Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Dubai story - 2

Dubai is a city of rich. or rather Dubai Emirate is Emirate of rich. Its not a city per se. And if you are rich with U$Ds, the better. Your american-ness will be very helpful here. Dubai and USA share a fascination towards each other, you can't miss it unless you are unlucky enough to be locked in a 6x6x8 cell in French Guiana since your birth and you cannot make out Paris Hilton from Indira gandhi. Not that I am complaining about it. After all we have generations in India living to a dream of going to US of A and making it big. Its modernness is so polished and so recent. Actually every modern city is bound to be polished, but there is something about Dubai which makes you wonder and scratch your head in amazement and awe. For a land that became a country as late as 1971, their achievements are mega. There are still a few rough patches although like: You see, on one hand there is world's tallest building (Burj Dubai,yeah) and on the opposite side, camels grazing in the desert, no kidding! But that issue is fast being looked after. Soon there will be no such contradicitions to be seen, and they are almost there. For the starters, there are virtually no poor people. No shabby houses. No broken roads. No garbage. No dirt. No smelly by lanes. No crowd, In fact there are almost no people on the roads.The public transport vehicles are nice and clean, so are the bus and metro stops. If you are coming from India, be warned, you are going to miss a lot of things. Another thing you notice is quantity and quality of cars, that too big huge cars. Small cars and two wheelers are next to non-existent. If you see a bike, consider it one of those rare days so it might rain. If you see two bikes in a day, you most probably roamed out of Dubai to some other emirate, may be Ajman. If you see a bi-cycle, you came far, far-off like say,India. For a person like me who is crazy for all things that move on wheels (yeah you read it right, girls on skates included) I was in heaven. Listing the cars that I saw would be too tiring to write and read. For the connoisseurs, I would mention a few very rare and remarkable cars that I saw roaming in Dubai:
(*note: the serial numbers are not as per their significance, it will be insulting for the cars who got a number other than #1)

1. Ford GT, An American legend. Its awesomeness is not to be calculated. Ford's flag bearer based on the legendary Ferrari killer GT40 and probably the best Ford ever made. After Model T that is.

2. Lotus 7 or Caterham 7. Lotus 7 is too old, I guess it was Caterham 7 only. He zoomed past in a moment. A bare bones machine for purists. You should be executed if you don't like it.

3. Ferrari Enzo ( In fact almost all other models of Ferrari). You agree to it or not, but Enzo is the car. It is also Italian, making it extra ordinarily desirable. Not only that, it is also outrageously staggeringly violent and disastrously fast. One push on pedal and you are in other continent.With only 400 ever made, I would like to get run over by it and die, if I am to die someday.

4. KTM X-Bow...yeah! KTM also makes this totally insane 4 wheeled machine and someone has got it in Dubai already. I could not click it but it looks like below, I was in total awe to pull out camera. Don't go by the looks and its biking blood line. It can push your eye balls to the back of your head when you accelerate. With no visible protection and engine screaming mad at 5 inches from your ears, try to stand without trembling your legs in front of it.

5. BMW 8 series, a 850 CSI. Humongous V12 engined BMW coupe/tourer, so far ahead of its time that when people reached to that time,it was already old.

6. Lamborghini Gallardo spider in totally awesome matte grey finish. The baby lambo is capable of mauling you into a senseless blob of flesh with its sound, looks, power and what not. Give respect, don't expect any. Its rush and frenzy can only be bettered by other lambo and Enzo.

7. Maserati Quattroporte(below) and GT, OK these are not rare in a convinient manner, but still exotic as hell. You just cannot go wrong. Marvelously Italian. Criminally beautiful. Sexy as Sophia Lauren.

8. Chevrolet Corvette ZR1,C06 etc etc : Another American legend. ZR1 they say is the best corvette yet and in fact best American car ever made. Comparing it with Ford GT will be delicious, but I will still hand over the cup to GT due to its rarity and image.

9. Rolls Royce Phantom in golden...only in Dubai you can have something like this. Its a monstrous car of monstrous price.But in Dubai its just a piece of heavy English metal. It's a ticket to the show where you can display your phat money. It may be colossal but it is not beautiful. The only car which I hate to put on this list.

I was hoping even before I flew to Dubai, that I would get to see a Bugatti Veyron but it evaded me some how. The other cars however made it up more than enough. Whenever we walked on road, my head would turn here and there as the cars passed. I remember look on my friend's faces when I showed them some car. Every other second I would point to some car and make them see. Made them go crazy by the end of tour. My apologies Senthil and Solomon!

A Dodge Charger(above) and Chevrolet Camaro 4th generation(top). Celebrate America! would you please? Thank you. (By the way, see that handy work of obscuring the number plate on Camaro?done by yours truly)

In India, cars are very easy pointers of one's worth and well being-ness.If you have a car, you automatically become eligible for exclusivity. In Dubai, that hardly makes a difference: EVERYONE has car(s). That makes classification a bit difficult. Following is an approximate guide on the reactions you may get according to how you arrive :

a. on a bike : "pizza delivery boy! you are late by 10Min's"

b. small car, say Swift : you should not exist in Dubai, or rather you do not exist already.

c. a entry mid segment car like Hyundai Verna or Honda City : your forefathers were construction labours in Sharja. You are a labour supervisor in Dubai.

d. premium mid size car like Octavia or Civic : Pre-School teacher of secondary language English, beacuse obviously you do not speak arabic. A Second generation, middle class, boring expat.

e. Premium car like Accord or Camry : "You taxi driver!!!". So you point that your car does not have those red-green lights on top nor is the car off-white. You get an unimpressed reply " So you stole your taxi itself?".

f. A custom modded Lancer or Imprezza : We like your car, not you. Don't try any weird shit on our roads, boy racer, go to Japan and drift.

g. Luxury sedan like any BMW 5 or Audi 6 or Mercedes E : So what? I told you they don't like European cars. You neo-rich expats...

h. Luxury sedan like Cadillac CTS : "Yo Americano!! welcome to Dubai"

i. Any large SUV like Hummer, Escalade : "You guzzle so much of gas! We so like you" also that makes you American by default, so double bonanza.

j. Super luxury sedan like 7 series or S class : OK...Your forefathers were illegal gold exporters during 80's and 90's. You still deal gold with Indians. Apparently legal.

k. A full blown sports car like Ferrari 430F: A kid of real estate dealer. Give me your papa's contact.

l. Super duper luxury, Rolls Royce phantom or ghost : Ah ha, and a raised eye brow. You might get a welcome drink. Coke. Not water.

m. A helicopter : ummmm, papa of Ferrari 430 driving kid. "Let's talk real estate and dollars".

n. A private jet liner: Now this is something. You get a drink. Water this time.

o. A totally sweet 550 feet yacht : you ARE a Shaikh. So you don't step out at all. The hotel comes and builds a lobby right till your private port with red carpet, woven with solid gold thread. Women straight from arabian nights standing on sides, welcoming you.

and as Emiratis say,Shukran!
P.S. some other cars seen in Dubai below, just like that!

A sweet Audi R8. Inside the tunnel that goes from under the main stem of Palm Jumeirah till Atlantis.

Dubai's favourite car.Arrive in one of these, and earn respect. Because obviously the more gas you guzzle, more you are liked. I could not click a yellow stretched hummer!

One of numerous limos in Abu-Dhabi. It was the first time I saw a SUV stretched to make a Limo...that too a dilapidated Ford Excursion. But so what? It is a truck ok? and it is American.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Dubai story -1

Alright, Rise and shine sir, I take a u-turn and come back to this little blog as I said earlier, I changed my mind. A warning: The next few posts have nothing to do with my bike (which is currently running nicely, amen). I just happened to hit on a jackpot and got lucky. I will cut the prologue of how I got lucky, you see I don't like to see my readers getting jealous. But the story goes like this - I was made to play games,then booze, then play some more game, then go around karting track in a Go-Kart and then land in Dubai one fine morning from Hyderabad. I am so lucky that my Emirates flight was sponsored, so was my hotel stay and food...
Anyways, I land there with my stomach full with nice lunch and beer. The first thing I saw from the door is a Ford Focus and I became happy. The smile glued on my face from that moment remained till I boarded (sponsored!)flight back to India after the tour. We go inside and I was astonished at the marvellously huge and beautiful airport. Everyone was needed to go through eye-scan before they stamped our Visas as valid. I still don't know what was the reason behind it. There were some 5 queues of people 1 especially for women. Each queue was ending at a counter with retina scan machine and an Arab operating it. Amazingly for women also a man was there with huge face and pouty lips and moon surface skin, looking terrible. The person for my queue was quite safe looking, thank you! Me along with my friends were standing when I noticed that it was almost India with 80 out of 100 people around me speaking Hindi. Finally we reach at the end and my friend Senthil goes for the scan.. He sits on the chair facing the Arab and closes one eye, positions other eye towards the machine. The Arab is not satisfied, he takes a look at visa and gestures with his hand to open the eye widely. Mr.Senthil 'opens' as much as possible but not enough. The person is frusrated and seeing an Indian slips to HINDI! He says "Aankh kholo!" in weird accent. Now, Mr.Senthil here comes from Chennai and knows as much Hindi as Paris Hilton knows about what is being smart. He sits there dumbly, without emotions. The Arab takes a pityfull look at him and barks "Aankh kholo, Badaa badaa!!" and opened his own eyes wide. As if finally on some clue Senthil shows some movement of eye, but just. Not enough. I certainly did not want the first casuality to occur within minutes of landing and looked on dreadly. The Arab must have gone crazy by now, he curled his lips downward, clenched his fist and opened it slowly, just like a flower. Senthil finally got it and I guess he opened his eye really REALLY wide as he got the stamp on visa. I was next. I don't exactly remember but I must have kept my eyes in a ohh-what-a-surprise-mode, because the Arab immediately stamped the document.
First hurdle cleared, with all of our limbs in tact!
P.S. - All the talks such as very freely given capital punishment, your limbs being cut for offences etc etc are crap. Me however, till today, have taken very good care of my body. So losing a limb trying to stretch UAE law, was out of contention and results would have been disastrous. Coding as they say is tough. With only one hand left, it will be impossible I guess.
And I suggest if you ever go to Dubai, you also do the same: do not try to verify. As we all know, that you never know.
To start, here is a picture of the awesome Dubai airport entrance. The colors keep changing every 2 seconds.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

200 No longer.

As most of you will already be knowing that, Pulsar 200 will no longer be in production. All those versions with 220's fairing, big forks have proved to be just concepts. I must admit that this particular news has dampened my spirit. I will never understand why most beautiful bike in Bajaj's stable was ultimately turned into an organ donor. However as the things stand out today, the 180 is the new 200, so buyer's won't be missing much atleast in looks department. What baffled me was the inclusion of those tank scoops on 150, besides of course the all black treatment. But as you all know, Bajaj engineers,designers,managers and what not are obviously better than me at judging people's requirements. Then again, "personally" me isn't a bit happy about this.
The termination news also brings a question on whether I should continue with the blog. This might as well turn out to be last post on the blog.
Until I change my mind.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Long time no see?

When you open this blog you don't see my bike's picture featuring anywhere on first page. However all other pages have it. I am wondering how did this happen? And to wipe out this poor treatment to my own bike, here are some random pics of her along with some facts and figures.

1. First of all, the bike completed 10k. It is currently running at 12k something.

2. Most of this 12k has been city riding, almost 70%.

3. So that means I am not a tourer.

4. Of late, the bike runs 100kms on 100INR petrol. I put normal petrol which runs at 45.56INR. Go figure the efficiency.

5. Loyal readers may remember that my bike particularly has been ridden with electrical issues. This trend seems to be breaking as the bike is running flawlessly for past 5k kms. Or is it that I have become more liberal towerds her? need to find out because the weird fuel guage, pain in the ass self-cancelling-indicators which are rendered to normal push-cancel indicators now a days, don't seem to bother me.

6. According to ProBiking people chain and the sprockets are due for change. I can see some links in that O-Ring chain are not properly aligned, So they might be right after all.

7. Inquired with some experts. They said 15k is the limit for such chains. And I am 3k short of that mark. I remember the day I bought the bike was not so particularly bad at all. But it happens. The chain set including 2 sprockets costs 1150INR. plus 200INR service tax.

8. Oh and yeah, it also met with its first puncture. At the rear wheel. Repairing was surprisingly easy and quick(and expensive). The puncture repair kit retails for 350INR. Need to get one.

9. I wanted those rim stripes badly. Checked with shops which make number plates. But the red redium stripe which glows in dark when light falls on it looks cheapo in my opinion. And then happened to go to Yamaha showroom and I saw that they have these ready cut vinyl stripes for 17' rim size for sale. Bought one set in golden for 350INR. It doesn't glow in dark. Thanks yamaha,but what an irony!

10. Osram Night Breaker (55/60w) H4 lamp combined with stator plate from avenger 180 looks like a good option to resolve the weak head lamp issue of pulsar 200.
I have not done this, but seems a good and not very expensive option. You can find out more details about this here on RoadRollers. Thanks all at RoadRollers :)

In the mean while, we have another alteration on Pulsar 200 coming from sunny who owns this fabulous bike. Stripping the already naked street fighter? He just doesn't know where to stop ehh?
But I hope you all like it as I did.Poor baby loses the already skimpy bikini fairing here and I am not unhappy with the results. After all I am yet to come across a guy who hates skin show.

Thank sunny for wonderful pics of a wonderful bike.

Ride safe.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

2009 edition pulsars

Well well well, 2008 passed without much movement by Bajaj. To make matter worse their current model sales also deepened. Considering the gloomy scenario all over it was expected. But still enthusiasts were craving for a new version of one model which they have always cherished. Pulsar. Auto show came and went. What we got was a pulsar 220 with carbon fiber effect silencer, that too as a concept and that was all. That was all, you ask me? Ummm not anymore if recent news are to be believed. Bajaj has already started rolling stones for 2009 and XCD 135 is the first of them all.
But as I said, for enthusiasts it's not 'the' news. News of the hour actually is that, that they have really gone ahead listened to all us people and have devloped newer versions of much loved pulsar 180 and of course Pulsar 200.
So what is new really? For the starters, and I am not too happy with this- that 180 is said to have those tank extensions straight off 200, robbing much of latter's identity. Thankfully (and probably) they have spared the aluminum exhaust.
Second update which is also not confirmed and is kind of OK-OK concerns pulsar 200. As per one of the versions being shown to public (In Pune), pulsar 200 will have 220's front fairing. And that doesn't make me too happy either. It will also have fatter front forks of 220 plus clip-ons.
However there is another version being displayed, which retains current bikini fairing which is obviously sexy, for it being bikini :). And gets those fat forks,clip-ons and rear disc off 220.
This second version has rather intrigued me and I am really hoping that Bajaj goes ahead and makes it without second thoughts. Of course those who want 220 look alike should be given option. Apart from this, I think Bajaj should provide a better head lamp preferably a HID on 200 also even on normal bikini fairing version. Current head light setup sucks and is the most hated item on current 200.
Apart from cosmetic changes, the engine is also said to have gone under revamp and is now believed to pump out 19BHP which is 1+ on current engine. Unfortunately or fortunately 200 seems to retain carburetor and no FI at least for 2009 edition.
Those who are in Pune can go and check these models. Others, please be patient. It won't be too long before Bajaj goes ahead. It has been dead for too long now and India's one of much beloved brand does not deserve that.
(Above article talks about bikes which are still in concept phase and word should not be taken as final atleast for now. There may be changes in final products if they ever come to production.Pictures and videos are not published intentionally.)

UPDATE : Looks like Bajaj fired first salvo at the rising pressure, (read yamaha R and FZ) in the form of UG4 pulsar 180, and in my opinion isn't something really worth the long wait.What it achieves is what people have been doing since long-Convert their 180s to 200. So Ok, people will get knock off of P200 at almost 6k less than original P200 which I think can be put to good use of buying that aluminum exhaust which the new 180 lacks.
In short, all the pulsars except 220 will now look like P200. Not a good news for P200 customers for sure, including me. There is more bad news. The P200 itself is slated to look like P220. Wait, what? Yes exactly, where goes the original bad ass P200? Fingers crossed, but from what I am listening and seeing, no great hopes.And I am sad. This time I am not even go and bother finding 2009 pulsar pics. They are all over the place. Thanks.

UPDATED UPDATE : Got some pics of 2009 edition pulsar, not a exciting piece of news but I had to oblige. as they say, its literally a mix bag of feelings and parts.

New pulsar 180.Déjà vu.

forks from 220.
clips from 220.
new pulsar 150.damn.

In addition to these lame upgrades, they have also added 3D logos.I am excited!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rides around hyderabad - Bidar.

Finally I have something to say. It had been more than 6 months since I went to a long ride. Ok for a 240 kms round trip, no self respecting bike rider would say as long but then,something is better than nothing at all. As it goes, the trip was initiated by some enthusiasts who have been to bidar previously. Bidar was probably chosen because of its closeness and good stretch of road which connects it to hyderabad.We started from lingampally,Hyderabad at around 7.30 even though we were scheduled to leave at around 6.15AM. We had people joining from various places and some of them first timers, so it was all expected. For the records,There were 10 bikes and 20 people and we reached Bidar at around 9AM without any hiccup mid way.

I will, however tell the reason why we went to Bidar in first place and that is the fort over there.It also has India's second largest canon. After the fort, we visited a gurudwara near followed by Papnash temple. The Gurudwara provides excellent lunch and suplimented by peace and calmness, all this for free. If you want to voulnteer, you can do that also.
The Papnash temple must have a special mention. This peculiar temple is located under a huge rock. And to reach, you have to traverse through almost neck deep(and muddy) water for 200 metres. It is actually like a cave full of water, and on ceiling you can see hundreds bats hanging, to add to the effect.
Following are some pics from that ride, I don't like writing travel logs much and believe photos are mightier than words.

Jemshed on his now defunct avenger 180 with Sadiq the photographer.

That's me with Jemshed and others at some break-fast point.

And no its not Afghanistan. Welcome to Bidar.

Clock-tower at Bidar.

A famous Madarsa in Bidar.

Bidar Fort. The reason for the ride.

India's second largest canon. And I don't know where the First one is.

We all at papnash temple near Bidar.

Information if you are in hyderabad and want a days break by leaving towards Bidar:
distance from Hyderabad to Bidar is about 115kms. Roads are generally good. You have to take Pune highway, from there its easy as hell, just don't miss the all important right turn near zaheerabad.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A new take on pulsar 200.

Sometimes when I look at my bike and wonder about improving it, I just can't think of anything. Because the design is so complete,simple and uncluttered.
But then this guy sunny ,who apparently thinks not like me,is always full up to the brim with ideas (mostly crazy) comes along with a superb thought.Looks like He had a front mudguard (ohh), rear panels (ahha?) and a tank (what?) lying around(!!!!). Question arises how did these things can lie around? Obviously not, thought sunny and proceeded with something ,result of which is pretty beautiful. Images of that are below.

Look carefully.Its not simple black and silver job.

Now you got it.The black paint is done in matt finish.

Overall the craftmanship is superb I should say even though I have not seen it in person yet. Personally speaking, I give him a Hi-5 and would any day take this type of modest mods instead of those wannabe R1 mods with full fairing and filthy ill fitting panels.
This job here is very simple and does not lose on originality.According to him, some more things are on the way, and I can't wait for that to happen. So better hurry up and show whats there in the store!

All pictures courtesy, tushar aka sunny. Thanks man.

P.S. some more pics with minor cosmetic change.

My favorite shot of the lot. Clicked at a tunnel of new katraj bypass,pune.

I don't know how to thank you man, its just awesome.