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Old 28th June 2011, 23:15   #1
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Default Superbikes, phenomenal rides, great friends and awesome breakfasts

My first exposure to large displacement motorcycles was in the early 80's in the US. I remember Honda releasing the V4 Sabre and the tear drop tanked Magna. Both fabulous bikes. I was drawn to the Sabre. Around the same time I fell in love with Harleys too. I loved that eccentric thump and all that chrome and retro styling.

My first big Honda I rode was a CBX 550 (hope I remembered that model correctly) It was a V twin and a lovely bike to ride. I was 18

Fast forward to 1997 when I was living in Dubai and suddenly was consumed with the desire to finally treat myself to a big bore bike. I was initially drawn to the Harleys as I can never ever have enough of that delicious sound. I went to the Harley dealership and test rode a Springer Softtail. I found it utterly crude and almost agricultural. Felt like I was riding a krishi tiller engine !! Disappointed I returned wondering what to do. I had a colleague from South Africa who ran the motorcycle division at the Honda dealership I worked at, who saw my dispair and recommended I start trying out the Jap bikes.

The first bike he asked me to use was a 1100 cc Blackbird XX, then rated as the world's fastest motorcycle. On the Alain highway on a Friday morning I took the black beauty out and discovered what Hondas are all about. The Blackbird has a motor which in my opinion should go into the hall of fame of engines. Phenomenal engine. On that run I decided to really push the bike to see what it could do. In seconds I was clipping at 250 kmph on a empty four lane highway. Cars a couple of miles ahead at that speed came up in seconds. It was scary to pass a truck at that speed, as the wind wake unsettles you. I was flat on the tank peering through the visor as at that speed you simply cannot hold your head up. Suddenly I realised I was being foolish. I thought of my family and how irresponsible I was being as I realised I could easily kill myself that moment. I eased off and rode the Blackbird at 160 for the rest of the run to Alain. That bike and that day changed my perception of motorcycles forever. I was sold on superbikes - hook, line and sinker !!

I came back to my SA friend raving like a madman about the awesome power of the Blackbird. He calmly said, now try this and gave me a VTR 1000. Very different bike, crazy torque and sounded like a double barrel machine gun on the two brothers exhausts it had. Then he asked me to ride a CBR 600. Sweetest superbike I ever rode ! Delightful and charming handler. Then a CBR 900. Manic, cutting edge performance. Then he said I want you to try a crazy machine and handed me the keys to a six cylinder Valkyrie for a week. What a bike ! Cadillac on two wheels I had a whale of a time riding it to work and long distance on weekends

I finally sat across the table and asked him, ok, so what should I treat myself to. He asked me a lot of questions about my impressions about all the bikes I rode. I was floored by the power of the Blackbird but found it to be a dog in traffic. 600 was sweet but after the Bkackbird felt under powered. 900 was too manic and uncomfortable on long rides. VTR 1000 was very very interesting and I was kind of gravitating toward it. He casually looked at me and said "Deepak I know what is the right bike for you but you have to wait a couple of months for it" I asked what it was and he said "Honda's soon to be released brilliant Honda VFR 800. I raised an eyebrow as I hadn't ridden the VF 750 and wanted to understand why he recommended the VFR.

He said given my tastes that were apparent in feedback I gave him he felt I was someone who liked engines and liked comfort and sporty riding but not something too focused on performance while compromising on touring. He felt the 1998 VFR 800 would be the bike for me. I asked more and he explained it had the motor from the now legendary RC45. Detuned for road use. I always knew Soichiro considered the V4 config the finest for an engine and so the idea appealed. Gear driven cams, a V config and touring comfort.

I paid the deposit for the VFR 800. Mine was to be a red. The first red VFR that was to come into Dubai. I think the first lot of VFR's had a silver and a black too which I didn't like.

Sometime in end June 1998 I took delivery of a fabulous red VFR 800. When I look back I can still remember that day as they unpacked my VFR from a lovely metal container and did the PDI. I still have a video of it being unpacked and being prepared for delivery. As I stood there in front of my brand new VFR I couldn't believe I was actually treating myself to something that was soon to go on to becoming the world's finest all rounder motorcycle. An accolade its predecessor already enjoyed.Superbikes, phenomenal rides, great friends and awesome breakfasts-1998hondavfr800fi.jpg

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This is the story of my VFR, the amazing friends we made together and the phenomenal fun we've had over the past 13 years !!

Last edited by DKG : 28th June 2011 at 23:19.
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Old 28th June 2011, 23:28   #2
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Default Re: Superbikes, phenomenal rides, great friends and awesome breakfasts

hello sir.

nice to know about this side of yours.

BTW you still have it?

as a kid i had collected the AD's & reviews of blackbird from various magazines.
i still have it somewhere.

may be one day i will buy a well maintained blackbird.

rgds,
Nikhil
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Old 28th June 2011, 23:30   #3
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Default Re: Superbikes, phenomenal rides, great friends and awesome breakfasts

This can't possibly be the end??? Its just the buying experience. Elaborate on the fun part and quickly.

PS: One of my favourite bikes ever for so many sentimental reasons.
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Old 28th June 2011, 23:31   #4
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Default Re: Superbikes, phenomenal rides, great friends and awesome breakfasts

This reminds me of our own Rtechs VFR. Now owned by a friend and a very worthy owner at that. Its really sad to see good bikes going into the hands of dealers and stupid owners that buy to pose.

Lets have some recent pics of the bike.

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Old 28th June 2011, 23:34   #5
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Default Re: Superbikes, phenomenal rides, great friends and awesome breakfasts

One of the advantages of living in a developed country...that you can ride wearing white.
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Old 28th June 2011, 23:38   #6
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In the year 2000 when I decided to wind up after a decade in Dubai and head back home to Hyderabad I had a tough decision to make. I had to part with another awesome machine I had treated myself to that same year I bought the VFR, a fabulous Toyota Landcruiser GXR. It was a left hand drive and I couldn't reconcile to using it in India. I sold the LC with a heavy heart but I was happy my VFR was to go with me ! I imported the VFR directly to Hyderabad as it was allowed then. The customs officials refused to accept my bike was a 2 year old bike as I had kept it like brand new despite the 6600 kms on the odo. Despite my connecting the battery and showing them the mileage they refused to accept. They tried to delay clearing the bike as Bombay had no info on the VFR. I simply was in no mood to deal with Indian redtape. I went and met the commisioner who happened to be a lady and requested her to fix the duty and clear it. They set the duty high at 2.51 lacs but I was in no mood to have my VFR lying in some godown waiting for redtape to clear. I paid the dues and took the VFR home. The lady commisioner asked me to appeal for a duty rebate but I told her "Its money for the govt of India, so I don't mind letting it be" !!

For three years I rode the VFR alone on the streets of Hyderabad as superbikes simply didn't exist here in 2000 barring two or three that existed somewhere unknown to me. Then slowly by 2003 bikes started to appear. People would meet me while I rode and we made friends. My first biking friend I made remains a great friend to this day.

Soon we had a small group of riders meeting at KBR park and rode every Sunday afternoon. These were small rides around Hyderabad. Fun times as after a ride we'd all sit around at coffee shops chatting

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Old 29th June 2011, 00:00   #7
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For a year or two this went on but petered out as most weren't hardcore riders with the exception of my friend Nadeem. The group riding kind of stopped and I was back to riding alone as Nadeem's uncle got him to sell the CBR as he was to marry his daughter !!

Then in 2006 I met Raghu who had just imported a Ducati 800 Supersport from the US. I went to his house to see the Ducati as I am a fan of this legendary marque from Italy and we got talking and I told him that Hyderabad had some great roads on the outskirts and long rides would be a blast. We agreed to meet one Sunday. Both of us rode on the Shamirpet road for about 50 kms and stopped to have tea. We rode back home and simply loved the experience. We resolved to meet again soon.

A ride or two later word spread and another friend Shantanu joined us with a bike he borrowed. The three of us hit it off super and the riding was a blast. Shamirpet road was divine. Word spread like wildfire that some guys were meeting regularly and riding long distance. Out of the woodwork people started contacting us asking if they could ride with us.

Quite obviously our motto was "More the merrier" !! Little did we realise that those initial rides were the preview of one of the most awesome fun a large group of people were to have in Hyderabad. I will let the pictures do the talking now.

Initially we would meet at Shivam pump on Begumpet road and wait for all bikers to gather. We'd meet at 6:30 am on Sunday. Soon this became a major traffic distraction and we decided to meet near the Lamba theatre ahead. Our favourite roads were Shamirpet and beyond and Medchal. A roadside tea shop at the 50 k mark on Shamirpet road was the favourite spot for stoppover and on Medchal road the new A1. Often we'd have breakfasts at A1 or at the Secbad club when Shamirpet run was on

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Last edited by DKG : 29th June 2011 at 00:01.
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Old 29th June 2011, 00:02   #8
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Default Re: Superbikes, phenomenal rides, great friends and awesome breakfasts

Hi Deepak,

As usual good writeup.

The brakefast and great friends are some thing you begin to look forward to along with the Friday morning rides here. One Friday you miss and you feel the whole week is off.

The morning biking crowd is very much alive an kicking. Only not many use the Al Ain Road much. Unless one wants to do the Jebel Hafiz specifically.

All are in love with new Khalba Road - especially the mountain bit. We believe it was designed by a biker. Also the Hatta mountain roads around Hatta Fort hotel.

Come back on a holiday - will ride out (hope your DL is still valid).

Look forward to the remaining parts!

Best Regards & Drive/Ride Safe

Ram
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Old 29th June 2011, 00:11   #9
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Default Re: Superbikes, phenomenal rides, great friends and awesome breakfasts

Tea stall (Shamirpet) or A1 (Medchal Nagpur highway) were now the codes to deciding which road to take. In a few weeks the group was sizeable and the fun unlimited started with the jokes and laughter and stories

These were the beginnings of some great friendships !!

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Old 29th June 2011, 00:24   #10
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Very soon it became obvious that it was the breakfasts post ride that were becoming as much the reason for getting together. Bonding over food and activity is a sure fire success recipe for fab friendships. Guys started sleeping early on Saturdays and skipping their usual late night Saturday bashes so they could ride early Sunday morning. Invariably the conversation topic at parties where most of these guys hung out was the Sunday morning rides !!

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Old 29th June 2011, 00:37   #11
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Sometime early 2007 a stunning Ferrari came into my home for a month ! Needless to say I had to take the beauty out with the two wheeled Ferraris !!

Words cannot describe the feeling of driving a open top Ferrari on winding roads with a dozen super bikes screaming all around you !! Don't forget the V8 fed by four webers was an aural delight by itself !!

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Old 29th June 2011, 09:07   #12
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Default Re: Superbikes, phenomenal rides, great friends and awesome breakfasts

This thread is epic, thanks for sharing the wonderful moments with us.

Motorcycling is indeed therapeutic.

Motorcycles framed are above are quite good, from F4's to 636, 929.

Please do share more as and when you can, Cheers
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Old 29th June 2011, 09:36   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r_nairtvm View Post
The morning biking crowd is very much alive an kicking. Only not many use the Al Ain Road much. Unless one wants to do the Jebel Hafiz specifically.

All are in love with new Khalba Road - especially the mountain bit. We believe it was designed by a biker. Also the Hatta mountain roads around Hatta Fort hotel.

Come back on a holiday - will ride out
In 1998 the super biking scene in the UAE was just about taking off. There were two groups of riders I rode with. One was a bunch of Brits and South Africans and the other group was all locals and Lebanese guys. I was the only Indian riding those days. We rode all over the UAE. Our favourite roads were the trip to Fujairah through the mountains. The first time I scraped the foot pegs of my VFR on tarmac was on the bends going up Jebel Hafeet. On fresh new tyres that was such an awesome ride.

The scene with Harleys was different. I remember the dealership opening and in a few years there was a group of over 75 riders. They rode every Wednesday and I remember once catching the whole group in Jumeirah as they rode back into town. Can never forget that awesome rumble as more than 75 Harleys rode in. Felt like Dubai was being invaded by some army !!

Fun times !! It would be fun to meet up with you all.

Last edited by DKG : 29th June 2011 at 09:37.
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Old 29th June 2011, 11:28   #14
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Wonderful thread. Simply amazing narration. Straight from the heart and very appealing.
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Old 29th June 2011, 12:54   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKG View Post
I was the only Indian riding those days.

The scene with Harleys was different. I remember the dealership opening and in a few years there was a group of over 75 riders. They rode every Wednesday and I remember once catching the whole group in Jumeirah as they rode back into town. Can never forget that awesome rumble as more than 75 Harleys rode in. Felt like Dubai was being invaded by some army !!

Fun times !! It would be fun to meet up with you all.
Deepak,

"Being the only Indian riding" - I don't think so !! may be in your group. There are some hard core Bikers of Indian origin here who have been having heavy/super bikes since donkey's ears!! Vijay Pillai of Max Garage is one I can name. Another one is Mr. Rajaram of Al Naboodah Motors. (Vijay and Rajaram were involved with both the BMW group & the Harley Group) There are few more. Only thing is that you guys never met up that is all.

Yours truly was also riding with a CBR 600 those days (I sold my CBR in 2001)

Now with the modern social networking etc, we have connected up more or less. In February 2011 there was an informal get together of bikers of Indian origin - Assembeled in the parking lot near Al Nasar Cinema and rode down to Indian Club for BBQ/Dinner and performance by one of the visiting Desi dance troupe/Band. Belive me there were about 85 bikes of 500 cc and above (500 bring the good old Bullets).

It was a proud moment for me pesonally to feel and be part of the "Indian Thunder Roll"

Harley is a different story altogether - Their sales T/o is hinged on their Group Promotional actvities, I would say. They sponsor the HOG UAE with full heart and resources. Even before you buy a Harley, the HOG UAE is in touch with you and egging you on to make the purchase. They sell the bike cheap and the screw you on the services. The peer pressure to buy the Harley branded stuff to feel part of the HOG is also great and you end up spending quiet a bit on that cout itsel.

The HOG weekend trips will have about 40 bikes at least. They still start up in Jumeirah and finish there.

BMW usually will be out with atleast 20 bikes

Other than HOGs others usually meet up at the EPPCO Petrol Station in the Hatta Road - just past what used to be old Wimpy Roundabout at Aweer.

My group is usually about 8 - Bonnivile, Scrambler, Thruxton, Daytona 675, Ducati Diavile, BMW GS 1200, Yamaha MT 01, Suzuki DL 1000 & Ninja

By the way I thought you ordered a HD, delivered ?

Thanks and Best Regards

Drive/Ride Safe

Ram

Last edited by r_nairtvm : 29th June 2011 at 12:57.
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