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Old 6th May 2011, 17:13   #1
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Default Yelagiri - On a REB Standard 350cc.

Hi
I have booked a classic 500cc REB in december of 2010 and the expected delivery is around september of 2011. I have never owned a bullet till now and have got no experience. I liked it and having read a lot of reviews in various sites (prime source is from team bhp) I had booked it. Lot of my collegues were joking about how troublesome the bike was and the initial buzz started dying while i was getting more and more restless. One of my colleague, a surgeon, a die hard bulleteer, suggested that i accompany him for the yelagiri ride being organized by the Madras Bulleteers Motor Club (MBMC) on April 30th and May 1st to celebrate the 9th anniversary of the club, to get a better idea. I got the consent from my better half (actually it was more easy than I thought) and started searching for a bullet to drive. One of my friends was willing to give his older bullet, Standard 350cc, 9 years old, CI engine. He warned me though the bike is in good condition he is not sure about the reliability for a long drive. With no other option i took the bike and started using for routine drives in the city to adapt myself to ride a bullet. Its really a pain riding the bullet in peak traffic but give a open road its a delight to ride it. Actually i started feeling why
should i not choose one of those Japenese bikes which would be less toublesome and maintenance free. Anyway postponed my decision on for or against a bullet till I completed the ride. It has got to be now or never. The MBMC accepted me for the trip and sent me a list which had the
essential riding gear and spares for the bikes which I should take along with me. After discussing with my colleague i decided that i will stick with riding gear alone as most of riders will have spares with them. So after 3 weeks of riding the bullet i thought i was ready for the trip (Actually did a short trip to mahabalipuram and pondy during this period). 30th April : The schedule was to meet the riders in Porur at 4:30AM. Start at 5am and ride to vellore, have breakfast in aryaas in vellore,
ride through ambur, jollarpet and reach yelagir at around 11am. Stay for the night and start the next day as per our plan. I and colleague made up a plan to meet near SRMC at 4am. After trying to sleep for a long while got up at 3am checked the backpack, papers, riding gear and
got ready and started from home around 3:30am. Reached SRMC at around 4:10am. The moment I stopped the clutch wire broke. I called my friend who by then reached the rendezvous where the riders were to report. He promised to try and find a spare and reach me in another 30mins. As luck would have it nobody was riding an old model and though everybody had a spare none of it would match for my bullet. After trying for one hour he started without me. The worst part for me was to watch all the bullets (around 40 of them) riding past me with a lead and sweep in perfect formation. I cursed myself for not having a spare cable (which was recommended by the moderator), my friend for not helping me, the bullet for letting me down at this juncture. I pushed the bullet into the parking area of the college and decided to let go of the trip, return home, come back later, fix and ride the bullet home. Probably ditch the whole idea and go for a
japenese model. This is not my cup of tea.
The security guys told me that there is a shop nearby where they can sort this problem and they open at 7am. So decided to hang around for another hour and went to the canteen (great coffee). Incidentally I had “THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES” in my backpack and started reading it with nothing much to do. Finished around 100 pages before I realized that the shop should be open by now and went to it. Alas, disaster again, they did not have a spare cable and directed me to another
place where they sell the cable. Took an auto went to this place (4km away) in porur and again they have all the cables except for standard 350cc. I had noticed another mechanic shop which claimed “BULLET SPECIALIST”. My friend had called me from vellore and told me to ditch the bike and come by car as he wanted me to meet the group. I told him I have not decided yet. I called the mechanic who told me that he will come at 9am. Decided to wait for some time and continued reading the book. At 9am the shop was opened by his assistant (15year old kid) who refused to accompany me to the place where I had parked my bike and instead asked me to push the bike to the shop. Now they also did not have a spare cable but the mechanic told me that he can get a hero Honda splendor rear brake cable and use it for clutch cable. I called the guy who owns the bike and he had no objection as he was already feeling sorry that he was not able to help me at that point. Gave the kid some extra money and some petrol from my bike to go to porur and
purchase the cable. Around 10:30am it was fixed and they charged me Rs.250 which though expensive I paid without arguing. By then I was so inspired by the spirit of traveling from the book I decided to go ahead with the drive. Started from porur at 10:30am with lots of doudts in my mind, questioning my sanity at some point for doing this. Around 12:30pm I reached vellore, where I purchased another cable to be sure (I had taken a crash course in replacing clutch cable if it happens again earlier) and by then I was sure I had done the right thing. Took another break in ambur and reached yelagiri at around 2pm to a rousing welcome from my friends who did not expect a newbie to take the risk and drive alone all the distance. By then I was so exhilarated about the drive I started meeting all the fellow newbies and started interacting with seniors. Everybody were like so you are the newbie who pulled this stunt, some were appreciative, some not so and some gave me looks of who-is-this-nut. Everytime a bullet comes into the venue everybody stops talking looks at the new guy and most of them cheered. i had forgetten to have lunch and had a quick nap for 20mins and joined the party again. Looks like the moto was “DRIVE HARD, PARTY HARDER”. Met a lot of interesting people and started making statements like “She behaved well after the initial hiccough”, “She likes when maintained at 80kms”, “She coughs if taken more than 100kms” “She gives consistenly around 30kms per litre” “She behaves stable when driven hard”. Met lot of interesting characters and saw a few beautifully modded bikes along with a few antique ones. Lots of interesting episode throughout the night. Really surpised to see couple of girls and even more surprised to hear that a couple of them had come driving a bullet. The conversation was purely guys (some girls too) stuff, bikes, modifications, drives, travels taken, travel experiences etc. Met a guy who has done the Himalayan odyssey 3 times till now and wants to do it again. Though I cannot tell how it felt I went on partying till 3am with some very interesting bunch of people and finally hit the sheets. Woke up again early at 7am and joined a group to travel back to Chennai. I was enjoying the drive so much on my return that I lost my group and went solo again and since my mobile had no charge and I could not contact them again till I reached Chennai. Though it is recommended to take breaks inbetween I did not take any till I reached Chennai. Picked up my wife from home and went on another short drive to one of our favourite haunts. When reaccounting the details to my better half I myself realized the fact of this whole drive and what it meant to me “It made me feel free”.

Last edited by drrajasaravanan : 6th May 2011 at 17:15.
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Old 6th May 2011, 18:07   #2
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Default Re: Yelagiri - On a REB Standard 350cc.

Hi drrajasaravanan!
When the Bullet bug bites.....you stay bitten!
Please dont change your mind about owning a Bullet. the Jap bikes are troublefree I'll admit, but nothing can give you the same thrill as riding a Bullet on the highway
Rgds,
Ashok
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Old 6th May 2011, 22:56   #3
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Default Re: Yelagiri - On a REB Standard 350cc.

Hi ashphil,
Changing my mind has been shot down after this trip. Yes there are better alternatives but i have found that REB matches my taste to the hilt. So waiting for them to deliver my mistress. Cheers.
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Old 8th May 2011, 12:54   #4
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Default Re: Yelagiri - On a REB Standard 350cc.

Hi Saravanan, I really appreciate your interest in taking that bullet to the MBMC anniversary event even though you had some hiccups in the beginning. Also if you are open to Do-It-Yourself, I would recommend a Bullet as a good Tourer. But personally I would prefer a STD 350 CI (I also own one) for its old charm and character. Go ahead with your plans of RE and Happy touring.

BTW, just to tell you that the clutch cable of my Bullet broke in a reserve forest at around 7.00 PM and I pushed it for almost 5 kms before fixing it. I too didn't have a spare that time. But still enjoy touring with my Bullet inspite of niggling issues with it. The reason only a fellow bulleteer can understand !

Ride Safe.
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Old 10th May 2011, 21:28   #5
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Default Re: Yelagiri - On a REB Standard 350cc.

Hi Ride 4 fortune,
Totally with you on this one mate. The feeling it gives you when you see a open road should be experienced to understand. Will post some beauties i had seen during the trip soon. Cheers.
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