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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 02-05-2012, 10:56 AM   #46
Phacochoerus
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[QUOTE
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.....[/QUOTE]

I commute daily (66kms) on my RE500 Classic and have logged 14000+ kms. I use the bike off road when on leave in December courtesy of Michelin Siracs. Not a single problem to date. By the way I have an BMW R1200GS parked in my garage together with a Ducati Monster and a Ducati ST4s. The RE has charm and grace and brings back memories of my youth spent on 500 singles (not reliable)
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:04 PM   #47
tsk1979
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Wow, this thread is getting long.
I have just one more thing to add.
Sept is one of the best months to visit ladakh for bikes


1. Low chance of bad weather/snowfall
2. Roads are in the best shape
3. Its warm(relatively speaking)
4. Tourist rush is slightly lower.
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Old 02-05-2012, 05:26 PM   #48
Yamahuh OP
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That's good to have confirmed - 'cos that's why we're planning on going then
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:21 PM   #49
tsk1979
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Originally Posted by Yamahuh View Post
That's good to have confirmed - 'cos that's why we're planning on going then
First 2 weeks are the best when it comes to weather. Towards october, it can start snowing, and night temperatures in some regions go below freezing.
So ,make sure you are back by 30th september, or atmost 1st week of october.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:15 AM   #50
Yamahuh OP
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My pal flies out of Delhi on September 23rd so no worries there.
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Old 02-07-2012, 07:50 PM   #51
Witold
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Dal Lake, as a lake, is a dump. There are a dozen nicer lakes 200 miles from my home in DC. It's nothing special. It is dirty. It is over crowded. It is a tourist trap over run by touts. It is very expensive compared to other parts of India. It's feeding off its reputation from days long gone.

That said, I didn't necessarily regret going to Dal Lake because the houseboat experience was fairly interesting. The houseboats are pretty darn cool. But if I was going to Srinigar again, I would rather explore the city and the region outside.

***

Do not underestimate Rhotang. It's not that it's particularly tough to ride - it is not. It's that it is particularly susceptible to landslides that can shut the road down for hours or days. It happens VERY often. When I was passing through, Rhotang was closed for a few days the week prior, and the week after my pass. I also had to sit and wait on the pass it self as another small landslide was being cleared.

***

If you are not dead set on doing the whole trip on a bike for the principle of it, you really ought to consider flying Delhi-Leh and renting a bike there. This guarantees that you have not even 1/2 day of crap riding. It's going to be good from morning to evening, every day, every ride. There's something to be said for that. All bikes mentioned in this thread aside from the new EFI Enfields can definitely be rented in Leh.

***

Here is my ride report...
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:27 PM   #52
Yamahuh OP
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We're pretty set on riding the majority of the trip Witold - although the two days to or from Srinigar sound unpleasant I guess it's all part of the experience and it will give our bikes time to break down in more populated areas!!
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:15 AM   #53
tsk1979
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The manali leh highway has to be ridden. If you fly to leh, you miss it.
Srinagar leh highway can be given a miss if you do not plan zanskar.
As for rohtang, its very rare for rohtang to give trouble in september. July august are the problem months.
However, if the monsoon stays strong, expect rohtang trouble, but often, bikes can get through. Trick is to start from manali at 3am, so you are at rohtang by 5am.
That way you miss the circus.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:52 AM   #54
Yamahuh OP
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good advice Tsk - I'll definitely keep it in mind - 3 a.m is bloody early though (I'm guessing bloody cold too at that elevation) Might have to forego the jars of nectar the night before if that's the case ...
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:49 AM   #55
doniv
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Yes, 3 am would be a good time to leave for rohtang. This year people have taken around 5 hours to negotiate that stretch. Once the trucks and cars hit that spot, it becomes totally crazy. By September, Rohtang cannot be identified as a road unless the BRO has done resurfacing then.

The houseboat experience is unique and I'd recommend you go to Nageen lake instead of Dal lake. Nageen is very close to Dal and far from the madding crowd. The houseboats are as beautiful.

Take high altitude very seriously and remember that stillness is as important as motion on a journey ;) So take the time to chill out.
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:24 AM   #56
Yamahuh OP
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Will do Doniv - thanks for another cool suggestion re: Nageen Lake

Cheers to all you ADV'ers for your input and tips - just booked my flight into Delhi - September 1st is the big day and I am stoked ....

Thanks guys
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:19 AM   #57
arn
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Great! Just don't forget that vital visa, it will not be made on arrival, and you will have a very short India experience! Happened to an inmate not to long back after a lot of other prep!

I agree with witold to an extent that the some of the riding in the plains is "crap riding". However, before you get into the mountains, be it towards Manali or around Leh, it's vital to figure out your bike, especially if it is an enfield, and even more vital to figure out the traffic. The rush hour traffic will not be there (except up where else, the Rohtang!) but the driving etiquette (or, absence of that) will remain the same. You really do not want to learn that at 14000 feet around a blind corner. So do ride up and see if the hiring agency is prepared to ship your bike back from something other than the start point. Many ways to leave - from Leh (air), Manali (luxury overnight bus).

Over the last two years the Rohtang has become unstable on account of the road widening exercise that was carried out to transport the TBMs. Unfortunately it disturbed a very delicate equilibrium and landslides, some major, mostly minor are the order of the day. The big nuisance is when it snows during Aug/Jul - the snow does not get packed allowing a path to be cut through - it forms a loose slush that accumulates again as soon as it is cleared. Hopefully, your trip will be event free.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:44 AM   #58
glasswave
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Originally Posted by doniv View Post
Yes, 3 am would be a good time to leave for rohtang. This year people have taken around 5 hours to negotiate that stretch. Once the trucks and cars hit that spot, it becomes totally crazy. By September, Rohtang cannot be identified as a road unless the BRO has done resurfacing then.

The houseboat experience is unique and I'd recommend you go to Nageen lake instead of Dal lake. Nageen is very close to Dal and far from the madding crowd. The houseboats are as beautiful.

Take high altitude very seriously and remember that stillness is as important as motion on a journey ;) So take the time to chill out.
Another option is to leave Manali in late afternoon and stay in the tea stalls just after you start climbing to the pass. This way, you get to see the lovely stretch along the Beus River in the daytime.Then you can leave early for the pass and have the road to yourself. You'll get to Keylang early the next day with time for further exploring, perhaps down the Sutelej. Also, as far as side trips, no one mentioned Pavarti Valley, it's quite lovely if the weather is good.

Don't skip the Kargil to Padum stretch if favor of other side trips. If you fancy big glaciers spilling down to the road beneath 7000m peaks, it your best option. Make sure you check the festival schedule as you go along. Several are worth seeing. The further from Leh, the less tourists.

+1 on Nageen
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:18 PM   #59
Yamahuh OP
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Great! Just don't forget that vital visa, it will not be made on arrival, and you will have a very short India experience! Happened to an inmate not to long back after a lot of other prep!
Working on renewing my Canadian Passport right now - following that the Indian Visa will be applied for around May / June to give me plenty of time to be in and out before it expires
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:08 PM   #60
tsk1979
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Originally Posted by Yamahuh View Post
Working on renewing my Canadian Passport right now - following that the Indian Visa will be applied for around May / June to give me plenty of time to be in and out before it expires
Canadian? In that case you would be experienced in snow riding? Riding in slushy snow is not much different. If you can get a motorcycle snow chain, get it. May help you if there is snow on road on Wari La/Chang La or other high passes.
That said, touch base on "Travel partners section" in BCMtouring. A lot of people will be heading to leh then on bikes, and you can tag along with a couple of "small group semi solo bikers"

this will mean that you won't get cheated at dhabas(charged double etc.,), and no language problem too, as translators will be at hand.

BTW, my handle is same "tsk1979" on bcmtouring too.
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