Team-BHP > Motorbikes > Superbikes & Imports

Search this Thread
Old 31st May 2022, 16:41   #1
Team-BHP Support
Axe77's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,707
Thanked: 10,050 Times
Default Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Name:  AA1DEE9E4DCF42E58FF33A384DF0AF63.jpeg
Views: 203
Size:  89.3 KB


If you own an adventure bike, its unlikely that the thought of riding through Spiti hasn’t come to mind. So much so that many big ADV manufacturers like BMW, Ducati and Triumph organise their own curated riding trips for their customers through this beautiful landscape.

At the end of the peak of the first lockdown, I took up the opportunity of doing a 3 day road trip in the hills around Shimla with Team XplorEarth (TXE for this travelogue).

At the time, travel had barely just opened up. Wanting minimal logistics, I flew to Shimla (to Chandigarh basically and then to Shimla by cab) and undertook the trip on their trusty rental BMW 310 GS. What followed was absolute and utter love for that region of Himachal Pradesh.

Team XplorEarth are absolutely the best in the business in terms of knowing that terrain inside out, provide top notch peace of mind in terms of the back up support and of course the opportunity to ride with ride captains (providing soft training on the ride) who are probably some of the best adventure riding trainers you can find in the country. The quality of that back up came true to the fore on more than one occasion during this trip, which will be explained during the course of this travelogue.

Its no wonder then that they collaborate with all the big brands like Honda, BMW, Triumph, HD to provide either curated riding trips in the mountains or specific riding training programs for their customers. They’ve been at the heart of some really special customised and curated rides for brand visibility - for instance when a bunch of Harley Davidson ADVs were taken to the most tortuous terrain to curating the media drive recently for the Triumph 1200 launch.

I had subsequently experienced Triumph Tiger Trails Rajasthan also with TXE and its my agency of choice when it comes to touring company led expeditions in any extreme terrain up North.

Spiti was the next logical item on my bucket list and for my second innings in Himachal, I was clear I wanted to use my own bike - the Tiger - instead of a rental. Time is scarce in my profession so like many other riders in our group, I chose to truck my bike back and forth from Mumbai to Chandigarh instead of riding ex - Mumbai, which would have required an additional 2-3 days of time away from office.

Ride outline

The ride itself was planned from a Monday (early AM) to Friday (night). We had to factor reporting in Shimla a day prior (Sunday) and leave at your convenience the following day post the trip.

Outlined below is the broad plan, followed by a day by day chronicle of our journey from the point we left Mumbai. I used my Garmin watch to clock my entire journey so I can have access to my route maps for any time later as a memory of the trip we undertook and the specific route that we followed.

The itinerary

Saturday 4th June:
Fly to Chandigarh; unload bikes at Triumph showroom; ride on to Shimla.
Total riding kms: ~135 kms

Sunday 5th June:
Easy rest day, ride around the hotel; registration with TXE, some brief off-road riding orientation; brief bike check with TXE technicians.

Monday 6th June: The Hindustan Tibet Road
Shimla to Sangla (Batseri)
~ 222 kms

Tuesday 7th June:
Sangla - Chitkul - Kalpa
~ 100 kms

Wednesday 8th June: The grey mountain wolf trail
Kalpa - Nako - Tabo - Kaza
~215 kms

Thursday 9th June: The High Mountain Passes and Lakes
Rest day at Kaza or alternately some nearby riding to Langza & Komic
~ --- kms

Friday 10th June: The Hordes Return
Kaza to Manali [via Chicham bridge, Kyarto, Losar, Kunzum Pass, Atal tunnel to Chhatru].
~187 kms

Saturday 11th June:
Manali to Chandigarh
310 Kms
Flight back to Bombay

Name:  6C7B4EC4819946BFAA71F5EF2363EB14.jpeg
Views: 202
Size:  156.1 KB

Name:  7C2F2AA6C2D4428FAFD61BAD165C5DF3.jpeg
Views: 209
Size:  144.0 KB

Name:  25DF5CA2124844A89E5E276DA30B523C.jpeg
Views: 201
Size:  110.0 KB
Itinerary pics credit: Extracted from XplorEarth’s ride brochure

Below is the approximate google map representation of the final route I rode - Chandigarh to Chandigarh - approximately 1235 kms from Saturday 4th June to Saturday 11th June.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-d65df5a08b774f3db51c8d0a89681417.png

Last edited by Axe77 : 19th June 2022 at 22:08.
Axe77 is online now   (24) Thanks
Old 31st May 2022, 16:55   #2
Team-BHP Support
Axe77's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,707
Thanked: 10,050 Times
Default re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

The week prior:

Got a preventive check done at Shaman Triumph and left the bike at Shaman’s Vashi showroom on Saturday - a week before, in advance of loading it on to the truck on Tuesday 31st May.

Five bikes were loaded, of which four were on our TXE ride - the plan was to reach Chandigarh on Saturday 4th, unload the bikes at / near Triumph Chandigarh and then ride straight on to Shimla the same day. A few of us chose to bungee our riding boots, and riding pants and jacket on the bike itself so it saves us the inconvenience of taking on the flight. 90% of the balance luggage for me was packed into the side panniers itself which were loaded separately into the truck.

For the flight, I only carried my helmet, my 30 ltr kriega containing my tank bag inside it, my iPad, and my powerbank + a few electronics, to the extent not already packed in the panniers. The tank bag would go on to the bike and the 30 ltr kriega on the tail for the ride to Shimla.

During the 5 main riding days, the panniers and larger Kriega were loaded on to the backup Isuzu D-Max so the bike rides with just a tank bag and a smaller kriega with some rain gear.

Some pics below from Tuesday 31st May (bike loading day). All in all, took us about an hour to load up 4 - 5 bikes.

Name:  outside vashi solo.jpeg
Views: 191
Size:  158.0 KB
Outside Vashi showroom

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-vashi-inside-truck.jpeg
Bikes locked & loaded and ready for departure

Saturday: 4th June
Flight: Mumbai to Chandigarh;
Bike ride: Chandigarh to Jungle Retreat Hotel, Kufri (a little beyond Shimla)
[138 kms]

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-map-chg-kufri.jpeg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-map-chg-kufri-elev.jpeg

Three of the riders from this group arrived at Chandigarh and headed straight to a yard near the Triumph showroom to unload the bikes.

The first sight that greeted us was a mangled front bumper of the truck in which our bikes had been transported. Apparently an oncoming car had jumped the divider and hit our truck head on during its journey here. Luckily the damage did not ground the truck and it could still reach Chandigarh well in time and neither was there any effect on the bikes. It was an ominous start though to an adventurous trip and we were just glad this didn't end up in anything worse.

Proceeding on, bikes unloaded, panniers mounted, headed to Triumph Chandigarh where we left our bikes and luggage and proceeded first for lunch at the mall right opposite. A word on the Chandigarh Triumph team led by Vipin - they were absolutely FANTASTIC hosts to all of us (brand agnostic to state the obvious). They welcomed us enthusiastically, went about placing / parking all our bikes outside the showroom, taking pictures and videos as if it were their own holiday and trip. Even prior to us reaching they had proactively been in touch with us to check on when we’d be arriving and if there’s any assistance we’d need. Top guys - all of them - and I’m so happy to have made acquaintances with yet another Triumph dealership.

Back to the travel plans - it was blazingly hot - 42 degrees and thereabouts. We delayed our start to a little after 4 pm just to put some of the peak mid day heat behind us and get the benefit of the less harsh sun closer to and post sundown. First order of business after leaving was fuelling up since the bikes were almost bone dry having been transported by truck. Checked air for good order too and practically were only properly on our way out of Chandigarh by 4:30 or so.

Traffic to Kufri via Shimla is badly jammed so TXE had given us a slightly longer alternate route. Our route to Kufri effectively went via Sadhupul and Chail instead of via Shimla. We took one very long halt at a roadside dhaba hardly an hour or more into our journey since one of the riders was cramping very badly, mostly down to dehydration I suspect. Barring that unusually long halt we were on and about quickly and efficiently through the remaining journey.

A large part of the journey was well after sunset, a slightly unsettling proposition since almost half or a little under than half the route was through a really desolate and dark route going through Sadhupul and then Chail forest. Given the darkness, we overshot (by a few kms) the really tiny offshoot going into final leg to the hotel. Tracked back and the last 2 - 3 kms were pitch dark, completely gravelly and with steep inclines and declines, some with tight U turns, which we took a bit tentatively given the heavy side panniers and luggage on all our bikes. It was a bit like a surprise test of technical riding skills that would be required in the days to come, which you need to take blindfolded given the pitch darkless around.

By the time we reached the hotel it was a little past 9:40 pm. What I thought would be a quick shorter ride had turned out to be a surprisingly exhausting day. We’d all had an early morning of course to catch our flights etc but still - it was barely about 135 kms(~) and we had sort of underestimated / forgotten what 135 kms in the mountains can feel like. The fact that we were by ourselves, on a really dark desolate road and late into the night with little roadside support was also silently playing on my mind just a bit till we reached our hotel.

Anyway, all in all, reached the hotel safe and sound, with two other riders and bikes already having arrived earlier in the day - a Honda CRF 300 and a GSA 1250.

The next day (Sunday 5th June) was a sort of rest / check-in day. Headed to the TXE office to register, get our bikes checked up by the trusty Omi and of course cleaned up as well in advance of our week of adventure. The team is thoroughly professional right down to checking our BP and oxygen levels on the day - an exercise that was repeated every single morning for the rest of the trip.

I don’t have more than the odd isolated pic “during” the ride itself since a lot of this was post sundown and we were really focused on just reaching the hotel. I’ve dropped some from our ride kick off from the Triumph showroom, one odd from en route and mostly the morning after when we were parked at the hotel.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-truck-front-accident.jpeg
An image of the truck with its damaged bumper.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-outside-krishna-chg-3-bikes.jpeg
All three bikes outside Krishna Triumph

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-outside-krishna-chgarh.jpeg
Solo bike pic.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-chg-kufri-en-route.jpeg
En route to Kufri.

Sunday: 5th June
Kufri - Shimla - Kufri
[44 kms]

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-kufri-shimla-map.jpeg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-kufri-shimla-elev.jpeg

This was supposed to be an easy day as mentioned above. I was up really early, just how my body clock works - for context, the better part of the text on this post is me firing it in at about 4:00 am on Sunday 5th.

Made my own morning cuppa coffee brew thanks to the umpteen quick brew bags I’d carried and strolled down to take some early morning pics of the bikes.

We headed out late morning to the TXE office to register - about 20 kms or so from the hotel. Basically got a bike checkup done there, a thorough wash down of the bikes at their car wash, bikes got stickered up with the TXE and specific ride stickers. Got a comprehensive briefing on the ride for the next 5 days, with the route outline, some general safety and riding guidance etc. Had lunch with Mr. Parmar close by, and then headed back to the hotel after topping up on fuel for the next day. Rest of the afternoon was generally resting it out.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-kufri-skyline.jpeg
Kufri hotel skyline - this is the view from the room balcony as well.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-kufri-hotel-solo-bike.jpeg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-kufri-hotel.jpeg
Outside the hotel.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-kufri-parking.jpeg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-badge.jpeg
Individual rider badges

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-spiti-sticker-closeup.jpeg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-wolf-closeup.jpeg
At the TXE office, where the bikes were given a good wash, a general onceover and were stickered up with the ride logos.

Last edited by Axe77 : 17th June 2022 at 16:15.
Axe77 is online now   (23) Thanks
Old 7th June 2022, 04:41   #3
Team-BHP Support
Axe77's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,707
Thanked: 10,050 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Monday: 6th June
[222 kms]
Kufri to Sangla (Batseri): via Narkanda & Rampur
EOD stay Hotel Batseri.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-1-gmap-kufri-sangla.jpg
Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-1-elev-kufri-sangla.jpg

Not a happy day as our group faced the first major incident today. But more on that in due course.

The ride format had two riders from TXE, one operating as a lead rider and the other as a sweep. There were two backup Isuzus, one running with a trailer driven by Omi and one more support crew while the other Isuzu was piloted by Mr. Parmar on this journey. The idea was that in an emergency, in case any rider cannot ride his bike anymore for any reason, there is a spare rider between the two Isuzus who can take up riding duties on such a bike. To my mind, this is incredibly well planned and very reassuring support set up as most organised rides go - an aspect that would be appreciated even more in the narrative to come.

With more than 200 kms to cover, we targeted a slightly early start and set off at about 8 am after a quick light bite at the hotel. After exiting the broader Kufri region, we set off towards Theog and Narkanda - this is a beautiful route largely dropping altitude on fast sweeping tarmac that's (by hill region standards) reasonably wide as well. The ride was fast and smooth and within a few hours of riding we took our first halt for breakfast. The ride was going well - Mr. Parmar was in one Isuzu and met us there while the other back up Isuzu had come from the hotel itself with the trailer holding most of our luggage.

A 30 min halt later we were back on our way descending further towards Rampur where the route meets the Sutlej river. After a mostly fast ride till this point we were suddenly met by a massive traffic jam caused by a political rally going through the town of Rampur Bushahr. We were struggling to crawl through this traffic and overtake and get beyond the rally. While most of us made our way beyond this rally and stopped a little after, we realised via our whatsapp group that one of the bikes had had a serious electrical issue causing a major breakdown. Fortunately both the sweep rider as well as both Isuzus were behind that rider. Since the lunch halt was just a little further away, the rest of the group along with one TXE rider proceeded to the lunch venue while the other TXE rider stayed back with the broken down vehicle until the Isuzus reached, to load the bike onto the trailer.

We didn't have to wait long and even before our lunch had arrived, we saw the rider come by along with Mr. Parmar in one Isuzu. The second Isuzu with the trailer and bike loaded on also arrived at the lunch venue very shortly after. At this time we were working out next steps for the broken down bike as it was beyond recoverable for the remaining ride without going back to an authorised service station.

Two important takeaways of the incredible backup support of TXE here:

1. The presence of not one but TWO back up vehicles, one of which is equipped with an additional trailer. This meant that both rider and bike had the necessary support when it was most needed.

2. Plan B to salvage the Spiti ride for the rider. Since it was just day one, Mr. Parmar decided to take the rider back from halfway (our lunch halt) back to Shimla, where one of their rental GS 310s was readied in the meantime. The idea was for the rider with the back up bike and Mr. Parmar to leave the next morning for our Day 2 destination. There was some luck at play here too since the Day 2 distance was relatively less, was going towards Chitkul and then backtracking to reach the final destination at Kalpa so it was actually feasible to pull this off.

The bike was shifted from the trailer Isuzu to the back of Mr Parmar's Isuzu and they headed back to Shimla while we proceeded on to our final destination near Sangla - at Batseri.

The road from here turned into a narrow winding roads with sections of minor dirt along the way, prepping us for the more serious offroading in the days to come to finally reach the tiny hamlet of Batseri in the Sangla district. The hotel itself (Hotel Batseri) had stunning views of the river just below and the mountains on either side.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-monkey-kufri-hotel.jpg
A monkey in our room balcony.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-kufri-hotel-01.jpg

Above and below: Outside our hotel at Kufri - The Jungle Retreat Hotel.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-kufri-hotel-02.jpg

Pics from our first breakfast halt: the bikes parked outside / opposite the hotel.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-first-brekker-halt-01.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-first-brekker-halt-02.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-first-brekker-halt-03.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-first-brekker-halt-04-paratha.jpg

Simple but delicious lunch!!

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-lunch-halt-isuzus-breakdown-bike.jpg
At our lunch halt. The broken down bike being transferred from the trailer to the other Isuzu.

Pics below from our onward journey towards Sangla / Batseri.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-en-route-post-lunch-bridge.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-en-route-post-lunch-02.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-en-route-post-lunch.jpg

Finally reached the hotel a little after 5:30 IIRC. Stunning views of the river below as well as the surrounding mountains.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-outside-batseri-01.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-outside-batseri-02.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0606-outside-batseri.jpg

Name:  aerialviewofhoelbatseri tripadvisor.jpg
Views: 180
Size:  52.2 KB
PC: Tripadvisor off the net. I realised I hadn't clicked any pic of the hotel itself, only the surrounding scenery.

Last edited by Axe77 : 19th June 2022 at 22:43.
Axe77 is online now   (21) Thanks
Old 7th June 2022, 04:44   #4
Team-BHP Support
Axe77's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,707
Thanked: 10,050 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Tuesday: 7th June
Batseri - Chitkul - Batseri - Kalpa
99 kms
EOD stay: The Grand Shambala

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-01-map.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-02-elev.jpg
Today was relatively an easy day in terms of kms and time on the bike and we made a relatively late start at about 11 am. The first leg involved riding down narrow broken roads down to Chitkul - the last village before the Indo China border around these parts. We rode on till the last check post near this village as well although the guard requested us not to take pics of the check post itself. That last couple of miles of the road was properly broken and was good fun hurtling down on with our ADVs - all in all - the entire day offered lots of great stand-up riding practice with the bike set up in “off road” mode.

From here, we backtracked to a scenic location by a small stream for a basic cookout - basically some sausages and vegetable Maggi on the menu with some lovely hot coffee from our supply of Sleepy Owl brew bags. It was an easy afternoon and we must have spent at least an hour or more at this location before winding up and heading to our next destination, Kalpa. Overall an easy day sandwiched between two longer, tougher riding days. The roads had gotten a lot more broken from now on and while there was definitely long stretches of tarmac, I was keeping my bike almost 100% in off road mode to deal with the sudden portions or long sections of dirt / gravel / broken tarmac that was almost routine on these sections now. The roads were also now tighter and twistier in these parts. I used this chance to push my pace as much as possible and trying to keep up with the lead rider to the extent I could.

Arrived in Kalpa by around 5 / 5:30 pm. Mr. Parmar and the other rider (with the now borrowed GS 310 from TXE) were already at the hotel a couple of hours before us. The hotel itself was pretty basic but clearly a popular haunt with most travellers - both two wheeled and four wheeled.

At some point along this day my Forma left boot sole had completely opened up. The second issue was that one of the TXE bikes had a slow puncture. That night, the TXE team dealt with both issues with their usual clinical efficiency. My boot was literally “puncture repaired” with glue and a number of puncture patches - a stop gap arrangement that got me through a long gruelling ride all the way till Kaza the following day before it was more comprehensively dealt with by a cobbler. The front wheel of the other Tiger too was removed and reinstalled to deal with the slow puncture. It was something related to the recent mounting of the tyre itself a little before the ride.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-chitkul-board.jpg
Chitkul - the last village in these parts near the Indo China border

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-isuzu-lunch.jpg
The support car at our lunch halt with pics below of the cookout site itself.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-lunch-01.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-lunch-02.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-lunch-03.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-lunch-05-stove.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-lunch-06-sausages.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-lunch-07-maggi.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-lunch-08-tiger-buffet.jpg
A cat’s gotta eat when a cat’s gotta eat. Buffet serving for the Tiger too.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-lunch-09-bikes-insta.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-lunch-10-bikes.jpg

Headed on to Kalpa after that lunch break taking minimal halts along the way. Some pics from the post lunch journey on to Kalpa.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-post-lunch-bikes.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-post-lunch-half-tiger-front.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-post-lunch-road-white-line.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-post-lunch-tiger-bridge.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-post-lunch-tiger-horizon.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-bikes-hotel.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-hotel-door.jpg
The hotel is clearly a popular haunt with many adventure travellers. We spent the evening watching some videos of other rides undertaken by the TXE folks on the hotel’s large TV.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-hotel-view.jpg
The view from the hotel.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-forma-open.jpg
The Forma sole complete apart - as it is infamous for doing.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-forma-puncture-fixed.jpg
Temp fix to keep the boot going for now.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0706-tyre-repair.jpg
Tyre for the other Tiger also all fixed up overnight.

Last edited by Axe77 : 19th June 2022 at 22:46.
Axe77 is online now   (16) Thanks
Old 8th June 2022, 06:27   #5
Team-BHP Support
Axe77's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,707
Thanked: 10,050 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Wedesday 8th June
Kalpa - Pooh - Nako - Tabo - Kaza

~ 215 kms

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-01-map.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-02-elev.jpg

This was going to be a tough long day on multiple fronts. There were likely to be fairly large sections of broken roads and we were also going to gain some significant altitude around Nako before you descended back to Kaza. The heat wasn’t helping either and for most of the day we were were hit by some hard sun.

I got up feeling less than 100% and a combination of all of the above meant that unlike the previous two days, I elected to take it a bit easier and not try to ride on the boil, instead settling for a more sedate place. My BP, when it was checked that morning was a hint on the higher side.

An early light breakfast with some dispirin had for good measure, we set off around 8 am. The journey started with smooth fast flowing (albeit narrow) tarmac for most part until we reached / crossed Nako, our lunch halt. The heat was severe by now and I stuck to having a slightly lighter lunch, just to keep the energy level going but careful not to stuff myself. The sights as on previous days were truly breathtaking but I can imagine this region to be even more beautiful once the weather becomes a little less hot or even if there are mild showers. Of course, how any meaningful rain would alter the technical challenges of the terrain itself is anyone’s guess.

Given the altitude we were at already, and given a slight more gain before we commenced the overall descend towards Kaza, we kept the lunch halt as quick and dirty as practicable. I was feeling more and more out of it and really keep to just keep riding and get the day over with - I’m guessing this had to be altitude playing its part on my body, with the gruelling heat doing nothing to make it easier. The road from lunch onwards was a lot rougher in large sections getting narrower too as we got closer to Kaza. Our final halt was around 4 pm near Tabo for some chai and samosa, about 40 kms out from our final destination. I was completely out of it by this time and just took the chance to freshen up and brace myself for the final hour and something of the ride. I was completely off pace now and driving somewhere in the middle of the pack somehow trying to make it till the end of ride.

Almost at the end of the third day’s ride came the second unfortunate incident to happen during this trip.
We had finally stopped just at the outskirts of Kaza for our final regroup, waiting for the last rider and the sweep rider. After about 5 mins of waiting, our lead TXE rider was radio’d by the sweep and all of a sudden bolted back in the direction where we came from. We didn’t know what was going on but a few calls later to the back up Isuzu and the sweep, we realised that just a few kms behind us the last rider had missed a deceptive sharp / blind right handed that emerges just after a crest and had had a pretty bad fall. The headlight was smashed and the handlebar badly bent but incredibly, the trusty ol’ GS 310 could still somehow be ridden back to the hotel.

The rider got away with the most minimal of injuries - combination of wearing top quality gear and more importantly just plain Lady Luck who seemed to be smiling at him Even the simplest of crashes can result in much worse injury and to come practically unscathed (two bad bruises only, nothing broken and not even any scratch) is nothing short of a miracle.

Once we were assured that the rider was ok, the rest of us were requested to proceed on to the hotel while the back up Isuzus and the sweep and lead riders deal with the incident. We all came to the hotel as instructed waiting to meet our co-rider asap.

By this time, I was pretty worse for the wear and once the support crew was back home I requested them to check my BP and temperature. Turned out I was running a fair but of temperature and also had higher than normal BP. Was promptly given some meds, ate a basic khichadi for dinner and turned in early.

Some pics from en route various parts of our day’s journey.
Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-en-route-two-bikes-01.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-en-route-scenery-02.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-en-route-many-bikes-03.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-en-route-my-bikes-04.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-en-route-many-bikes-05.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-en-route-my-bike-06.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-flags.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-en-route-many-bikes-07.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-windshield-reflection..jpg
Reflections. Mountains on my mind, mountains on my bike!

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-en-route-bw.jpg

The scenic landscape

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-en-route-mountain-view.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-en-route-tabo-break-my-bike-bw.jpg
At our snack break at Tabo.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-en-route-tabo-break-my-bike-bw-front.jpg
Parked just ahead of Tabo bridge.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-hotel-parking-view.jpg
Outside our final destination - @Hotel Deyzor.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-room-view.jpg
The view from my room at Hotel Deyzor - more on the hotel in the following post.

Last edited by Axe77 : 20th June 2022 at 10:09. Reason: Minor typo
Axe77 is online now   (18) Thanks
Old 9th June 2022, 18:03   #6
Team-BHP Support
Axe77's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,707
Thanked: 10,050 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Thursday: 9th June
Mileage: Negligible. Some local riding around Kaza.

There were at least a couple of folks who were a bit worse for the wear by now and Thursday was helpfully a rest day with an optional ride. A few riders along with one backup Isuzu headed off from Kaza to Hikkim and Komic doing some sightseeing along the way, including a trip to the world’s highest post office, before returning to Kaza down from the other side at Langza. I headed off to find the local mochi who did a solid job of stitching up both my boots for good measure. In the meantime the back up team had washed up the bikes and also loaded up the damaged GS 310 on to the trailer.

Hotel Deyzor, Kaza

I simply have to write a few words on our hotel at Kaza. It was an utterly charming place and done up extremely tastefully - run by a couple who gave up the corporate life and decided to settle in Spiti. The rooms are lovely, the entire hotel full of beautiful quotes and some humorous FAQs to boot. The food is also REALLY good and deserves a set of pictures in its own right. Perhaps the only place I stayed where I got a nice pour over coffee at breakfast. If anyone is passing through Kaza, I’d strongly recommend this place to stay or if nothing else, to at least come by to their restaurant for a meal. Incidentally, back in the day, the owner has also participated in the Raid de Himalaya so he’s a fairly accomplished rider himself. You can see why the place is so popular with all kinds of travellers including motorcyclists. Since there’s precious little ride photos to put up for the day, I’m taking the opportunity to leave plenty of pics of the lovely hotel itself.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-en-route-riverside-mountains.jpg
A solitary pic from the group that rode / drove out. ...
Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-kaza-i-love-spiti.jpg
... while I set out exploring the local market, ...

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0906-kaza-cobbler.jpg
...and got my boots repaired.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0906-bike-trailer.jpg
The backup team wasn't idle either. Omi had already loaded the bike on the trailer that morning ...

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-back-view-bikewash.jpg
... and followed on to give the bikes a good thorough wash and general once over.
That's the view from the area behind the hotel.

Some pics from inside Hotel Deyzor.
Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-inside-01.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-inside-02.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-inside-03.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-inside-04.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-inside-05.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-inside-06.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-inside-07.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-door-stickers.jpg
The main door - clearly a popular stopover for adventure travellers.

The food at Deyzor was the best I had throughout the trip. Leaving some food pics below too. If you can't stay here, at the very least stop over for a meal. It'll be well worth it.
Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-food-01.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-food-02.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-0806-deyzor-food-03.jpg

Last edited by Axe77 : 19th June 2022 at 20:52.
Axe77 is online now   (16) Thanks
Old 10th June 2022, 23:10   #7
Team-BHP Support
Axe77's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,707
Thanked: 10,050 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Friday 10th June
Kaza - Chicham - Losar - Kunzum La - Batal - Chatru - Manali
187 kms

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-c92cb2e35f6c49edb9400b2f88ad3b03.jpeg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-5bfcbbc34339409ca84d38798454b806.jpeg

This was singularly the hardest riding day of the entire journey both for man and machine. The day started with some fast flowing tarmac which was frequently interspersed with rough sections. As we moved away from Kaza and approached Kunzum La pass, the road simply got progressively worse, with any hope for tarmac being a distant memory. I reckon from the point any sort of regular tarmac had ceased, we would travel approximately 70 - 80 kms of the roughest terrain before encountering a proper tarmac highway again. The roads were pretty rough with plenty of water crossings as well as tight gravelly / rocky U turns on inclines or declines - these kind of conditions mean you simply HAVE TO stand up and navigate these big ADVs to best maintain your balance.

Post Kunzum La, we descended into Batal, where we halted at the ever popular chacha chachi restaurant for a simple meal of dal rice / rajma rice. This place has become pretty popular since it had provided shelter to a number of stranded travellers during a bad landslide that had halted traffic in the region - I reckon a few years ago or something.

The 50 km stretch from Batal to Gramphu was perhaps the worst stretch I had encountered this entire journey throwing severe technical challenges along the way. I even had one grandiose fall off the bike on a particularly technical climb (combo of sand and large boulders with a steep incline) on this stretch. The joy of finally seeing tarmac after toiling for hours on these broken stretches is evident from one of the self explanatory pics below.

It seems the adventures were not over though and our onward journey which took us into Atal Tunnel into Manali led up to some extremely heavy traffic all the way till we reached our hotel. But we did finally make it in by approximately 6 pm or so - reasonably on track on time and delighted at how far we'd come over the course of the entire week. The evening ended in celebratory hydration with certificates all around once the Isuzus and Mr. Parmar finally reached the hotel.

All in all, this was quite an experience and I really hope I can manage at least one such trip to the mountains every year. Leaving you all from the pics from the last day's ride. Not too many captions needed.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-isuzu-bike.jpg
Isuzu and trailer all set up for the day's journey

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-tiger-ak-edit.jpg
A final goodbye to the lovely Hotel Deyzor.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-scenery-06-edit.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-scenery-08.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-kunzum-la-pass.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-scenery-07-kunzum-la-pass.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-scenery-05.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-scenery-04.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-scenery-03.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-scenery-02.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-scenery-01.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-self-reflection.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route.jpg

Name:  1006 lunch chacha chachi.jpg
Views: 194
Size:  241.0 KB
Our lunch halt.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-tiger-lunch-goats.jpg
Lunch is served for the big cat!

Attachment 2322435

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-pm-en-route-scenery-rough-roads.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-scenery-11.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-scenery-10.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-am-en-route-scenery-09-isuzu.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-pm-en-route-scenery-03.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-pm-en-route-scenery-02.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-pm-en-route-bow-tarmac.jpg
That feeling when you sight tarmac after 80 kms of completely broken terrain.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-pm-en-route-helmet-01.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-pm-finally-hotel.jpg
Reached the hotel at long last.

Attachment 2322442

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-pm-hotel-view.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-pm-hotel-helmets.jpg
Helmets off!

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-pm-hotel-bike-dirty.jpg
Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1006-pm-hotel-bike-dirty-rear.jpg
The bike pics don't do enough justice to the torture they went through for most of the day. Just a typical day in the life of an ADV.

Last edited by Axe77 : 19th June 2022 at 22:53.
Axe77 is online now   (19) Thanks
Old 11th June 2022, 15:07   #8
Team-BHP Support
Axe77's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,707
Thanked: 10,050 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Saturday 11th June
Manali - Chandigarh: sufferfest express
308 kms

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1106-01.jpg

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1106-02.jpg

The fun was finally over and a few of us had one last clinical journey to complete - Manali to Chandigarh. There is nothing pleasant about this particular sector what with road works, heavy truck traffic and the searing North Indian temperatures as the final nail in the coffin.

We decided to make it a super early start to maximise better weather hours and also cover a bit of extra ground before the worst traffic hits us. One of the riders (who's broken down bike had already been transported back to Chandigarh and loaded a couple of days ago into our 'Chandigarh to MH' truck), was cabbing back to Chandigarh - we took advantage of this and dumped all our panniers and other luggage in his cab and kept luggage on the bike to a minimum. Left at about 4:45 and took our first halt a little after Mandi for a quick breakfast halt. From there halts were pretty much minimal and only to hydrate or check route maps. I bumped into some fellow Mumbai riders from my local riding group (they were heading towards Manali) about an hour and something post breakfast and that was a good 10 - 15 mins halt to catch up with them. The final halt was at Heritage Haveli - a sort of food court about 40 kms and 50 mins shy of Chandigarh. By now it was about 11:30 / 11:45 or so. Took a longish halt at the food court before this last hottest section of the ride and finally reached the truck by about 1.15 pm to load up the bikes.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-1106-03.jpg
Bikes loaded up into the truck

What next then? Well hopefully will do a trip to Zangskar / the 5 High Passes sometime in 2023. That will likely be my last heavy duty off-roading outing on the Tiger before I flip it onward for the next bike. Until then, some good old fashioned Sunday rides to keep me going.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-efe097f822924e3989613163f239bc5e.jpeg

Zangskar calling?

Hope you all enjoyed reading this travelogue as much as I enjoyed penning it. For any of you sitting on the fence on undertaking trips such as these, I'd say just go for it - these truly are experiences of a lifetime.

After all, ...

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-die-young.jpg

Last edited by Axe77 : 20th June 2022 at 07:05.
Axe77 is online now   (33) Thanks
Old 20th June 2022, 09:53   #9
Team-BHP Support
GTO's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 64,516
Thanked: 244,338 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Moving thread to the big bikes forum, so our motorcycle fans don't miss it .
GTO is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 20th June 2022, 10:26   #10
Distinguished - BHPian
Red Liner's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 4,649
Thanked: 12,524 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Originally Posted by Axe77 View Post
Zangskar calling?

Great ride and good trip report. Maybe you will have a guide in the form of a log pretty soon on this forum…how does 200 kms of total offroad along 5 odd high passes sound?

3 days in spiti does seem woefully short though. How much did this whole trip cost you including what you paid this agency?
Red Liner is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 20th June 2022, 11:04   #11
Team-BHP Support
Axe77's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,707
Thanked: 10,050 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Thanks Redliner. We were riding 5 days if you count Shimla to Manali. 7 riding days if you include the "commute" ex - Chandigarh.

But you are right that for Spiti it is indeed short and even rushed. This format suits me because the max I can be away from office on a solo (non-family) trip like this is one working week (weekend to weekend). I'm simply unable to make more time than that when you factor other time away from office too for family vacays etc.

70,000 twin share which included all meals and hotels. It might sound pricey but for the quality of riding group and the level of support they provide, personally I'm fine with it. For me, adventure travel is about riding the bike hassle free and not having to think about the myriad other logistics or even trouble shoot in an incident - particularly given the paucity of time.

Over and above this our expenses included:

# flights to and fro Chandigarh;
# cost of fuel;
# trucking cost of bikes to Chandigarh (this varies drastically depending on number of bikes) including the waiting cost of the truck (for a large truck the cost including 6 days waiting was approx 1.6 lakh total (incl taxes). This truck can hold 6 - 7 large ADVs max, with their luggage;
# one extra night room on each end of the trip - while going into Shimla and on return we just kept a room to be on the safe side in case we need to return the next day. If nothing else, it was used by us to freshen up post our Manali to Chandigarh road trip and before heading to the airport.
Axe77 is online now   (9) Thanks
Old 20th June 2022, 11:29   #12
no_fear's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Delhi
Posts: 494
Thanked: 3,304 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

I am very impressed with the trailer the company used for the Isuzu. It's hard to find such trailers and to get them registered.

It was an awesome thread reading about your travels to Spiti. Glad to see you made full use of the Triumph.
no_fear is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 20th June 2022, 17:20   #13
Senior - BHPian
Shubhendra's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Poona
Posts: 1,168
Thanked: 1,775 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Originally Posted by no_fear View Post
I am very impressed with the trailer the company used for the Isuzu. It's hard to find such trailers and to get them registered.
Its a custom made trailer. I have somewhat similar custom made trailer which I use to haul ATV, bikes, luggage etc. and yes its road legal registered trailer.
Biggest pain is registration, but there are laws around it and if you can convince RTO, it is possible.
I have covered a dozen state with my trailer and except Gujarat, never faced problems with cops. Though some over enthusiastic toll guys ask for double toll but a quick discussion with their superiors always resolve the issue.

Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022-scorpio-trailer.jpg
Shubhendra is online now   (7) Thanks
Old 20th June 2022, 17:38   #14
no_fear's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Delhi
Posts: 494
Thanked: 3,304 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Originally Posted by Shubhendra View Post
Its a custom made trailer.
@Shubhendra, thank you very much for this information. I will connect with you later. There is a gentleman in Delhi who manufactures trailers, and yes the RTO is the biggest pain, along with the usual police queries. If there is a trailer on sale that is already registered, I will be the first in line to buy it.

@Axe77, sorry to hijack your thread, now back to the regular programming.
no_fear is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 20th June 2022, 17:56   #15
Senior - BHPian
Dippy's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 7,403
Thanked: 905 Times
Default Re: Tiger 800 @ Spiti | June, 2022

Wonderful travelogue Ameya,

The pictures took me back to 2018 when I did the Spiti Circuit with Mahindra. I drove a gen 1 Thar for the trip. Loved your narration too. I stayed at the Grand Devachan in Kaza but I must try your recommendation the next time I head there.

Sometimes you just feel like leaving everything and settling in the hills
Dippy is offline   (1) Thanks

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright ©2000 - 2022,
Proudly powered by E2E Networks