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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joe Motocross, Jan 3, 2011.
MTrider16- great hijack.
Buuurt and JM- Kudos again, you did India proper.
Thanks for your outstanding report, it's one of the greats, made so with an unvarnished honesty (which us hard to achieve) about your adventure and adversity.
Thanks for the report guys.
It is clear that you had an "adventure" and that makes for the best reading. If everything had been perfect, you would not have had the memories to recount in later days. Its not the things that go well that we remember, its when things go wrong, but hopefully not too wrong, that we gather material for the best stories and yours was a great one.
Enfields require much more maintenance than other bikes unless ridden very carefuly and lovingly. Practically nobody rides a rental bike like that. No small rental outfit is going to do an engine rebuild everytime the bike comes back after 3 weeks and 4000 km, if it fails on somebody, it's his pot luck. This might explain Smart motors reluctance to pay for the rebuild, though I feel it was dishonest on their part not to refund for the ful repairs after assuring they would. Many rental units actually rent their Enfields on an "as is where is" basis for that reason. I know another Enfield rental unit which warns clients renting their old bikes that they can expect to get their hands dirty....
The only way out is to rent a NEW bike (yes, there are outfits, and no, they they don't charge the same) when these fail (not too rare, there are plenty of threads on INDIAN touring sites which will tell you how frequently that happens), you get shafted even better as the company will not reimburse for repairs done at non authorized centres, if you get the parts in the first place anyways.
It should be an eye opener that the locals prefer the smaller Indo Jap bikes and they do ride two up + luggage even in those mountains. There may just be a chance that they know something.......
Coming to the "white skin tax".
THIS is one of the main sources of the problem (first pic. BTW the shoeshine in the next pic costs nothing more than Rs 10 in most places, Rs100 is what a labourer will earn for a full days work))
That is the largest currency note in India (about 22$). If you had a fluorescent green ethnic group visiting your country and distributing 100$ for a shoeshine or 200$ to any panhandler or 1000$ to speed things up, I can bet that that other members of that ethnic group would be soon complaining about a "fluorescent green skin tax" too. Unfortunately it only takes a few people distributing ridiculous amounts of money (in ANY part of the world) for sevices which cost a small fraction of that for locals to put 2 and 2 together and decide their visitors have a) very small brains and b) too much money.
Even more unfortunately, the rest pay the price for that.
This has been a great thread, I hope you guys have a less adventurous trip next time around and ask us in India for advice to make your trip better on the regional forum. We know our own country a lot better than visitors
Here in Cairns, Oz, there are small car hire firms that rent cars to tourists to get around and see our "reef and rainforest" then absolutely rape them for every tiny scratch and dent when the car is bought back. Then once they deduct a huge amount for "repairs" from the tourist's deposit, they do not fix the small dents and scratches, so the next customer gets raped on them too.
The Japanese tourists are the hardest hit -- too polite and poor English so they just pay up.
So it happens everywhere. Specially where the customers are not locals so another plane load will be arriving tomorrow.
On the other hand, I met one UK backpacker complaining because she rented a car real cheap from a company called "Rent-a-Bomb" -- and its engine blew up!
Couldn't convince her that it was to be expected for a "bomb" to blow up.
Okay.. This thread should be an eye opener for anyone coming to India with an intention to the ride a Royal Enfield Bullet. However typical Bullet is not as bad as the bikes Joe and others got.
Here is a guide to assess the bullet you intent to rent/but from India written well by an European. worth reading
Great RR - thanks very much for finishing it up, I was waiting for the conclusion with Myheap. Having also done a trip to India this year over Christmas (driving tuk tuks, though, not Enfields) we are keen to go back and do a proper motorcycle adventure. Not sure if the ass pain you went through with the Enfields make it worth - food for thought. Thanks again.
Thank you, Arn, for offering a more insightful perspective on the matter.
I can't believe how crap this Enfields are. You bent the frame while sliding the arse end... what are the frames made of? The mildest steel around?
They sell these Enflields in my neck of the woods, I wonder if they are the same quality as those sold in India?
My buddy was a little pissed up and nearly bought one of these on the spot.
Lesson? never shop for motorbikes when you've had a few pints stood before you.
Holy shit, is that the same bike you hired?
Nice chit chat back and forth here on east vs west. It is part of the adventure to see differences in culture. I hope I don't come off like "wow, I can't believe how bad we were treated" or "all Indians are lame and should be like people in the US". I shared the story of Myheap because it was part of the adventure and not to say "don't go to India because those Easterners are all kooks". You'll run across dishonest people all over the world just like Reryder.
Do I think Myheap should have initially said "hey, that journey is a stretch for these bikes and we're only going to cover some of the repair costs if they break down"? Yes. Do I hold all Indians to a low standard because of Myheap? No, of course not.
One thing I can say no matter where you are is that if you tell someone something you should be able to hold your head up proud about your statements. This was something Myheap couldn't do and you could tell he wasn't proud by his demeanor and actions that night. Perhaps he is a product of his "Delhi shopkeeper" environment and is forced into operating like that.
I'm not mad or upset or feel like I deserved better, I'm just telling the story. My experience is that if you're going to get some rental bikes in India, try to be as careful as you can in choosing who you get them from and beware that there are operations like Smart Motors who will tell you one thing and not follow through.
Great RR for us to follow. Lots of fun, excitement, inconvenience and joy. You are a terrific story teller and you had some great riding companions as well as posting followers.
Thanks for the time and insight.
I had never considered a ride in India, but your adventure is bending me that way.....First Russia...
This has been a great RR :)
Personal experience is that you DO need to be mindful of who you sign up with.
If anyone is thinking of a similar trip and will be starting off from Delhi then Lalli Singh who owns Inder Motors in Karol Bagh has always had a first rate reputation for service and well-maintanined bikes.
Enfields are reliable enough.. if looked after properly and they DO need regular "fettling" to keep them that way.
Best thread ever!
Thanks for clarifying that Joe. I for one, think you have kept to the high ground.
Took me a couple of evenings to catch up to the story but I really enjoyed the ride. Thanks a lot for taking us along on your adventure.
Awesome report! I'm glad you guys didn't give him a bad impression of Americans by beating his ass out of frustration!
Great R.R.- thanks for taking the time to post it up. Your first Utah report on the KTM's is still one of my all-time favorites, but the adversity you overcame on this one has made for a great read.
That is clever, and a way to sort the situation without much drama. They don't want to pay 'No Problem', head wobble, walk away and they'll probably come running with the cash. (Possibly screaming and yelling).
Have to say, New Delhi is not typical India. It is the scam capital and is noted for that. Probably because it has gotten a never-ending stream of newbie (and relatively) wealthy tourists for a very long time while the locals have stayed poor, sort of like Cairo. Scamming visitors has gone on so long it has worked itself into the culture as almost an entitlement. Fake 'tourist information centers', 'goo on a shoe', triple prices for train tickets, etc. I don't think I met one person who started out in New Delhi who wasn't skinned in some way. Nobody got hurt, but they all got conned.
Anywhere else (except maybe Agra) it was (relatively) much easier.
In Mumbai for example they spend most of their time just stealing from each other and the companies they work for.
Yep, Delhi is notorious for having developed that into an art form even for us Indians. Again, a good hotel (ask the inmates!) or a local contact can make it comparatively painless.