Sunday, 6 December 2020

Its Official, The Phoenix is rising from the ashes

The Rant

In India, People are stupid. I see people piling up on motorcycles in car parking lots of buildings and calling it a 'garage'. Most of these people also are gifted with the skills of a blind gibbon wearing boxing gloves. And, here's why they are stupid:

More bikes=more money. Registration. Insurance. Maintenance. Storage, nah in india we just keep them in building car parks and let them rot..not me. Then you have upkeep. If you don’t ride them enough you have batteries to worry about and carbs getting gummed up or injectors getting dirty. I have 7 motorcycles now. I also have a shop with plenty of storage and knowledge to maintain them. I would say I ride only 3 of them regularly the rest just sit and look pretty or are in various states of repair. If I wasn’t an insane person I would sell all but 3 because again. They just sit. true story. 

PS: The first step of ownership begins with printing the owners and service manual.

The Article:

A restoration breathes life back into something classic and timeless. Perhaps you inherited your grandfather’s (or great-grandfather’s) favorite possession, but after failed attempts to get it running again, it was shoved into a corner of the garage or barn decades ago. Perhaps you are a collector of fine antique motorcycles and acquired a rare old motorcycle worthy of restoration, recognizing what it could be if handed to a master artisan. 

Hi, To clarify, I am not a master artisan. But its official. The motorcycle is my business now. I have setup a professional shop space in my parent's house basement. A bit cliche of how big things start small. Even though i am not an artist, I dont seem to see what other see. for example I dont see a rusted-out frame, A busted gas tank, or a dilapidated box of mismatched and dirty parts. I see what that motorcycle was in glory days. With a bit of overconfidence and a blind leap of faith, I now have 2 projects. a 2005 Ape RS125 and an even older KLE from yesteryear. 

Ask anyone that restores motorcycles and they will tell you it takes passion to complete the task. I believe i have developed a passion for Japanese and European classic bikes from the 80's and 90's. 

I enjoy waking up and walking down to the garage with a Plan. A plan to meticulously strips down each bike piece by piece and then begin - the arduous tasks of repair, refinish, and replacement until what was once a motorcycle others would put in the scrap yard is now a rideable memory from the past. For a collector , a  pièce de ré·sis·tance, or a great-grandchild’s most treasured (and rideable) memory. 


At some point, I will have the opportunity to meet new people and rebuild new motorcycles, and most of all love having visitors to the workshop. If you are one, Just be sure to bring a few treats for the cats and be ready to get your hands dirty – we might put you to work! 

PS: If I make it out this year, I’m putting it on my resumé...Fuck you too, 2020 

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

The End of Adventure ...

 The end of the adventure ... ... or the mechanics of fear 

By Didier Constant Posted on August 25, 2020

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Things People Say, that resonate with reality.

Humans have become soft. We moan and complain about minor inconveniences, luxuries and comforts that didn’t exist a decade ago. We get upset about poor wifi signals, low internet speeds, poor mobile reception and we take our bullshit frustrations out on those around us. We are socialising less than ever yet we have never been more connected. We happily surrender our freedom for convenience, comfort and security. We are connected to the grid at all times and have become slaves to the very system we created. Most of us either do not know or refuse to accept that we have purchased this security and comfort with the only true currency we really have, our freedom.
In a few short years we will see massive changes in the way we live and work. Risk, danger, uncertainty and adventure are already socially unacceptable and are being engineered out of life, allocated to the online world where no physical harm or financial loss can be suffered. Play, pleasure, work, creativity, sex, risk have been relegated to the online. The work and desires that once gave our lives meaning will be automated and the activities that once made life living will be outlawed as too high risk.
The motorcycle has become an anomaly in a world full of victims. A world that constantly craves more stuff, more safety, lower risk and demands perfection. The motorcycle, refuses to modernise, to cooperate, and become the transport it was initially designed to be.Most of us move around what remains of this planet wrapped up in steel cages with the latest anti braking systems, 10,000 point safety checks engineered in all wheel drive special utility vehicles with 20 air bags, the latest GPS technology and never truly disconnect from our all providing master, the system. The establishment, the government, the mainstream, the media will all tell you to stay well away from anything that cannot provide you with these basic human needs, comfort, security and safety. The system knows the riding a motorcycle facilitates independent thought. So have a good think about those “needs” as they exist only in your mind. They will tell you to give away your crazy immature, childish dreams of motorcycles and adventures. They will tell you to stay far away from these crazed reckless tribes who ride motorcycles. They will tell you this because they fear truth, they fear those who ride are not entirely enslaved. The system does not fully control bikers yet and with each ride they become less enslaved.
Riding a motorcycle brings us closer to what we are meant to be, wild and free, not merely algorithms and data fuel for a self-perpetuating system. On a motorcycle we are 100% disconnected and in the present moment. Our lives are in our own hands, we are creative and generate original and independent thoughts when we are unplugged and focussed as you can only be on a motorcycle. We know every time we ride we could die. We accept this and this makes us feel, feel life at its fullest. The brain fires differently when you ride and we connect with our tribe in very unique and authentic ways. Most of us cannot describe the bond between each member of our tribe but we all recognise it. It is the brief eye contact when you pass another rider going in the other direction, pegs scraping on a hairpin corner. Or warming frozen hands over a fire at the end of a long winter days riding, there is a bond.
The motorcycle is the last “fuck you” to a system fast enslaving the planet. Many of us have never known the feeling of joy of battling extreme elements and this is a real shame. To have ridden in far away lands exhausted, lonely and afraid. Through rain and sleet and snow for hour upon hour. Or to ride through the desert, lost in extreme heat, nearly out of fuel and bike limping into some small nomadic gypsy village. No steel cage to protect us, no phone to call for help, nothing but our wits and the good nature of fellow humans. This is freedom, this is adventure and this is life. To feel the sun, the wind and the rain on our skin. To fall off and get back up and fall off again. Discomfort, pain, discovery, freedom.
No one can control you on your bike, you cannot be monitored, regulated, legislated, mitigated or mediated. Riding a motorcycle you are unplugged and untethered just as we were born to be.
Bikers are free-range and unpredictable men and women which is rare among the 7 billion that populate the planet at this point in time. Give me blood, sweat and tears, bricks and mortar. Screw your online world and social media popularity and get on a motorcycle now and open your eyes.
Matt Natonewski

Matt ends his article with a Photo - guy on a Royal Enfield in Jaiselmer. Plenty of things are not romantic in today's world of ever-changing technology and things like Instagram in turn portraying great photographs. This article title means exactly what it means. Just like the title, I read somewhere that taking photos is a bit tilting towards narcissistic, and I agree. 
I think just like emotions, are photographs are beautiful. even if they look shitty to you and who even reads blogs in 2020 anyway? Here are three absolutely shit photos according to Instagram.
people groom themselves even in the middle of nowhere, i wonder why

compassion or not, they want the milk

good views are great, but doing laundry is greater

Monday, 28 October 2019

Morgan & The Great Indian Trail

Maharastra is surely my new favorite!  Just a Morgan & friends Photo album, nothing more, nothing less... A bunch of friends who joined to ride for a couple of weeks around routes plotted by one of us.

If these photos make you want to go riding, feel free to ! the routes are available as gpx, kml files for free here -

A big shout out to Abhi & Santosh for making the wonderful site!

Please read the "principles" section of the website and we expect you to follow it to the T. No excuses whatsoever.

PS: A note of caution - MH Grit after the monsoons have varied grades of tracks. The types include, paved sections, broken sections, broken tarmac, no tarmac, graded hard-packed gravel, graded hard-packed rocks, ungraded loose gravel, ungraded loose rocks, uphill ruts, downhill ruts, washout sections, hard-packed clay with ruts, just good ol clay, rock gardens, bald rock gardens, sharp rock gardens..The camera and photos hardly do justice. Next time I go with better tires. LoL.

Friday, 23 August 2019

"physics is just the language of reality"


After reading most of the 513 pages in advrider, and with lots of discussions on social media about this specific issue, i just thought ill share some facts as i belong to a "unique bucket" 

First and foremost, I live in India. In fact, i live in the same city where Royal Enfield has the factory where the Himalayan is made, Chennai, & Since i brought this up, i'd like the readers to know that all bikes are manufactured the same way, and exports are not special or anything as some of the reports claim. 

Now, lets talk about the issue and this "unique bucket" situation. Unlike regular people who own a Himalayan in india, my case is a little oblique, because my garage already consisted of a 2002 XR650L , 1997 PD10 Honda Transalp and a Hero Impulse which is basically a Honda NX150 Bros (sold in this name in brazil and under the XR moniker in other markets) and I actually dont own a himalayan myself. I work in the (part-time now) automobile industry here in india and thought ill share facts about this from a chassis mechanics perspective with all these other bikes in my garage as a comparison which most Indian folks have only heard of and never ridden. so lets start..

Force = mass x acceleration , 

I hope everyone can agree that motorbikes are not granted a special and unique benefit to escape the laws of the physics

So, when we hit something, the first thing to flex is the tire/wheel, then the flex of the fork, next the forks move to absorb the bump, last, the frame flexes. Each of these elements helps reduce the harshness of the initial impact with the bump, change anyone and the rider will feel more or less harshness. This is a simple explanation and directly linked to The Himalayan steering race's for the stem prematurely failing on many bikes too, and from owners report. empirical evidence also shows that frames don't crack overnight. its like how one thing leads to another and its a sequence of such serial events.

Addressing the weld related issues, ITS NOT A WELD RELATED ISSUE. The Himalayan has a half-duplex split cradle frame designed by harris performance. All motorcycle frames use "Chromoly" or chrome-alloy steel. This has medium carbon content and .8% - 1.1% molybdenum for strength. It is a steel that is stronger than carbon steel (more commonly used in manufacturing), so we can use thin wall tubing, giving you a lightweight frame that will last through years of riding. Claims of "Welding issues" are rubbish as it will be valid if its industrial streel which it is not. I cannot recall any manufacture using any other steel.

Harris performance: We live in 2019, and with iterations of current software (like Catia V5 R20,Ansys,enovia etc) people in the auto industry won't need anymore to test 10 different solutions to find out what is working or not. basically today, these things can show in 3D movement in an instant "how a motorcycle works" .. for eg. under load, under acceleration, under braking, gross axle weight load loading and distribution, break path forces, swing arm chain pull, suspension squat/anti-squat geometry etc blah blah..

1. If you open the manual, you will notice that the himalayan has a loading capacity of 180 kgs. (gross axel weight rating - gawr - weight across the axels)
2. loading about 80% of gawr is exceeding the threshold.
3. what is threshold?
As we get closer to loading that weight, either via luggage or spirited riding (going faster = force = mass x acceleration ) A very large amount of leverage that can be exerted on the steering head itself. This results in even large forces that have to be resisted by a strong and hence heavy frame. In addition, telescopic forks are well known for their propensity to nosedive under the influence of braking forces. this is how motorcycle geometry and load transfer works, and there is absolutely no way to around physics. because physics is just the language of reality.

Here is some comparison of the limitations explained with reference photos.

Lots of talk about Square Tubes are NOT STRONG. well, this a reference of a Transalp/Africa twin chassis using Square tubes at the neck stock area.

XR650L chassis - Dry sump, Oil in frame design uses much thinner chrome alloy tubing

Vs Himalayan: I have tried to attach a catalog photo so its unambiguous

The areas marked in red clearly shows the surface area of contact from the frame to the neck stock which essentially the stress concentration point. Here's another classic example case where the weld is holding, however, the tubing has gone through phases of fatigue and at some point lost temper. So, again, reiterating, its not the welding.

To conclude, I want to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Himalayan as a motorcycle, it just has limitations like any other motorcycle, and better dampening can, of course, help dissipate the forces that cause stress concentration to the neck stock.

Over & Out ! 

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

seabiscuit 2.0

Here's what you can do to better an already awesome Hero Impulse

list of my mods so far from 2013 to 2018 - 5 Years of farkling what started its life as a 150cc farm bike.

1. Engine swap
2. Fork upgrade to 43mm Showa Cartridge from 1989 Honda CR125R
3. 21'' DID Al rim w/ Ceat 90x90 21 Himalayan tyre
4. Speedo wont work with the 21 inch wheel, so used a wheel sensor magnet with a generic computer for Speedo, ODO
5. Pro Taper CR high SE bars, MSR handguards
6. Tank painted white and shrouds removed
7. Taper roller 32005 Bearings replacing the cup and cone ball bearings
8. Swingarm swapped from a 1986 Honda XR250R - increases wheel base by 40mm and reduced flex
9. Zedling Suspension (Pune) custome made rear shock for the XR250R swingarm
10. BBR big bore kit and CAMs, BS33 CV carb 118 Main jet, 20 Idle jet
11. Same old mega phone exhaust, the DB killer fell off in the event !
12. 1988 XR200 rear wheel and hubs along with Drum Brake backing plate with cam.

Built the bike with little to no time to prepare for a motorsport event, however, went ahead anyway with a "i don't give 2 shits attitude" - a poor decision in hindsight as I did not make it. Crashed badly and broke the bike badly enough to pull out on Day 1.

All in all, great experience. Not I can proudly say that i know the rules of chassis mechanics and a bit about how the kinematics and suspension work when we have one wheel behind the other. However, I had to spend the next day fixing what I broke and rode back from the India Baja in Jaisalmer all the way back home to Chennai over a month. Which if you ask me, was a good shakedown. Bikes great ! small glitches here and there, tiny niggles... lots of learning and more than happy to share if anyone else wants to do this to their bike, and make a radically different bike out of the Hero impulse.



Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Dear Gigi, Dont look like a dickhead

 Original Source: Boris Mihailovic


There, this should upset some people.
I'd hate them to think I was off my game...
I like so-called “adventure” bikes.
I have ridden many of them to all sorts of interesting places. I have dropped them into deep holes full of water. I have held grimly onto their handlebars as they cascaded down rocky hillsides.
I have even lost my licence on them, in one go, just outside of Coolah for doing 145 in a hundred zone.
So I am a fan.
But I have had a strange ache in my head about them ever since those two massive pox-blankets did that TV show a few years ago about riding around the world on a pair of borrowed BMW GSs.
Yes, Charlie and Ewan. BMW sold quite a few bikes off the back of that duo of useless shit-gibbons.
You see, they didn’t ride all the way around the world at all. They caught a train instead of riding the Road of Bones, if you’ll recall. And with the level of back-up vehicles, fixers, bodyguards, doctors and massage therapists they had along, it was hardly what one might call an “against all odds” adventure.
That did not stop them calling it that anyway, selling a whole bunch of DVDs, and so introducing a whole generation of riders to a whole new genre of motorcycles – the so-called “Adventure” bike.
And while some few folks do indeed ride these purpose-built beasts into the wilderness and have a ball, others (just like Charlie and Ewan) quickly discover their ambitions don’t quite match up with their abilities to punt a relatively heavy and quite tall motorcycle up the side of a mountain, and so their mega-dollar German or Austrian Adventure bike becomes the motorcycle equivalent of the Land Cruiser Prado that will never see a metre of dirt – but sure looks like it could, huh?
Which is fine, I guess. Adventure bikes are quite capable and brilliant road bikes, after all.

But as for adventure itself, and the having of it, you don’t need a purpose-built bike. Not really. Not if you actually crave real adventure.

All you need is a bike. Any bike that is not a purpose-built adventure bike and off you go. People do it all the time. You should too. Take your R1 and ride it through the Simpson Desert. Go ride your Ultra Glide through a Cambodian jungle.

Take your F4 MV Agusta through a bunch of swollen rivers on your way to Cape York. Hell, take that fancy Italian sex-machine to the Hindu Kush. Fix it with a rock and some goat-innards when it stops.

Have an adventure. A proper one.
It would be much like taking your Adventure bike to the racetrack and cutting sick laps on it, dirt tyres and all. You punch that tall-arse Teutonic twin and its knobbies into Southern Loop at 180km/h and you will know adventure.
If you want to observe adventure from a remove, then that’s fine. Observe. Don’t pretend. Not all of us are mentally or physically equipped to go adventuring, and so when we choose instead to only “look” like we go adventuring, people laugh at us.
Just like those pathetic Christian pseudo-bikies who only want to “look” like patch-wearing one-percenters.
On that same, and very valid point, not all of us are suited to ride motorcycles, and while I appreciate the efforts some of those people go to so they look the part, each and every time I pass them wobbling hopelessly along the road, I cannot help but feel we would all be better off as a species if they would just stop it and go back to driving cars.
I guess so much of motorcycling has become image rather than substance these days, and I think that’s pretty sad.
I remember a time when I thought nothing of hurling a modified Shovelhead down a dirt-track because there was a cool swimming spot at the other end and my girlfriend was going to get her 19-year-old boobies out and bake them in the sun. I remember manhandling ill-mannered GSXs along rock-filled creek beds because there was a rally site somewhere ahead and my mate Mudguard had a pocketful of hash he needed to share with me if only I made it there in one piece.
No-one had an Adventure bike.
No-one even knew what one of those was.
But we sure as shit had adventures.
Real ones where we risked our lives sipping deeply from the cup of life.
After all, if there is no real risk, there is no reward. And yes, some of my compatriots paid the ultimate price. They bought the ticket, they took the ride. I don’t mourn them now and didn’t mourn them then. I celebrate their lives instead.
Sure, you can dress up, buy the bike, and get all the accoutrements. And to the casual and ignorant observer you’ll certainly look like a risk-taking, high-stepping, hip-swinging adventurer par excellence. Which I’m sure is important to you, and that’s why you do it.

But to people who know what adventure is, what risk is and what reward it brings, and that style is nothing without substance, you only look like a dickhead.


In loving memory of Hubert.