| AMG you're right, I too love the sound it makes. Reminds me of my old Shogun. The note on the Duke is almost like a two stroke and the revs come up very fast again like a two stroke.
Its been a while since I've updated here, There was nothing much happening till recent. But then last week I was riding along a country road near my home. The road's pretty bad and I was doing around 40-45kmph. It was night and I was a little tired as well. At one stretch an oncoming vehicle with high beams probably on 100w or 130w bulbs blinded me completely, I slowed down and tried to keep as close to the edge of the road on the left. Then BANG!
I hit something with the front wheel, felt like a solid object. The bike was rock steady but the impact got through onto my shoulders from the handle bars and there was no other drama or did I even feel out of control for a second.
The road was bumpy till home and I thought that was it as there wasn't much to make out. The next day I take the bike to work, The roads are excellent on route. Here I discover that something's not right with the bike. I was finding it hard to lean the bike into right hand corners. I got the message that I've probably screwed up the wheel. I stop and take a look and find out that the front rim was bent on the right side. I return back home and take a closer look. On inspection with soap water, I also discover that there's a slight air leak along with the tyre seal coming out through a hairline crack in the rim. I called up KTM Works and the Service Manager tells me to plonk a tube inside and ride it to the ASC and that they could help me with an insurance claim and get the rim replaced.
I said okay and wondered what if the air leak gets worse when I ride to get it fixed? The tyre was almost completely flat by then. Tried calling the only good mechanic I knew to get the wheel removed and to get it to a tyre shop, But he was not free to come and help. The ASC at Cochin is around 80Kms from where I reside and so I was pretty much on my own.
I had no stand to lift the front of the bike to get the wheel removed. Got the Belly pan/Spoiler off and tried using a car jack, But was too worried that the bike would tip over when I remove the wheel due to shift of weight. The only idea that came into my mind was to loosen the axle and lift the bike by the forks and let someone else remove the front wheel.(Not an easy task with a bike that was almost full on fuel in its tank and I was no Popeye either but a pint size.)
Also thought of putting an old car tyre underneath the crank case and a wooden plank under the forks to support the bike.
Plan made, I go about it with help from my wife to roll the front wheel out with me holding the bike up. Things went easy and I get the wheel to a tyre shop and put a 100/90-17 tube inside as that was the only one close enough to the original profile of the tyre. I also removed the front brake lever and shoved an old wheel balance weight between the brake pads, so that no one by accident applies the front brake and jams the pads stuck together. If that happens, Then I'll need tp probably bleed the brake lines to loosen the pads and put the wheel back on.
When I came back home, I end up in a situation where I could not get the wheel back on
. The problem was that I could not hold the bike high up for long and my wife could not get the wheel back on. She's never done anything like this ever before and I'm blessed to have someone who still offers to help.
After umpteen failed attempts, another plan came up inside my mind, I asked my wife to hold the bike steady while I put the jack under the crank case (with a wooden board on top of it for more support)
. I jacked the bike up real slow and let her hold it steady so as not to fall off. We got it high enough and then I managed to put the wheel back in. Success at last and it was such a relief.
I then used a wooden hammer(the type carpenters use and after covering the part of the rim with a folded towel)
to bang the rim back into shape a bit making sure that the crack did not get bigger after each blow. That done, gave the bike test ride and ensured that it was good to run till the ASC. The issue with leaning into curves was almost gone.
The next day I ride to the ASC leave the bike there, went to the insurance office, did all the paperwork and get on a bus back home cause the insurance surveyor could only inspect the bike the next day. Come next day, I board a bus back to the ASC, the process was over and the bike was Ready to Race by afternoon. I sttel the bill and ride back home.
The only loss I had in the ordeal were the rim stickers and the tyre seal. I'm intending to get the rim stickers but will be skipping on the tyre seal probably as the front tyre's passed over 60% of its life and that the ASC people told me that it will cost 750 Rupees to fill tyre seal for one wheel alone.
We on the FB Kerala KTM Owner's Club group also planned on a one day trip to Athirappily near Trichur in Kerala. We were just finalizing on a route, Then a friend in our group said that he and some other biker friends were going on the trip to Athirapilly so we thought why not join forces and make it a bigger event.
There were ten dukes, (one more to be precise, But he had a function to attend so left early.) two Ninja 250s, two CBR250s, two R15s, a lone Bullet 500 Classic EFI along with a 200NS and an FZ16. Nineteen bikes in all.
We rode through Athirapilly into Vazhachal and reach the forest check post there on the Valaparai road. The forest guard at the check post checked us out and said, "Be back by 4:00 P.M sharp or you will have to spend the night at the check-post, I wont let you pass if you are late to return, also if one of you is missing on the way back. Consider yourself in trouble."
I wont blame him a bit for being stern as many wimps on bikes ride into the forest and come back late which is against regulations and the forest officials will be the ones who will be held answerable for an incident when something goes wrong.
We promise we will be back on time and go through. We ride till the junction where the road divides to Sholayar Power house and Valparai. Valparai was just another 54Kms but we were not ready to make it a two day event and were short on time so turn back. A fellow Duker had a good DSLR and he had taken some great shots of the bikes in action(Unfortunately don't have any of those pics and the reason for that is mentioned in the next paragraph.)
. There was also one rider with a Go Pro cam and he too shot videos of the bikes in action with the cam fixed on his CBR250. I think he still has to upload the videos, I will be posting the links here as soon as I get any info on that.
On our ride back, one of the riders on a Duke crashed his bike, He missed to spot an unmarked bump in the road. He was the one with the DSLR and his camera along with the bike was busted. He had a wound on his leg and we took him to hospital for medical care. He rode in a car that was with us for back up. Another friend who was riding pillion on a bike rode his bike back as well. He was lucky to survive the accident with that and some bruises.
We all enjoyed the ride and had a good time, Only a bit sad that one of the riders had an accident. Some of us also hope to do another ride this weekend.