Getting restarted: A biker story

This new beginning is something which I had been lucid dreaming for years. I have heard since I was a kid about the German autobahn for its liberal speed limits and along with the amazing landscape esp. the alps make it impossible of any enthusiast to live here without a motorbike. The last few months I have been reading travelogues of people on horizonsunlimited.com and our own xbhp.com on their envious and thrilling experiences in Europe. The enthusiastic me have kept my options open beyond Europe, Evan and Charlie’s long way round and long way down was one of the best inspirations I had. Now I can’t wait to do river crossings, battling knobbies with dirt and sand, get my butt sore on the saddle whilst soaring my spirits even higher. Finally when the finances have changed a little bit in my favour from this year I decided to get myself a driving license here in Germany. Being an Indian, unfortunately I can’t swap my Indian license for a German one. Now I have to take a full German license from zero. Asking other fellow Indians and going by the common notion, I came to conclusion that license will cost me a fortune and me who just started out on my own is not making much fortune here. In fact it was not that bad, I went around Karlsruhe’s popular driving schools and found out the reality. Even though we Indian who hold a driving license have to take a theory as well as practical test, the theory lessons and practical lessons are not mandatory. This fact may not be mentioned by all the driving school because they are missing out on the part where they make money – theory lessons and practical lessons. On the other hand, the Indian licence has be submitted which is a better option than to shell out 1200 Euros or more on a new German one.

Packed and shipped

I had a very hard time deciding on the kind of MC I wanted Thumpers – Parallel Twin – V Twin – Inline four. The sound of a CBR 600RR which lies just at the limits of my affordability was so luring that I made up my mind to get one of that. A second thought which was the wise side mine convinced me that I’m not going to fly  crotch-rocket all the time over 250Km/hr on the autobahn; it was just a fancy moreover I’m not into the track riding. In the ideal case I would have gone for the adventure touring go anywhere kind – a BMW F800GS or KTM 990 Adventure but they were all far beyond my budget. Finally I narrowed down by options to Ninja 650R, Versys or the V strom 650. After very comprehensive and through research on motorcycle blogs and threads I decided upon the Wee, looks aren’t the sexiest but totally utilitarian – comfy, powerful V twin with reasonable ground clearance for trail riding and accessories to pimp it a whole new level. Sometimes I wonder whether I’m getting carried away by the European mindset of going by the company description of what the product is than to really say ‘anything works’. Our xbhpians in India ride up and down in 250cc road bikes on all road trail – highways – and even the mighty Himalayas and here I’m doubting the V strom’s capabilities; How naive!  After few months of crazy online market checks and finance check, I finally decided on something different than the three. I choose a 1996 Suzuki DR650. I wasn’t absolutely sure about my choice but now after having it for a while I feel like I made a right decision. It is carburetted, single cylinder 650cc with an under stressed engine with 45ps power. There are no much electronics apart from the head light, indicators and of course the spark plug. The mighty DR A copy of the Suzuki service manual and along with Chris Scott’s ‘ Handbook of adventure motorcycling’  and some youtube education made me confident enough to tinker the mighty DR. I want to know my DR inside out to prepare for the day when my motorbike breaks down in a desert in the middle of nowwhere on my round the world trip. As the manual recommends, at about 20000 kms – I had to do some basic things like carb cleaning, valve adjustments and air filter cleaning. For the very first time when I took out all the components one by one, the worst fear was – ‘When I put back the bike together, what if it just didn’t start? :O’ . Thanks to all those DR owners who were kind enough to upload video tutorials on anything and everything.

Carb Cleaning           Carb – check; Valve -check; Air filter- check; Battery -check; Chain -check; Oil -check — Bingo! DR fired up in the first instance! Now that’s happiness 🙂

Capitan,  we are ready for take off!

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