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Old 1st February 2006, 00:25   #1
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Default Superbikes ride to Mahabaleshwar

I had posted this thread on another site, xbhp, a few days back and just thougth of sharing it with my tbhp friends too. I'm sure some of you are SBK freaks as well. So here goes . . . .

During the Manor rides the Thane guys would often discuss about a trip to Mahabaleshwar. Something they have done in the past and pics of which I had seen on xbhp. I had seen that thread when I still had not bought my CBR and just could not believe that guys who have SBKs go on such long rides in groups. For days I imagined how much fun it would have been if I was there along with them !!
Who knew that my dreams would be fulfilled so soon.
Within the next couple of months I had bought my CBR and another year later I was being invited for the same trip !!
This time there were going to be 12 bikes unlike the previous trip when only 5-6 had gone. So it was even better.

The plan was to leave Saturday morning and after an overnight stay, start back from Mahabaleshwar on Sunday morning.
Monday onwards my group members started calling me and insisting that I come.
Initially I had mixed feelings and was very skeptical.
I was exhilarated as well as apprehensive.
Exhilarated because, as mentioned above, it was my fantasy coming true.
Apprehensive because I was not sure of so many things like . . . .
- I've never been on the roads beyond Lonavala
- I wasn't sure if my CBR was upto it as I had not got it tuned / serviced for some time and it was misfiring occasionally. Eventhough it has loyally served me for over an year without any problems what-so-ever.
- I was not sure if I could keep up with the other more experienced riders who've been riding SBKs since years.
- My family members would be aghast if I told them about it and getting a permission was out of question.
- Off late a lot of xbhpians have been having accidents and I was not very keen to be on that list. Besides the repercussions of having an accident on a SBK on the highway is a 'little' different. Not only are the chances of fatality much higher, even if you survive, u may have to live with some handicap and pay for the repair of your bike through your nose !!

So everyday when they would call to ask for my confirmation, I would say that I'm not sure. Finally on Friday I chickened out and call up the seniormost guy at night to say that I would not come on Sat morning.
He just would not take it. He had an answer for each of my excuses.
Besides he said that a Car with friends from 'Top gear' would be follwing us taking pics / vids, staying and coming back with us. That was a reassurance. Besides all our bags would go in the car and would not be a bother.

So Saturday morning the 20th of Jan we met at the Reliance pump in Koparkhairane which is next to my house.
Tanked up bikes and charged riders raced from there upto Lonavala where we halted for breakfast.
Of course this was interruped by a couple of re-grouping halts which also doubled up as 'pee't stops like this http://www.youtube.com/w/Pitstop?v=zamko17NXuU
and gave us a chance to catch our breaths.
The roads upto Lonavala were familar but then with the road reparing work going at quite a few segments it had become unpredictable and quite hazardous.
Imagine you're doing 160+ on a nice broad, relatively empty, newly laid road which you know has no breaks in the divider or any cross roads, when suddenly a couple of hundred meters ahead you see rocks and on coming close u see a tiny sign of a 'diversion' !!!
Invariably such areas are full of loose gravel, mud and the unavoidable 'kaccha' transition patch over which you have to go to to the other side of the road.
At the end of such 'diversions', when your throat is dry, breathing is coming back to normal, the palpitations & the pounding in your heart is regressing, adrenaline rush is subsiding and your ba11s are going back down to where they should have been, the 'INCONVENIENCE REGRETTED' board sounds more like a sarcasm !!!
Now imagine this situation not once but several times during your journey.
It really breaks your rhythm and scares the $hit out of u !!
No sooner have you regained your composure and have started relaxing, another 'diversion' looms ahead.
Thankfully the ghat section upto Lonavala was beautiful and we soon forgot the 'diversions', albeit temporarily.

The section from Lonavala to the Pune bypass also had some initial 'diversions' and patch work but later on the road was awesome.
The road from the begining of the Pune bypass upto the Katraj ghat section was also fabulous and we could attain really high speeds but only in short bursts, thanks to the multiple feeding roads and traffic.
Katraj ghats were a nightmare to say the least !!
All along this approximately 8km section, I kept thinking of that ad in which that oversmart brat runs his car over the small girls hand and exclaims
'Cheeee itna kharab rasta' !!!
We had been warned about it but did not think that it would be so bad.
It was the only time that my bikes thermostat came close to the 40-50% mark and I could feel the heat between my legs (the engine . . . . . . for those with one track minds ). Otherwise throught the trip, the temperature stayed within the lower 20% of the gauge.
At every turn we hoped that it would be the last and finally we reached the end & heaved a sigh of relief.
The moment the tyres touched the freshly laid broad road we flew.

The highway from Katraj upto the right turn for Mahabaleshwar was superb after the initial few 'diversions'.
Here we tested the bikes to the limits. Average speeds on this stretch must have been around 160 & I was able to sustain higher speeds of 180-200 for long stretches with the needle often flirting with the 210 mark and managing to cross it a number of times.
The other guys on the more powerful bikes thundered past me even when I was at such high speeds at speeds crossing 250.

After the turn the road narrowed drastically and went through a couple of villages.
This easy ride gave us an opportunity to unwind after the high velocity run and prepare for the ghats upto Panchgani.
I have to admit that these are one of the best laid ghat roads that I've encountered. The levelling and banking was just perfect.
There was so little traffic coming from the opposite side, I forgot that it was a 2 way road and started taking blind turns with abandon throughly enjoying the scenery, the roads and my bike.
A close shave, and I was jarred out of my spell !!

I had presumed that by the time I reached Mahabaleshwar, I would be sapped of energy, but riding from Panchgani to Mahabaleshwar in the cool environs and inhaling the fresh mountain breeze invigorated me and I felt fresh enough to ride back immediately if required !!
We reached the cottages booked and immediately got down to guzzling beer and playing cricket.
In the evening we rode into the city and to the lake for snacks.
A busa and a brand new 1000 rr which had come earlier to Mahabaleshwar joined us there and there were now 14 SBKs.
(these 2 r not there in the pics / video)
Needless to say, the public went bersek at the sight of so many SBKs and the down side to this is that we could not halt at any public place for more than a few minutes.
Went back to the cottage for another session of hard drinking under the bright starry sky.

Got up at 7:30 and started for the ride back home after 8 and reached home at 1.
Most of the ride, except when we ripped really hard, we rode in formation and I happened to be one of the last few.
The advantage of this was that the initial guys created the path for me and I was having the pleasure of getting to see the bewildered stares of the passengers of the vehicles that we whizzed by one after the other.

In both directions the total travel time was around 5 hours.
Minus the time we spent for snacks, re-grouping halts, re-fuelling stops, photo sessions and the puncture of one bike, the actual riding time would be about 3 hours.

Sorry for the long narrative. I know most of you might not read it .
It's just that I'm very happy that I gathered the courage and successfully completed this ride of about 600kms (both ways) at this stage of my life on a SBK.
Some of you might be thinking 'BIG DEAL' !!
But only those who have riden SBKs on such unpredictable roads for such a distance would appreciate it.
You cannot believe how exhausting a 300 km ride can be, with the winds hitting you at 180-200 kmph, your body coiled up like a spring and your reflexes at tenterhooks for most of the journey in anticipation of a crash.

Bikes that went -
2 Busas
1 CBR 1100 - blackbird
2 CBR 1000 rrs
1 CBR 900 rr
1 CBR 600 F4i
1 CBR 600 F2 (mine)
1 CBR 400 rr
1 FZR 400
1 Honda Magna (750cc)

Bikes getting ready for 'take-off' at the Reliance petrol pump.

Bikes lined up outside our cottage for the photo shoot by Top gear guys.
U may see these pics / videos on Top gear magazine or on TV .
If u do, please tell me.

A video (not so clear) of the bikes at the entry to Panchgani.


Pics & video shot with my phonecam.
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Old 1st February 2006, 00:59   #2
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DAMN I am sooo jealous
Looks like you had a really good time
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Old 1st February 2006, 02:15   #3
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What would we do without U,Ur CBR and ur camera-phone,bikefreak??
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Old 1st February 2006, 10:36   #4
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This must have been one amazing experience. Great report too.
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Old 1st February 2006, 11:03   #5
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"The public went beserk......" . Completely understandable I say. . Nice video too...
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Old 1st February 2006, 11:09   #6
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a very well written report. speeds of 250kmph, cant even imagine.....
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Old 1st February 2006, 12:40   #7
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Sweet. How about a proper supercar drive now?

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Old 5th February 2006, 01:41   #8
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Originally Posted by GTO
Sweet. How about a proper supercar drive now?

Good idea GTO...
But where do find these.. I am not aware of too many TBHPians having supercars...
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Old 5th February 2006, 18:46   #9
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Originally Posted by EVO6
Good idea GTO...
But where do find these.. I am not aware of too many TBHPians having supercars...
forget supercars
even normal team bhp cars will do
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Old 6th February 2006, 10:08   #10
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nice pics,,,i'll joing you guys soon
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Old 6th February 2006, 12:27   #11
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a very well written report.

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