When you think of the term; Motorcycling, what comes to your mind? Do you think of the freedom one feels? Or is it a sense of pride? Maybe brotherhood?
Even though there are plenty of ways to see motorcycling, in this article we shall look at this more realistically. I aim to tell you from my experience what other most likely wont tell you.
Arranging the finances
Your bike isn’t the only expense you have. You will have to shell out for fuel, service, spares and gear. Now fuel doesn’t cost much assuming you do about 30 kms a day with a bike that does 30kmpl. Assuming no loss or wastages, that runs to about Rs. 500 a week. Not considering inflation, for 5 years that amounts to Rs. 1.3 Lakh. Setting aside another 70k for spares, service and gear, that’s another 2 lakhs over the cost of the bike.
This excluding the fact that there is a difference between the ex-showroom and on-road price. Lets take my purchase experience as an example. My 250cc was Rs. 1.85 Lakhs ex-showroom and Rs. 2.15 Lakhs on road. Fuel averages out to Rs. 500 a week. Riding jacket was 7k, shoes 5k, gloves 5k, helmet 7k and bike protection 5-15k (depending on your choice). These are a few things to factor in while looking at this as a hobby.
Buying the bike
Yikes… you coughed up the cash… Now you got to go pick it up. I have a PDI (Pre delivery inspection) list you can use for reference:
Leg guard alignment (to check if the bike has had a fall or manhandled)
Front master cylinder fluid
Rear master cylinder fluid
Engine Oil level
Number of Kms on the ODO
Wear on handlebars and footpegs.
Scratches and dents
Loose panels or broken clips
Verify engine and chasis number
Press all the buttons and relevant functions
FI startup whine
Chain rust and play
First Aid Kit
Vent spouts (if they arent there, your bike has been ridden rash)
Dirt on footrests (you dont want a test vehicle)
Granted, in the excitement of owning it, there will be oversights. But you must document everything to bring to their notice. You have not spent your hard earned money for something defective.
This article is for a new rider, although more experienced rider can share their criticism if any. Getting the hang of the bike is most important. You should not rush to become Rossi and end up in the ground. Good things take time. Figure out the biting point, tipping point, lean angles, ergonomics and proper ride dynamics. And always check tyre pressure. Too high or too low will affect mileage and structural integrity of the alloy.
You can never stop learning… And if you think you do know everything, try explaining Yamahas VVA which is there in the R15. There is a lot. You need to know what does what so that to an extent, you can self diagnose. Granted, you wont be repairing any ECUs in your life, but its good to know that if it went wrong, why and what caused it.
Always. Wear. Gear.
There is no excuse for not wearing a helmet. There’s no excuse for not wearing shoes. No excuse for driving like a maniac. None for driving under the influence.
Wear the helmet and shoes, minimum. Riding jackets and gloves are optional but recommended. Over and above that are riding boots and pants. Be safe, drive smart.
A good rider, rides as if he is invisible, invisible to others. His job is to make sure that he is seen. Find out how you can be seen.
Making it your own
You have a huge amount of customization options for a bike. From wraps to stickers, tail tidy to winglets and a whole lot more. Make sure, like it was mentioned in the last section, that you are seen. High visibility stickers and clothing can be a big boon to your riding experience. A few personal touches can make a word of a difference to you. It can be as subtle as a keychain or as loud as a first copy exhaust. The bike is your canvas…
Making it last
Like anything you have ever owned, your bike needs care too. If need to be washed, dried and polished to maintain its charm. Drying the bike is probably the most important step and sand and mud can cake up and start causing it to rust. Use stainless steel bolts as much as you can when installing or removing parts. Invest in god cleaning products. Shampoo and polish are roughly around Rs. 500 and a 10 pc microfibre cloth set is around Rs. 300.
So ride smart and ride safe! Its not about the destination as much as it is about the ride.
Snippet of Husqvarna Vitpilen review: The Swedish brand is known for their enduro racing and have been dominating the field for years now. With the Vitpilen (and Svartpilen), Husqvarna aims to make retro-modern motorcycles for the everyday ride. With their clean lines and minimalistic design approach, these bikes win in the looks department. However, with the Swedish standard set so high, Bajaj fails to keep up in terms of manufacturing. Loose body panels, repeated ECU failures plague these bikes. Adding to that, the low ground clearance, high seat height and small fuel tank are reasons why it isn’t selling as well as it could.
Snippet of Royal Enfield Meteor review: I feel for the price its asking, especially the Fireball, it’s a steal. I, personally have never been a fan of an excess of chrome but since looks are subjective, you get to decide. As a tourer, its meh. It not the fastest nor the best. But the engine will live up to the “its about the ride, not the destination”. At roughly 2 lakhs on road, the Fireball is a fantastic deal. But the Stellar and Supernova have some cool features that a tourer wouldn’t want to miss out on.
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Image Credits: Honda Global