Ladakh : The Journey that never ends
For all those Motorcyclists across the world who have a dream to ride to the worlds highest ride, read this first before you take the road.
Ladakh, it is known as the coldest desert and trust me on this. I have done it tons of times. Ladakh is most scenic experience you would ever have. For all travelers, I would recommend this place to be visited at least once in your life time. With the most terrifying mountain passes in the world, the most ancient Buddhist monasteries in the world and highest altitude cold desert of the world – It is what I call The holy grail of Biking. With little or no tarmac, severely punishing kacha roads & uncountable river crossings and to top it all, the Cold air, Insufficient Oxygen levels and almost no civilization. This is Hell for many, but for a biker … Its Mecca ..
Riding to Ladakh
This Article is to ensure that all bikers understand the meaning of “Riding in Ladakh” . It is one of the most toughest journey you would come across.
Plan your route first
- There are two roads leading to Ladakh :
- Delhi – Jammu – Srinagar – Kargil – Leh
- Delhi – Manali – Keylong – Sarchu – Leh
- Both Routes are equally exciting and scenic.
- Plan the number of days
- You would need to have at least 24-48 hours to acclimatize to the environment that Ladakh offers
- You would need a minimum of 5 days for the trip excluding traveling time to Ladakh.
- Chart out the Hotels / accommodation on the way to Leh.
- Chart out the ATM’s and Fuel stations along the way
- There are two roads leading to Ladakh :
- Clutch Plates: It is essential to have clutch plates in good condition, before starting a ride to Ladakh; otherwise you can end up with a motorcycle, which refuses to climb steep hilly roads Ladakh has to offer. So make sure to get your clutch plates check and replace them, if they have little life left in them.
Piston Rings: If your bike has been consuming engine oil lately; it is best to get the piston-cylinder kit checked for wear and tear and replace them if necessary. Also get the valves checked as well.
Timing Chain: Another thing you need to pay close attention to is a loose/worn out timing chain, which can end up causing mechanical failure during the ride or make your motorcycle perform sub optimally.
Drive Chain & Sprockets: Check drive chain and sprockets for wear, if the chain and/or sprockets are on the last lease of life, change the entire chain-sprocket set. Else get them cleaned and lubricated.
Suspensions: Riding on the harsh terrain of Ladakh with a bike loaded with rider and luggage can take a toll on the suspension of your motorcycle. Get the front and rear suspension checked, and if the need be, get them repaired/changed.
Swing arm bush: Get the swing arm bush checked for slackness, change if needed.
Air filter/spark plug: If your air filter and/or spark plug is over 10000kms old or approaching that figure, get them changed. Don’t throw the old ones out, keep them as spares.
Clutch & Accelerator wires: If your Clutch and Accelerator wires are over 10000kms old, get them changed and keep the old ones as spare. If they are not in need of a change then get them lubricated.
Brake shoes/pads: Get the brake pads and shoes checked for wear, if they can’t last for 5000kms, get them changed. Also get the brake fluid changed or top it up, if you had changed it recently.
Con Set: Con set is an essential part of the bike and if it’s loose or worn out, it can affect the handling of the motorcycle. At the time of service get it checked and change it if the need be.
Engine oil/filter: If the engine oil is over 500kms old, get it changed. Also change the oil filter. In case your bike uses an oil strainer, get it cleaned.
Electrical and battery: Get all the electrical wiring checked, check all bulbs to see if they are functioning properly. Also clean the headlight seal beam and brake light to ensure better visibility. Also make sure your bike’s battery is performing well, this is especially important if your motorcycle does not have kick start.
Fasten all nuts and bolts: Get all the nuts and bolts fastened properly, in case any is missing, get it installed.
Carburetor Tuning: Keep the Carburetor tuning as close to stock as possible. Running it rich will cause problem in high altitude areas and running it lean would lead to overheating in plains.
General check: Give everything a once over, ensure that everything is working properly and all the fluids are topped up, i.e. battery water, engine oil etc. Ensure all fuel lines are intact and there is no leakage anywhere.
Tyres: Check both tyres for wear and signs of cuts and cracks. If either of them is nearing the end of their life, get them changed. If you need to change tyres, get dual purpose tyres, since they perform well on and off road.
Wheel alignment: In case your motorcycle has spoke wheels, get them checked, and if the need be, get them aligned before your ride.
Learn minor repair/servicing
If you have gone through the above routine, your bike should hold through for the entire trip, but it’s a good idea to ask your motorcycle mechanic to teach you minor chores like tightening rear brakes, adjusting clutch and accelerator play, adjusting chain, fixing puncture, replacing bulbs and changing accelerator/clutch cable/levers.
Final checks on the D-Day and beyond:
Now that you have prepared your motorcycle for Ladakh, and are ready to start your ride, there are a few checks you need to perform daily.
Check if all lights, horn and indicators are working.
Double check fluid levels such as engine oil, brake oil and coolant (in case of liquid cooled motorcycles).
Check tyres for air pressure as well as look for any signs of puncture or damage.
Check if chain is lubricated properly and isn’t too tight or too loose.
Check for any leakages.
List of essential tools, spares and motorcycle documents to carry
Although it is recommended to learn basic repair of your motorcycle, even if you don’t know much, it is generally a good idea to carry necessary tools and spares. Since sometime even in the smallest of town, you can find a mechanic or someone who knows how to do basic repairs, but might not have the required tool or spares to go through it.
1. Tool kit: OEM tool kit that comes with motorcycle is an essential part of the tool kit that every tourer should carry.
2. Ring spanners size 8 to 17: Should come in handy for tightening nuts and bolts of various sizes.
3. Screw Driver set: Try to carry a screwdriver set which has multiple attachments; a set which also includes a set of Allen keys is a good choice. While purchasing screwdriver set, ensure you get one which is sturdiest of the lot and won’t break while you are tightening or opening something.
4. Steel wire: Can be used to tie together bike parts in case of any breakage.
5. Electrical & Scotch tape: Can be used for tying together various parts and insulating damaged wires.
6. Torch light: In case of break down in the evening or early in the morning you will need it to see your bike, even once you are off your bike it can prove quite useful.
7. Foot or Electric air pump: Since motorcyclists don’t have the luxury of carrying a spare tyre, an electric or foot pump combined with a puncture repair kit and spare tube can turn out to be a life saver.
8. Puncture repair kit: Puncture repair kit for tyres with tubes should consist of; rubber patches, solution for pasting the patches on tube and tyre iron for taking off the tyre from the rim. In case of tubeless tyres, purchase a tubeless puncture repair kit.
1. Engine oil: Carry at least half a liter of engine oil recommended by your motorcycle manufacturer, daily check engine oil level and top up if necessary.
2. 90w Gear oil: Can be used to lubricate drive chain, in case you prefer to use WD 40 or chain spray, please carry that.
3. Headlight and brake light bulb: Always carry spare headlight and brake light bulb.
4. Chain links: Carry couple of chain links, in case your drive chain breaks due to something, you can fix it and ride on.
5. Clutch and front brake lever: In case of a fall clutch/front brake lever can break, which can make riding motorcycle difficult. Hence it is best to carry each of these as spare, to ensure you can ride with ease.
6. Clutch and accelerator wires: Clutch and Accelerator wires have a habit of snapping in the middle of nowhere, so please carry a spare clutch and accelerator wire.
7. Spare tube for front and rear tyre: Carrying a spare tube for both the tyres will ensure that in case of a puncture you wouldn’t have to waste your time trying to repair the punctured tube and can simply change the tube and continue riding. In case your motorcycle has tubeless tyre, carrying a spare tube is still a good idea, since it can help you ride your motorcycle, even if the rim bends a little, causing air to escape from tubeless tyre.
8. Spark plug: Although spark plugs of modern motorcycles rarely give problem, it is a good idea to carry a spare one.
9. Spare key of your motorcycle: Always carry a spare key of your motorcycle and never put both the keys in the same place!
10. Spare Fuse: A blown fuse can leave your motorcycle without headlight and/or horn, so don’t forget to carry one with you.
11. WD40: Can be used to lubricate and clean various mechanical and electrical parts of the motorcycle.
12. Nylon Rope: Can be used for tying together various parts of your motorcycle or to help you tow your friend’s motorcycle or help someone else tow yours.
13. Bungee cords: Helps in tying the luggage, always carry couple of spare ones since they can snap under pressure.
14. Electrical wire: Can be used to replace faulty electrical wire in the wiring.
15. Few nuts and bolts of various sizes: Based on your motorcycles make, carry nuts and bolts which hold parts like exhaust, leg guard, foot pegs etc.
16. Petrol pipe: If you run out of petrol and come across someone who is willing to lend some petrol to you, you will need it to take petrol out of their petrol tank.
17. Coolant: If your motorcycle is liquid cooled, make sure to carry little bit of coolant with you.
If you own a CI Engine Royal Enfield Bullet, also carry 250ml clutch oil and a decompressor cable.
In case any of your motorcycles parts have a history of ditching you in the middle of nowhere, it would be a good idea to carry it as spare.
1. Driving license
2. Registration Papers of the bike
3. Insurance certificate
4. Pollution under control certificate
Carry two – three copies of the above mentioned documents; generally you should have photocopies of Registration certificate and Insurance certificate handy, while the original should be kept in safe yet accessible place. In case of photocopies, they would have to be attested by a gazetted officer in order to hold any value. You should always have your original license and PUC certificate handy as well.
In case you have any queries about preparing your motorcycle for Ladakh, please post a message here.
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Trofeo Lorenzo Bandini Award : One of the most Honored and respectable award in Formula 1 was given to Daniel Ricciardo 2nd September 2014
Trofeo Lorenzo Bandini award is named after the former Ferrari Formula 1 driver who died from injuries sustained in the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix
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Daniel Ricciardo joined an exclusive club of F1 greats at the weekend when he journeyed to the tiny village of Brisighella in Italy, close to the great Imola circuit, where he became the 21st recipient of the Trofeo Bandini. Daniel Ricciardo The Red Bull driver is the second Australian to receive the award.
Daniel Ricciardo is the only driver outside of the Mercedes team to win races this season, Daniel Ricciardo is the 21st recipient of this prestigious award.
Some of the winners of this award are :
- Jacques Villeneuve
- Jenson Button
- Michael Schumacher
- Kimi Raikkonen
- Fernando Alonso
- Lewis Hamilton
- Sebastian Vettel
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What I loved about this bike is the vibration level which is almost none, even though the pistons are moving together, the counter weight really cuts out the vibration. 2014 Triumph Bonneville is a value for a the price you pay.
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Apple iWatch launches The wearable Apple iWatch by October this year. It would have OLED display of 1.7″ and 1.3″ Variants. The OLED is said to be having 320 x 320 pixels resolution. Smart watches are already in the market such as Motorola, Samsung, LG etc. No price or specs have been leaked out yet however this product would clash with Sony smart watch as well. Here are few pictures thatare leaked on the web.
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Carter Aerospace Development has made significant progress on the current prototype. It has developed a four passenger vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, known as the SR/C. With decreased drag leads directly to enhanced speed, fuel economy, climb performance, and glide ratio. Speeds of 160 mph at 200 HP (with this configuration expected to exceed 235 mph at 25,000 feet & 350 HP) Altitude of 12,000 feet Flight with the rotor slowed to 106 rpm . The company projects that the, SRC 4Place PAV aircraft will have 3 to 6 times the range of helicopters (and 300% to 600% lower fuel consumption); offer cruise speeds from 150 mph at low altitudes to 500 mph at 40,000 feet; have the ability to operate without runways at low cost, which will revolutionize regional civilian air transportation.
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Ratan Tata reveals the latest of designs for the new Land Rover Defender which would be launched by 2015, It is already 3 years since it was originally suppose to have been launched, this latest concept would be in markets by mid of 2015 in India and early 2015 in the UK. This car would be manufactured in the UK however there are plans to have a production plant in India as well which would be strategically placed for Asia & Australian markets.
The new model looks way too different from the Model we saw in 2011.
The DC concepts were released with the specific intention of testing customers’ reactions about a future Land Rover Defender, Land Rover’s oldest and most iconic model, and sparked controversy and debate among Land Rover traditionalists all over the world.
This extraordinary design proposal is one of the ideas knocking around Land Rover Defender Head quater that’s filed under ‘Land Rover Defender successor’. Land Rover’s 67 years after the original clattered onto forecourts. And, as you’d expect, Land Rover’s design team’s being very cautious as it had to retain its originality.
Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s Director of Design, says: “Replacing the iconic Land Rover Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide. The Land Rover Defender DC100 isn’t a production-ready concept, but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.”
John Edwards, Land Rover’s Global Brand Director, Land Rover added:” Loved the world over for its simple, honest and distinctive design, we are determined that the new Defender will be true to its heritage, while meeting the requirements of a changing global market.”
The new design does take away the former manly looks and gives it a new age look. The name Defender does not suite the design at all.
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The Harley-Davidson V-Rod was first launched in 2009. At the heart of the motorcycle houses a massive liquid-cooled, 60° V-Twin engine delivering a whooping 87 ft-lb at 6,750 rpm. When launched, the motorcycle was considered quite an important model as it featured as a liquid-cooled engine instead of the typical air-cooled engines that were used in all others Harley-Davidson’s. You must be wondering what would be its fuel consumption right ? .. well if you are expecting anything at all, forget it as it gives you 37 mpg or 15.5 kmpl. With a sleek and sexy body, it reminds you the muscles it has underneath. A fat rear with a low-rise handle bar and a double-barrel exhaust are the only design aspects of this bike which makes it look like a part of Harley Family.
What is the power output you might ask, the power of this massive 1250 cc V-Twin engine is around 120 bhp and 111 Nm of torque, not much when compared to Japanese bikes but let me remind you that it is a Harley. It ain’t light either, weighing about 300 kilograms, the 2014 Harley-Davidson V-Rod is quite hefty for its size although Harley-Davidson promises a much stable handling thanks to a longer wheelbase and fat front and rear.
Is there a Competition ?
If you ask me, I dont think there is any … Harley is a Harley, however the manufaturers have given us the gift called Harley-Davidson V-Rod which stands against the recently introduced 2014 Triumph Thunderbird Storm and the 2014 Triumph Rocket 3 Roadster.
If you are searching for an imposing cruiser with a modern design language than you should take a closer look at Harley’s new 2014 V-Rod Muscle.
The motorcycle features a fat 240 mm rear tire, dual exhaust with satin chrome finish, drag-style handle bars and LED tail lights. There is also a sleek fuel tank and a modern radiator design that was carefully created to merge seamlessly with the overall design.
The engine’s power is sent to the rear wheel through a six speed transmission which is combined with a slipper clutch.
Brembo brakes with ABS does the job just right.
The 2014 Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle is offered with a starting price Rs. 22,02,682(Ex-Showroom Price).
Fat Rear Tire
Ultra-fat, 240mm rear tire the pure dragster look with the sticky, high-performance tread
Drag-style Handle Bars with Instrument Cluster
Aggressive power cruising position. Built in aluminum shell cast over steel 1-inch tubing and internally-routed wiring, The attached triple gauge cluster—bold, sleek and easy-to-read mph, rpm and fuel gauges.
43mm inverted forks. They add to the wide look that flows all the way through to the tail of the V-Rod Muscle® motorcycle.
LED Stop-Turn-Tail Lights
LED lights in combined stop-tail-turn signals are integrated into the rear fender of the V-Rod Muscle® model.
Mirror Turn Signals
Front LED turn signals. Integrated into the stems of the mirrors.
|Base price||Rs. 22,02,682|
|Seat Height, Laden||25.6 in.|
|Seat Height, Unladen||27.8 in.|
|Ground Clearance||4.1 in.|
|Rake (steering head) (deg)||34|
|Tires, Front Specification||120/70ZR-19 60W|
|Tires, Rear Specification||240/40R-18 79V|
|Fuel Capacity||18 Lts|
|Oil Capacity (w/filter)||5 qt.|
|Weight, As Shipped||640 lb.|
|Weight, In Running Order||673 lb.|
|Engine||Liquid-cooled, Revolution®, 60° V-Twin|
|Displacement||76.1 cu in|
|Exhaust||Satin chrome, dual side exhaust system with turnouts|
|Wheels, Front Type||Black, 5-Spoke Cast Aluminum|
|Wheels, Rear Type||Black, 5-Spoke Cast Aluminum|
|Brakes, Caliper Type||4-piston front and rear|
|Engine Torque||87 ft-lb|
|Engine Torque (rpm)||6,750|
|Lean Angle, Right (deg.)||32|
|Lean Angle, Left (deg.)||32|
|Fuel Economy: Combined City/Hwy||15.5 KMPL|
Posted in Harley-Davidson, V-Rod and tagged 2014 Harley-Davidson V-Rod, Harley-Davidson, Harley-Davidson V-Rod, V-Rod by admin with no comments yet.
When you travel to Ladakh, here are some Do’s and Don’ts
- If by Road ( Driving yourself )
- Carry Food (Ready to Eat packed food)
- Carry Medicines ( See here for what all medicines are to be carried)
- Carry Extra Fuel ( Get as much as possible as the fuel quality is not so good after you cross Manali )
- Carry Plenty of Water, this is a must as you would be dehydrated very quickly if you dont have enough water as it is very dry up there.
- Have a map to be sure where you are heading
- Carry basic tools and extra Tyre + Tube if required.
- Carry Waste bags to dispose waste properly
- Ensure that you have extra pair of clothes ready alone with rain gear if by Bike or trekking.
- Wear thermal inner, this will help you retain the heat for longer duration
- Do not drive fast, its easy to loose control when you come across Black Ice
- Avoid Smoking and Drink, this will help you breathing.
- Do carry plenty of sunscreen and Moisturizer
- Do not drink water without boiling it.
- Enter your passport details on each check point ( This will help authorities to track you down in case you are lost)
- Do not cross border if Army is not guarding it, ( White Plank would say Welcome to China)
- Do not click pictures of local people without their permission (you dont want to land up in a fight)
- Carry all contact details and blood type in your wallet
- Wear surgical gloves inside the normal gloves in case you are riding your bike.
- Always have your head lights on while doing Solo.
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Climate in Ladakh is harsh, called as the cold desert of the world, For tourist, Climate in Ladakh would not be very pleasant if they choose to travel during off season.. Climate in Ladakh is a bit too extreme. My first visit to Ladakh, I found both Sun Burns and Frost bite at the same time which is unusual if you think as the Sun burns and very clear skies make it more direct and UV rays hit the land 3 times more than sea level due to the Less dense Air.. Higher the Altitude, density of air decreases rapidly.. Oxygen levels drop dramatically as well which leads to AMS. You can read about AMS ( Acute Mountain Sickness here ). During day time, Climate in Ladakh varies significantly as there is a massive different in altitude everywhere..
Climate in Ladakh during December – February: It is THE Coldest times of the year, the temperature rarely goes above the freezing point starting from December. Nights during Winter is always below -20° C / -4° F. Days hover between -1° C to -10° C ( 28° F – 14 °F)The nights are chilling and temperatures hover around -20°C. It is always advisable to not take a trip during this time as you would find almost no one other than Indian Army to help. January is the month of snowfall during which at-least 6” + thick ice sheet forms over rivers and lakes. Airports are barely open and All roads would be closed during this time of the year. Only Private Helicopters are available during this time of the year. In case you do visit Ladakh during this time, you need to know that Frost bite would be waiting for you … You would have Cracks in your skin all over the body, Skin would loose all the moisture and would be at the driest of state, I have been through this phase and it took me 4 months to recover from such a condition.. In case you are in Leh, you would get help however in case you are at any remote village, be prepared to be stuck for sometime..
Climate in Ladakh during March and April: Though better than December to February, it is too cold to have a normal life during the months of March and April. Temperature would always be around 12°C in the day and -5°C in the night, at-least its not below zero all the time however you will come across a lot of snowfall during this time of the year as well. Traveling during this time would be only by Air as Airports would be open during this time of the year.. Roads would be still inaccessible as Ice would have blocked all the roads in and around Ladakh. The Ice moving machines get on duty by this time and occasionally they lay down new roads as well.
Climate in Ladakh during May – September: Its called the tourist season as Ladakh receives almost all its tourists during this time. Prices of food, cloths and hotels sky rocket during this time of the year. Highways open for public by last week of April or usually by first week of May. Temperatures are a pleasant in the region, Around 16°C during the day and 4°C in the night which is very pleasant. Temperatures soar up to 24°C between June / July so this is the time when you must visit. During this time of the year, you will find most events and local festivals happening. Note: Direct exposure to sunlight for long during this time of the year will leave you sun burnt and tanned (Extreme).. I have been through few of these extremes myself and not in a good way.
Climate in Ladakh during October- November: By this time tourists would leave Ladakh as the Winter season begins.. The temperate drops down to Zero again and locals hurry to gather food and clothes for the winter.. You can find few hotels still open for business but I would suggest staying in Monasteries as the experience would be overwhelming.
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