Sunday, August 27, 2017

Tiger Trails

This past week was spent in the company of Triumph and its motorcycles. First, we wrestled Tiger 800s on slick and slippery trails in Aamby Valley, Maharashtra, under the watchful eye and cutting tongue of Vijay Parmar, rider extraordinaire and chief trainer, Tiger Training Academy.  Later, we got a little seat time on the much-anticipated Triumph Street Scrambler as seen in the previous post.

Tiger Trails is a structured training program that is designed to instill the basic techniques of off road riding and confidence hand in hand. Large adventure motorcycles can be difficult to manage in the dirt because of their weight and bulk. You can get away with a lack of dirt riding skills on small bikes, but an adventure bike can hurt you if you don’t know what you are doing.

By the end of the session, we were humbler, safer and far more confident riders in the dirt…


Vijay Parmar can't believe how bad journos are off-road...

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Lord, I was born a Scramblin' man...

Yesterday, Triumph launched the Street Scrambler in India and we were there to ride it.
Words and photographs by Harsh Man Rai

When Vimal Sumbly, MD Triumph India, took the covers off the Street Scrambler at a laid-back launch in Aamby Valley, Maharashtra, we fell in love all over again. This is a motorcycle after our own heart and if like us, you are into retro-cool-as-fuck scramblers as a style, this thing nails it better than anything else on the market.

The new Street Scrambler has that familiar Bonneville silhouette combined with minimal bodywork, black sculpted engine covers, a quickly detachable pillion seat that uncovers a luggage rack mounted to the rear sub-frame and that distinctive and beautiful high exhaust pipe. Proper proportions and stripped-back style give the Street Scrambler a rather rugged posture. According to Vimal Sumbly: “Our ambition was to deliver a new segment state-of-the-art rugged off road styled motorcycle that is both addictive everyday fun and an off-road motorcycle but with its own distinctive attitude. This motorcycle feels light and nimble, is excellent to ride around town, and is extremely capable on long distance trails.”

The new Scrambler is built around Triumph's new Street Twin, which uses their all-new 900cc, eight-valve, SOHC parallel-twin with 270-degree firing interval parallel twin motor which also begat the new T100, T100 Black, and Street Cup cafe racer. Peak torque arrives at 2,850 rpm with 59 pound-feet and peak horsepower (54 hp) at 6,000 rpm which is 28 per cent more than the old Scrambler. It also gets ride-by-wire fuelling and switchable ABS that are unique to the Street Scrambler, in addition to traction control and a torque assist clutch. A 41mm KYB fork and twin KYB shocks that are adjustable for preload do suspension duty offering 4.7 inches of travel at both ends. This new Street Scrambler comes from the factory shod in blocky dual sport Metzeler Tourance tyres: 100/90-19 size up front, same as the previous generation while getting a shorter and wider 150/70R17 rear tyre. This means a much larger range of tyre options for riders to choose from, compared to the old Scrambler. And there are more than 150 accessories to fuel your secret-life-of-Steve-McQueen fantasy.

While our time with the new Street Scrambler was severely limited to a couple of small loops on tarmac, we were impressed by how light and nimble the bike felt. The Street Scrambler makes enough power for us it is and delightful to ride. This isn’t a particularly fast bike, but there’s an intoxicating dose of fun on tap whenever you want it. The ride-by-wire throttle and light-effort torque-assist clutch make launches predictable and easy to control while the smooth 5-speed gearbox keeps the motor humming within the sweet part of the rev range.

Now we want more time on this bike to take it into Helmet Stories’ ‘scrambler’ territory and see how it fares. Are you listening Triumph India?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Episode 4 - Cruising Legends - Vir Nakai

Episode 4 | Cruising Legends | TheVibe Originals
From a young age,Vir Nakai has made it his singular goal to explore and go beyond the map. To seek new trails and build new bonds. Come, join us as we ride with him in the season finale of #CruisingLegends, an all-new series brought to you by Castrol POWER1 Cruise. Also, it's his birthday today, and we couldn't think of a more perfect gift for him. #LoveToCruise
Posted by Castrol Biking on Monday, 7 August 2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Cruising Legends - Vir Nakai - Teaser

So I may have missed the first few because I was travelling and away for the interwebs but it just happened that the trailer to the fourth episode (mine) came out while I was not. So here check it out and wait for three more days for the whole shebang.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Ride Inn - Manali part Deux

So if you have not heard of Ride Inn in Manali then well I just did you a favour. Now that you have let me tell you that after a few years they have moved down the road a bit and opened up a new location in Manali to host weary travellers on the well trodden Manali Leh route. 

The Inn keep and her husband are insanely great people who will take immense care of you while you are a guest at their property. We love going and hanging out there whenever we can. 

Before I left for Spiti I got them to send us some pictures of what the new place is looking like and let me tell you we cant wait to get up there and spend some time checking it out and eating that great local mutton dish their kitchen puts out. 

Here are some of the images they sent me. More when we are there in the next fortnight.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Life on the road

Its been a year since my Ducati Globetrotter trip and I was reliving the journey on my Instagram Stories but there were a few posts I have been wanting to put up on the blog so here is the first exactly how it was posted last year. 

In the small Nickel mining town of Los deep inside the forests of Sweden the plug in the back tyre came loose and I started loosing air from it. I stopped at what looked like a workshop and met the owner Axel who said he could help. He had a pump with which we filled the tyre and he patched it up for me (probably doing a far better job than I would have).
When it came time for payment he didn’t have change in cash so I said “let me go fill some petrol and will come back with change”. He looked at me and says it automatic and takes only card. Here is the largest problem I have had so far in Scandenavia – my cards have not been working and if they are my bank is charging me in Euros instead of Swedish Crowns (a different challenge to sort out back when I am in India). So I said Axel “why don’t you use your card so I can fuel up and then we won’t need change”. He thought about it and said “it’s unusual be we can try”. That’s what we did.
While fuelling up I found out it was his Birthday and his son is building a 300hp drag bike and he rode motorcycles in the past but is so busy with work that he doesn’t have time anymore.
It’s true when people say if you travel with a motorcycle you are never short of friends…
The Original post is here 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Travis Newbold - Pikes Peak 2017

Remember Travis whom I visited in Denver at his motorcycle shop. Well when I met him he was waiting for his Bottpower bike to show up from Spain so he could run the 2017 Pikes Peak. Well the bike showed up last moment and Travis and the team worked overtime to get it ready for the race.

We have been waiting for this video and it is here Travis's POV of his winning run (he came 1st in the class and 4th overall behind all the factory teams) up Pikes Peak.

Check out the new Sideburn Issue for all the dope on this insane run...

Friday, July 14, 2017

Cruising Legends by Castrol Power 1 and The Vibe

If you follow me on Instagram and or on other social media you will know after I came back from the GoPro games in Vail and the ride around the US I left immediately for Sikkim. The trip to Sikkim wasn't an official Helmet Stories ride. We were to be filmed for a web series for Castrol by The Vibe (Incidentally this is where I met the guys who did the Send it Upwards film we posted a few weeks back).

Because of Harsh's hand still being not fully functional (oh you didn't know? So we were exploring some new trails behind Chandigarh. At a stand still Harsh slipped in the mud and jumped back on his feet but that is all it took. He has come away with a plate, a handful of Titanium screws and a nifty scar from his wrist up his forearm. It was just one of those things he was in full kit but he landed on his arm and that was that) he had to cancel after his doctor had to ask him nicely to keep his ass put. So it was just me who eventually got on that plane to Sikkim.

So the idea behind this series is that Castrol wanted to show case what powers motorcyclists who head out yonder looking for adventure. They call the series Cruising Legends (Legends love it. When I hear the word it Evokes an image of William Wallace yelling Freedom). Anyway I spent a few days riding around through thick forests and brilliant mountain tops covered in clouds having a great time the more it rained the less they could shoot and that more I could ride. It was perfect. The only bit that was painful was that I barely got to take out my camera and get some shots out. What a role reversal it was.

Take a look at the trailer and also the first episode that came out today. I think my episode will come out sometime in August I shall keep you posted.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Heights of Passage - GoGetter

Now that the passes are open everyone and their aunties are busy rushing up to Ladakh. GoGetter the inflight magazine for GoAir got in touch with us and asked us to put together some of our thoughts and give the first timers some tips to make their trip into the deeper Himalayas easier and bit more brilliant. 

You can find the PDF Version of the Magazine here (page 44 onwards)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Send it Upwards : Trailer

While on shoot in Sikkim with Castrol and The Vibe. I met this crew and they began to tell me a story of how 4 of them decided to make a film on their journey to Ladakh. They didnt realise how tough it would be for the four of them. All who had very different riding history. One of them had never really spent much time on an Enfield let alone travel across the country on one.

The trailer to their film is out and I cant wait to see the completed project. (I love how the trailer starts (I got a bit more back info on it from the crew and it makes even more sense. Ill not let the cat out of the bag for that we have to wait for the film.)

On a sidenote. No one says anymore how tough it is to do this journey everyone talks about how awesome it is and how we all must do it once in our lives and if you own a motorcycle and haven't been to Leh you have really not done much.

Of course the roads and infrastructure are far better and that makes it much easier than it was 10 years back but that doesn't make the trip any easier. Today people look at Google Maps and decided "oh Manali Leh is not far I can do it in a day." Maybe you can maybe you cant that all depends on your skill level as a motorcyclist and anyway why the hell would you want to blaze through some of the most stunning parts of the world when you can take your time and take it all in. Its not like you will get to do this trip again and again.

I get emails and messages on a daily basis with ridiculous plans on riding up to Leh. People who have bought their bike a month ago people who are waiting to get their bike next week. All of them have duff information on how long it will take how hard it will be and how easy the trip really is. Ladakh is not going anywhere people these mountains were here long before us and will be here long after we have all gone. So dont rush up as soon as you get a motorcycle. Ride learn grow your skill before you tackle such a gargantuan trip trust me you will appreciate it more.

So I like and support crews who create content and tell the story as it is and dont hide the tough times and the trials and tribulations we all have to go through to do this journey.