How the idea came to my mind:
I was pretty much bored with my previous bike- The Generation one Unicorn. Not that it was bad in any way. But it sort of lacked the fun part that I enjoyed greatly in my early years of motorcycling back in the 90s with the RX100, the Shogun and the RX135 5 speed.
So I started thinking, What can I do to change that. I did some research and short listed three bikes to be considered next and after selling the Unicorn. They were the KTM Duke, the Hero Impulse and the Honda CBR 250R.
Now I have had a past where I was involved as a competitor in Motorsport in the two wheelers scene. I used to race and rally on motorcycles. And that is part the reason for me to put the above mentioned bikes as the final options. Why the particular three for options:
I short listed for the rev happy motor and trellis frame. I also love the job done by KISKA - Designing Desire
of Italy on the design part.
for its off-roading capabilities and the suspension that can literally fly over craters or whatever that comes in its way. Was never keen on the looks part upfront with the funny looking headlight and the motor was sort of under-powered for my liking.
- I took that as an option cause it has great touring capabilities along with a refined engine along with great riding comfort.
Now I had posted a poll here on TAI
to gather what you all think I should go for:http://www.theautomotiveindia.com/fo...a-unicorn.html
The votes were split between the Duke and the CBR equally. And then came Iron Rock's post which felt and hit me hard as if my soul itself was talking to me:http://www.theautomotiveindia.com/fo...tml#post163933
I felt that I didn't need to look any further, The KTM Duke 200 it was. Off to the Pro Biking Store to get myself a KTM:
Decision made I take a bus to the capital of Kerala at Thiruvanathapuram(formerly Trivandrum) where the only Bajaj Probiking Store in the state is situated. The showroom is at Vazhuthacaud, Its pretty neat and the people at the store are friendly and helpful.
There I see the Duke up close for the first time, It just blew my mind and I fell in love instantly. I ask for a test drive and they after seeing my licence and my signing an indemnity form(Its a big one with lines like, " I will not pull a wheelie or do a stoppie with the bike, I will not ride rash and negligently, I will adhere to all traffic laws, I will be solely responsible for any accident and third party injury including my own that may arise out of the test ride and Bajaj or KTM will not be held responsible for anything that happens out of my recklessness." You also will have to enter your licence number along with the validity details and issuing authority. Now this is not surprising as the ProBiking Store at Trivandrum already had their test ride Duke held and Confiscated by the Traffic Police for Reckless and Rash riding by people who came for test rides. The Store people had a hard time to get the bike released from the traffic authorities after two incidents in a row. Some folks also managed to crash the Test Ride Bike. And that explains the indemnity Form. Wise move on their part I must say.
A salesman gives me the keys to the Test Drive Duke. He hops on the pillion as well. We ride through the city, I feel the suspension is set a little stiff and the seat was also on the stiffer side. I could not give it the stick as traffic was heavy. The salesman guides me onto a lonely street and there I give it a some throttle, Careful so as to not frighten the salesman. The bike just zoomed off and at the blink of an eye we were at a junction. Though I couldn't do a real performance test, I gathered that this motorcycle sure means business, Real Business.
I pay an advance booking amount of Rs.20,000/- and the showroom manager tells me that there were four bikes to choose from and were readily available then and there. I was not set to buy the Duke that day.(The showroom people had told me on the phone the previous week that there was a waiting period of two weeks after the advance payment for the booking and so I was unprepared.)
I asked whether it was possible to choose one from the four and that if they could hold it for two days, I could be back for the bike.
I do the selection and leave for home. The next day, The Showroom manager calls and tells me that there was some mistake, The bike which I had selected was already selected by someone else. But he also said that he had another fresh consignment of six bikes on the way. So the very next day(28-05-2012) I leave for Trivandrum at 4:00 A.M(Trivandrum is some 235Kms away from where I live
). I reach the store at 9:30 A.M, The six bikes were there(Two were sold by the time I reached there and in half an hour.) So I select from the remaining four, Things I looked for while making the selection were an exhaust pipe with little or no blemishes, overall symmetry and whether the bike was scratch free. I select one, Here's the video of my Duke at the Showroom:
I sign all the documents and make the final payment, Its 1,32,000/- on the road. I was told that the bike will be ready by 4:00 P.M. I take a walk around the city, had lunch and came back to the store. The Temporary Registration and Insurance cover note were ready by 4:30 P.M. I was delivered the keys, documents along with the bike and by at 5:15 P.M I start my journey back home.
The journey home like I said before is a 235Kms trip. I top up the tank with Speed Petrol. It took in some 8 Litres which means that there was some two and a half litres of petrol in the tank. The fuel tank capacity is 10.5 litres approx.
I ride through rush hour. Traffic was as crazy as it could get, People trying to get back home like its the end of the world. Some cut into my lane, One guy in a WagonR almost hit me from the right. I dont know how I managed to get away from him, The Duke just went in the direction I pointed and was sure footed even after my locking the rear wheel while swerving left hard to avoid the dim wit at the same time.
I leave the city and the Duke starts to stretch its legs a bit, I make sure I keep the revs under 6000Rpm and without lugging the motor as well. The bike's motor is restricted to 7500Rpm till the running in is over. The restriction will be taken away at first service and then the bike will be good to cross 10,000Rpm and show its true colours.
I stop and fill premium fuel 91 octane every 60Kms or so as 91 octane fuel, recommended by KTM is not available in my area, More or so after the recent petrol price hike and cause there aren't many takers for premium fuel nowadays.
I make a stop at Changanassery, Tank up the bike, sip a can of Red bull myself to keep my alert. (I was starting to feel tired having slept some 5 hours the previous night and waking up at 3:00 A.M the same day.
) From there I take a slight deviation to my brother's place to pick up my nephew as he was dying to join me on my ride home. I freshen up with some snacks and coffee after travelling 140Kms and leave my brother's place at 9:45 P.M.
Back on the road I pass a Ritz, But soon it catches up with us, flashes its lights and honks. I move over and flash the indicators to let it pass. The Ritz stays parallel for a sec and the driver asks me, "Jalex?"
I said, "Yes?"
He replies, "Its sbtajesh!"
He pulls over to the side and so do I. We chat for a while, share experiences and say Good night. We both were equally surprised with the co-incidence of bumping into each other and seeing each other for the very first time.
Further, as I get nearer to my home, I pass a group of four bikes all with pillion. They were from my village and they wave me to halt for a sec to take a look. I pull over for them, They were all amazed to see the Duke. Some of them asked me if they could come to my place to see the bike in daylight and said they'll be coming next sunday. We reach home after midnight at 12:15 A.M., take a hot shower and hit the sack.
I woke up early the next day, Gave the bike a wash. It wasn't much dirt after the long haul as there were no rains on the way. Lucky me. It had rained every time before when I got a new bike. I never got the bike home neat and clean ever before. Maybe the KTM is turning out to be lucky for me.
I took the bike out for a spin, Took it to my old mechanic, He's the person that did the work on my race bikes. And he's the only one that I might allow to have a go. He was amazed to see the bike and was mighty impressed with the features and design. Exteriors and Design:
Compared to the CBR250R the KTM feels more sharp on all fronts. Its looks and feels more aggressive and precise. The Ninja might be better on most counts except maybe the looks here, But then it costs more than double the KTM. Special Features:
The Duke has a comprehensive LCD instrument and tell tale cluster(On board computer) It shows and indicates things like the
Distance to empty
Oil Pressure Warning
Time spent on the road in a trip(The trip info is auto reset once the bike is switched off for more than 60minutes
The headlight is direct from the battery and the park light and head light can be kept on even if the engine is not running
And it also has got the rest of the usual things commonly seen on most bikes.