Biting the ‘Bullet’

Can’t believe it has been a year already. I remember that evening, walking to the showroom, being given the documents and instructions etc. I looked around for it, to see which of those standing was mine. None was. I had to go to the service center to pick it up. Another 10 minutes of walking.

The sheet of paper handed over to them, the guy disappeared. I looked around for crash guards and only the basic one was around. “I’ll take that. Not riding without one!” The bike was duly rolled out and I gazed at in wonder. The man applied some polish for it, fixed the crash-guard and handed over the keys. I purred it into action, fuelled it up nearby and promptly rode home. On my brand new Bullet.

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Five years back if someone had said I’d be getting a Bullet, I’d have laughed. It was the kind of bike one suggests to people like The Raj, not for yourself when you weigh around 65Kgs. But here it was, all mine. The reasons had been pretty basic. A normal bike was causing a lot more backache thanks to the lack of weight and the one I had had pretty bad physics. I had also started doing a lot more bike rides – small ones to just outside the city etc. And the goal was to extend the frontiers on that one.

So the bike was booked in November 2012 and after a long wait of 6 months, it was delivered on the 16th May 2013. The first few months were a bit middling. There were issues with the odometer cable not working within a week (promptly replaced under warranty by the service guys) and some pretty pathetic servicing where during the first service, they broke the contacts on the battery by dropping it and then stuck it in, so that I wouldn’t realise the issue until a few days later. I ended up spending 2.5K to get a new battery; decided to be safe and stuck to Exide which has stronger contact points. The service center was changed and life has been going on normally since then. Touch wood.

The silencer was changed from the stock one to another one which produces more ‘thump’ and it makes for excellent riding with the engine thumping along. It’s not a speed machine, even with the 350CC engine on it. It does a comfortable 80Kmph and starts vibrating after that. But 70 has been my comfort-zone even with the old bike, so am not complaining there.

As for the bike rides, the longest it has been stretched to is Kanakapura, going there with a stopover at Ramanagarm to spot vultures and then riding along the excellent road connecting the two towns, Masala Dosa at Vasu’s and then the shorter NH209 to get back home for a total distance of 120 Kms. The back holds out well on such rides (Surprise!) as the road condition is pretty good, but it feels the worse-off sections of road a lot more as one gets closer home.

Of course, it gets you noticed, especially that you’re not someone who’s expected to be on a Bullet – being all of 66 Kgs (65 Kgs post the 10K run, gotta gain some weight back!), and it does cause some surprise. But my height works out fine I guess. I don’t look like the bike is guiding me rather than the other way around. As was best summarized by good ole Raghavan – “He doesn’t look awkward on it as I expected.” Thank you!

But the feeling of throttle on a Bullet on an empty section of the street while you sit back and let your arms loose is something out of this world and one really needs to be on one to experience it.

Well, one of those who’d have ‘thunk’ things eh?

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