There is something about being on the road whether its a highway or hairpin bends, village roads, good roads, bad roads; once I am there I feel connected to the nature, I feel happy, I feel I am at home.
Here are some of the destinations I have been to on my bike. Some on Honda unicorn but most on TBTS 350 and 500.
I feel very ‘safe’ riding a Royal Enfield simply because of awesome ‘RE brotherhood’. No matter where you go, you will find equally enthusiastic riders sharing their stories and willing to go out of their way to help you. You are never alone. I have even gotten help on couple of my trips and was glad that I was on a Royal Enfield.
Recently I was evaluating upgrading my ride. Based on my touring habits and riding style I shortlisted following bikes:
- KTM 1200 Adventure – Loved the specs but rejected as its not available in India.
- BMW 1200 GS – Rejected based on pricing and seat height. F 800GS looks promising but not available in India. Dealers say they will start delivery in couple of months.
- Triumph Tiger 800 XCx – Rejected because of seat height. My toe was hardly touching the ground which was making the whole bike feel super heavy. I did not take test ride although went to showroom couple of times. They do have a low seat edition but unfortunately thats not available in India.
- Ducati Multistrada 1200 S : Decided to buy but postponed the idea based on my ‘not-so-great’ experience with VST & Sons, Ducati dealer in Bangalore which I shall elaborate later in this blog. A friend of mine knows Mumbai Ducati dealer so will make final decision after meeting them.
There are ample of very detailed and technical reviews available on Youtube; here’s my take on what I loved about Ducati Multistrada:
- Comfort: The moment you take your feet off the ground you love the bike. Anyone trying superbike for the first time start with Multistrada, ride is very comfortable. You do not feel like you are riding a heavy superbike.
- Seat shape: I am 5’8″ and this is the only bike (among my list) where not only my feet but even my heels were touching ground. The seat is narrow at the front which makes the bike feel lower.
- Power. Although I am a very easy rider but on encouragement from the staff to test the bike’s power I tried sports mode and it was impressive.
- Riding modes: You can change the modes even while on the ride.
- Highly customisable: The Riding Modes make it possible to instantly modify the power delivered by the engine (RbW), the activation levels of DTC, ABS, DWC, the damping set-up of DSS Evo and the graphics on the instrument panel (Copied from website)
- Cornering lights
- Hands-free ignition
What I did not like:
- No choice of colour.
- Engine was too fast. I was told, bike is not serviced for long and it becomes like that because it’s a test vehicle.
- Bike became unbearably hot. We took a small ride around UB city. I was told its hot because we are riding in bumper to bumper traffic. This means Multistrada is not a city riding bike (atleast not in Indian traffic) which is alright with me as I do not use bike for my daily travel but to be sure I requested for a ‘no traffic’ test ride which I never got.
- Huge gap between tank and seat so I asked isn’t this bad, as water might seep inside, the answer that came was thats how its supposed to be although the model on display at the showroom was absolutely fine, without the gap.
- I wanted a longer test ride to make sure the bike doesn’t get this hot, they said it cant’t be done because they operate out of a mall and more such funny reasons. I followed up for a month, they were to get back to me which they did after couple of weeks but with same excuses of why longer test ride is not possible. They said they will check with management and get back, which never happened.
- Front breaks are very hard. I was told thats how they will be and I will get used to them. I would have preferred to test it out on a longer ride. Online reviews say thats how they are.
- I wish I could configure and have spoke wheel with 1200 S instead of alloy. Even Enduro version is not available in India.
Here’s a review I found useful:
Update: 25th Aug 2016
- VST guys have contacted me and have offered longer ride, they said we can take bike towards airport
- He has been following up with me very regularly from past 2-3 weeks unfortunately not able to go because of work, will update this blog again after the ride.
Update: 26th Aug 2016
- 1200 Enduro is launched in India. Again Ducati failed in keeping their sales team up to date with their plan. When I visited them they had no clue that Enduro will every launch in India or not.
- I also got a call from VST call centre regarding my online enquiry. I was little confused and asked them when did I enquire, I was told April 🙂 🙂 Are you serious? You are returning my call in Aug for an enquiry I posted in April?
Update: 27th Aug 2016
- I called for test ride today but they don’t have bike. Its been sent to Chennai for some show, bike will come back after a week.
- I said I am willing to take delivery on Monday if I can test ride today. They will get back to me by Monday when I can test ride
- In my opinion, I will get better service and confidence buying a 10L car than 20L bike 🙂
Update: 10th Sep 2016
- Finally bought 1200S from Bavaria Motors Pune, read here.
Update: 26th Oct 2016
- Got a call from VST Ducati – ‘Sir, our records show that you test rode Ducati. How was your experience? Have you purchased the bike?’. They woke up :), their systems are so disconnected.