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View Results: What is the best bike for Leh - Ladakh??
Royal Enfield 350 Electra UCE 5 speed 2 22.22%
Royal Enfield 500 Machismo 3 33.33%
Some other RE (state in your post) 1 11.11%
Bajaj Pulsar 220 3 33.33%
Voters: 9. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-30-2012, 12:38 AM   #16
Yamahuh OP
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Yeah - our wives might not be too happy about that

Have you heard any comments about BulletWallas now that they have been taken over by a Kiwi couple? I'm kinda hoping that the Western perspective might mean better prepped and more reliable bikes - but I don't know if that's necessarily true. Hard to find reviews of these places online it seems.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:12 AM   #17
Witold
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Originally Posted by Yamahuh View Post
Hard to find reviews of these places online it seems.
When you get there, you will see why. They are all hole-in-the-wall dumps with a couple of bikes surrounding the dump. Websites and reviews are not on top of their priority list.

Personally, I would rather deal with non-Indian shops. You are much less likely to be tricked, ripped off, and generally be 'on the same page' with Kiwis than with Indians. So yeah, I do think it's a big plus.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:17 AM   #18
arn
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You have another option if you've decided on bullets. It will also save you time. Take the bus to and fro Manali (overnight) and hire from Anu motors at Manali (or, more accurately, Vashist, 3km from Manali). Lots of bullets, various types, at least 5 staff, place to keep luggage, and very importantly, a LOCAL, in a much better position to offer support. As such he knows the place far better than foreigners who live here a small fraction of their lives and think they know it all.

However, AFAIK, he keeps only bullets, a bike which I would not touch with a barge pole, especially in a place where being stranded due to a malfunction can kill you. Please do note - you will not find a single local using a bullet there, a bike that is looked down because of it's thirst and unreliability.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:59 AM   #19
glasswave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
However, AFAIK, he keeps only bullets, a bike which I would not touch with a barge pole, especially in a place where being stranded due to a malfunction can kill you.
Well, I think that dying from a breakdown is a bit of a stretch. He's not off to Pang Tso, or anywhere super remote. On the Manali Leh Highway there are trucks and jeeps coming by all the time. The Indian people simply will not leave a tourist stranded on a high pass overnight to freeze to death. OTH, I'd bring a nice down jacket (very useful) & a sleeping bag (just in case).


Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
Please do note - you will not find a single local using a bullet there, a bike that is looked down because of it's thirst and unreliability.
Again, a bit of an exaggeration. Many local riders in India, and Manali, ride Bullets. They tend to be middle class folks that enjoy over-landing. They like the RE's because they have soul, not because they are practical. In my veiw, they are beautiful bikes that are tough as nails (running gear wise), albiet a fair bit unreliable mechanically. Most of these problems can easily be mitagated by carrying a small parts cache and a few wrenches.

Kind of like an old Harley, perhaps not very practical, but for some reason very attractive. Furthermore, if you plan to carry a lot of gear, they are they best choice.

Finally, they can/are very practical for the tourist. Imagine, you can show up in Manali, buy an Enfield off a traveler for $500 cash with no paper work required, find a cute Israeli chick who is sick of the bus, throw her full size pack on one side, yours on the other and take off through the Himal. If only other places were like this!

My fist RE was $450 for a gorgeous red one that I sold in Leh five weeks later (in a day) for all my expenses, including gas. I still keep in touch with Lior.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:10 PM   #20
Yamahuh OP
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sure do appreicate all the different viewpoints guys - not making our decisons any easier but it's good to have more than just the "Avoid RE's like the plague" perspective...

Keep 'em coming...
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:50 PM   #21
arn
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Originally Posted by glasswave View Post
Well, I think that dying from a breakdown is a bit of a stretch. He's not off to Pang Tso, or anywhere super remote. On the Manali Leh Highway there are trucks and jeeps coming by all the time. The Indian people simply will not leave a tourist stranded on a high pass overnight to freeze to death. OTH, I'd bring a nice down jacket (very useful) & a sleeping bag (just in case).




Again, a bit of an exaggeration. Many local riders in India, and Manali, ride Bullets. They tend to be middle class folks that enjoy over-landing. They like the RE's because they have soul, not because they are practical. In my veiw, they are beautiful bikes that are tough as nails (running gear wise), albiet a fair bit unreliable mechanically. Most of these problems can easily be mitagated by carrying a small parts cache and a few wrenches.

Kind of like an old Harley, perhaps not very practical, but for some reason very attractive. Furthermore, if you plan to carry a lot of gear, they are they best choice.

Finally, they can/are very practical for the tourist. Imagine, you can show up in Manali, buy an Enfield off a traveler for $500 cash with no paper work required, find a cute Israeli chick who is sick of the bus, throw her full size pack on one side, yours on the other and take off through the Himal. If only other places were like this!

My fist RE was $450 for a gorgeous red one that I sold in Leh five weeks later (in a day) for all my expenses, including gas. I still keep in touch with Lior.

The cold is hardly a problem, properly geared you can easily survive days if you have food. However a breakdown on say Tanglangla where you have to exert yourself repairing something has all the potential to give you very severe altitude sickness, even in 1 hr. I can tell you that first hand because I got stuck there on account of snow on the ice covered rocks, no mechanical malfunction. I was lucky that a convoy happened along an hour later. If it had started to snow a bit more, and the convoy had halted a the base to restart after the snow stopped....to pretend that you can't die there is being stupidly disconnected with ground realities. People HAVE died there.

By locals I mean people who actually LIVE there. Not Indian tourists, who are simply Enfield's marketing victims. I won't get into the foreigner psyche who believe the touring experience is incomplete without it being done on an enfield, wonder why they don't commute regularly at home with that thing since it is so full of soul and all that. Sure if you want to load extra people, luggage etc on your bike and have it drag itself painfully up the mountains with the occasional whiff of a fried clutch plate, thats your thing, but if you want something that handles like a pig, is almost as wide as a car anyways with those famous "LEH panniers" you have to think very carefully as to why you did not hire a car instead.

I've noticed that foreigners believe they know more about conditions here than people who actually live here, and this "knowledge " extends to vehicles they may have used for a few weeks only whereas we get to see them every day and have a much better awareness as to how they behave in the long term. I can understand them being more familiar with foreigner specific problems (such as touts, for instance), but just because they have used a vehicle for a few weeks or gone to some place once in good weather.....
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:04 AM   #22
Yamahuh OP
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Looks like you had a blast ColdC
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:57 AM   #23
arn
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Read all about the great bike

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=649091




Yeah I stand corrected, a small car is several inches wider.







Must be lying . Actually the bike went back under its own power

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...&postcount=170







. clearly enjoying himself !!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bHdnCco_b8

arn screwed with this post 02-02-2012 at 08:52 PM Reason: No longer required as the person it was aimed at has absconded with his bogus pictures
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:49 PM   #24
Yamahuh OP
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Well we certainly won't be carrying as much gear as the guy in that pic Arn!!

One backpack apiece - some extra fuel and some spares should hopefully be enough
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:59 PM   #25
glasswave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
The cold is hardly a problem, properly geared you can easily survive days if you have food. However a breakdown on say Tanglangla where you have to exert yourself repairing something has all the potential to give you very severe altitude sickness, even in 1 hr. I can tell you that first hand because I got stuck there on account of snow on the ice covered rocks, no mechanical malfunction. I was lucky that a convoy happened along an hour later. If it had started to snow a bit more, and the convoy had halted a the base to restart after the snow stopped....to pretend that you can't die there is being stupidly disconnected with ground realities. People HAVE died there.
Going up to 5500 m without proper acclimation is fool hardy and dangerous. And your right, people die from it every year. I'm glad that you came through, OK. OTH, to blame a moto breakdown for getting AMS, HAPE or HACE, is misdirecting the blame. Please Yamahuh, and others, take acclimation seriously. There are many things that you can die from on the Manali Leh highway, especially from failing to properly acclimatize. To paraphrase, ascending to high altitude w/o under going a proper acclimation routine is being stupidly disconnected from reality. A more reliable bike is no substitute for proper acclimation. Use your mountain sense, if don't have any, use common sense and follow a by the book acclimation schedule.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
By locals I mean people who actually LIVE there. Not Indian tourists, who are simply Enfield's marketing victims. I won't get into the foreigner psyche who believe the touring experience is incomplete without it being done on an enfield, wonder why they don't commute regularly at home with that thing since it is so full of soul and all that. Sure if you want to load extra people, luggage etc on your bike and have it drag itself painfully up the mountains with the occasional whiff of a fried clutch plate, thats your thing, but if you want something that handles like a pig, is almost as wide as a car anyways with those famous "LEH panniers" you have to think very carefully as to why you did not hire a car instead.

I've noticed that foreigners believe they know more about conditions here than people who actually live here, and this "knowledge " extends to vehicles they may have used for a few weeks only whereas we get to see them every day and have a much better awareness as to how they behave in the long term. I can understand them being more familiar with foreigner specific problems (such as touts, for instance), but just because they have used a vehicle for a few weeks or gone to some place once in good weather.....
I have freinds in Manali, that have chosen to tour all over the Himal using Enfields. Sesu, at the Veer guesthouse for example.

OK, so you don't like enfields, that much is clear. That's no reason for hyperbole. I think they are tough bikes, that require lots of maintenance, and carrying tools and a spares bin. I also love the Bajaj Pulsar 180, but have only ridden one four days in Nepal. I have taken a Chinese 150cc stree tbike, which are considered to be of the lowest quality, across XingZian, the Aksai Chin and the Tibetian plateau. I met a gent who had toured from Kargil to Padum (a much more serious trip than Manali-Leh) on an old bashed up scooter.

While I would never pretend to know as much about motor touring the Himal as a seasoned local, I do know this, people have have ridden to all corners of the globe on all manner of motorized conveyance w/o incident. I don't like Harleys and would never recommend one for a rwt tour (yet hundreds have done it on HD's), but, the again, I would never assert that the decision between a Harley and a more reliable mount is a matter of life and death.

Please understand, I mean no disrespect, I just think that there is room for opposing, but reasonable views.

glasswave screwed with this post 02-01-2012 at 09:13 PM
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:30 PM   #26
arn
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That was one of the reasons for discouraging you from carrying your camping gear :)

One up, with rucksack + tools strapped to the saree guard....any bike will do.

Except perhaps this one!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=0pNlhMOK4WM

It also explains why these "classics" quickly became extinct in their country of design.
These bikes survived in India because the company saw to it that nobody else (apart from Jawa) were allowed to manufacture motorbikes, for a long long time.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:08 PM   #27
glasswave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=0pNlhMOK4WM

It also explains why these "classics" quickly became extinct in their country of design.
These bikes survived in India because the company saw to it that nobody else (apart from Jawa) were allowed to manufacture motorbikes, for a long long time.
Hill-fucking-larious

Yeah, I use to never really understand the Harley mystic. How could people love such a shitty bike? OTH, after riding RE's, now I understand, a little. I love them, but they are really, by nearly any measure (other than looks perhaps), one of the most thoroughly shitty motorcycles remaining in common use.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:39 AM   #28
Yamahuh OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glasswave View Post
Going up to 5500 m without proper acclimation is fool hardy and dangerous. And your right, people die from it every year. I'm glad that you came through, OK. OTH, to blame a moto breakdown for getting AMS, HAPE or HACE, is misdirecting the blame. Please Yamahuh, and others, take acclimation seriously.
We are fully aware of the dangers and the potential for AMS - our route is (we think) going to allow us to acclimatize fairly slowly over the first few days. Essentially this is what we are planning;

Day 1: Delhi - Amritsar
Day 2: Amritsar
Day 3: Amritsar - Patnitop
Day 4: Patnitop - Srinagar (Shikara ride in Dal Lake in the evening)
Day 5: Srinagar - Kargil
Day 6: Kargil - Leh
Day 7: Leh sightseeing (Thiksey, Hemis, Shey etc.) and get the permit made for Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri
Day 8: Leh - Khardung La - Nubra Valley (Diskit or Hunder)
Day 9: Nubra Valley - Khardung La - Leh
Day 10: Leh - Pangong Tso
Day 11: Pangong Tso - Leh
Day 12: Leh
Day 13: Leh - Upshi - Chumathang - Tso Moriri (Korzok)
Day 14: Tso Moriri - Tso Kar Pang/Sarchu
Day 15: Pang/Sarchu - Jispa/Keylong/Sissu
Day 16: Jispa/Keylong/Sissu - Manali
Day 17: Manali - Chandigarh
Day 18: Chandigarh - Delhi

Obviously this is not fixed in stone but it's our basic idea right now...

What do you think??
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:00 AM   #29
tsk1979
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamahuh View Post
We are fully aware of the dangers and the potential for AMS - our route is (we think) going to allow us to acclimatize fairly slowly over the first few days. Essentially this is what we are planning;

Day 1: Delhi - Amritsar
Day 2: Amritsar
Day 3: Amritsar - Patnitop
Day 4: Patnitop - Srinagar (Shikara ride in Dal Lake in the evening)
Day 5: Srinagar - Kargil
Day 6: Kargil - Leh
Day 7: Leh sightseeing (Thiksey, Hemis, Shey etc.) and get the permit made for Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri
Day 8: Leh - Khardung La - Nubra Valley (Diskit or Hunder)
Day 9: Nubra Valley - Khardung La - Leh
Day 10: Leh - Pangong Tso
Day 11: Pangong Tso - Leh
Day 12: Leh
Day 13: Leh - Upshi - Chumathang - Tso Moriri (Korzok)
Day 14: Tso Moriri - Tso Kar – Pang/Sarchu
Day 15: Pang/Sarchu - Jispa/Keylong/Sissu
Day 16: Jispa/Keylong/Sissu - Manali
Day 17: Manali - Chandigarh
Day 18: Chandigarh - Delhi

Obviously this is not fixed in stone but it's our basic idea right now...

What do you think??
Amritsar? That is out of the way slightly unless you want to see the Golden temple. I would suggest you see Golden temple. Its really a wonderful sight.
you also get very nice food there. Its the "non veg food capital" of India.

Do this
1 - Delhi - amritsar - 10 hours of riding
2. Visit Golden temple in morning, have breakfast, and head towards Patnitop
3. Patnitop - Sonmarg(90kms from Srinagar). truly a wonderful place
4. Sonmarg - Kargil
5. Kargil - Leh
6. Permits
7. Ride to Nubra via Khardung La
8. ride to Pangong Tso via Wari La - tough ride via Agham village. But truly worth it. you cross two crazy high passes. Wari la opens only by june end. Reach tangste(35kms from Pangong) and stay a comfortable night there).Places near the lake are cold and not comfortable
9. Pangong Tso - Spend the day there, and around 2pm start ride back to Leh (140kms)
10. Rest
11. Ride to Tso moriri - Spend night there
12. Ride hard beyond Sarchu to Jispa - Sarchu gets uncomfortably cold, and is very high altitude. This would mean starting at 6am from Tso Moriri
13. Jispa - Mandi (Ride beyond kullu, to Mandi. Its a 3 hour ride from manali or maybe 4)
14. Mandi - Delhi

See you have days to spare.

Things to do in these spare days.
1. If you have the guts and want to see Drang drung glacier - Ride to Padum. 12 hours of bone jarring, killing ride from Kargil

If you plan to do this this should be your plan after Srinagar
1. Sonmarg - Unba la(from Drass) - Sankoo
2. Sankoo - Padum
3. Padum local
4. Padum - Sankoo
5. Sankoo - leh

Sankoo is 2-3 hours from kargil on kargil padum road.

See this
http://www.bcmtouring.com/forum/atta...456d1210851228

And also this thread
http://www.bcmtouring.com/forum/lada...-ladakh-t1211/

There are many sections where foreign tourists are not allowed, but Tso Moriri/Tso Kar/Pangong/Nubra are not off limits.

Coming to choice of bike.

Enfield is grand and royal. but sometimes pain is also royal pain.
A Karizma, or a Pulsar 220 will do fine.
Pulsar comes with a big fuel tank too, and is very fuel efficient. It will climb all slopes. do not bother with camping/cooking gear. If you can reach there, the place will have atleast tented acco + food.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:13 PM   #30
arn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamahuh View Post
We are fully aware of the dangers and the potential for AMS - our route is (we think) going to allow us to acclimatize fairly slowly over the first few days. Essentially this is what we are planning;

Day 1: Delhi - Amritsar
Day 2: Amritsar
Day 3: Amritsar - Patnitop
Day 4: Patnitop - Srinagar (Shikara ride in Dal Lake in the evening)
Day 5: Srinagar - Kargil
Day 6: Kargil - Leh
Day 7: Leh sightseeing (Thiksey, Hemis, Shey etc.) and get the permit made for Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri
Day 8: Leh - Khardung La - Nubra Valley (Diskit or Hunder)
Day 9: Nubra Valley - Khardung La - Leh
Day 10: Leh - Pangong Tso
Day 11: Pangong Tso - Leh
Day 12: Leh
Day 13: Leh - Upshi - Chumathang - Tso Moriri (Korzok)
Day 14: Tso Moriri - Tso Kar – Pang/Sarchu
Day 15: Pang/Sarchu - Jispa/Keylong/Sissu
Day 16: Jispa/Keylong/Sissu - Manali
Day 17: Manali - Chandigarh
Day 18: Chandigarh - Delhi

Obviously this is not fixed in stone but it's our basic idea right now...

What do you think??
Travel in this area has it's own set of problems:
  • Political disturbances in the Kashmir Valley which can lead to traffic shutdowns on the Kargil Srinagar route
  • Weather disturbances that can shut down Rohtang pass, the lowest but by far the most lethal on that route
  • A minimum of 2-3 low activity days once you hit about 11000 ft to acclimatize. Docs recommend about 5 days.

The political situation bit is unpredictable, however people have to live, work, eat etc so usually a shutdown of more than a day or two is not common. Besides, there are flights out in an emergency from Srinagar.

The weather - since the last couple of years, all bets are off. Usually August is the best month. Last year it was hell on earth, I've had biking buddies get out of there alive by the skin of their teeth. I believe the Rohtang was again shut for several days too. The previous year I waited for several days in mid June before cutting my losses and turning back from Manali - the Rohtang stayed shut for 5 days after I left, a total of more than 20 days, at a time when the roads (during other years) start to look like roads again and not a collection of craters and icy bogs.

AMS - acclimatization does not start at altitudes of less than 9 - 10000 ft, and before you go into the "danger zone" as it were, it's better to be fresh and rested, and started on Diamox as a preventive measure.

Now why am I writing all this? Just because you have planned a trip in August (usually the safest time) does not mean the weather gods have sanctioned it, or some fundamentalist politician fanning hatred in Srinagar. Now what happens if you reach Keylong and the weather goes bad and the Rohtang and nearby passes are shut. You may have to stay there for maybe 3 days. Maybe more. Do you have that much standby time or will you miss your flight back? The road is the only route out. However, if you are travelling in the opposite direction, Delhi, Manali, Leh , Srinagar, you have the options of loading your vehicles in the train at Srinagar and flying to Delhi, skipping Amritsar, etc, which automatically gives you a buffer of some sort, so that you can catch your flight out.

That's why I suggest you do it in the opposite direction. Hopefully, none of the scenarios I've mentioned will happen and it will be a collection of happy memories and gorgeous photos that you take back, wondering perhaps as to why I painted such a gloomy picture, when the reality is so rosy. It's just that that's what contingency planning is about.

The changes you'd have to make, though, would be to try cross the Rohtang at the earliest, to get to Keylong where you can acclimatize. Plenty of reasonable places to stay, and just take it easy and drink in the surroundings, and take the sort of photos that turn all your friends green with envy for the next two days before moving on.

Personally, I prefer to cross Punjab at night (avoids the hideous traffic) and be in the hills by early morning so as to reach Manali by one or so, but that is DEFINITELY NOT for you. You need to get used to the bikes (no big deal for the Karizma/Pulsar/CBR) and the traffic (that can be a PRETTY BIG DEAL), so the first day stopover would be Chandigarh, then Manali (too low to start he acclimatization process), followed by Keylong. A very good alternative to Manali would be Vashist, just a few km away, everything would be a lot cheaper, the 2 km climb to town which is an irritation for somebody on foot is not felt when you have your own transport.

@ glasswave: Bashed up scooters have done it, a moped called dot has done it, one farmer from Punjab has done it in his tractor pulling a trailer, loaded with his supplies, tent, etc like, er, one of the bikes we mentioned some time back...as have cyclists. They can all do it, no argument at all. To each his own as well, again no doubt about it.

I agree I got a bit carried away by the anti enfield tirade, but this is a place where you really do not want a breakdown of any sort, and you want your bike to brake and handle well, as the consequences of something going wrong can be far more catastrophic as compared to what can happen in less hostile climates and terrain

But Yamahuh has limited time. I'm not sure he wants to spend it repairing his ride or making friends with mechanics all along the route when he could be visiting places he's been planning to see for years. We're here to help him choose the "Best" ride. He's not familiar with any of the bikes. Under those circumstance, if we consider what his priorities are, what are the chances that the bike we recommend is going to screw his trip? Mind you, any bike can, it's just that some are several times as capable as others. If any of my Indian friends wanted to do he same thing on his bullet, I would not even bring up the matter of his bike, for the simple reason, that having had this bike for some time at least (and knowing what else is available), he's going into it with his eyes wide open, the very best of luck and good wishes to him.

What would one say if he guy on the scooter kept insisting that that is the best mode of transport in the Himalayas? Or Nathan the CT110, and the farmer his tractor, with trailer? Can we call that guiding or misleading?

Posting pictures of having "road" 40 km through a snowstorm with barely a speck of snow visible on top of his bike, WHO is he B***S*******?

A light snowfall (not a storm, only morons try ride through that) makes your bike look like THIS in 3 km:



Take a good look at the stuff on the luggage, compare with the 40 km through a "storm"
You'll notice now that he has chosen to withdraw his post and his picture now that his claims do not stand up to any logical thought


Maybe, Yamahuh, you need an extra day in Delhi to ride the Bullet, the Karizma, the CBR and the Pulsar back to back, and then decide which would be "best" for you.

arn screwed with this post 02-02-2012 at 08:57 PM Reason: more stuff
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