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Old 5th September 2015, 12:28   #1
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Default Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!

Ju- LEH !!!


El Caballo Blanco finally got Leh’d. My wife and I did a 2 week couple’s trip to Ladakh starting August 22nd. We chose a time when the traffic (both tourist and vehicular!) is extremely low and the river crossings are easy.

We were rewarded with wonderful weather, empty roads and a great experience. As my wife put on facebook:

Of rivers, streams, cold deserts, high passes, glaciers & lakes,
of clear blue skies, lush green valleys and barren mountains,
of rain, snow and sunshine,
of glazed roads and rocky terrain,
of yaks, kiangs and marmots,
of prayer wheels, flags, stupas and monastries,
of fellow bikers, cyclists, trekkers and military convoys,
of thukpas, thenthuks and momos,
of apples and apricots,
of the HOLY DIAMOX,
of las and lamas...Lustrous Ladakh...The Dream Ride!



The itinerary looked like:
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(Wife joined me in Srinagar from where we rode together)

The initial preparations included…

Getting the bike ready: I got the front and rear brake pads changed and got a full service done..
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-bike-stand-1.jpg


...Adding a Renntec engine and crash guard:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-renntec.jpg

Purchasing the necessary winter gear:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-decathlon.jpg

And finally converting this:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-unpacked.jpg

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-unpacked-2.jpg

To this:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-packed.jpg


I started riding from Delhi and on the way encountered the beautiful and lush green Punjab and spent a night at Pathankot.

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-pathankot1.jpg
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-pathankot-1.jpg
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-pathankot-2.jpg

And then was welcomed by the wonderful roads from Jammu to Udhampur where the parallel twin cylinders of the Bonneville roared and the footpegs touched the tarmac at every opportunity:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-jammu-ride-1.jpg
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-jammu-ride-2.jpg
Attachment 1410736
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-jammu-ride-4.jpg

And got the first view of Kashmir valley:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-kashmir-valley-text.jpg
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-kashmir-valley-view.jpg

..and finally reached Srinagar after a back breaking ride from Udhampur to Srinagar where I joined my wife.

The next morning we packed our bags (lots of them!!) :

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-srinagar-bags-packed.jpg


And rode the beautiful roads hugging the Dal Lake:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-dal-lake.jpg

And stopped at river banks for tea where the wife posed naturally:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-tea-river-shore.jpg

While I gave a pose that can best be described as ...well... ridiculous!:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-ridiculous.jpg

And got mesmerirsed by the beautiful Sonmarg:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-sonmarg.jpg

Crossed the mighty Zoji La:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-zoji-la-crossing.jpg
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-zoji-la-descent.jpg
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-zojila-bike.jpg

The mighty ZojiLa gave me a sore back, rattling bones, aching muscles and dirty shoes!
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-zojila-shoes.jpg

Don't be fooled by its altitude, this is one mighty pass and deserves all the respect you can give it.

On the way to Kargil we encountered some terrible roads

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-kargil-bad-roads.jpg

And some foot peg scraping smooth tarmac where the Bonneville was in its element:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-kagil-good-roads.jpg

We paid respects to the men who protect our freedom to roam this country freely and reached Kargil.


....to be contd.


P.S once the photo log is over I will detail down my observation of the Bonneville's performance, why it's the right bike for Ladakh..and why it isn't'!

Last edited by Sting : 5th September 2015 at 12:40.
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Old 5th September 2015, 13:24   #2
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PART II, LEH

We packed our bags and said goodbye to the land of the martyrs:

Kargil Town:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-kargil.jpg

After a beautiful ride from Kargil to Leh where we saw Lamayuru moonlands and corner carving roads ..

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-road-leh-1.jpg
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-fatula.jpg
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-before-namik-la.jpg
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-roads-leh-2.jpg

For motorcyclists: Happiness doesn't lie around the corner, it lies in it :

(The roads in some places were awesome. There was no traffic and one could see up to 500 meters and lean into curves at our own good wish. Brilliant riding experience!)

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-road-leh-3.jpg

And enjoyed the wonders of nature on the way. Brown, blue, green and white, all in one view. Doesn't get better!! :

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-mulbekh-village.jpg
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-after-fatula.jpg

We stopped at village Nimmoo before Leh where we first tried to sit on the chair outside to enjoy the beautiful view:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-hotel-taksho-nimmo.jpg

But after a long ride the chairs seemed too hard! So we were offered to sit inside. When I saw the room inside I thought I was hallucinating and the high altitude was making me imagine things!:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-room.jpg

But it was real! So I :
(Beautiful wood carving!)

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-sleeping.jpg

We went outside and the wife got excited seeing:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-apricots.jpg

And turned around and asked me to to pluck (steal?) a few:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-steam-apricot.jpg

The apricots were like sugar bombs exploding in our mouth. Absolutely delicious. So I stole a few more.

We finally entered Leh where we rested well. The next 2 days were spent doing:

..The Bonneville gets a spa while we don't!

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-bike-wash.jpg

And also got the most important Ladakh accessory - prayer flags.. We needed all the good wishes!

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-bike-post-wash.jpg

The weather was perfect. And after the sound of these woke us up:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-sukhoi.jpg

We would enjoy the morning sun and some tea:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-hotel-sunlight.jpg

I got a customised embroidered t shirt. Don't miss the twin exhausts and the number plate that I specifically got put. The guy who did this was an old timer. I asked him to write TRIUMPH and he said it won't look good and added that there's a logo for this bike and if I can show him that he will put in on the t shirt. I was pleasantly surprised; I never expected him to know the Triumph logo! He clicked a picture of the logo and created this:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-t-shirt.jpg

While we parked our bike outside Gesmo and ate:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-menu.jpg

... a local gentleman waved to us and complimented the bike. Said his Triumph was parked right inside the gate opposite Gesmo:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-triumph.jpg

We talked for sometime about bikes and Triumphs in particular and said our goodbyes. We met often during the trip since Gesmo and Lamayuru restaurant were our favourite hangout place.

A little boy wanted to sit on the bike.

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-little-boy.jpg

(The bent front brake lever is a gift from Zojila- thankfully it was a stationary fall - more on that later)

We went to Shanti Stupa and enjoyed the views:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-view-shanti.jpg

And I loafered around:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-shanti-stupa.jpg


After relaxing and enjoying two and a half leisurely days in Leh we made our plans for the next few days. The first destination was Pangong Tso.

.....to be contd.

Cheers,
Sting

Last edited by GTO : 8th September 2015 at 10:43.
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Old 5th September 2015, 13:30   #3
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Part III


It was my birthday eve so we cut a cake. I ate it all since the doctor advised lots of carbohydrates at high altitude:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-cake.jpg

And then we left for Pangong Tso.
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-shadow.jpg

And approached the climb after Sarkti:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-after-sarkti.jpg

The roads were confusing with lots of turns:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-climbing-roads-after-sarkti.jpg

And the wife wondered which way to go:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-mad-z-road.jpg

But Zorro had left trails that El Caballo Blanco was quick to pick :

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-z-road-bonneville.jpg

We reached the mighty Changla:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-changla-cafe.jpg

Where the blue and white of the Bonneville blended with the blue and white of nature:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-changla-bike.jpg

Where a tourist wanted to click a picture with us. I felt like a celebrity!:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-korean.jpg

Some patches were so bad:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-bad-road-innova.jpg

..that the wife had to walk:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-bad-road-mad-walk.jpg

While i crossed on the bike:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-bad-road-post-changla.jpg

We stopped at a public toilet with a view. It took our breath away, both metaphorically and literally. Metaphorically because it was situated here:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-toilet-view.jpg

Literally because it smelled so much I could not breathe inside it.

We stopped at village Tangste, it had a very limited food menu:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-tangste.jpg

We met the adorable Marmots:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-marmots.jpg

And my wife started calling me a Marmot Magnet:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-marmot-magnet.jpg

We saw Pangong's younger sibling (I think this was Chagar Tso):
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-small-lake.jpg

And finally reached Pangong where I posed again. My first attempt at getting a good FB profile pic failed:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-pose-1-lake.jpg

So did the second :
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-pose-ii-lake.jpg


We spent the evening lake side where I finally used the DSLR..The wife was amassing profile pics while I continued to struggle:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-flags-mad.jpg

..and we slept peacefully in Pangong Inn.

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-pangong-ni.jpg

On my birthday, I had had my cake and eaten it too. It had been one awesome ride

We went for an early morning ride along the lake that left us spell bound:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-lake-ride.jpg

.. and the sun decided to shine down on El Caballo Blanco:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-bike-sun.jpg

We pulled over near the lake in quiet and peaceful place.

Nothing to the right…

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-nothing-right.jpg

Nothing to the left…

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-nothing-left.jpg

Only the 3 of us. My wife, me and the Bonneville. We sat there and absorbed the beauty of the place. Mesmerising.


Back at the Pangong Inn some people wanted to click pics with the Bonneville. I realised who the true celebrity on this trip was:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-young-men-pic.jpg

Came back to Leh and rested well.

The next day I did a few checkups and topped the oil. The tool set is for show only as I have no idea what I'll do with it in case of a breakdown:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-tool-set.jpg

And then headed to click a picture with the most famous mountain signboard. The roads were horrible. At over 17,500 ft , on a rough patch the wife asked if she should get off. I said no I can manage. I lost balance and we tilted and the bike rested on the rocks. Thankfully it was crawling so no one got hurt. We lifted the bike and had to rest since it was exhausting at that altitude.

Here is where we had our fall, doesn't look too difficult in the pic (ego hurt!):

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-bike-fall.jpg


The wife decided to walk the rest of the rough patch. I heard something break; I think it was my self respect.

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-mad-walk.jpg


...contd

We met with the Mahindra S101..being a die hard Scorpio fan and owner (7 years & 1.4 lac kms)..and potential XUV owner loved to see Mahindra testing their vehicle.
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We finally reached the top and did the photo session:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-bike-kd.jpg
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-kd-board.jpg

I got my perfect FB picture but the aunty ruined it! I was devastated:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-dsc_1843.jpg

The only thing this trip to the top gave us was bragging rights. Nothing spectacular otherwise. Zoji la was more intimidating, Changla much more frozen. But bragging rights are important too so we clicked another picture:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-dsc_1826.jpg

Headed back to encounter some landslides:

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-landslide.jpg

But reached Leh safely.

Next up in part IV:

My wife leaves for Delhi. I ride solo now. I reach Sarchu at 7 pm and it's getting darker by the minute. Jispa is another 4.5 hours away. Will I ride through the lonely and dreaded Baralacha La (16,000 ft) and Zing Zing Bar in pitch darkness, ice cold weather and nightmarish roads or will I choose the comfort of the Sarchu tents?

Part 4, LEH>JISPA>KULLU>CHD>DELHI

The wife took the flight back to Delhi the next day. She took the saddle bags and back-pack and I prepped the bike with the remaining luggage and fuel. The tank bag has a 5 liter fuel can:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-ready-leave.jpg

Filled up again at the last station at Karu :
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-karu-petrol-pump.jpg

And then met roads like this:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-post-karu-road.jpg

And started a freezing climb to Tanglang La:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-bike-before-tanglangla.jpg

..I finally paid respect to Tanglang La after a VERY chilly ride to the top:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-tanglang-la.jpg

And crossed Nakee la and Lachung la.


More Plains left me spell bound and I spent a lot of time clicking pictures. I was the only one in sight.
A lone biker pulled up while I was clicking pictures. His name was Hitesh (a mountaineer) and he rode a 1978 Std Bullet- I called her Victoria! He asked if we could ride along and I agreed. I clicked in all directions and realised I wanted to capture it all so just made a short video. That's Hitesh riding off after our chat:



Couldn't help but stop for some more pictures:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-more-plains-bike.jpg
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-more-dirt-road.jpg

And rode through some really tough terrain to reach Sarchu at 6:30 pm and on the way encountered some beautiful villages:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-village-before-sarchu.jpg


It was beginning to get dark and I had half an hour of day light left ;Jispa was another 5.5 hour away.

In this trip I hadn't ridden after dark, it was too cold and too risky. Ice cold winds, loneliness, pitch darkness, fear of a breakdown without any help for hours all played through my mind.

I decided to ride. The night halt was going to be Jispa- 5.5 grueling and scary hours away.

Hitesh and I rode in pitch darkness over difficult terrain and it very soon got dark:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-dark-roads.jpg


Reached Bharatpur and re-evaluated our decision to go to Jispa. This is how the surroundings looked:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-bharatpur.jpg

And we decided to continue through the chilly mountain winds, rough terrain and high altitudes. Baralacha La was dark and cold, unfortunately no pictures.

Reached Zing Zing Bar at 9 pm. Met people in a Scorpio who had decided to:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-zz-bar-inside-tent.jpg

The dhaba owner suggested we rest. Jispa was 2 hours away. There were streams to cross and the water was cold, albeit not deep. An aged Monk came and gave me his warm blessings so I decided to continue the ride. All the others were sleeping peacefully. The outside looked like this:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-outside-zing-zing-bar.jpg

We crossed the icy cold streams on the climb to Barlachala:



Hitesh and I rode like possessed riders in the pitch darkness. It was so dark that I once missed the curve and headed straight into a dead end.

We finally reached Jispa at 11 pm. Relief. Checked in at Jispa Journeys and thanked God, ate dinner and went to sleep.

Got up to this view; Victoria and El Caballo Blanco added to the beautiful view:Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-tents.jpg


Did a small solo trek to the Chandra river:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-chandra-river.jpg

We left for Manali. I had a long pending dream of doing Ladakh on a cast iron Bullet so decided to ride Victoria for sometime. Hitesh flew away on the Bonneville. Victoria threw a tantrum and the front tire went flat. I had a pump and thankfully Hitesh came back when I didn’t turn up at Keylong for sometime. Victoria did not like me.

The younger 2014 born sibling helping the older 1978 born one:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-puncture.jpg

After patching her up we took her to Keylong to get the tire nozzle pin changed. After Keylong I flew away on the Bonneville and stopped to click these beautiful houses. Don't miss the waterfall. What a beautiful place to have a house:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-village-waterfall.jpg

….. I saw Victoria slowly coming slowly towards me. She was extremely slow. I thought she was posing for a picture and giving me enough time to click her:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-distant-bike.jpg


.But she had thrown another fit. The front tire was leaking air. We fixed her up..again.
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-bike-repair-ii.jpg

Rode to Koksar and got the front tire tube changed and had lunch.

The climb to Rohtang had a lot of traffic jams and bad roads:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-rohtang-climb-bad-road.jpg

But I did encounter some pleasing traffic jams too!:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-sheep-rohtang.jpg
The view on the top was worth it:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-rohtang-bike-top.jpg

So was the climb down:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-rohtang-fog.jpg

El Caballo Blanco met its siblings, the Zanskari/Spiti horses- amongst the 5 breeds of Indian equines.

Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-wp_20150901_16_47_36_pro.jpg

The road down was brilliant and I rode through:
Click image for larger version

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It began to rain, it was a beautiful ride nonetheless:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-rohtang-climb-down-wet.jpg

Went to Rider Inn in Manali and could not find a place. Hitesh decided to stay in Manali and I continued to Kullu.

Stayed at the brilliant HPTDC hotel (only Rs. 1100) and had a heartening meal. Got up to a bleeding nose and blood covered pillow. Googled first aid steps and fixed my self. Paid, packed up and took the parting shot :
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-kullu-hotel.jpg

Some parts were tiring but others were beautiful:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-post-kullu-river.jpg

Crossed a few tunnels:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-tunnel.jpg

Stopped for some tea:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-post-kullu-stop.jpg

Reached Chandigarh and checked in at a hotel. Ate and slept well. Left next morning and gunned the Bonneville and was in Delhi in no time:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-chandigarh-road.jpg

Got back to a delighted (and much relieved!) family.

The Ladakh dream had finally been fulfilled.

Cheers,
Sting.

A final pic:
Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!-more-plains-repeat.jpg

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 4th November 2015 at 20:00.
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Old 5th September 2015, 14:08   #4
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Amazing writeup and photos. That must have been a spine jarring ride on the bad patches. The one reason thats holding me back on doing the leh ride.
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Old 5th September 2015, 14:59   #5
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Default re: Triumph Bonneville - El Caballo rides home... gets Ju-Leh'd!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sting View Post
Ju- LEH !!!


El Caballo Blanco finally got Leh’d. My wife and I did a 2 week couple’s trip to Ladakh starting August 22nd. We chose a time when the traffic (both tourist and vehicular!) is extremely low and the river crossings are easy.

We were rewarded with wonderful weather, empty roads and a great experience. As my wife put on facebook:

P.S once the photo log is over I will detail down my observation of the Bonneville's performance, why it's the right bike for Ladakh..and why it isn't'!
Looks like you had a wonderful trip.

My friends were in that area around those dates by cars and were complaining a lot about travel delays and traffic jams etc. Being on the bike I hope you escaped those.

Look forward to your future installments of the trip

You are already living the dreams of many

Best Regards & Ride Safe

Ram
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Old 5th September 2015, 20:01   #6
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Default re: Triumph Bonneville - El Caballo rides home... gets Ju-Leh'd!

Quote:
Originally Posted by argchoff View Post
Amazing writeup and photos. That must have been a spine jarring ride on the bad patches. The one reason thats holding me back on doing the leh ride.
Thanks Argchoff, those bad roads were a nightmare and specially on the stiff Bonneville suspension. It was normal for us to cover 200 kms in 8-9 hours because of bad roads. However, without exception, after all bad roads is absolutely brilliant tarmac where we can put the twin cylinders, short wheelbase and exceptional handling of the Bonneville to its true use. Better roads than most Indian National Highways in the plains! These good roads more than make up for the bad patches.


Quote:
Originally Posted by r_nairtvm View Post

My friends were in that area around those dates by cars ...

You are already living the dreams of many

Best Regards & Ride Safe

Ram
Thanks Ram, We were very fortunate. No traffic jams, no landslides to delay our trips, great sunny but cool weather, not even a puncture; just a flawless trip. Seems like the family and friends' prayers worked well

The only regret is we could not do Nubra. Even though we had originally planned for it in our itinerary, the long riding hours took their toll and we decided to skip it for this time.

Part II coming soon!

Cheers,
Sting
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Old 6th September 2015, 10:55   #7
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Default re: Triumph Bonneville - El Caballo rides home... gets Ju-Leh'd!

Thanks Oreen. I am glad you and the Mrs. enjoy reading this as much as we enjoy penning it down.

When we test rode the Bonneville, my wife and I were on the Bonneville while the sales representative followed us on a Tiger XC. Mid way we changed the bikes and if we were finding the Bonneville comfortable the Tiger was a plush SUV!! We fell in love with it..that's when the dual sport bug bit me. However, it was way beyond our budget but I've had my eyes set on it.

The problem is I want a Tiger in addition to the Bonneville, not as a replacement, fingers crossed, fingers crossed!

Btw, El Caballo met a 'local' Leh resident - one of the only 2 Tigers in Ladakh! But more on that in part 2..

Cheers,
Sting
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Old 6th September 2015, 20:38   #8
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Default Re: Triumph Bonneville - El Caballo rides home... gets Ju-Leh'd!

It looks like you had an awesome ride man! So at last you and El Caballo got Leh'd eh!
Good write up and pictures there. You're giving me reasons to get Leh'd as well, just not sure if the Baron's low GC would be able to manage those bad stretches of roads you were referring to.
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Old 7th September 2015, 19:23   #9
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Default Re: Triumph Bonneville - El Caballo rides home... gets Ju-Leh'd!

Hey Snehal, Leh is one ride you ought to experience. The Bonneville has a 100 mm clearance-maybe the lowest of all production motorcycles in India, I'm guessing the Baron has around the same. Just choose a period with lesser water crossings to contend with and you'll be fine.

Our total weight including the riders and luggage was 200 kgs. We set the suspension to the stiffest mode so it bottoms out less and just rode on..

Cheers,
Sting

Last edited by Sting : 7th September 2015 at 19:25.
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Old 7th September 2015, 19:33   #10
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Bonneville is 100mm?? I always thought it was more like 130-140.
And that bent brake lever can be mended back again , if spare one is not available .
Just heat up the bent area ( of course take it off the bike before doing that) and pull it straight using some sort of pipe or sum thing

Last edited by dustom_99 : 7th September 2015 at 19:38.
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Old 7th September 2015, 20:51   #11
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Default Re: Triumph Bonneville - El Caballo rides home... gets Ju-Leh'd!

Dustom, the A3 (mag wheels- front 17inch tyre) has 100mm. The T100 (spoked wheels- front 19 inch tyre) has a 140 mm ground clearance.

A mechanic in Leh offered to fix that bent lever but since I was not having any difficulty in using the front brake I decided to just use it as is. Will get it fixed in Delhi now.

Cheers,
Sting
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Old 8th September 2015, 00:06   #12
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Default Re: Triumph Bonneville - El Caballo rides home... gets Ju-Leh'd!

I saw someone called Pawan Pullarkar increase the ground clearance of the Bonnie by using Continental GT shocks. Where did you get the ground clearance figures of these bikes? I was looking at the Dimensions and Capacities Specs in the website, and the T100 mentions some Trail of 110 mm, whereas the Bonnie SE is 106 mm. I don't know what Trail means, given the Thruxton has only 97 mm Trail, it cannot be the ground clearance because the Thruxton has the max of the three.

My ER6n has 130 mm ground clearance, and still it touches the bad bumps if am riding with a pillion.
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Old 8th September 2015, 08:58   #13
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Default Re: Triumph Bonneville - El Caballo rides home... gets Ju-Leh'd!

Oreen, i read about Pawan's changes too but did not go for the GT suspension for 2 reasons:

1. The yellow Paoili suspension did not look pleasing to the eye and it awkwardly raised the back seat a little
2. I was unsure how that would affect handling.

I'd probably get a new setup, though I prefer to keep most vehicles as stock as possible. Stiff suspension also has its advantages and once you get used to it a softer suspension doesn't cut it. Try riding your bike with the stiffer suspension setting. It'll bottom out less and will handle much better albeit at the cost of rattling bones!

Trail, rake and offset refer to steering geometry of a motorcycle- the position of the front wheel and the angle of the forks. The cafe racers usually have the shortest trail; longer forks on them are quite unnecessary. You must have seen the American choppers with those really (and I mean really!) long front forks - they contribute to the high speed stability while the shorter trails contribute to flickability- or so I think with my little knowledge on this subject!

I hope someone more knowledgeable pitches in since my understanding on this subject is very theoretical and limited!

Btw, amidst all the lies Triumph gave me on their bhp figures, they did get the gc right. You'll not find the A3,gc numbers on their website, they don't talk about it!

Cheers,
Sting
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Old 8th September 2015, 10:45   #14
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Default Re: Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!

Thanks for sharing, Sting! Moved your awesome travelogue posts into an independent thread .
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Old 8th September 2015, 13:31   #15
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Default Re: Road Trip: Triumph Bonneville gets Ju-Leh'd!

Lovely photos!
and a nice travelogue.
The photos do give an impression of Kashmir being bright sunny and cool around this part of the year.

By the way did you do some kind of touching of the photo under "We would enjoy the morning sun and some tea:"

The building appears too well exposed considering the sunlit scene, as if you had bounced some light onto the building face!
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