Jul 31, 2007

Protection does not kill the fun!

"Offering to the God of Speed"- The World's Fastest Indian.

We are sure that there is one such deity among the hundreds. Be fast, but always wear a helmet!

And make sure that:

1) Its a full faced lid with a visor that is strong and not fragile
2) The lid fits tight. When you move it after wearing it, your cheeks should also move.
3) Check the rigidity of the shell. Avoid non branded local makes
4) Guys in Delhi, NEVER buy one from the street side vendor. They know nothing about lids at all!
5) If you suffer a crash or the helmet is subjected to severe impact, change it, even if you cannot physically see the damage.

And, NO! Full faced helmets do not impair visibility or audio! So cut that crap!

If you like the image, it will fit your desktop as a wallpaper too! 1024 x 768!

Ride Safe

Jul 30, 2007

Pleasure Up!

Hello ladies, if you are deciding between motoscooters without gears, please give this post a serious read.

Between the new jazzy Dio and the Pleasure, most technology bits like the engine, the automatic, the suspension and the wheels are exactly the same. What is different is the human engineering, if we may call it that!

There are nice little touches on the Hero Honda Pleasure like a big storage area below the handle up front, better seating, amazing foldaway footpegs for the pillion (trust us, this alone swung the scales in favour of the Pleasure, the Dio is actually uncomfortable for the pillion) and ample storage space.

Its great to see a contemporary design in the Dio, but that is the only thing that could be an edge! The Pleasure is a winner hands down. As far as the road test goes, there is our man riding pillion and gesturing franctically about the er, situation! Yeah we know Nitin, the scoot is good! The perks of the job, well we will be.....

The road has promises #2

We recently got a couple of ungeared scooters to test. The Pleasure and the Dio. I took the pleasure and scooted off one evening with my girl riding pillion. Through the villages and the back roads we went, in the search for the perfect roadside chai.

The tea took very little time to find but we found this amazing temple in a village, tucked away from the hustle- bustle of city life. No crazy load of worshippers jostling for space. No chaotic levels of noise. Just peace and a sense of warm loneliness.

While she did her share of praying, I walked around taking pictures, and this is one of them. Legend has it that whatever you ask for here, is inevitably granted. Sharing a half hour with the locals at the holy land revealed mystic tales about the powers of the place. And if you travel through the heart of India, you will find millions of such mystic tales. Fused with the daily lives of those who live around such magical places. I say hit the road. It always has promises!

Jul 28, 2007

From the night club!

Its early Sunday morning. 3 am to be precise. I am at a happening night club. The lights are blazing in glory, colouring everything in all shades of yellow, green and red.

The bartender is busy mixing up concoctions, to give the nervous systems of the people there an overdose of 'outta control' therapy. There are pretty women around. Their rope like slender bodies moving in rhythm, helped by the lights that skirt the edges of those supple curves.

There is romance in the air. And the music is just helping fuel that. People are close, their bodies entwined for the moment, dancing is the religion here. I close my eyes. Suddenly everything goes quiet. The music simmers down. The lights die out. The road sweeps ahead. Shiny from the rain. Red tail lamps of trucks greet me every one or so minutes. I write this down on a napkin from the bar top:

"No myriad hues of laser lights
No bottles that are oozing with nectars from heaven
No beautiful body, soft and warm to the touch
I have a very small desire
Give me a dark, long winding road
Three gears to go
And my Hellas on fire"
- Good night

Jul 27, 2007

Mission Statement

After Monoshock was added to the list of official press release associates of The Confederate Motor Company, we decided to let you guys take a look at what a company mission statement should be like.

Awesome we say! 10/10 for this one!

You can get to know more about them and their awesome machines here!


Its a small world!

We made this post a few days back. You can read about the number plate here.

Blog reader Satadru sent us this mail today and man, were we kicked! Here goes:

Surprise! Surprise!On the way back home from office this evening, in a heavy downpour, I finally was able to know more about the man on the machine which has a uniquely (albeit a little cliched) phrased numberplate.My colleague and I were totally soaked to the bone at that time while we waited for the traffic lights to go green.

Even in that pouring rain, a big square number plate attached to a familiar rear-end (!) with an inscription in gothic font captured my attention. "Life Saves Drugs....Say Amen to Destruction"I didn't wait to be given a second chance. Rain drops splattering my round spectacles, I pushed my bike next to the gentleman astride the TVS Apache and asked him all that I needed to know about the number plate.

In brief, he is a band member of a music group by the name of LSD which plays all kinds of music.His choice of expanding this acronym of LSD was spurred by what I understood to be his "appetite for destruction" [Guns N Roses be praised for such a wondrous catch phrase!]. It struck me as quite remarkable when he stated that he was a worshipper of destructive forces.And, therefore, the next line on the numberplate - "Say Amen to Destruction".[If there's anything which I have misinterpreted, may he take no offence and post the correct interpretation thereof, in this blog.]

I asked for and got to know his name. Mr. Abhijit Sarkar was even kind enough to exchange contact information with me. I also explained to him in brief, next to a bus-stand in the shower, something about Monoshock and the blog.Mr. Sarkar looked pleased enough to admit that he is more of a biking man himself despite having a 4-wheeler resting in his garage back home.I passed him the URL of Monoshock in the hope that someday he too, might decide to contribute to this community.

Rains are a bliss and I love when information starts raining down like this!

- Satadru

Hey Satadru, mate, thanks a million! We owe you (a cold) one!

- The Monoshock Team


A friend of ours recently got admitted into a very reputed college for an undergraduation course. Going through his student id card booklet, we found a very neat 8 point note on Ragging. We have just added the text in side the brackets!

- Avoid unfortunate/ dire consequences of (d)ragging
- Give due respect to your seniors (larger cubic capacities)
- Disciplinary action will be taken against those found involved in reckless (d)ragging
- Try to win the respect and regards of juniors through affection and sharing knowledge rather than (d)ragging
- Recall your feelings and mental state when you had been (d)ragged(and blown into the weeds)
- Change the conventional and crude modes of (d)ragging to impress your juniors (smaller cubic capacities)
- Juniors need more affection and support at this juncture, not (d)ragging (or living on the fumes of your exhaust)

Works like magic in both cases eh? Ride Safe!

We were there at the World Ducati Week 2007!

World Ducati Week 2007, the famous world gathering of Ducatisti, was a great success. To continue to keep the memories fresh, Ducati created two activities, “I WAS THERE” and the Desmotwins Contest, to help every passionate Ducatista remember this event.

“I WAS THERE” is the activity dedicated to documenting the fun had by all – through photos. To make the memories of those days and the excitement of Misano even better and more timeless, a group of photographers went around the entire circuit to capture every magical second of these days.

By going on the WDW website, everyone can find their own pictures and relive the excitement of those days. This is not even everything – the pictures are downloadable and it is possible to buy little souvenirs printed with selected photos.

The downloaded pictures can be selected and viewed, commented on and even voted on by the whole community. The best photos and the ones that receive the most votes will take the place of honour in the final gallery.

The Desmotwins Contest is devoted to everyone that is inseparable from their bike, just like long lost twins. This photographic competition gave everyone the chance to capture their bikes in the most original, funny or simply natural way which makes them a unique couple. Ducatisti are currently selecting the best photo by voting on the WDW2007 website. Now everyone has the chance to voice their opinion on who is the most beautiful couple on the Red Planet – all it takes is a click!

On the WDW website, www.ducati.com/wdw2007/, there are both of these exciting activities that are bound to pique everyone’s curiosity, as well as the blog and many photos and videos from those four amazing days full of red passion. To top it all off, there are even wallpapers to download that remind everyone of the time spent at the WDW.
World Ducati Week 2007 at Misano may have come to a close, but that doesn’t mean that the excitement is coming to an end!

It was one event that left all those there speechless! And as far as the heading of this post goes, its pure, unadulterated bull****, we could not afford an air ticket to Patna, let alone the WDW 2007!

Jul 25, 2007

Peel off pack!

When we first did the road test on the Pulsar 200( you can read it here), we mentioned that the raised letters on the rear cowl would eventually fall off!

Various reasons for this being a big bag grazing against them while on long hauls, a bike cleaning dude down your street who is not extra careful or the pillion rubbing it up while getting on and off.

Now we are noticing loads of Pulsars with "20", "00" and "2 0" on the rear panel. We suggest going the good old flush decal way or something more substantial to hang in there despite being rubbed and grazed on a regular basis. Actually even without anything written, it would look good! This pic was taken at a parking lot today!

Jul 24, 2007


The view from the now forgotten ice cream store on the river front at Kolkata.

It is absolutely sublime. With the sodium vapour lamps lending a hue of orange all around. Ride along sometime and get there. Because the wallpaper here (click image, once it opens up, right click and save) can never carry the essence of the place. The boats rocking and the sound of water gently lapping up against the embankment.

This is the best we could do to get you as close to how it feels!

Forgotten Destination

When I was working for a real estate firm of repute, the CEO there often told me that if you want to romance a woman to the hilt, you need to take her out on a boat ride from Babughat, Kolkata on a full moon night.

So while passing the place back from a friend's pad, I stopped over today. Took a long walk down the riverfront and shot some pictures. These are the boats he was talking about and the scenery is quite picturesque! However, the new malls, pubs and discos have totalled the number of bikers visiting this place. About 5 years ago, the ghat and the famous 'Scoop' ice cream and pizza parlour were a biker's favourite hangout, and trust me there were hundreds of two wheels parked here every evening!

Today, it wore a deserted look. No modded Pulsars, no pretty women sitting pillion. Even the good ol scoop parlour does not look the same. If you ever land up here in the late afternoon, try the upper floor of the ice cream parlour. I can assure you that its a view you will never ever forget. While your ice cream melts in the glazed clay boat, you will see small boats bobbing up and down in the water as the larger ones glide by slowly, back from a haul at sea!

Old things always make way for new I guess. But long after your favourite nightspot has changed 3 times over(I am told that these places fall in and out of popular lists of party hoppers), you can come back here once in while and see how time stands still.

And to fire it up, order up a special 'paw- bhaaji' at one of the river front stalls. You will not regret it! If it is after dusk and you are here to follow the words of my 'once upon a time' boss, you will be treated to views like these, that is if you have the time or the want to look up from the glazed gaze in your er, lover's eyes!

Let us know if you ever do it, we will be right here!

- Rahul

The Centopassi Motorcycling Challenge Edition #5

Antonio Zingali, in the seat of his BWW R1200GS Adventure, is the overall winner of the fifth edition of CENTOPASSI, the motorcycling event which ended on July 21st in the Italian mountain city of Bolzano.

Zingali’s final score of 56 points represents the sum of his points earned in the ability tests and assorted time checks throughout the arduous route. During the closing ceremony of the event, the winner was presented with the grand prize: a travel package plus accommodation to participate in the finals of Paris-Dakar 2008.
In the Competition Class, Simone Martina won second place on his BWW R1200GS with 46 points, followed by Marco Tomassini, also on BWW R1200GS, with 45 points. All three top finalists are Italian citizens.

Team Etna Cavalieri del Principe (Zingali, Di Mauro, Battiato) won in the team classification with 137 points, followed by team BMW Racing Italia (Tomassini, Severi, Russo) with 94 points and by team Le Mucche (Tajè, Martina, Tajè) with 80 points.

The exploration of the Eastern Alps was divided into four exciting legs and began on July 18th with a departure from Piazza Fiera in Bolzano.
The first portion of the ride was a challenging route from the Dolomites to the Julian Alps (365 km), ending in Bled (Slovenia). The second leg explored Triglav Park with a 272 km route, while the third day riders went back to Bolzano (389 km). The fourth and last leg was a trip through the mountains surrounding Bolzano (284 km).

Following four years that heightened awareness and interest, this year’s event hosted 120 passionate motorcyclists from many different countries (Italy, Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, USA), ready to test themselves and enjoy the spectacular views and alpine riding.

The arrivals were booked in Bolzano and in the beautiful Slovenian town of Bled, towns with first class hotels to accommodate the motorcyclists and where the Centopassi Village was also set up. The riders and local public were offered entertainment, music and a bike exhibition. The Village also hosted the street safety project ‘Sicuri su due Ruote’, with bike-driving simulators, the Ducati Owners Club Trentino Alto Adige Südtirol and the Ducati Store Bolzano.

The event is open to all brands of motorcycles that have been registered no earlier than 1980, and with a minimum of a 150 cc. The two classes of participation offer the possibility to choose between the competitive and the tourist class. In the Competition Class, which is not a race of speed, there can be a single participant or a team. The scheduled route is very challenging and is designed for expert motorcyclists. Participants, during every leg, are subject to time checks and ability trials to evaluate their skill, precision and equilibrium.

The Iron Biker Class is designed for those who prefer a non-competitive experience and want to have the time to appreciate the exquisite landscapes, small villages and pleasant atmosphere. Federal motorcycle guides accompanied the group, giving advice on the mountain routes.

Jul 23, 2007


While returning home a few nights back, I saw this very sublime landscape along the lonely 6 lane stretch I take back.

My watch said it was around midnight. I put the camera on a cigarette packet on the tank of my bike. Set the aperture to 8 for good depth of field and then released the shutter on auto timer to further reduce camera shake!

The shutter speed must have been around 5 seconds and I loved the resultant image. You can click this pic, and save the full size one that opens up, as a wallpaper. Its at a resolution of 1024 x 768! - Enjoy

Drug saving discovery!

Last evening, after seeing a movie and walking towards the chow shops, I ran across this. I was darn lucky to have carried my faithful Nikon along!
It was a red Apache 150 that proudly bore on the numberplate : "Life saves drugs, say amen to destruction"
I am still trying to figure out what that really wants to convey! Any insights on this?

Ducati Team Announces 2008 and 2009 MOTOGP Line-up

The Ducati Team announces that Casey Stoner and Marco Melandri will be its riders for the next two seasons of the MotoGP World Championship.

World Championship leader Casey Stoner has renewed his agreement with the Borgo Panigale-based factory for the 2008 and 2009 seasons, with an option for the 2010 championship. 24-year old Italian Melandri will join the Australian with a two-year contract.

Next week Loris Capirossi and his manager will meet with Ducati representatives to evaluate the possibility of preparing a third official Desmosedici MotoGP bike for the Italian rider to use in the 2008 World Championship.

Jul 22, 2007

Overtaking - A quick guide

Points to note:

- Never follow overtaking vehicles if you are relying on their safe judgement, skills and ability

- Beware of large slow moving vehicles. There may be a Maruti 800 or an Auto Rickshaw in front of it that you cannot see!

- If you have a new bike, be very careful before you have got the hang of it totally

- Understand fully well before starting the overtake that the vehicle in front of you will not slow down, brake or turn right. If need be, honk a bit to let him know you are there. Bikes are often missed out on rear view mirrors.

- Plan ahead and allow yourself sufficient time to finish the process

- Most importantly, make sure you have enough reserve power in your bike to accelerate and overtake fast. Remember, parallel is lethal!

- Do not cut back into the lane of the vehicle you just overtook. Give it a little time (ideally till you can see it fully in the left rear view mirror) and then swerve to the left gently

Do not overtake if:

- You are in doubt, it is unsafe or not necessary

- Your view is obstructed (Blind bend or something)

- Other drivers might be unable to see you

- There is not enough room

- The road narrows up ahead, or there is a crossing

- There is a zebra crossing or heavy pedestrian movement

- 'No overtaking' sign exists

- There is dead ground or the brow of a hill/ top of a bridge

- There is a continuous white line that you have to cross to overtake!

Ride Safe

The Road Has Promises #1

We are always looking for thrills. Its either the weekend party, or the new PDA or Digicam we have been saving up for. Once the objective is completed, and the object comes home to roost, we start looking for the next high.

I was riding home from office one day. The work day had been rough and issues after issues had cropped up and left a bad taste in my mouth. The plan was to get home, shower and change and meet up my fiancee. I have not been giving her time lately and its telling!

This is the road I take back home everyday and inside my helmet, I was talking out the various things that I could do today. A movie maybe, or a few hours of relaxation at the pub with a cold one that does not run out till my budget allows. With some loving conversation thrown in from her. And then I suddenly saw the scenery to my left. Everything apart from the chlorophyll colored grass was painted in a mystic shade of red. It looked unreal. Almost as if it had been stolen from a painter's masterpiece.

I pulled over and sat there for hours. Till the red got deeper and deeper and slowly the all consuming black of the night took over. The phone was switched off and everything else forgotten. It was time to unite with the universe and its myriad beauty.

What surprised me is that something this close to my house held so much beauty that it mesmerised me for hours! I did not go anywhere that day. Said I had a meeting and made up for it with her on Sunday. The road has promises. It has highs that don't fade, ever. Sorry about the evening honey. But once we are tied in holy matrimony and you and I are taking the long route home, Ill show you what I mean.

- Sumit

Jul 21, 2007

The Sunday Flurys Breakfast

For all those who come to Calcutta for business and leisure, if you are not at Flurys on a Sunday morning, you have certainly missed out on something. Flurys has been a landmark on Park Street for decades, dishing out some of the most mind numbing delicacies which are simple yet so original.

You can start off with some baked beans on toast, with some cheese/ chicken/ mushroom/ tomato filled omelettes (or a combination of these fillings) alongwith some amazingly done bacon! For veggies, there are plenty of options too. The vegetable patty that these guys engineer is one of the best you can ever lay your tongue under!

The cheese toast is out of the world and so are the Tuna sandwiches. The menu will confuse you to no end with all kinds of bread dishes, an array of omelettes, assorted pastries, darjeeling teas and numerous shakes and desserts! Whenever we do photoshoots in the city on Sunday mornings, a visit to Flurys is inevitable. The ambience is very contemporary and seating comfortable. You will find the whos- who of the city here on Sundays.

Parking for motorcycles is right there. On the same side of the street just a little down Park Street towards the West (Park Hotel).

If you are there on a Sunday and see a couple of bikers eating like famine victims without shame or manners, just walk up and say Hi Monoshockers! 99 outta 100 you will have hit the nail on the head. What you will also notice is that one of them have nothing sweet on his plate. Well that would be our man Nitin! With a wedding coming up and a health conscious to be wife, er you gotta be careful!

OK! Lemme take a look at that waiter, hmm ill have a portion of the double chocolate truffle!

Eye Tech

Oakley, Inc. today announced it has renewed its licensing agreement with Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. (Borsa Italiana: DMH) for an additional three years.

Established in 2003, the partnership has yielded a historic collection of eyewear that exemplifies both companies passion for technology, innovation, and design. New for 2007 is a signature edition Ducati OIL DRUM®, a salute to the world championship career of Ducati racer Loris Capirossi.

The Loris Capirossi signature edition Ducati OIL DRUM® features Ducati colors graphics and ear stems with the racer’s emblem and competition number. This unique eyewear design is crafted from durable, lightweight O Matter® frame material with the styling of hard-edge lines. Ultraviolet light-stopping Plutonite® lenses open peripheral view with an 8.75 base lens curvature and the clarity of XYZ Optics®, one of the patented innovations of Oakley’s proprietary High Definition Optics® (HDO®). The Ducati logo is laser etched near the bottom edge of the left lens. Its available right here.

Guys if anyone does pick up one of these, do send us an ownership report!

Jul 20, 2007

Our Pulsar 180 UG3 aka The Red One!

In the month of August, 2005 Nitin bought/ gifted/ overspent on (ignore whichever you think is not right) himself a Pulsar 180 UG3. We all went along and watched her being coated with teflon before she was taken home. Fond memories those are.

Almost 2 years and more importantly, 30, 000 kays on the odo have gone by. The front rubber has been upsized to a 90/90 - 17" and the rear to a 120/80 - 17". The rear Dunlop is a great tyre and is softer than the MRFs and offers great grip on the tarmac. However, due to the increased contact patch, acceleration has gone down a tad. The bike still runs well and crisp but there are things that have been disturbing. The piston and the cyclinder assembly had to be replaced and this time, we ran it in as well as we could. The exhaust went bust and got the axe for a new unit (thanks for the warranty dudes) and small bits here and there have been issues on and off!

Nitin was actually planning a bike build off on The Red One some time back. It was a wishlist comprising of suspensions from the Xtreme, the smoothness of the Motor from the Unicorn and things like that. Good that we don't rack up any major money at Monoshock else thats where it would have gone.

The point that we want to make is, Bajaj has a great bike in the P180, but durability is an issue that cannot be swept under the rug. Service her and she runs like a dream the first day. From then on its a downhill journey as far as feel and refinement are concerned. She is ageing and its showing. For something thats 2 years old, we think its not a good thing. Upgrades are a great idea. So are cosmetic changes, but is there a substitute to great build and engineering quality? We guess not!

Services every month are expensive and if you add up everything Nitin has spent on her over the last 2 years to keep her in great shape, it will be close to a small fortune! Bajaj, please put a smile back on our faces. You may be distinctly ahead, but don't leave us old customers behind.

For all those who are gaping at this in denial, try a Unicorn after 20, 000 kays and a Pulsar that has done the same. It will be self explanatory!

Cornering: Part 1- Lets start

Out of all the thrills that biking promises, one of the best is cornering. There are no two ways about it. Words like getting it down, scraping the pegs and mashing the feeler bolts instantly light up a biker's eyes! Yes, there is fun in speeding, dragging and getting the front wheel up, but nothing comes close to attacking a corner. It is one of the most teasing activities for the mind. Now, as I type this snippet, I am closing my eyes, watching a rerun of a great corner I attacked a while back.

Once you see a bend approaching, the calculation starts. The eyes start their measurements. How long is the curve? Is it an increasing bend? Or a decreasing one? Is the surface alright? Any oncoming traffic? Goats or human beings jay walking? As you get closer, you start easing off the gas, making last minute adjustments with the brakes to get to the right speed and then you lean!

Fun to the hilt we say. Lets take it step by step for those who wish to start!

1) Identify the corner you wish to start on. Make sure that you know the road by heart here. Avoid broken patches on the surface and if its a blind bend in your friendly neighborhood, scrap it and look for another one!

2) Start early morning or mid afternoon. Traffic is low in most areas during these periods and you will have other things to concentrate on.

3) Approach the corner slowly and go about it like any other day. Did you lean? Yes, most certainly because no matter how slow you were, a two wheeler will lean. Ok we understand that you want to lean more. That is a function of speed. Try the same corner again with 15 more kph on the speedo. You will realise that you had to lean more as you did so. Aim to get the entire process smooth. Remember, what you see in Moto GP is a different ballgame. Dont try to hang off the bike. Most people just push themselves away from the bike (its the other way round actually) and feel that they are very close to the tarmac. Nope brother, stay firm and with the bike as you lean.

4) As you up your speeds slowly after getting the hang of it, break the corner (any corner) into 3 parts. The first, is to plan your approach speed. Mostly, this is fairly easy as the human mind will choose a speed below the maximum speed that can be carried into the corner. In most cases, the body realises the stability and sure footedness of a motorcycle much faster than the conscious mind. These parameters also kick in.

Secondly, approach the corner from the outside flank of the road or the middle, judge the bend as you go and come out from a line which is more to the left of the line you started the corner on!

Thirdly, as you are leaning and the gas is cut to the motor, keep judging for the right spot to twist the throttle again. This should ideally be after 70% of the leaning action is over (for starters only, regulars can start twisting their wrist after 30% too!) and the lug generated by the motor should assist you in straightening out of the bend.

Be yourself. Think while you are riding and never take unnecessary risks. As we take cornering further to higher levels, we will discuss braking during corners and lots of other tricks that will require us to unlearn and then relearn stuff!

On yeah.. Do not forget the full face lid, good shoes and a riding jacket before you start. Check air pressure and the tyre treads. If your tyres represent the ones on the GP bikes, chances are that you will wipe yourself out just like the treads!


Frozen Dreams

Ask a hardcore biker who has seen 60 turns of the calender years about bikes and you will hear names like BSA, Norton, Triumph and DKW! The Hayabusas and the ZXs of this world hold no meaning for these gracious young gentlemen! If you had to enquire what their dream bikes are, it would be a legend from their era. You will not find them drooling over images of a Ducati 999.

Such are dreams. They are just a connection to a place that does not exist. Now ask a 16 year old lad going to school, about his dream bike. You will hear names that will want you to invest in a book that lists every possible production machine! Busas, Gixxers, KTMs, Ducs, Yams and the whole global motorcycle manufacturing segment will get rattled off in one single classroom! Ask him if he has ever seen a Duc in real life. I guess not. Then how is it so desirable? What makes it his favourite? What does he know about the feel of riding one? The pros and the cons? Its his desire because he read about it somewhere. He downloaded wallpapers and pasted them on his desktop. He follows the latest from his chosen dream maker company and sometimes even ditches the brand due to some growing up change of fantasy!

Years ago, Bijoy (Ed- BS Motoring) did a story on the Kawasaki GPZ 1100. You can read the article here. And that, my friends is my dream bike. I have never seen one in flesh. I have never heard that suppressed silent howl. I have never felt the inline 4 breathing under me. Yet, it is the one bike that I would love to own, forever.

Ask me the same question when I am 50, and Ill say the same thing. Ditto when I am 65! Dreams have a weird habit of getting frozen. Unlike our need for the latest gadgets or the fanciest cars, dreams never budge. They stay put. And I have a dream that got fueled by this article. Thanks Bijoy. You know how many times I have re read it? About a 150!

You dream about a bike too? Tell us!

- Rahul

Images by BSM

Jul 19, 2007

The (slowly) changing face of Bihar

Bihar has never really featured as one of the great biking destinations. Most of its countryside, hills and greenfields lie unseen by the tourer on a motorcycle who hails from the metro cities of India. So, when riders defy everything to get to Khardung la, Leh and Ladakh, what threat does Bihar pose?

Actually it does. The threat here is some of its people. Highway robberies, murders and other forms of hideous broad daylight crimes for years have given Bihar this infamous image! If you try to go into the case, you will realize that the root cause of all this is unemployment. The unemployed youth (misguided by weird organisations) take to crime to fund their families. As crime rates rise, industrialisation goes out of the window and to complete the circle, unemployment rises more in return! Work cultures do not exist and officials do not work mostly.

The roads are more craters than tarmac and the infrastructure is non existent! So how does a lone biker survive so many gruesome odds? The result is a state, mostly unmarked in even the most daunting 2 wheel tourer's map!

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our visit to Bihar and the long rides we did there on the highways really changed a lot of our pre-conceived notions. The roads are getting better, the infrastructure is slowly bucking up. The people are friendly to tourists and the cops will happily show you the way! The roadside grub is good and hey, there is even the 'Cream and Onion something' chips hanging outside the roadside shop, which you can wash down with a Cold Soft drink (if the power has been there to run the fridge, yes power is a major problem here)!

Give it another 5 years and Bihar will come right back on the bikers' map. And as you can see in the image below, it is really beautiful!

Tackling tram lines in Kolkata

While riding pillion yesterday across the city from Park Street to Wellington to pick up a new lid we had ordered, I saw a completely new perspective of the Iron rails that have been laid by the Calcutta Tramways Corporation for the 2 bogeyed iron beasts to rattle all over the serpentine streets.

Tram lines nowadays come in a variety of surfaces beside them.
1) Concrete. This is the easiest to tackle. Its almost like the rails are not there at all. They are almost flush with the road surface and do not pose any real threat to riders. Just be careful while its wet, cause in the wet, traction on metallic surfaces = 0!

2) Tarmac. This is the tricky bit guys. In most places the iron rails are well above 3 inches higher than the road surface. The rails themselves have a deep well running all through to keep the trams on track with the iron wheels sinking into the void and staying there. Trouble is, most bike tyres will also sink in and stay there, making steering a move as useless as a reverse gear on a Platina! So avoid crossing these lines. In the event that you have to, tackle them at an angle of 45 degress so that there is no way you can get the front or the rear stuck at the mercy of the rails!

3) Stone bricks. This is a nightmare! Stay away from such patches (though there are only a very few left now and these too will thankfully go away) at all costs. If its raining, take another route. If your girlfriend lives on such a street, tell her to walk it till the stretch is done away with. If she is adamant, well just stay as far as possible from the centre of the road where the rails run!

That should get you going on the Kolkata streets.. And one more thing, be most careful where the road bends and so does the tramline. In these sections, one side of the rails have a much higher metal plate running to keep the tram wheels from derailing. Even cars start 'tramlining' here!

Ride Safe!

Jul 18, 2007

Cause hippies don't like it!

This happened a few days back, and left us red eared for quite some time with embarrassment! Nitin and I were traveling for a photo shoot and story on Bodh Gaya and Nalanda for the website and the E mag.

The 'file picture' hogger that Nitin is, he needed to have shots clicked of himself beside every landmark we visited. After we finished this particular shot, we decided to get back on the road. Now you don't get to see such a pretty face everyday, do you? This lady was walking up ahead of us and her slender form was very pretty. Her yellow T challenging the sun. Nitin looked at her for some ten seconds and said "You know buddy I really have the hots for such women, they are almost like... er retros.. er nah, Hippies! Yeah thats the word! It gives me goose bumps" Her gait was relaxed and pretty soon, we were passing her. I was overwhelmed and could not resist asking if I could take a photo of hers.

"Nope" she said, in a very soft and warm voice, "Cause hippies don't like it!"

I cursed my luck and Nitin's loud mouth. And the silent ambient of the place that had carried the voice that far! There was not much else left to say after a smile of curt denial broke across her lips. We scooted from there as fast as you can say "What effers you guys have been...."

I found this pic later. While clicking out one of our man beside the world's largest sitting Buddha statue, she had somehow graced the frame! All apologies to you if you ever come by here!

- Rahul

The Ducati Grandstand Returns to the Misano Adriatico GP

On September 2nd, the second Italian stop of the MotoGP World Championship will take place at Misano World Circuit in Misano Adriatico, the same circuit which just held the fifth world gathering of Ducatisti in the end of June.

Ducati is giving all of its fans the opportunity to attend the race in a grandstand reserved for the followers of the incredible Stoner and Capirossi, just how it was in Mugello last June.

Once again, Ducati is offering everyone the chance to experience a day full of excitement shared with friends with the same passion. It will be possible to cheer for the riders during the race as part of the official fan club, full of energy and passion for the bikes from Borgo Panigale which will colour the circuit red, just how it was a few weeks ago during the World Ducati Week 2007.

The Ducati grandstand will be situated on the Curva del Carro, part of the C grandstand which is accessible from Via del Carro and will be filled with the lively choreography of the Desmodromiclub of Rome. A megascreen will be mounted in front of the grandstand so that everyone can closely follow every second of a race that is forecast to be amazing.

In addition to attending a mythical race in a strategic point on the circuit, the holders of the Ducati grandstand tickets will be able to take advantage of a free reserved parking area and helmet and gear check. To sum it all up, there will be a bar set up at the grandstand especially for this day.
The ticket will be valid to access the Ducati grandstand (free seats, not numbered) on Sunday, September 2nd with a cost of 145 Euro*, including the cost of shipping. It just takes a simple “click” to book your ticket, and they are also available for purchase on http://www.ducati.com/.
A 145 Euro? Not bad at all we say... Well atleast they are setting up a bar there especially for the stand!

Images by Ducati.com

Starting a new interface

Hello people. It has been a while since we have been churning out some stories, road tests and travelogues at Monoshock. And we will continue to do so as time goes by.
Looking back, it feels strange to remember that http://www.monoshock.in/ started off as a one page site some one and a half years ago. We have covered some distance since then. It was important to understand what all of you out there think of us. We need to know where we are great and which are the areas where we need improvement.
At the Monoshock blog, we will be primarily looking at some fixed sections. Road tests and ownership feedbacks being the primary area of focus. We will also be regularly featuring technical write ups to try and share some experience with all you bikers out there.
Monoshock is also about people, so there is no way that we can avoid them. So also look out for people whose paths have crossed ours and they have made a difference in our lives.
The E magazine will continue to grow and now with rearset and some other great people joining the movement, we are sure that we can keep you glued to your computers with lots of action!

At Monoshock, we will always value your effort to be here and your time, which you take out for us. So here goes this new start... Hope to hear from all of you soon!