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Old 10th December 2013, 15:51   #31
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Super trip report! Loved the way you executed the drive, planned to perfection. The birding must have been something too - that Rufous Sibia shot is very good indeed.
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Old 10th December 2013, 18:54   #32
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

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Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
As I mentioned before, Duster will climb all steeps only if its kept out of loose rocks and stones. The path on loose rock has to be very carefully chosen and not just ride on momentum to cross a stretch.
curious to know, what tyre pressure (how much +/- from renault recommended numbers) did u maintain for this climb ?
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Old 11th December 2013, 19:08   #33
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

What a travelogue. Read the whole thing in one go. It takes great courage to drive in such adverse conditions.
Duster 85 would then prove to be a even better option for such driving compared to 110 which you were driving.
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Old 11th December 2013, 21:15   #34
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Good one Himadri. Loved the video, specially the one with kids running around with light music in the background feels good. You have mastered the art of taking a FWD into 4x4 territory. Careful planning is a must and you are bang on it.

Your story with illustrations of the incline and drive is good info. Thanks.

Reversing into inclines to drive like a rear wheel vehicle, works wonders at times. This is part of standard drivers training in the army too (mainly for using the additional torque to haul load).

The advantages of reversing in FWD;
1. You now have changed the body weight ratio. The front wheel has more weight and better grip.
2. The torque is also higher at this point because of the ratio on reverse gear.
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Old 12th December 2013, 12:34   #35
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Quote:
Originally Posted by archangelvishal View Post
i had test driven the 85 Duster when I was planning on a new car. Had thought it to be a little underpowered for a SUV. However, reading your T-Log, I feel like an idiot. I should have read or seen something like your Log and today i would have been a proud Duster Owner . Never Mind, there is always a next time.
Thanks Archangelvishal and please don't regret your recent purchase. Every car is good in its own way. What ever happens is only for good. Who knows may be three years down the line Renault releases the 4WD version and you are the first to own it.

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Originally Posted by Sandman689 View Post

It was like reading an adventure novel. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Earlier this year, my family went to Ladakh but I had to stay back because of my semester exams. And now after reading, not only have you inspired me but also increased my thirst for adventure. Hence I shall also take my Tavera on this challenge sometime in the near future.
Thats Sandman. Not to undermine your driving ability but before taking any drive to this route I would rather advise you to keep visiting Sikkim for a good three, four years at a stretch if you haven't done that previously. For any first timers without any prior knowledge of the route, this stretch can be a death trap. Sad to know you missed Leh due to exams, plan that too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kartik Kumar View Post
Super trip report! Loved the way you executed the drive, planned to perfection. The birding must have been something too - that Rufous Sibia shot is very good indeed.
Thanks Kartik

Quote:
Originally Posted by venkyhere View Post
curious to know, what tyre pressure (how much +/- from renault recommended numbers) did u maintain for this climb ?
Tyre pressure was 30 psi. I could not have reduced it any lower for more grip due to sharp stones and gravel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Utopian View Post
What a travelogue. Read the whole thing in one go. It takes great courage to drive in such adverse conditions.
Duster 85 would then prove to be a even better option for such driving compared to 110 which you were driving.
The Duster 85 should be in a more advantageous position to start with due to the zero turbo lag. I though have no idea if there is difference in power of either models, say at 2k rpm mark.

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Originally Posted by HillMan View Post
Reversing into inclines to drive like a rear wheel vehicle, works wonders at times. This is part of standard drivers training in the army too (mainly for using the additional torque to haul load).

The advantages of reversing in FWD;
1. You now have changed the body weight ratio. The front wheel has more weight and better grip.
2. The torque is also higher at this point because of the ratio on reverse gear.
It really is, any point of the slope when I had to reverse to make way for upcoming traffic, Duster felt magical. Even on tarmac while reversing, where other cars were slow and thoughtful, mine was prompt and precise.

The previous day passed away slowly with not much driving. There was much needed rest. The Duster stood there like a war horse, silent and breathing. It had taken a lot of beating but never did it whimper. While making the climb to Singalila Nation park the day before, I at one point of time was worried about what if the car breaks down. With the kind of Renault after sales service, rescuing the car from such altitudes and road conditions may take months. But none of it happened and the car sprang to life today just at the turn of the key.
Day 4 we head towards Borong, some 100kms from Barsey.
Time taken: cannot be mentioned as we stop on the road fr everything, from food to birding to just lay on the ground.

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Borong is a little sleepy hamlet in west Sikkim. I had covered this place in detail here. (Mystical Borong - A Birder's Paradise) Tracing back to Jorethang, the road diverts from here and we head towards Namchi. This road is very narrow and steep and requires frequent reversing to make way for upcoming traffic. Though what needs to be mentioned here are the current condition of roads in Sikkim. Most of the tourist destinations are now connected be a fresh lay of asphalt. This gives the driver a lot of viewing pleasure, poetic feel at times when gliding through dense forests and vegitation.

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Life can be so beautiful in these parts, the only sound that I hear is the tree leaves brushing against each other. The word tranquillity appears in numerous texts ranging from the religious writings of Buddhism, where the term 'passaddhi' refers to tranquillity of the body, thoughts and consciousness on the path to enlightenment, where interpretation of the word is typically linked to engagement with the natural environment. These parts of Sikkim breathes tranquillity.

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The view from Borong, Mt Narshing.

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As mentioned, Borong is just birds for me. Contrary to what others say, I see a goldmine here. Glimpses of a few,

Mrs Gould's Sunbird
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Grey Bushchat
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Blue-capped Rock Thrush, female
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Day 5 sunrise from Borong just blows us away, with a riot of colours.

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Its a bad day today though, as we head back to the city of concrete. The high, the adrenaline, the excitement, the tranquillity, all will cease its effect as we draw closer to the bustle of city life. What takes over is pollution, mind rotting sounds of horns blowing, duties, anger and artificial smiles. Guess I should stop here, have a high chance of been kicked out of my house if my better half reads this!

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The route, did a detour just before Dumka via Dumka-Jamtara Road towards Madhupur, Chittaranjan and meeting NH2 just before Durgapur. The roads here are fantastic. Final day drive, 20hrs approx from Borong to Kolkata.

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Latest update, Duster feels like butter to drive. Absolutely no door noise, no niggles.

Last edited by himadrimondal : 12th December 2013 at 12:35.
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Old 12th December 2013, 14:18   #36
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post

Thats Sandman. Not to undermine your driving ability but before taking any drive to this route I would rather advise you to keep visiting Sikkim for a good three, four years at a stretch if you haven't done that previously. For any first timers without any prior knowledge of the route, this stretch can be a death trap. Sad to know you missed Leh due to exams, plan that too.
Thank you so much for that valuable piece of advice. I would rather be safe than sorry. Leh is much safer and easier I suppose, as a lot of cars without 4WD go there. I plan to go there sometime in the next year or so.
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Old 12th December 2013, 18:15   #37
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Another adventure marked on your checklist. Your blog took us along on the treacherous drive. The closing pictures of birds, an icing on the cake. A feather on your cap. Thanks Himadri.

You have truly lived through the real life testing of The Duster. Brought out the capabilities of this mean machine.

Makes me even more proud to own a Duster

Last edited by HillMan : 12th December 2013 at 18:18.
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Old 12th December 2013, 18:48   #38
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Lovely travelogue Himadrimondal. Your snap of the Duster with Mount Kumbhakarna and Mount Kanchendzonga in the background is awesome. It looks like a perfect snap for an automotive ad. If the Renault guys notice it, you could well be in business.
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Old 13th December 2013, 01:31   #39
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
There is no doubt its tough. Leh can be of higher altitude but it gains height gradually where as this road to Sandakphu is like insane.
You are still the boss on this stretch having gone there thrice on your White Tusker. I envy that ride of yours, more so because its no more available or public. Still remember the frame, your ride on snow en-route Sandakphu.
I went there till Singalila NP gate after Tumling.
There is one more stretch like this, quiet similar. The right just after Lava while enroute Kolakham leads to Neora Valley National Park.
Thanks for the lovely words, but frankly speaking it was because of the 4wd that I was able to go to Sandakphu/Phalut. I don't consider myself that good a driver to try this on a 2wd.

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Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
I too am now not sure if the permit was compulsory. As per my knowledge, every National Park requires a entry permit, hence by habit I went to seek permission. Yes I did take my Tavera previously till the same point. Tavera is actually a great car though unpopular among car enthusiast.Being a RWD with a DI engine, it enjoys a massive pull in 1st gear with absolutely no turbo lag.
The only place I think this FWD will fail is loose gravel. Incline won't be a problem if on solid ground. As soon it hits a stone and bounce there will be a wheel spin.
The permit is compulsory as it is a National Park, but what I tried to say is that I never took the permit at Manebhanjan. It was somewhere after Tumling where we had to take the permit for the Singalila National Park.

One question, will you try to go till Sandakphu/Phalut with the Duster? Do you think it will be possible to do the last stretch after Kalapokhri? I might join you next year if you plan to do but I will not be back till June. So need to plan something after November as the park is closed till November I suppose.

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Originally Posted by Sandman689 View Post
Thank you so much for that valuable piece of advice. I would rather be safe than sorry. Leh is much safer and easier I suppose, as a lot of cars without 4WD go there. I plan to go there sometime in the next year or so.
Yes, with due respect to your driving skills it is not advisable to do this without a 4wd. Himadri is an outstanding driver to have done this stretch with 2wd vehicles (Tavera and Duster). I consider myself to be of the adventurous type with years of experience on the hills, but as I have mentioned earlier I would not try this without a 4wd... unless somebody agrees to pay 1 million $$$

Last edited by BlackPearl : 13th December 2013 at 01:37.
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Old 13th December 2013, 10:10   #40
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Seriously you are forcing Renault to NOT release a 4x4. If a regular 2WD can do these roads, why bother with 4x4 at all.
Loved the write up and makes me happy to own a Duster.
Of course, I can't help admiring your bird shots. If you could share a bigger picture of the Duster with the mountains in the background, I can put it in my desktop wall paper.
I think your steel skid plate came in real useful. A plastic one would have been damaged on the gravelly roads, I think.
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Old 13th December 2013, 12:38   #41
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

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Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
One question, will you try to go till Sandakphu/Phalut with the Duster? Do you think it will be possible to do the last stretch after Kalapokhri? I might join you next year if you plan to do but I will not be back till June. So need to plan something after November as the park is closed till November I suppose.
It depends, I have not been there. If the incline has loose gravel for a stretch of a meter or so the Duster might make it. More than a few meters, Duster might get stuck. I have to see it once to get an idea. I though still might join you, may be on another car! a Thar may be! Lets see. Come back in June and we shall discuss this over a cup/glass of liquid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thalavoy View Post
Seriously you are forcing Renault to NOT release a 4x4. If a regular 2WD can do these roads, why bother with 4x4 at all.
Loved the write up and makes me happy to own a Duster.
Of course, I can't help admiring your bird shots. If you could share a bigger picture of the Duster with the mountains in the background, I can put it in my desktop wall paper.
I think your steel skid plate came in real useful. A plastic one would have been damaged on the gravelly roads, I think.
Thanks Thalavoy for the kind words. The steel plate really came handy and took all the dcraping on the front end. Without them the Duster's original skid plate may have been history. You can get the desktop bigger frame here.
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Old 13th December 2013, 14:18   #42
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

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Old 13th December 2013, 18:20   #43
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

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Seriously you are forcing Renault to NOT release a 4x4. If a regular 2WD can do these roads, why bother with 4x4 at all.
.
Renault still has to release to 4x4 to conquer the road from Sangalila NP to Sandakphu and beyond. Hence Himadri drove back!
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Old 13th December 2013, 21:17   #44
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

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Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
it was because of the 4wd that I was able to go to Sandakphu/Phalut.
Just 4X4, or 4X4 + low range?

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Old 14th December 2013, 08:59   #45
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Himadri, the bird shots are amazing. What lens do you use? I am not a photographer, asking for purely academic purpose.

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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Just 4X4, or 4X4 + low range?

Regards
Sutripta
Yes, a 4x4 + low range. I would be a bit surprised if a 2wd or even a 4wd without a low range could make it till Sandakphu, but with Himadri around it is difficult to say anything definitely. A few days back I would say it was impossible, but after seeing this thread I need to be a bit more cautious
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