Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Riding the Triumph Bobber

I am sitting on the sidewalk in Madrid staring at a motorcycle (no surprise there) but its because its not one I have ever seen. Actually very few have actually seen or ridden this motorcycle till now. Why? 

Because I am at the official launch and ride of the New Triumph Bobber. 

My turn to ride the bike is tomorrow but since I got in earlier than the rest of the Indian crew I get to spend time ogling over the bikes as some of the international media peeps ride in after their day on the bikes. The smiles on their face is a great barometer of what our ride tomorrow will be like. Speaking of barometers when I heard we were going to Spain to ride this bike. I put together all my hipster summer kit I mean makes sense to dress the part right. Half face bell et all. Luckily the wife showed up just as I started packing and reminded me how cold the winter could be in sunny Madrid. A little Googling later and I found the temperature was going to be around 3C. To hell with the vanity I would rather be warm. Hipster shit went out and in went the Triumph Navigator suit with all the liners. Note to self start listening to the wife more often.

The Bobber is the latest line of motorcycles that I call bought and not built (like the cafe racers, these are bikes that are usually garage built but people today dont have the time or inclination to put into building them. So motorcycle companies have started building then for us). 

Triumph have nailed the design you look at the bike and its pretty evident what it is. Based on the T120 Bonneville platform the bike looks exactly as it should with its Bobbed fenders, single seat (which you can adjust and pull back or forward according to the riding stance you want), hard tail (well hidden rear suspension), minimal striped down bodywork, hidden battery box, adjustable meters (you can angle the cluster to you or flatten it depending on your fancy) and not to mention it comes in three great paint schemes. The more you look at the bike the details really pop. The brushed chrome finish of the twin peashooter pipes and the engine with bits of dull copper accents all add up to a stunner of a bike. The engine has been tuned and given more Torque and power low down. 

That's not all Triumph has over 150 different parts for you to bolt on to customise your Bobber to your sensibilities. My favourite is the old school inspiration kit with the ape bars. I would totally ride the hell out of that bike. 

After a huge Spanish breakfast and many strong coffees to clear out the jet lag and the few beers we had consumed the night before we were handed our keys and assigned our groups. 

Thumbing the starter and bringing the bike to life on that cold grey, damn and bleak morning I knew it was going to be hell of a day. Navigating the first of the many roundabouts outside the hotel I could hear a brilliant grinding sound and it hit me I was scraping the pegs fun times indeed. 

Triumph had picked out a great route for us to spend the day with the bike. We rode down the highways outside Madrid to a series of phenomenal roads that snaked over and around some hills. On the highway the bike is confident and quite planted even though it looks minimal. While on the twisties the bike is absolutely nimble and easy to navigate whatever your throw at it. Later in the day the sun shows up and dried all the dampness just in time as we hit the last set section of twisties to make sure we had a permanent smile plastered across our faces all evening. 

After a day on the bike someone asked me "Would you trade you T100 for the Bobber?" My answer  "Why would I trade? There is enough space for more than one bike in my garage."

The new Triumph Bobber is one hell of a bike. 

All Images that have me in it are thanks to The Triumph Official Photographers.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Living the Harley Life

To be honest I have hardly spent any time in the saddle of a Harley Davidson specially here on our shores. A couple of years back around Boston I spent two days on a Electra Glide on another occasion in New Zealand I spend a couple of days on a Road King exploring the South Island (a must do) and last year Harley Davidson sent me a Road King to potter around Mumbai for a week. So when the invitation to come and be a part of the 3 day Harley Owners Group (HOG) celebration in Goa and the fact that I would have a Street Glide Special (Milwaukee Eight) to my self for the three days it was a no brainer. I was packed and ready to leave.

The celebrations entailed three evenings packed with of all sorts of stuff. There was music by Pat Savage an International HOG rider who is spending time in India making a documentary on the community and Vir Das and Alien Chutney were at hand to entertain the hordes of riders that had ridden in from as far as Chandigarh and Guwahati. Every dealership in India showcased a custom motorcycle their chapter had built.

One evening was dedicated to felicitating those riders who had munched many many miles across India on their steeds. I never realised how close knit the Harley community is and how the brand has got lots of people riding again after many years and by jove they are riding. There are people racking up huge number of miles every year and that is good to see.

For me the fun bit of the celebration was the fact that the days were not busy at all and that gave me time to explore the state of Goa. After a hearty breakfast I would get on the bike and just head out into a direction (I dare say with the music playing from inbuilt entertainment system on the bike). Since Goa is almost a second home to me I would think of a spot I had not been to (more like a lunch spot with great food) and all the small roads and tracks that I have missed riding down and I headed out in that direction.

I love the way the Special looks. Matt black with buckets of chrome I think I am developing a real love for the bagger styling. The bike comes packed with all sorts of features like cruise control, GPS (worked pretty well in Goa), Entertainment System, a charging dock that if you plug your device in its syncs up to the Infotainment system (I used it to charge my GoPro batteries). The new Eight is a dream to ride. It may look huge but once you are riding it its quite nimble for its size but its the new engine that is the most impressive. Its quiet and effortless and very quick to respond and I think it doesn't vibrate as much when it starts up. Apart from that while riding around in the Goa traffic or on the narrow back lanes of Goa. The bike never seemed hot and toasty (in Goa it can be a real pain) the new liquid cooling and redesigned exhaust works like a charm to keep the temperature down for the rider.

I spent so much time in the saddle those three days that I thought I was going to run out of roads to ride in Goa. What a fun three days it was. Thank you Harley Davidson for Inviting me I had a blast.

P.S - Now about that Road Glide...