Motorcycling Zen…

“In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact […]

A Ninja at the heart

The Versys hasn’t arrived yet. I was pretty excited and couldn’t resist the temptation to visit the Kawasaki/KTM showroom. So what if the Versys wasn’t there yet, a quick glance at the Ninja should hopefully help quench some of the thirst.

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It definitely did! Thing is, I’ve never bothered looking closely at a Ninja 650 before and it’s a fantastic motorcycle for sure. The green on this one is definitely the best green ever on a Ninja. It’s a sports tourer and didn’t feel heavy at all. Start the engine, and it’s a very low grunt although I did wish it was a little more refined.

Honestly, I loved the grunt when I test rode the Benelli  600GT – oh boy, the in-line four cylinder engines are always a music to the ears. The lack of ABS, weight, and of course the bulkiness held me back from considering this one. However, the build quality, fit and finish really surprised me.

A year ago, I came to the conclusion that 500-600cc engine would be ideal for Indian road conditions and after my first experience on a tourer (Suzuki V-Strom), any other motorcycle type was going to be a compromise.

Back to Kawasaki – the 650cc platform has 3 motorcycles – the Street ER-6n (a sore to the eyes from certain angles), the sporty Ninja 650 (a beauty with no ABS), and now the tourer Versys 650 (with ABS).

So, what do we have here then? A Ninja at it’s heart for the corners but a tourer in it’s mind for munching miles with utmost comfort. What an exciting prospect!

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It’s a pity then that it doesn’t come in green…

 

The end of Yamaha love affair

Ever since I saw, rather heard, the Yamaha RX100 as a kid, owning a motorcycle was one of the biggest reason for my existence. Owning a motorcycle meant owning a Yamaha. I’d still want to own one of this in my garage just for nostalgia’s sake – but it’s a 2-stroke engine that hurts our environment much faster than the current 4-strokes. So, I’ll let this one pass.

Yamaha Rx 100

The love for Yamaha continued over years in spite of them making really sad 4-stroke motorcycles through my school and college days. I eventually settled down for a Yamaha Libero (no, not the ugly eye) that served me well for half a lakh kilometers. It just felt like another run-of-the-mill machine after a year or so. But I got to say, even after 11 years, starting it is a single kick away.

Yamaha Libero 2004 Model

However, the ‘real’ Yamaha experience happened when I bought the Yamaha YZF R15 2.0 – what a beauty. There are many ways to describe a motorcycle, but the only way to describe the R15 is that it becomes an extension of you. It makes you want to lean. It makes you want to ride faster. It wants you to push your limits every time you ride it. Once in a while, it makes you feel like Valentino Rossi!

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A few months ago, my dream of wanting to ride the Yamaha R6 came came true and it deserves a post of it’s own. It was completely worth the 12 years I had to wait to finally get my hands on the pristine beauty – a story I’ll hold back for another day.

With every year, you learn to understand yourself better and as you expand your horizon of understanding motorcycles, you yearn for more. Along came the Kawasaki Versys 650 bringing an end to my love for Yamaha.

Or is there a twist in this love story? Read on…