Big v/s small…

The eternal debate…

While choosing a soulmate, one that partners you for a lifetime of munching miles, it is a big tussle, heart v/s brain, left brain v/s right, various hats will be donned – logical /rational, practical…. Having gone through the complete cycle, and having taken all these decisions, I have homed in on to my decision.

Logically one would go in for a bike all the obvious choices – big engine with loads of power, large luggage capacity, big tank, shaft drive, good amount of creature comforts…

I did the same, went in for the Bonnie, and when I wanted even more of it, picked up the Multistrada 1200s. Close to 50,000km between the two gurls, (and many more miles with  the many other borrowed choices) I’ve reached my verdict, much to my surprise, don’t shoot me, please go ahead and repeat my mistakes.

My ideal jaunt:

My ideal gurl – 300cc (ok willing to stretch it to a maximum of 600cc) bike with about 40 horses and 30 Nm of torque, ideally most of it on the tap as low down the rev range as possible. Ideally weighing well under 200 kg, with a good suspension travel and ground clearance. ABS would be the only electronic aid if at all that I’d crave for, rest of the electronic nannies I’d gladly let go, for good.

I will try to break it down to logical buckets:

The Cost: The big gurls cost 3 to 5 times as much as the ones I’m now leaning towards. And that’s just the cost of purchase. There’s more, the service, maintenance, insurance, tyres and the spares. At the very least, under the most optimistic of conditions, it is 2-3 times more expensive for the bigger gurls. Obviously, with most of the accessories having custom connections, adapters, switches et al implies that the OEM (read extremely expensive) accessories have to be purchased. Simply put, nothing about them comes cheap. Alternatively you should be willing to give up the warranty by using cheaper, non-OEM stuff.

Speed: Sure, bigger engine capacity does mean higher (read much higher) speeds and DSC_9794.JPGfaster (read much faster) pick-up. There’s just no denying that. And the ear to ear grin when you kick the butt of just about everyone else on the road is quite an adrenaline rush. But that doesn’t necessarily mean better adventure. On long drives, consistent average speed matters much more than top speed. In fact, higher speeds on long drives can slow you down – for one thing, the breaks become more frequent, and the chances of avoiding unforeseen problems become higher. Finally remember, it is a road-trip, not a race – don’t speed if you want to see the world.

My idea of road trips is hitting the mountains where there are no roads, the twisties, lesser frequented trails. Ok, now let’s talk speed. In these conditions, bigger the vehicle, lower the speed. PERIOD. The fastest way down the mighty Khardung-La is on a puny bicycle. On bigger bikes, you always have something soft and round in your throat, hoping nothing gives. Trust me!

Unless of course you are one of those weekend warriors and a bike to you is but a social badge.

Weight: If you use your bike on the roads (or is it no roads) that I do, one needs to be DSC_0041.jpgable to change directions literally in a dime on the ruts and gravel. You need to be able to get yourself unstuck from muck. You need to be able to single-handedly push the bike in case there is a flat tyre. And you need to be able to single-handedly get the bike up on centre-stand. Finally, in these terrains, it is not a question if, but instead when the bike falls. And when it does, you need to be able to pick it up by yourself, you may not be lucky to find helping hand readily available. Those of you who have seen me can vouch for the fact that I, well how do I put it, am not best built for hard labour. 😀

Safety: To simply put it, a big bike is a billboard advertising the fact that I have loads of money, come get your share. It will never stop drawing attention towards you and your bike #Curiosity. Unless of course you can pull off a story like you are just and ordinary human, doing test-ride of a bike on behalf of the company – more on this on #TheItalianConnection. On the other hand, a small bike is easy to move in any terrain, park, pull by yourself when it dies on you or has a flat. Further, you can park a small bike without worrying much for its safety.

Luggage capacity: Come on, learn to travel light, you don’t need a big bike just to lug your house with you. You are on Earth, not Mars, you can find most of the stuff you will ever need on road. You don’t always have to carry your tent and sleeping bag wherever you go. Yes, it is kind of insurance policy, #JustInCase, I have never deployed my tent, EVER. Trust me if you were to be in such a situation ever, you would have spent all your energy by then. If tent does catch your fancy, you can always hire one. Similar is the case with a sleeping bag, only exception being up in the mountains when you don’t want someone else’s body-odor from the blanket. IMHO, you need same amount of luggage be it 1 week or 1 month.

So there, a petite gurl it is for me…

 

About the author:

Muralidhar (www.musingsinlife.com):

A biker | A blogger | An adventure junky | Animal lover

Tries to fit all of the above whilst working as a brand marketing professional. His blog is a product of contemplations, reflections and an unquenchable thirst for self-deprecating humour. It is the world as seen through the eyeballs of a salt-and-pepper *sixteen year-old* fighting off #MidLifeCrisis. No doubt perspectives will be different when seen by others and those are equally welcome in the comments section.

Disclaimer:

  1. This is written with a sole intention of laughing at and with the author, no offence meant to anyone else.
  2. No bikes or animals or bystanders were harmed while writing this.

6 Comments

  1. So amongst the entire context set in which one can ride a bike it is, according to you, ADV long road trips or weekend warriors where the bike is a social badge?

    Arent you guilty of deciding the best bike for you and the context in which you ride in i.e a specific example and then generalizing it?

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  2. […] Given my build and height, friends ironically call me Bahubali (an Indian equivalent of He-man). After a long tiring ride, especially in the thin air of the mountains, to me, setting her up on centre-stand, or getting her unstuck from muck or picking her up if she tips over is not exactly is cake walk. The trick is to use the bike and her momentum to tide over everything. And the unexpected does happen sometimes, that’s when I do need help. Not that she is top heavy like some other ADVs, but she doesn’t have the low-CG advantage of a boxer twin either. These moments set me wondering if I’d have been better off with a smaller bike. More on that here. […]

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