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Old 27th September 2014, 20:13   #46
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Day 15

Keylong to Roopnagar (Ropar)
Total distance covered: 460kms.
Start time: 0615 from Hotel Valley View, Keylong
End time: 2115 at Hotel Sahil Palace, Roopnagar
Total fuel amount: 1240INR.

The worst day of the entire ride, will come back to it later. Started from Keylong at 0615. We found ourselves among the herds of sheep/ goats just after Keylong. Clearing out from this mess cost us a good 20 minutes.

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Reached the petrol pump at Tandi and had to wait for another 15 minutes before the pump opened. Chatted with army Jawans who were traveling in a truck and who had stopped for fuel, so time passes and you also get to know how others manage their lives in this part of the country. So if you are planning to leave Keylong and go towards Manali, keep a note this bunk opens at 0700 and you can start leisurely. The bunk is the first one after 320kms from the last available at Karu.

View of surroundings from the petrol pump.

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Pump with a lucky charm

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After the fuel stop, hit the Rohtang pass. It was similar to Zozilla but slushy. The tires just skidded over the rocks. Added to this were the truck traffic which was more. Although they let you pass when the time is right, there is just no room to let you go as the width of the road is just sufficient for them. Feel bad for them as they literally drive through hell. The roads in Rohtang has varied experience. You get to feel all types of roads available in the world here. We reached the top and from then on it was breeze to Manali barring a couple of places where road construction was going on. Beware of the taxis on this part of the world. The road belongs to them and they show it off. Horn/ lights does not mean anything to them and they push you off the road/ cliffs if necessary.

We stopped in Kothi, just before Manali for breakfast. The restaurant is the first in Kothi from the Rohtang side called Sher-e-Punjab. Superb Poori with dhal. Enjoyed every bit of it. Vidya had sandwiches which were equally tasty.

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Pit stop

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The surroundings

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The sandwiches

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Post the breakfast, we hit Manali, Kulu and Mandi. The heavy breakfast made us skip the lunch this day. We had a lassi just before Mandi. From Mandi, the roads became chaotic with lots of traffic. The experience of riding in the Aut tunnel was out of this world. We had glasses as the sun was beating down and with the same we entered the tunnel to find nothing ahead of us. The lights were just like candles in a dark room. We realised this soon and removed the glasses and made progress. This is dangerous as the tunnel has two way traffic. So people riding through, be aware.

At Barmana, after Ner chowk, we hit the Shimla road instead of Roopnagar. We did not realise this folly unitl we were about 14 kms ahead on this road. Had to turn back and come back which means we lost a better part of an hour. The roads here are dotted with trucks in all sizes. You are unable to overtake as the road is a 2 lane one and oncoming traffic never cease to stop. The truck ahead of you will be crawling and I could move the bike by hand faster I think. In this situation and the Swarghat, Vidya brakes faded. I literally had my heart in my mouth when I saw him, rear wheel locked, but moving between a lorry and a Sumo coming from the opposite side. Had to stop at a couple of places to cool his brakes down.

The sun soon settled making me unsettled on my seat. Not only we had trouble to overtake, but the roads became so dusty, the vehicle in the front could not be seen. The last 40 kms before we hit the 6 lane road took us 150 minutes. And just 100 mtrs before the 6 lane roads, Vidya made a mistake of going off the road and fell down albeit at a low speed, may be 10-15 kmph. There was a dhabha near by and we took the bikes there as there was no light at the palce where he fell. After assessing the damages, which was none to the bike and a small abrasion on the knee, we continued at a subdued pace but not before we had dinner.

Finally reached the Sahil Palace in Roopnagar at 2115. All this incidents today left a bad patch in my mind. Hence my comment at the beginning. Thanked God for making it through the day, not before giving a good word of advice to Vidya about his ride skills.
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Old 27th September 2014, 20:21   #47
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by sam_sant2005 View Post
Wonderful Travelogue.

One quick question - You guys have done ~1000kms per day in the first few days. How did you guys achieve this without a sore back ? Did you practice long distance driving and gradually increased to this level (like a long distance runner has to slowly increase his distance covered on a daily basis) ? The reason why I asked this question is because even i can do 1000 or 1500 kms in first day, but second day i would be in hospital treating back pain
No practice runs here Sam. I had a couple of stints on off roading (Bilikal betta, the place where MTM was arranged near Shivagange) after the change of tyres and a drive to Nandi hills on tarmac.

We wore the cyclist shorts beneath the riding pants which had a gel padding. And during the ride itself, we did some weight shifting like bending over the tank, standing over the pegs when we found the gel had shrunk, touching the sole of the shoes or the rear fuel cans with hand, of course one at a time, falling back to get a support from the tailpack were the so called exercises we did to overcome the fatigue.

And to all of the above, a good nights' rest is necessary. No alcohol consumption was allowed throughout and so was non-veg food.
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Old 27th September 2014, 20:24   #48
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Quote:
At Barmana, after Ner chowk, we hit the Shimla road instead of Roopnagar. We did not realise this folly unitl we were about 14 kms ahead on this road. Had to turn back and come back which means we lost a better part of an hour.
You could have continued on Shimla Road to Chandigarh by either going through Shimla or bypassing via DarlaGhat - Arki- Dharampur- Chandigarh . This route is little longer than Ropar Route but much cleaner & far low traffic - maybe you should have asked some locals before turning back ..
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Old 27th September 2014, 20:30   #49
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Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
You could have continued on Shimla Road to Chandigarh by either going through Shimla or bypassing via DarlaGhat - Arki- Dharampur- Chandigarh . This route is little longer than Ropar Route but much cleaner & far low traffic - maybe you should have asked some locals before turning back ..
Thanks for the input. I will keep this in mind when I come back again next time. We did ask the locals but it was Ropar, so they sent us back.
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Old 28th September 2014, 18:32   #50
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Day 16

Roopnagar (Ropar) to Jaipur
Total distance covered: 575kms.
Start time: 0730 from Hotel Valley View, Keylong
End time: 1745 at Hotel Sahil Palace, Roopnagar
Total fuel amount: 860INR.

For those of you who were glued to this thread, let me remind you that the story will become less inviting as earlier from now on. Lot less pics and more words will follow.

The day began late with heart wanting to go forward and mind opting to stop the ride and packing bags. Took the road towards Chandigarh. On the way, made a couple of calls and decided to put all the pulldowns back and carry on. The roads were wonderful in Chandigarh, wide and inviting. But the 50 kmph limit for 2W was a big let down. Somehow passed this obstacle and hit the expressway, stopped at a McD on the way for the brunch at 1045.

In Panipat, we made the error of getting down into the city. Took an hour to hit the Rohtak road through the maddening Haryana traffic. Geetting past Rohtak, we were now onto the next target, Jhajjar. There were signboards every 2 kms which would let us know the distance to the destination, Jaipur. After sometime, we found the boards did not show up even after 4 kms. Stopped to ask for directions but no one in sight. WA HVK who promtly shot back asking us to go back and take the route to Jhajjar. We turned back to find an unmarked road that snakes below the road to Jhajjar.

It was not until 180kms to Jaipur, when Vidya flashed, the thought of having lunch came to my mind. Hit a dhabha and relished on some rotis and dhal. From then onwards, it was non stop to Jaipur. We hit the Delhi - Jaipur highway and the traffic density increased many fold. We reached Jaipur at 1745 for our destination, Starboard guest house.

My earlier stint of 8 years at Jaipur helped me to reach the destination in no time. Mr. Dhiraj Kapoor welcomed us and saw that we were comfortable in our room. By the time we freshened up, dinner was on the cards. It was satisfying dinner, so told, because the rice was the one we yearned for but could not taste the same from down South here. And here it tasted almost similar and we were very happy to gorge on this.

Mr. Dhiraj was with cruise liners and has a wonderful collection of some parts and currencies in his place. Here are a few pics of the same.

The guest house

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The spic and span office area

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Collection of currencies

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Starboard artefacts

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Day 17

Jaipur
Rest day
Total fuel amount: 660INR.

Woke up leisurely and got ready to drop off the bikes for servicing. Since we had different makes, Vidya's bike was dropped off at Lal Kothi while my bike was dropped off at Rambaug for servicing.

Today was the auspicious day of Ganesh Chathurthi. On this occasion, we were invited for a lunch with a family friend of mine, Uday Shankar Rao at his home. We reached his place and over the lunch, chit chatted re-living away our memories. It was a wonderful lunch and his wife made sure we don't eat for 2 more days.

That;s Vidya and me with Uday Shankar and his wife.

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We were dropped at the service station by Uday Shankar. My bike was on its final part of the servicing when I reached the KTM service center.

My bike on the service ramp

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Man for the day, Mr. Zakir who took care of my bike

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Since the traffic was maddening, we came back to room, dropped the bikes and took bus to visit the old city. Some pics of the city.

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The sunsets at Jaipur. It soon would on the ride too.

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Day 18

Jaipur to Ankaleshwar
Total distance covered: 948kms.
Start time: 0600 from Starboard Guest House, Jaipur
End time: 1945 at Hotel Royal Inn, Ankaleshwar
Total fuel amount: 1586INR.

The longest drive in a single day, 948 kms from Jaipur to Ankaleshwar. The previous day, while having lunch at my friend's place, his wife did not believe we would reach Ankaleshwar today and joked that we would be faster than any mode of land transport if we accomplish this. And sure we did this. She was all bewildered when I rang her up and told we were in Ankaleshwar at 2000 hrs.

No drama day, just super smooth roads all the way and we took it one at a time. I had some calculations done before we hit the bed and the plan was executed to perfection, in fact exceeded it. My plan was to reach Ankaleshwar at 2100 hrs and we beat it by an hour. In fact the roads were so good, we almost averaged 76kmph the whole day. 12.5 hrs of driving time with remaining for food. It was wonderful experience.

And sorry guys, no photographs on the way and only one I have is of the room which I am posting in my next reply. Max pic limit reached here.
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Old 28th September 2014, 20:03   #51
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Day 18, contd.

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We had an oppurtunity to try the famous Gujrathi Thali here. Reasonably priced, it was a treat to gulp down the Khichidi. Slightly sweet dishes, but who is complaining here?

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Day 19

Ankaleshwar to Chiplun
Total distance covered: 595kms.
Start time: 0600 from Hotel Royal Inn, Ankaleshwar
End time: 1845 at Krishna Palace, Chiplun
Total fuel amount: 960INR.

We started on dot at 0600 from the Royal Inn, Ankaleshwar. The night before, the ac in the room managed to put us into some good sleep and we were refreshed this day. Hit the HyWay and at Pardi, we spotted a Vithal Kamath hotel and stopped for breakfast. Yummy pav bhaji was served but the service was late.

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The breakfast took about an hour to complete. Soon we found ourselves in midst of lot of traffic. We refueled soon as we entered MH and continued. About 100 kms to Mumbai, the skies opened up. Since the monsoon was active in these parts, I never let the accelerator down and soon we were drenched to bones. The water protection, rain protection fancy words took a beating and made the life miserable. Progress was brisk throughout. I wanted to meet HVK in person this day. During the WA chat, he mentioned he would be in Thane till 1100. Pushed all the way, but when we reached Manor ghat, the progress became slow due to heavy rain. The tyres on the Apache was nearing its life and the skinny tyres were no match for the rain. We made it to Thane at 1130. I was heartbroken as I missed a date with the man who did all the groundwork for me for this wonderful trip. But life moves on and so does wheels.

Hit the NH17, the most scenic route till date on the ride, but with rain gods laughing away to glory. The road is broken in many parts and progress was slow. Had lunch after Kolad.

Reached Chiplun at 1845 and took a room at Krishna Palace. The night's dinner at Krishna Regency next door was tasty and spicy too.

During dining, Vidya told me he would not continue the journey in the rain and would take a detour to Belgaum and onwards to Bangalore the next day. I had decided prior to visit my sister in Udupi and would not let go this oppurtunity, so I stuck to my plan.
Hit the bed early as I had to cover a lot tomorrow.

Day 20

Chiplun to Udupi
Total distance covered: 579kms.
Start time: 0600 from Krishna Palace, Chiplun
End time: 1645 at Doddanagudde, Udupi
Total fuel amount: 1450INR.

Parted ways with Vidya and started the journey with rain gods gunning away to glory. With reduced "Baggage" managed to hit good speeds as I tagged along with a Qualis in front of me who proved to be blessing in disguise. Soon dawn broke cover and I found myself enjoying the surroundings as the rain stopped.

From here onwards, it was a cat and mouse game with the rains. The good roads began and the average speed went up. I was on the outskirts of Goa by 1045 just as a thunderstorm broke loose drenching me again. I lost the number of counts since yesterday when the water found its way out through the jacket and pants. Crossing Goa was another headache. Small roads, slow moving traffic and the NH itself going through the city center was a nightmare. Post Goa, the roads freed up again.

Tagged a multi axle volvo from Karwar onwards till Bhatkal. Post Bhatkal the roads became very bad with construction work going on. the 9 kms stretch till Baindur was worse and rekindled my Ladakh experience. Rested for an hour at my in-laws's place post Baindur. Continued after a cup of hot double tea.

The roads after this is wonderful except for the Kundapur town. There are diversion from Kundapur to Udupi but these are manageable. Finally reached my sister's place in Udupi at 1645. My mom who was in Udupi at that time was relieved to see me in good shape. I could make it out from her expression. Had a nice hot bath to compliment the cold one from yesterday and relished on some home made dishes prepared by my sister.

Day 21 and 22

Udupi
Rest days.

Day 23

Udupi to Bangalore
Total distance covered: 432kms.
Start time: 0600 from Doddanagudde, Udupi
End time: 1600 at Girinagar, Bangalore

After 2 days of rest, and lot of deliberations on whether to go to Kanyakumari, hit the road to Bangalore. I prefered to ride through the 2 lane of Karkala, Kudremukh, Belur, Hassan, Bangalore.

Post Manipal, I was cruising at 60kmph on a curve with a lorry approaching. On taking the curve, found a private bus overtaking the lorry. Hit the brakes and swerved off the road. Did miss the bus, but the bike bore the burnt as I hit a stone and the fork seal gave way. Rode on thanking God it was a minor incident which can be forgotten.

Post Karkala, towards Kudremukh, a police tells me that the road further ahead is closed due to some accident and I must take the Moodbidre, Dharmasthala route. Turned back and took the route above and joined the Shiradi ghat. Managed to hit Hassan where my friend, Roshan was waiting. He expressed his wish to ride with me the previous day and here he was. He became my wingman for the concluding part of the journey.

My wingman rider, Roshan

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Bangalore, 100 kms away

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With no more drama, the ride ended with Roshan parting way at Magadi road junction and me reaching home sometime after this. Thus ended the ride on a satisfactory note.

Will I do it again? Heck YES, I WILL. Anytime I get an oppurtunity.

Thanks for all the people who helped me out with this journey from the bottom of my heart, I am hereby concluding the journey part. Experience with bike, gears will continue in the next days to come. So keep an eye out.

Last edited by unk9ja : 28th September 2014 at 20:06.
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Old 29th September 2014, 19:03   #52
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by unk9ja View Post
Mr. Dhiraj was with cruise liners and has a wonderful collection of some parts and currencies in his place. Here are a few pics of the same.
It was a pleasure to have you with us. I have lots of respect for bikers and their rides who do the Ladakh circuit on two wheelers.It has to be back breaking but I guess thats the passion of riding.

BTW, after you left I have added another thing on display at Starboard. These are the fridge magnets that I collected while working on cruise. It was a DIY frame and I am really proud of it hence taking the liberty to add the pic.
Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-20140929_182115final.jpg
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Old 29th September 2014, 19:57   #53
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Well here we start today with much needed answers to questions everyone would ask for. Let me take it with the bike first.

Bike:


Well, a Duke is a Duke and nothing to beat it. That my first impression.

Mods done on the bike for the ride:

1. The tires

Tyres were on the priority when I first started. I needed to zero in on the brand, type and get a hang out of it beforehand. So checking out for the tires, I saw a fb post one day and posted a query on it. Then the nightmare started. I got trolled by a couple on the forum. Finally sent a friend request and lo, I was friend with Maveric Jay. This guy was into serious rally raids and when contacted over a chat, I found him down to earth, humble man. He did not blink an eye to divulge the details, I asked for. Liked Jay for his honest answers.

So with his recommendation, the Ceat Vertigo Sport tyres, I set out to check out in the market. The next day, I see a Bangalorean post he had fixed a Ceat Vertrigo on his bike and he was also heading towards Ladakh. So enter my man, Satish Laksh. A quick chat and I am in for a surprise. The tyres were available at Madhus, owned by Bhpian, Nikhil. So off I go to Madhus and get my set not before a month of wait. There was an issue with the front tyre wobble and it was not available. After pestering Manju, finally I laugh all the way home.

What I shelled for the tyre and its specs

Front tyre: Ceat Vertigo sport, tubeless.
Spec: 100/90/17
Cost: 2000INR (Fitting included)
Rework: Mudguard touches the rubber, so needs a bracket to hold it up.
Additional cost: 100INR for the bracket to move the mudguard.

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Rear tyre: Ceat Vertigo sport, tubeless.
Spec: 120/80/17 (Yes it was a downgrade from the Metz)
Cost: 2500INR (Fitting included)
Rework: None. Fits beautifully in the available room.

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Stock v/s modified.

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Additional protection for tyres: Slime puncture treatment, 1400INR.
Again Jay to the rescue here. He recommended Slime over Tyre Protector. And it actually paid off. Not even a single tyre puncture on the entire trip. And before I wrote this today, I checked the tyre pressures. 28 in front and 31 in rear. I had filled 30 in front and 32 in rear. It has been nearly 2 months since the last tyre fill was done after the Slime treatment.

The tyres were run for approximately 1300kms before the trip to come to grips on the situation. A couple of off roading runs were carried out and I was confident of its capabilities as Jay had mentioned. So ticked the box.

With all the luggage in place, 20 litres of fuel (10 in tank and 10 in cans), the tyres were good on the entire trip. The grip on the tarmac was compromised as the rated speed for these was 140kmph. But I normally don't do over 120 at any given time and my everyday speed is limited to 80kmph.

For tarmac: 6/10

Noticeable wear on the rear tyre of 35%, but only 10% in the front. The rear looks good for another 10k atleast and the front for the lifetime, it seems.

The real fun in these tyres were its off roading capabilities. And add some rains. The tyres skid on the loose gravel on the tarmac, but off road, nothing to beat it. It took all in its stride. The ride to Rangdum was the toughest part and Tso Morori stands second. While Randum was just dune bashing style of driving, Tso Morori provided fun to drive paths. Skidding, sliding, going sideways, you wish it, and it could be done here. So done that and paid the penalty with a broken front fender in this ride. Kuch paane ke liye kuch khona padtha hai. Well the cost of fender, 932INR+Taxes+Labour. May be 1100INR. Never looked into that part. The broken fender held itself tight except for some slapping noise on pot holes till Jaipur where it was replaced.

Off roading: 8/10

During rains, it was a boon. While the Apache struggled with his tyres to catch up, I was comfortable doing my cruising speeds even in heavy rains. It was evident in Jammu and from Mumbai to Chiplun where heavy rains poured onto us. The rear tyre displaces water for nearly 3 bike lengths making following difficult. The front however hits the boots with all the might.

In wet patches: 8/10

On tarmac, when cornering, there is a snatch from the rear tyre if ridden hard. I had this experience during the ride to Leh from Kargil. It was not spectacular though and could be controlled with throttle. The bike hit dozens of potholes and the tyres came out unscatched. I had a previous experience of bending the rim and this was a boon.

2. Fuel can carriers and fuel cans

I was a noob in this department till I met Prashanth Kumar of Indimotard. A couple of hours with him provided me with the insights of the design. He was the one who suggested I take the safety cans.

With his design cues, I approached Mr. Hegde, one of our suppliers for fabrication help. And he obliged without any hesitation. In flat 2 days time, the carrier was fabricated ground up and fixed on the bike. Since I approached him in the last moments, I could not get the carrier painted, so it went to Ladakh in flesh.
I would not discuss the cost here. Please excuse me on this point alone. If someone needs to have a look at it, you are welcome to come down to my place.

Safety cans were bought out from the Shell Petol pump outlet stores.
Cost: 400INR each.

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The safety cans took all the harsh environment in its stride without spilling out a single drop of fuel. Recommend this to the plastic jerry cans/ cool drink bottles/ water bottles which I have seen on many bikes and which have failed.

A word of advice to people fabricating the panniers/ carriers. Please use MIG/MAG welding for a better welding process. Even though it costs fractionally more, you will never be left stranded in the middle of a road due to failure.

I got rearended by my colleague near Kothi and no damage whatsoever. Well it was about 10kmph bang when I stopped abruptly on spotting an army vehicle on a bridge and his reaction to this was a bit late.

Rework on bike: 2 holes drilled on the rear foot peg for mounting the fuel carriers. The top mount was fixed by removing the pillion grab rail on the bike.

I would give Mr. Hegde and Shell a 10/10 for this mod.

Except for the above, all other parts on the bike were stock, headlamps, horns, air filters. TriboCor chain cleaner and lube were used all through the ride for the chains. The chains were cleaned on alternate days and lubed everyday.
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Old 30th September 2014, 18:48   #54
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Epic is the word that comes to my mind. It requires hell of physical and mental toughness to go out on such adventures on a two wheeler.

I loved every bit of the travelouge and pictures. "Grand Salute" to you Sir.
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Old 30th September 2014, 19:19   #55
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

3. Spares carried during the ride

Spares consumed during the ride


1. Motul 7100 oil: 1.5 ltr
2. Air filter
3. Fuel filter
4. Oil filter
5. O ring for the fuel filter

I could recover about 1.4 litres of oil from the gearbox. This was excellent in comparison to about 250ml of oil recovered from the Apache during both the services. I was kinda horrified to look at the quantity of oil and also the consistency which was dark and thick.

For the replacement of air filter, the front seat needs to be opened up which is not a big deal. 2 screws holding the seat and 4 more from the cover and the air filter is out. Care needs to be administered during the closing of the cover to see that it seals well.

Fuel filter also needs some skill as it rests beneath the fuel tank and accessibility to the portion is very poor.

I had a tough time in trying to pry out the oil filter from the gearbox. This needs a tool to pry it out. Luckily found a nail, made a hole with it and pulled it out with another smaller bent nail. So you will need to have a tool to carry out this replacement. And replace the o-ring always as this might have been damaged form the earlier stint even though it looks good.

Unused spares

1. Levers, front brake and clutch
2. Levers, rear brake and clutch
3. Tie rod for the clutch with the rod end bearing
4. Foot pegs, 1 set
5. Headlamps
6. Fuses
7. Cables, accelerator and clutch
8. Tube (Carried it just in case of some sidewall damage)
9. Fasteners (Assorted)
10. Yokes for the front brake and clutch levers
11. Spark plug
12. Coolant

Some of the above spares may be unnecessary as most of you might feel, but since this was one long journey and the scarcity of the SVC in between, this was necessary according to me. Yes I have learned what to carry on my next ride and it would not be so exhaustive.

4. Mini paddock stand for cleaning/ lubing of chain


One more tool worth to mention here is the portable stand provided by Mr. Saqib Jameel, the Administrator of Kriegers community, the photos of which I am posting below. It was a boon in disguise for lubing the chain anywhere without a trouble and external help. This was from the prototype which is under development. You will hear about this on the KTM 390 Duke Owners - Bangalore - THE KRIEGERS facebook page soon.


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The stand performed well on tarmac/ concrete but tends to sink in mud/ gravel. So a good base is necessary in these conditions. Since there are stones available, it did not pose a big problem on mud too.

A big thanks to Saqib for getting us this at a very short notice and also insisting on inputs about its use throughout the trip to fine tune it.

So Saqib gets a 10/10 for this invention of his.


The Kreigers also gifted us an arm band with our name and blood group on it which was reflective. This helped us during the wee hours when the sun was not in sight. We even got a few oh's and ah's by the people.

Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-img_4233.jpg

From Bike, we now move onto the

Gears:

1. Jacket

Make: Cramster (Crapster to many)
Model: Pulse
Brought: Sometime during 2008
Cost: 5200INR

Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-img_5554.jpg

Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-img_5555.jpg

Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-img_5556.jpg

The jacket is comfortable , fits well and has CE approved armour on the back, shoulder and elbows. I did not have a fall in this till date, so the abrasion resistance of this jacket is still unknown to me. When on the go, you have vents on the front and back for cooling. But it gets hot if you stop on a sunny day for any reason.

Waterproof, damn it. Not 100%. In a drizzle, it is fine but when it rains, water tends to seep in from the zippers on the front and the vents. And it gets irritable when the water flows straight down into your crotch area. But overall, the jacket is excellent for any type of rides.

I have heard the word crapster from many, but I still find this a VFM jacket that has withstood the challenges of time and rides.

2. Riding pants

Make: Zeus
Model: Motorcycle touring pants
Brought: May 2015
Cost: 6200INR

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This is one investment that has really paid off. The pants have CE protection on knees and a foam padding at the hip area. It has stretch zones at the back and knee area to fit the rider. It has velcro at the waist for fit. It kept out all the elements except rain. Again the zipper areas are the culprit here. During the rainfall in Jammu, I had my wallet in the pants and all the money inside was dripping wet.

I got a S for the ride after lot of deliberations between a M and S. After the weight loss, I am happy that I opted for a S. By the time I came back, the waist was loose inspite of max adjustment.

3. Riding shoes

Make: Orazo
Model: Coot
Brought: 2013
Cost: 1800 at the time of launch @10% discount on 2000INR

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It is a lace up water proof boots and lives upto its name. Water entry if restricted from the top would ensure the feet stay dry all day long. Even during water crossings and rain, it held up really well. But this is a very cheap alternate to the riding boots.

It has a steel toe protection with soft pads at the ankle.
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Old 2nd October 2014, 19:57   #56
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

4. Balaclava

Make: Zeus
Model: Coolmax, heat resistant
Brought: 05-2014
Cost: 750INR

A boon and a must for any ride. Was responsible for keeping the head cool during the ride. Recommend to have 2 during a long trip like this. The mesh at the front became loose by the time I completed this ride. Also gives an impression how bad our highways are when washed.

5. Hydration pack.


Make: Quechua
Model: Diasoz 17 raid
Brought: 03-2014
Cost: 2750INR

Took the last one available at Decathlon during a visit to the store during march. The Quechua products were being taken off and this was available at 1200INR discount. So grabbed it with both the hands. This has a 2 liter bladder inside with 17 liter of space for keeping knick knacks. But be warned not to fill this up with anything else but some energy bars and everyday medications as the weight would act on your back during travel.

Keeping yourself hydrated at regular intervals is a must to avoid AMS during the ride in Ladakh. So this is handy as you can sip on your hydration drink without a need to stop and flounder. The bladder can be taken out for filling and has a wide cap to fill which is a boon.

5. Saddle bag and tailpack

Saddle bag
Make: Rynox
Model: Nomad 2.1
Brought: 07-2014
Cost: 4699INR

Tailpack
Make: Dirtsack
Model: Harley Tailpack Pro
Brought: 07-2014
Cost: 2850INR + 525INR for the raincover

Brought the above in a single purchase from Outdoortravelgear.com. The saddle bags are expandable form 24l to 32 l and is a real luggage lugger. I had all the heavy items in these and never did it move a bit after securing. It is easy to open and close and upon opening the items inside could be seen in a glance. One of the straps however would intrude into the front seat area and would require to be seated on this which sometimes would be irritating.

But the raincovers which come along with these are a joke. At the end of first day, the contact area had cut itself open and by the end of the ride, the covers were in tatters. These would not cover the top portion once the straps are put over seat and easily allow water to seep through making the covers useless. During the day long rain ride, everything in the saddle bags were dripping wet.

The tailpack is a great luggage kit. Has a wide opening and gulps down almost an entire wardrobe. Easily accessible and with internal pockets to keep small things securely. Some days I would forget to latch this onto the footpaegs and at the end of the ride, the bags would be in its place without moving an inch. Great to lean back if you find riding upright slightly tiresome.

However the raincovers that comes is again a joke. The straps failed during the first week and the raincover would get loose on the sides as a bungee net would not allow the center portion to move. The loose cover again let water during the Mumbai rains and at the end of day, only a short and a tee was all that was dry as this was kept on the top.

The service of the OTG was excellent with the bags delivered within 72 hours of confirmation of order. Sagar Haria has done a good job.

6. Tank bag
Make: Rynox
Model: Optimus Sv2
Brought: 05-2014
Cost: 3050INR

Also brought from OTG and delivered within 24 hours from the confirmation of order. The bag sits with 3 out of 4 suction cups on the Duke tank. The tankbag did not last on its vacuum suction for long. It was third day when the suction cups started to fail. I had to take evasive actions on that day as it started to fly out on some broken stretches. From the fourth day onwards, it was secured with a bungee cord on both sides of the tank which left the 390 stickers damaged by the end of the ride. So people who are planning to take this need to have a set of bungee ready just in case. And also be ready to get a few scratches on the tank.

The bag held, mini paddock stand, camera, chocolates and toiletries needed everyday. And there were no issues with the storage. Has cross braces for securing the items. And this also failed in the waterproof cover department letting in water from the base of the bag. The camera was secure and did not get wet but other items lying in the bottom did get wet.

This means, even though the manufacturer claims some bullshit, you need to have an additional rain covers on all the luggage system. This, also has sent me into thinking of having hard luggage system on the bile, I know they cost a lot but at the end of the day, you will atleast be peaceful that you can wear something dry and comfy.

7. Cycling Shorts
Make: Btwin
Model: Short 3 Road
Brought: 08-2014
Cost: 679INR/ each. Got 2 for this ride

The secret behind the ride, to keep the back free from sores, pain and what not. The gel padding on this shorts did wonders. If worn for long hours, the gel used to get compressed, but riding on footpegs for a minute would see it back in its original shape and some more hours of use/ abuse. Never in the entire ride, did this pose a problem, the shorts would dry off very easily as we would wash it during the night and start early next morning with a dry shorts.

The fabric is breathable and would absorb sweat easily. Anti bacterial treatment on these ensured a clean and safe one everytime during use.

Well that brings us to the last part

Kitna hua??

Well the breakdown are here

For preparation: 40000INR, thats what I think. Did not keep a track of splurge at that time.

During the ride

Fuel: 21048INR
Stay/ food: 16267INR.

The above does not include anything that was purchased for personal use back home. If anyone needs a detailed breakup, let me know. I will PM the excel file to you.

So if you are planning to start from a scratch, you will atleast need about 75000INR to make this ride. But you can always make use of some investment for future rides too.
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Old 3rd October 2014, 05:29   #57
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

That's one hell of a preparation you have had before the trip. Awesome travelogue. Rated this 5 stars. Shocked to see that you have covered more than 950 Kms on one of the days. Enduarance pays off.
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Old 4th October 2014, 02:38   #58
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Mindblowing and breath taking. Hats off to you sir.

That said I think a special Kudo for the RTR, it is one mean bike and the fact that it did pull off this entire journey is no mean achievement. Hearty congrats to your friend as well.
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Old 4th October 2014, 11:15   #59
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Reliving some memories before curtains down on the episode.

Cow slaughter has been believed as a ghor paap by many, but if you go through the roads of RJ, these roam freely on the NH. It is an eerie feeling when one confronts with these animals. They suddenly jump out from behind the bushes from the medians, dart across the road leading to panicky situations, compounded by trailing taxis and buses. During the journey, we found many dead in the middle of the highways, who is to be blamed for this? And who's name does the paap stick to?

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A chai is always welcome at any point of the ride, morning, afternoon, evening and night. A refreshing drink that also lets you out of saddle for a few minutes to relax your body. A chai is what does wonders in North India to what a Kaapi does in the south. Long live these drinks.

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There are lot of surprises that come your way in a ride, some sweet and some bitter. Go like a stream of water that flows. When there is a sweet moment, go over it trying to redeem yourself with as much possible and during a bitter moment, go around it, but do not lose your target or focus. Enjoy every bit of what comes your way.

Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-img_4402.jpg

Respect others on the road. No matter what they ride or what you have. This is one quality that sets you apart from others if you cultivate in you. Try to move out from people who try to be pull downs.

We always try to blame truckers for not letting us through, moving slowly in fast lane and so on. But when we share their perspective, it is evident that they too have their fair share of pains driving in this concrete world.

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This is Junaid from Art Of Motorcycling, Bangalore whom we met during the ride to Rangdum. He tried to help us out in many ways seeing our travails on the road. I was humbled when he sat beside my motorcycle and repositioned my feet on the footpegs. Compare this to the lone Spiti conqueror whom we met on the way to Manali, he just tried to pull us down telling your machines will be in spare parts if you people travel to Spiti on these and how his machine was superior and so on. Sure there are 2 ends to a string, it is your choice which way you go. And yes at the next oppurtunity available, we drove away from this troll.

Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-img_4556.jpg

This was the only entertainment channel we had in Rangdum. Seeing is believing, hearing this radio hum away, the only thing that comes to my mind is no matter what condition you are in, try to be focused on the goal, you may be down and out, but the sights should be on the target.

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If today, the road ahead of you are strewn with obstacles, don't lose heart, there are more good roads ahead waiting for you tomorrow.

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To all people who think, going is group makes them comfortable, try to go solo sometimes and you will reap the benefits. You are the owner of the road ahead and what you have left behind.
If you are in comfort zone in a team, try to team up with people who gel with you and who reflect you in their actions, (Aviorp and his friend on their Ninjas, for example). You get a very few and these are the people to have with you.

Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-img_4652.jpg

And with these words, I bring down the curtains to the experience I had with my Ka. The sun sets on this episode today.

Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-img_5527.jpg

It pains to see the condition of the roads today that we travelled some days before due to floods. The memories would become weaker and erased with time and normal life would spring back. Hoping the Lord to give strength to those who have lost in these troubling times. Let there be peace all over.

Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-img_5332.jpg

Last edited by unk9ja : 4th October 2014 at 11:17.
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Old 5th October 2014, 21:37   #60
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

That is one fantastic Travelogue! Enjoyed reading how much of fun it must have been for you riding all the way up to Himalayas.

Seems like in the gear, you have missed describing the helmet and gloves. I am in a phase now investigating a good pair of gloves.
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