. It oozes of charisma and wickedness. An engine that can best be described as devastating, it is the bike made for passionate enthusiasts. Although I ended up stalling it twice before I even began my ride, I took to it real quick. The bike made me feel very secure and comfortable. It made me feel at home. It was during this ride that I realised that heavy bikes are very nimble and obedient after catching decent speed. Also, the heat was equally devastating. Cooked my legs in traffic. Not to forget the amount of attention I was getting. Had my celebrity moment thanks to the kwacker. Couldn't quite realise when 180kms got over. Beauty with brains, this.

10. Aprilia Dorsoduro.
The first time I was riding an adventure motorcycle. My knees never felt so comfortable because it was the first time they were fully stretched. This bike has a brilliant exhaust and a very finely arranged console. The engine lacked the punch until about 5k rpm and had vibrations aplenty. Good alternative for people not following the junta into buying the Brit.

11. Moto Guzzi California.
This motorcycle has to be on top of my 'best bikes I've ridden' list. It's big. Very, very big. I went weak in my knees when I was handed it's keys for my spin. Not because I was excited. But because I was scared. This bike inspires fear. If it runs over someone, I doubt that person would stay alive. I had never ridden a bike this heavy before, and it wasn't giving out friendly vibes at all. Nervously started it, and I heard a barely audible squeal. Thought the bike didn't start. Twisted the throttle to check and I remember how the hair on my arms stood up in attention. To add to my woes, I had to ride about 3 kilometres in heavy traffic before I reached the expressway. The gears of a tank would perhaps make require lesser effort than of the Guzzi. Calm and serene until 3k rpm and then it goes into God mode. Majestic performance. The exhaust note is not cruiser like at all. It's of a different category. I personally felt as it was being rotor propelled. Not exaggerating, here. Attracts immense attention. Stammered my way through the queries of countless curious onlookers because I was genuinely scared. Entered the freeway and then the Moto Guzzi California gave me the moment of my life I shall always cherish.
It's a pity that Moto Guzzi didn't market this bike properly in India. If it had, it would've suplexed and thrashed it's immediate Amercian adversary in every aspect. Word.

12. Triumph Street Triple.
Comfortable stance. Lots of room. Beautiful stock exhaust after 4k rpm. Could've had a meaner high range. Arrows should be a must for this one.

13. HD Street 750.
Nightmare brakes. Refined engine. Comfortable seating position although the foot pegs could've been differently positioned. Install Screaming Eagles and it turns out to be a good package.

14. HD Iron 883.
Emits immense heat. Lethargic initial range. Catches 3 digits faster than you'd expect. Brakes need work. Did I mention it emits immense heat?

15. Indian Scout.
Low slung. Extremely comfortable seat. An engine that would make you check if you're riding a cruiser or not. Could've had better suspension. Attention magnet. I rate it over the HD 48.

16. Benelli 600i.
An exhaust note that will propel you amidst unsuspecting litre class bikers. Flimsy switches and instruments. Rigid suspension. Attention magnet. Expect no pillion to sit with you. Perhaps they should've written 600 somewhere in a bold font.

17. RE Continental GT.
Finally a RE whose thump is in sync with it's speed. Brilliant tempo to it. Excellent suspension and tyres (Pirellis). Rigid seating position, though. Not much room to move about. Windscreen should be factory installed, methinks.

18. Ducati Hypermotard.
Found the height and the seat to be extremely comfortable for me. Mind blowing exhaust note. Fantastic tyres and suspension. Potholes are history when you ride this. Performance is very neat. Could've had a tad better brakes. Be prepared for crosswinds.

19. Ducati Scrambler.
Small. Doesn't feel like a Ducati. You would have to strain yourself to spot one in a crowd. Comfortable seat. Vibrations aplenty. Boring until 4k rpm.

20. KTM RC 390.
Blindly go for this bike if you love cornering. With Metzelers and a crazy engine like that, you're in for a party. RVMs are of no use. If D390 pillion seats are meant for supermodels, the ones of the RC390 are for those who have no intention to live anymore.

My current ride is a KTM Duke 390. A mental motorcycle is the right term to describe it. Although long rides can be harrowing, it depends from person to person. Reliability is an issue only for those who can't treat it good. Amusing how people don't bother lubing their chains and whine that the chain gets affected by dust and grime very quick. That's the crude truth. Get used to the heat because there's literally no other option. It's fun to ride it, even it's a ride to the grocery store. Brings a smile to my face every time I ride it because it's joy inspiring. For it's features and it's price, it IS the best VFM motorcycle one can buy. Not made for pillions so don't even try. Looking back, one of the best decisions of my life was to go for this retarded Austrian. Ride with extreme caution and respect, though.

Disclaimer : The bikes mentioned above have been listed chronologically. The latest bike that I have ridden is number 20.

Hope it was worth your time. Thank you for reading this long a post. Glad to answer any queries from prospective owners. Cheers!

Last edited by barcalad : 14th September 2015 at 23:51.
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Old 15th September 2015, 20:03   #10
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Default Re: Different bikes = Different riding styles!

Penning down my experience on two wheels.

a) RX 135 - I learnt riding on a friend's RX 100 and my 135 was my first bike. A very nimble fast bike, which feels like a rocket in our city conditions, you can just red line in any gear and it puts a wide smile on your face. Its on this bike, when I had my first real experience with the limitation of drum brakes. I had got the bike ported and it was doing some insane speed and RPM's and then one day i just opened it up as soon as the signal turned green and in no time I was closing in on a skoda, which just suddenly decided to change directions in the middle of the road. somehow managed to get the bike to a halt while praying to god that I don't end up rearing into the skoda. That's the day I realised that I have to upgrade my brakes big time and got a disc brake setup immediately. Now, with the disc I noticed that you could ride faster and break really late and this made riding the bike more enjoyable and also use the full potential of the engine, with the kind of power it had to offer.

b) RD 350 - I am blessed to have the opportunity to ride a 350 and also to have so many friend's who own one. This is one insane two stroke we Indians had the pleasure of owning (and can still do). I had heard many stories of the 350 and on my first ride was gentle on the throttle, but as I spent more time on a 350 I started progressively exploring the potential of this bike. I personally believe if you can manage a 350 at high speeds then you can certainly ride any high power bike. This thing just wobbles at high speeds and taking corners at triple digit speeds is not a joke on this bike, but the moment you exit a corner and you open up the throttle the mad rush of power is just intoxicating combined with the sweet sound the dual exhausts produce. But, no matter how many kms of riding experience you have on a 350, you still have to be careful on one and specially if you riding someone else's 350 for the first time. No 350 would be identical to ride, one would have more power and poor brakes the other would have all the power just kicking in when you least expect it to come. One particular incident i clearly remember is when I took a friend's 350 HT out for a spin. This bike had a stock engine with proton chambers. I have ridden this bike many times and I was not expecting anything unusual. With an HT the power comes in at post 5k rpm, but this bike for some reason went mental that day and there was a mad rush of power post 4k rpm. Since I was used to this bike I would gradually open the throttle and I was used to the slight power wheelies it would do, but on that day the bike just went berserk and the front came up way to much for my liking and I was like did I open the throttle too much too early??? Took a u-turn and tried it again and the same thing repeated again only this time I had a rickshaw in front of me. Braked hard with the front CBZ disc hardly providing any stopping power and the rear locking up and fish tailing, but managed to stop the bike somehow, Phew!!!! rode the bike back gently and told my friend what had happened. He a typical Parsi was like Bawaa you only must have screwed up with your throttle input, and I told him to take a spin to try it himself. To his surprise the bike behaved the same way it did with me and when he came back he was bawaa whats wrong with this bike its become insane and people on the road were thinking that he is trying to show off by pulling insane wheelies.

c) ZX14R - I have had experience of riding different super bikes but the 14R has left a lasting memory in my mind. Had gone with my friends to palm beach to attend the test ride session organised by kawasaki for their range of high end bikes. Just the thought that it is a fastest accelerating bike in the world and it weighs 268kg sent shivers down my spine. I was literally hesitating to even go close or sit on the bike. I and my friends weighted for the young riders who had come over to test ride the bikes and decided to take it for a spin after they are done. Every time someone who took the 14R for a spin I would pay attention to their riding style and the way the 14R behaved specially while taking a u turn. Most of the riders I noticed would put their foot down while taking a u turn, maybe they were not carrying enough speed or the bike was just too heavy. So finally it was my turn to take the 14R for a spin. My wife was along with me as she wanted to have a feel of the pillion comfort before she gives the thumbs up to buy the bike (am working on my finances currently to buy it ). But my friend suggested that I take the bike for a spin alone first. As you build up speed there is no way that you can say its a heavy bike, it moves so effortlessly with the amount of torque you have on offer and the engine is super refined and the seating position is also great. As soon as I came to the end of he straight stretch I had to take a u turn and to my surprise I did it without putting my foot down, it was so damn easy. Later when i took my wife for a spin I was able to take a turn again without putting my foot down even with her extra weight at the back. The trick was to carry the right amount of speed and maintain body posture accordingly. I remembered my ride on my first SBK, which was a liquid cooled GSX 750 and when my friend gave me the key he said be careful when u turn as its difficult to do it without putting your foot down for first timers. To my surprise I did it without putting my foot down as I never felt the need to do it and not that I wanted to prove him that I am a good rider. I was on top of the world that day that on my first ride on a SBK and the fact that I took a turn without putting my foot down.

d) Harley super low - This was my first Harley ride and boy was it a learning experience. I just couldn't adjust to this bike, the front wants to go somewhere else and the rear has it own my mind in a corner. Then on a straight stretch opened it up to get a feel of the power and noticed a speed breaker coming up and as usual I started braking late and too my surprise the brakes behaved as if they were non existent. I knew the brakes were weak but i surely did not expected it to be so bad. I am used to hard and late braking and this was the complete opposite. turning this bike also takes quite an effort, but post the cornering and braking scene I just wanted to go and park the bike back. Harley's are surely not my cup of tea.
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Old 20th September 2015, 13:45   #11
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Default Re: Different bikes = Different riding styles!

This thread reminds me of an incident 15 years ago. That time I used to ride my father's 3 geared Priya scooter and used to ride a Hero Puch Automatic. One of my friends had bought a new bike, Hero Honda Street. In those days this was the first bike with gears and without clutch. So I wanted to go for a ride on that vehicle. Another friend of mine who almost weighed more an 70kgs was sitting on pillion. I started the vehicle (kick start), put it on 1st gear and accelerated a bit. Next moment we both fell down along with the vehicle lying next to us. My mind went blank and I could not understand anything which had just happened. I had just fallen down from a bike and did not know how it happened. So what I did next was asked my friend who was sitting pillion to ride and I sat in the pillion. This friend of mine used to ride a Luna super moped & a Bajaj scooter. Then when he started the vehicle in 1st gear, again we both fell down and were lying on the ground. Then it took some time for us to realise what had happened. At first I thought since the person on pillion was a bit heavy and I was taking the vehicle on a slope, we had fallen down. Then realised actually what had happened. The Hero Honda street vehicle was without clutch, and was having very nice pick up. The moment we accelerated like we do in our ungeared mopeds, we fell down due to the sudden pick.
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Old 28th September 2015, 01:32   #12
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Default Re: 2014 Honda CBR650F And CB650F Unveiled

Originally Posted by barcalad View Post
For Mumbai, it's 7.6 lakhs Ex Showroom. Inline 4 / 86 bhp.
650 CC, 4-cylinder engine with 86 BHP for a bike!
Is there any cap (upper limit) on the CC or HP of a motorcycle in India?
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Old 28th September 2015, 07:45   #13
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Default Re: 2014 Honda CBR650F And CB650F Unveiled

Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
650 CC, 4-cylinder engine with 86 BHP for a bike!
Is there any cap (upper limit) on the CC or HP of a motorcycle in India?
No. Why should we have one? We have bikes with more than 200 BHP available too

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 29th September 2015 at 08:32.
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Old 28th September 2015, 11:16   #14
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Default Re: 2014 Honda CBR650F And CB650F Unveiled

Originally Posted by amansanc View Post
No. Why should we have one? We have bikes with more than 200 BHP available too
I see....

I am curious to know why do the manufacturers provide such high power? Higher power and torque will result into quicker pick-up and speed. But is 20-30 HP not sufficient for providing the a pick-up that a human being can handle and sustain? After all the laden weight of such bike would be around 200 kg only.
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Old 28th September 2015, 16:36   #15
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Default Re: 2014 Honda CBR650F And CB650F Unveiled

Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
I see....

I am curious to know why do the manufacturers provide such high power? Higher power and torque will result into quicker pick-up and speed. But is 20-30 HP not sufficient for providing the a pick-up that a human being can handle and sustain? After all the laden weight of such bike would be around 200 kg only.
Mate, I hope you do realize that there are many more 'human beings' in this world apart from you? While you may be happy with 20-30PS, there are many others who aren't content with even 200-300PS and thank god for them that we have machines like these available for the mango people like us. If the homo sapiens weren't a curious folk, we'd still be walking to places today.

Last edited by Porschefire : 28th September 2015 at 16:40.
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