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Old 23rd June 2022, 16:01   #1
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Default Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7131.jpg

Facts and Figures

4 guys. 4 Kawasaki Versys 650s.

11.5 days. 4600 kms. Fuel worth ~ INR 20k for my bike. I rode from Bangalore but shipped the bike back from Chandigarh through VRL.

We rode minimum 10 hours every day. It was a highly ambitious plan but fortunately it worked out.

Ride with night halts:
Bangalore – Hyderabad – Sagar – Delhi – Jalandhar – Sonmarg – Kargil – Nubra Valley – Pangong – Jispa – Manali – Chandigarh

Ironically, we didn’t stay in Leh even for a day during the ‘Leh-ride’.

Meeting Strangers on Versys

Sometime in April, Lewis from Versys Bangalore Riders WhatsApp group mentioned that he is riding to Delhi the following weekend to drop off his bike there and he will ride to Leh later in May. Crazy!

George from the group loved the brilliant idea and decided to join him. Later that weekend, we received a photo of 2 ‘Versyses’ at Yamuna Expressway. They had done Bangalore to Delhi in 2 days straight!

I was awestruck by their moto-psychosis and decided to join the madness. I dropped them a message “I will ride to Delhi in May and join you guys for Leh.”

Madness is contagious and Max Versystpen (also from the Versys group) got infected. Max offered me free Maggi and RedBull throughout the ride to let him into the circus. I obliged.

No marks for guessing my name.

Bad Luck out of the way

On 18th May, Max and I decided to meet at Airport toll at 4pm and ride to Hyderabad. Lewis and George were to fly down to Delhi the following Saturday.

I finished office early and started from home on time. 15 minutes into the ride, and my phone fell from the phone mount and got crushed under speeding cars. I retrieved it and the phone started ringing. But the hardware was damaged, and I could not take Max’s call.

He called again and this time I used my Sena (for non-motorcycle audience, Sena is a Bluetooth helmet communication device) to receive the call. It worked! I told Max everything about how my phone got damaged, but he kept saying “Hello”. And then it struck; my Sena’s mic had conked off. I’ve been using it since the Jurassic age but it decided to bid farewell to me today!

Max arrived and his Green Goblin gave away his identity. We greeted and started for Hyderabad.

I thanked my stars for directing all the bad luck to these gadgets in the first 30 minutes of the ride. Everything after this worked out as planned.

Fire and Ice

The ride started from India’s centrally air-conditioned metropolitan of Bangalore.

Just about 36 hours later (near Agra) , hot scorching air at 48 degree C was skinning us alive. I gulped in 5 pouches of ORS in 5 hours. Around 10 liters of Bisleri intake with no need of bio-breaks at all! And mandatory stop every 30 minutes, to drench the t-shirt, jacket, gloves and balaclava in water, kept us alive.

Even the Versys was not spared. With no cool air to take away the engine heat, we had to ride below 80kmph to ensure that the engine heat doesn’t burn-off our legs. I never experienced the Versys engine spitting fire like this.

Just about 48 hours later (near Sonmarg), we were wearing thermals to stay warm amid the snow-capped mountains of Kashmir.

And for the next 4 days, we were warming our hands on the Versys’s engine case to avoid frost-bite in sub-zero temperatures amid snow, ice and blizzards.


Public Apology

To all the youngsters who got offended on hearing that I do not have a Youtube channel and I do not record my rides on GoPro.

To the uncles (some younger than me) for not letting them ‘take a spin’ on my bike because I would rather be a rude rider than let anyone drop the bike and ruin my ‘once in a lifetime’ adventure.

To the curious locals who asked to take selfies with me and got a blank face in response. In my defense, no one has ever asked to take a selfie with me, not even myself.

To the Versys for putting it through the harshest of terrains and starving it of air and still expecting it to work flawlessly which it did! All 4 of them.

The Dream Ride

This ride is like a dream before the ride starts and after it ends. In between, it’s all reality.

Reality of riding on possibly the most scenic roads on our planet. Experiencing nature without being cocooned in the comfort of a car. Tough terrains. Hardcore off-roading. Extreme weather. It’s not easy and that’s what makes it precious.

It’s a miracle that neither of us dropped the bike but we all had near misses.

More than joy, I feel a sense of accomplishment to have completed this ride. Given a choice, I will do it again without blinking an eyelid.

Some pictures from the ride:


11 am and already 44C. It felt like 50C on the highway.
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-whatsapp-image-20220703-4.04.26-pm.jpeg

Picturesque Sonmarg
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7117.jpg

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You can't see but I am all smiles. It's a dream to ride in this heavenly landscape.
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7139.jpg

Traffic was stopped due to a landslide so we rode to a small valley and found this beautiful place.
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7161.jpg

Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7167.jpg

Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7166.jpg

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Glacier near Zojilla Pass
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7178.jpg

Near Zojilla Pass
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7184.jpg

Happiness galore
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After Crossing Zojilla
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7216.jpg

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Near Kargil
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7258.jpg

After Kargil, the landscape changes into these barren yet beautiful mountains.
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7264.jpg

Last edited by anshumandun : 3rd July 2022 at 20:13.
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Old 2nd July 2022, 19:29   #2
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on Versys 650

At KhardungLa Pass.
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7317.jpg

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En-route Nubra Valley along Shyok River
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7386.jpg

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Sandy desert near Hunder
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7425.jpg

En-route Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7443.jpg

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Pangong Lake
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En-route Panglong Lake to Leh
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7491.jpg

Snow Wall Near Changla Pass
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7513.jpg

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Slippery and icey terrain at Changla
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At Changla Pass
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7549.jpg

Taking a break and cooling off in the chilly waters
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7554.jpg

En-route Manali. Blizzard at Tanglang La Pass.
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7567.jpg

One-eyed Monster
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7576.jpg

Somewhere near More Plains
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Crossing Baralacha La Pass in late evening
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7594.jpg

Near Rohtang Pass
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7616.jpg

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We were not allowed till Rohtang Pass so had to turn back and go through Atal Tunnel.
Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_e7643.jpg

Last edited by anshumandun : 3rd July 2022 at 17:02.
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Old 4th July 2022, 06:52   #3
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 4th July 2022, 08:33   #4
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

Wait you guys didn't meet Charles at Ladakh?!

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...al-2022-a.html (Riding across India's worst Heat Wave | Bangalore-Himachal | 2022)

I am an ex VBR member myself so i knew that Lewis and George were in their way in April to Delhi. I still shake my head in disbelief over their 2 day run from Bangalore. I took 5 days like most normal people!
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Old 4th July 2022, 11:07   #5
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

Quote:
Originally Posted by anshumandun View Post

Ironically, we didn’t stay in Leh even for a day during the ‘Leh-ride’.
I stayed in Leh for a day and i thought i hold a record...


Quote:

Public Apology

To all the youngsters who got offended on hearing that I do not have a Youtube channel and I do not record my rides on GoPro.

To the uncles (some younger than me) for not letting them ‘take a spin’ on my bike because I would rather be a rude rider than let anyone drop the bike and ruin my ‘once in a lifetime’ adventure.

To the curious locals who asked to take selfies with me and got a blank face in response. In my defense, no one has ever asked to take a selfie with me, not even myself.

To the Versys for putting it through the harshest of terrains and starving it of air and still expecting it to work flawlessly which it did! All 4 of them.


Awesome blog...and wonderful photos...

Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650-img_20220410_071233493.jpg

This is how Sonmarg looked on 10th Apr...
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Old 4th July 2022, 12:16   #6
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

So you guys were riding non-stop for all of 11days? No saddle breaks what so ever?

12yrs ago when I did Ladakh, after hitting Leh, I didn't even look at the bike for 2days straight. It wasn't a Versys though - was the simple Electra 5S.

Great pics! How did the bike behave at those altitudes? Did you find it tad to heavy esp. with all that luggage / panniers?
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Old 4th July 2022, 12:35   #7
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

Quote:
Originally Posted by anshumandun View Post

This ride is like a dream before the ride starts and after it ends. In between, it’s all reality.
This one line above, sums it all up mate for the rest of us who haven't tried/experienced yet. Stunning photos and an apt write up! Thanks for the inspiration!
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Old 4th July 2022, 13:17   #8
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

Bangalore to Leh!! Still a dream ride/drive to many.Congrats on completing such an endurance ride. You guys can try iron butt certification for sure. It appears like you have scaled to higher altitudes (Kargil - Nubra - Pangong), so how did you acclimatise with sudden increase in altitudes? Did anybody from the group face any mountain sickness issues? (Especially if you halted at pangong for a night ).
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Old 4th July 2022, 14:13   #9
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

Hey Ashuman, I think I crossed you multiple times in my AP-registered Isuzu MU-X during your Hyderabad - Srinagar journey.

19-May : Two verasys were taking break just after crossing the toll plaza at either Khawasa or Madai near Pench NP, Madhya Pradesh. This was around 3:00 PM.

20-May : We drove along two Verasys for quite sometime somewhere near Jhansi. I think you were looking for fuel as I remember you stopping at two fuel stations. This was around 10:00 AM.

22-May : Crossed four verasys taking a break at the entrance of Qazigund Tunnel. This was around 3:00 PM.

For rest of our journey, my wife kept wondering if we are going to see the big green bikes again. It was a joy to see these bikes zipping past in a convoy at 120 kmph. I could see the reactions of locals looking in awe at your bikes.

Last edited by Comrade : 4th July 2022 at 14:23.
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Old 4th July 2022, 15:58   #10
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
Hey Charles , just read your blog. Awesome travelogue. Hope to catch up sometime!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thirugata View Post
Awesome blog...and wonderful photos...

This is how Sonmarg looked on 10th Apr...
Thanks. Nice picture, Sonmarg is beautiful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nilesh5417 View Post
So you guys were riding non-stop for all of 11days? No saddle breaks what so ever?

12yrs ago when I did Ladakh, after hitting Leh, I didn't even look at the bike for 2days straight. It wasn't a Versys though - was the simple Electra 5S.

Great pics! How did the bike behave at those altitudes? Did you find it tad to heavy esp. with all that luggage / panniers?
Yes, non-stop for 11 days. Credit to the Versys, it is an amazing tourer.
Engine wise, the bike did lose some power at higher altitudes due to less oxygen and we had to ride at a lower gear. The Showa suspension was fantastic and it was easy to ride on broken roads. Hardcore off-road patches were difficult but the bike is well balanced and if you don't put too much effort on the handle, the bike won't fall. The panniers and specially the top-box made the bike top heavy but it was manageable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ram1kv View Post
This one line above, sums it all up mate for the rest of us who haven't tried/experienced yet. Stunning photos and an apt write up! Thanks for the inspiration!
Thanks! You should experience this journey for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsian View Post
It appears like you have scaled to higher altitudes (Kargil - Nubra - Pangong), so how did you acclimatise with sudden increase in altitudes? Did anybody from the group face any mountain sickness issues? (Especially if you halted at pangong for a night ).
We stayed in Sonmarg, then at Kargil for acclimatization. I faced some uneasiness at Pangong, Changla, Khardungla but some rest and a cup of hot coffee made it fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Comrade View Post
Hey Ashuman, I think I crossed you multiple times in my AP-registered Isuzu MU-X during your Hyderabad - Srinagar journey.

19-May : Two verasys were taking break just after crossing the toll plaza at either Khawasa or Madai near Pench NP, Madhya Pradesh. This was around 3:00 PM.

20-May : We drove along two Verasys for quite sometime somewhere near Jhansi. I think you were looking for fuel as I remember you stopping at two fuel stations. This was around 10:00 AM.

22-May : Crossed four verasys taking a break at the entrance of Qazigund Tunnel. This was around 3:00 PM.
I remember seeing your AP registered MU-X because we crossed path several times and it's difficult to miss a car as unique as MU-X! Hope you had a good trip.

You are exactly right about all the times we crossed path. But how come you remember so precisely the date and time of seeing us?
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Old 5th July 2022, 13:00   #11
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

Hola from a fellow VBR member!! I go by the name @AB in the whatsApp group.

Great T-logue and pictures. Hope to catch up on one of our breakfast rides post monsoons
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Old 5th July 2022, 14:18   #12
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

What an amazing report and photos! Thank you for sharing with us. Must have been an absolute joy and a thrill to be able to do it with your rider friends on those amazing machines. Here's to many more!
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Old 5th July 2022, 14:22   #13
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

Quote:
Originally Posted by anshumandun View Post
But how come you remember so precisely the date and time of seeing us?
It's not everyday you spot big tourers with panniers (sporting KA plates) cruising down the highway in MP and UP of all places. My wife and I kind of guessed that you were most probably doing Leh circuit. In fact, I remember you guys zipping past on Srinagar local roads close to the famous Gupkar road while we were stuck in traffic. I guess you were on your way to Sonamarg. That (22-May evening) was last I saw you as we did the entire trip at leisurely pace and reached Manali only on 4-June.

As you said, it was once in a lifetime event for us (a bucketlist in fact), and one of the motivations to buy a BOF 4x4. We even drove from Kargil to Padum & back, and the relative remoteness of Zanskar Valley just magnified the Ladakh experience ofr us. We felt the pictures don't do any justice to the beauty that is Ladakh (and of course Kashmir Valley).
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Old 6th July 2022, 13:03   #14
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

Quote:
Originally Posted by Comrade View Post
In fact, I remember you guys zipping past on Srinagar local roads close to the famous Gupkar road while we were stuck in traffic.

As you said, it was once in a lifetime event for us (a bucketlist in fact), and one of the motivations to buy a BOF 4x4. We even drove from Kargil to Padum & back, and the relative remoteness of Zanskar Valley just magnified the Ladakh experience ofr us. We felt the pictures don't do any justice to the beauty that is Ladakh (and of course Kashmir Valley).
Yes, we decided to ride till Sonmarg the same day without halting at Srinagar. We did spend some time near Dal Lake. The traffic in Srinagar reminded me of Bangalore

You are right that the photos don't do any justice at all to the beauty and opulence of this paradise. But I would still request you to pen down a photologue of your trip. Would love to see photos of Zanskar valley and other remote places you visited. You have the right vehicle for trips like these. Keep them coming!
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Old 1st August 2022, 08:26   #15
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Default Re: Bangalore to Leh on a Kawasaki Versys 650

Great thread and pictures! I've got two arbitrary questions for you; how'd you manage to finish the ride with your broken smartphone? And do you use the V as a daily driver in Bangalore?
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