Tag Archives: Bike

Road trip

I sold my last motorcycle back in 2015 & since then have not experienced a motorcycle road trip. A few weeks ago, I bought a new(ish) motorcycle from a departing Expat. Its the Stallions Centaur CT400 with a 400cc single cylinder 4 valve engine. I have ridden it many times since then, but only local short commutes. It goes without saying, the feeling of wanderlust has been building up inside me since.

Today morning, I went about my usual schedule and even started my office work. After taking stock of my work, I realized I had nothing too urgent to finish today. I decided to take the day off and head out to the highway on the motorcycle.

I settled on Ko Lan, an island around 160km away. To get there, you need to ride till Bali Hai Pier at Pattaya and then take a ferry to the island. I hastily collected a few things, put on Pink Floyd’s Pulse and headed out on the highway. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that the fastest highway to Pattaya doesn’t allow motorcycles on it. Fortunately, the other highway which does allow Motorcycles was also more suitable for Motorcycle rides. Highway 3 is a winding 4-6 lane road which hugs the coast and passes near many beaches.

Motorcycle Road Trip
Highway 3

After escaping the mad traffic of Bangkok, I was finally able to open up the throttle on the highway. The motorcycle performs very well on the highway, cruising easily between 100-120kmph without too many vibrations (For a single cylinder engine). There’s ample reserve power for going faster for overtaking, too. I was able to reach Pattaya in 2.5 hours.

Deserted Bali Hai Pier

I was quickly disappointed to find the pier deserted and learnt that boats to Ko Lan were stopped because of the pandemic. Dejected, I decided to explore Pattaya instead and headed to Pattaya Beach. Thankfully, Chonburi province allows dine-in and I was able to have lunch at the beach.

After getting my feet wet in the water and relaxing for sometime, I headed back to Bangkok. I wanted to stay and watch the sunset but the constant attempts by she-pimps to persuade me to get a “massage” got on my nerves. My phone ran out of battery on the way back, and I lost my way twice on the outskirts of Bangkok but eventually reached home.

After going on a motorcycle road trip after so many years, I feel exhilarated. Needless to say, there will be many more road trips in the months to come.

Thunderbird Twinspark – Initial impressions

Yesterday I became the proud owner of a Thunderbird Twinspark, 2012 model.

Since I got my last bike around 8 years ago, which was eventually stolen, the price has gone up around 50%. I was curious to find out what improvements the company had added in all these years and how different it was from my last one. Here’re my views as of now (100km)

  1. The colour is deeper and the texture feels smoother overall
  2. The front disc brake seems to be the same. Feels smoother than what I am used to, but my bike was almost 60000 km old
  3. The headlamp is brighter and now works even when the engine is turned off
  4. The instrument console is mostly the same, with minor differences
  5. The switchgear is much better. The indicator switch, the engine on/off switch, the push start switch all feel sturdy and softer. There’s no decompressor lever. The dipper switch which was almost unusable in the old bike is much better now. The handlebar weights are now chrome
  6. The “Royal Enfield” decal on the tank is now embossed rather than printed on a sticker. Frankly I preferred the latter
  7. They have added reflectors on both sides of the chassis just below the tank for better visibility when getting on/off the road
  8. The electric start is fast and responsive
  9. The kickstarter is largely in-effective. It doesn’t even engage with the engine till half-way down and it is clear that they have included it for exceptional cases and the electric starter is intended to start the vehicle most of the times
  10. The real brake is more effective and has less play
  11. The seat is more comfortable, especially for the lower back
  12. The factory fitted horn (single unit) is terrible. I had to get Bosch dual-tone horns fitted before I dared to take it out on the road
  13. The seating position seems to have been slightly tweaked for the better
  14. The center stand is better designed and requires very little effort to get the bike on and off the stand
  15. The wiring is better hidden and feels more taut

Here’re my thoughts on the engine

  1. The engine is smoother and feels sturdier and more reliable. Would know more in the long run
  2. The whirring noise from the engine is very noticeable. However, I know from experience that this would go down as the engine is driven in
  3. There’s almost no noise from the Pushrods or due to Cam backlash. Again, the consistency needs to be tested in the long run
  4. The torque and power is noticeably more, but I would know more once the engine is run in some more and I am able to rev to higher RPMs.
  5. Gear shifting is still tricky and false neutrals though quite rare, are still there.
I did around 100km since yesterday. Hope to complete 500km in 7-10 days so that the bike can go through its first servicing.

How I was swept away

It’s 4.30 and there’s still one hour to gym. But as usual getting bored, I head out towards the hostel on my bike as the weather is very good. Little did I know that it was the calm before the storm. Halfway, the wind starts blowing so fast that one second, the wind behind me, I can’t feel a thing going at 70 kmph, the other second, it’s on my face and I have a hard time keeping my eyes open. I had a hard time keeping the bike straight(that too a bullet!!!) On top of that, all the dust on the road concentrated and blew straight at my face. It was like I was slapped hard or something. Spitting dust from my mouth and shielding my eyes with my hand from the storm, somehow reached the hostel just in time before the rain pours down heavily. Half an hour into the rain, it’s mayhem. Cannot see anything out of the window. The rain drops are moving almost horizontally. Rain blew halfway up the hostel corridor and drenched half of us. After the rain, it’s a scene of devastation. People riding on cylces lying on the road, trees fallen. As we ventured out, we could see roads blocked because of fallen trees. The ICICI atm was devastated from what I heard. Anyways, I hope that the fabulous weather continues and gives us relief from the 50 degrees scorching heat.