As a kid, my reading was limited to just two things – cricket and motorcycles. It was by no means a scheduled reading habit but almost picking up anything (mostly magazines) that interested me.
A lesson about city riding: One such random article remained etched in my mind forever – an article that spoke about how having a powerful motorcycle can increase the safety of a rider. The argument being, you are most likely to meet an accident when you are slower than the traffic and if you have a motorcycle that has enough power to help you ride at speeds just quicker than the average traffic, then no one is going to drive into you from the rear and you still have a choice whether to run into someone/something. That’s still for the city safety. What about the highway?
As a kid, I traveled a lot. Considering, I was from Ooty, it meant that most of the routes we took were scenic. During my vacations, I’d end up with my cousins doing trips all over Tamil Nadu in their trucks or vans. Highways trips were at my disposal. Lucky me!
A lesson about highway riding: Can’t remember when, but I was in a car (Maruti 800) with my uncle and he made 3-4 motorcyclists to go off-road so he could overtake a slow moving bus and uttered the lines that will again be etched in my mind. “A motorcyclist’s safety is in his/her hand. They are the ones at risk. They should take all precautions and adjust for the oncoming traffic.” In a way, that sums up how most four-wheelers think and drive in India. Forget thinking about you, even if the bus/truck driver sees you on your motorcycle, you’re a lucky person.
Having done a good number of trips on the highways over the years, it’s obvious that any motorcycle with less than 500cc will be on speeds that are above it’s cruising speed (add vibrations if you are considering RE Classic 500). Not that it’s a big deal, since I’ve done 100+ speeds on my R15 and Duke 200 for over 2 hours non-stop. I even know of a friend who did 100+ speed for at least 3 hours or more on his ride to Bangalore from Hyderabad. It wears you and the engine out quickly. You know you are pushing the motorcycle to it’s limit and riding at speeds outside of it’s comfort zone. Keeps you on the edge of your wit and alertness.
Ride the Versys for a few hundred kilometers and all that will change…
The cruising factor: The biggest joy about riding the Versys 650 is how it cruises. Cruises at speeds that other motorcycles are running hard and wearing out the parts. Cruises on roads you’d need to be holding the throttle hard to hit top speed to cover distances. Cruises so well, that you want to be doing nothing but cruise. As a result, I’ve found myself riding my other motorcycles at much lesser speed allowing them to cruise as well.
1/3rd of the engine power and maybe somewhere close to half the power is what the Versys 650 will be running throughout it’s lifetime with you – especially in India. That means a lot of things apart from, of course, covering a lot of kilometers with ease.
- Means that the engine will last much longer than most other motorcycles that you may ride at those speeds while covering such distances.
- The wearing out of parts would be much lesser as you’re not really pushing the motorcycle hard.
In general, what that means, it’s a longer lifetime on the Versys 650. I’m counting down a 2,00,000+ km on the odometer as a minimum it can handle if it’s maintained well and doesn’t have a bad fall/crash that messes it all up. Fingers crossed!