A Day with Harley Davidson

This was a long cherished dream of my friend MH700, aka Mihir Kulkarni. Thanks to his kheeda of riding Harley Davidson bike, I am sharing my experience of riding Harley Davidson (HD). I had seen Arnold Schwarzenegger sitting on Harley’s Fat Boy in the famous Terminator movie and that is the only thing which comes to my mind about Harleys. Probably all the college going dudes and even for that matter working professionals would have at some point in their life dreamt of this bike and riding it with their girlfriend behind. But here I just had to manage alone! One fine morning as we woke up, I find my FB notification which showed my name tagged to a page. It read Harley bikes for rent and this was tagged by MH700. Since then it was Harley dreams almost every night for us and we badly wanted to do this. We decided to see how many among the group were interested to do this ride. At first instance as always we got a ‘YES’ from everybody but you know what happens to those yes as the day approaches. It was difficult for us to believe that HD bikes were available for rent. I and MH700 thought of giving a visit to these fellows and check out if the renting of HD was indeed true. We met with an accident on our way and funny part was we were laughing at it. This accident hurt my left thumb but still I was smiling and that continued the whole day even after driving for 50+ kms in city limits on a weekend with the Bengaluru traffic at its peak. We could not believe what was happening! After arriving we had a good talk with the team who were friendly and could see the enthusiasm on our faces. Surprisingly we were offered test rides and we got our first (second one for me, when I just managed to sit on it!) chance to sit on the Harley. OMG, we just couldn’t believe and the butterflies in stomach were literally visible on our faces! MH700 was extra pinkish on that day and even at 19:00 you could see his face glow like a firefly. I let him to do the test ride first (I had no option)…. It was funny because MH700 is a die-hard fan of HD and literally is a walking Wikipedia but when it came to ride he knew nothing about the switches and console of the Harley! Finally after some assistance he was able to figure out the switches. All the wait was worth after listening to the Harley engine’s trademark double-note sound. We could not go beyond 2nd gear, not because of the small stretch and cramped up space in busy Jayanagar but the raw engine power (883 cc) was really scary. After the short ride there was no second thoughts about our ride and we both said ‘let’s ride this beast’…… We had plans of riding the HD on weekday but then my friend, Drugs Baba, Vibhas Purushothaman had no leaves left with him. So we had to take the weekend option. Finally after some discussion and few additions and deletions to the list we decided November 1st 2014 as our Harley Ride day. We wanted three bikes but one bike was already booked and we had to manage with two. Though the team has many other bikes, we wanted Harley only and so it was decided that we hire two bikes and share it among us. The bikes we finally booked are: Street 750 – Rajjo aka Raja Hussain Iron 883 – MH700 aka Mihir Kulkarni & Drugs Baba aka Vibhas Purushothaman The reason I chose Street 750 is because of the comparative high ground clearance and good maneuverability. But also on the back of my mind I had the mileage and cost factor running! (My salary was yet to be credited). Driving Iron 883 definitely feels royal but when it comes to turning radius, you are no less than an elephant…. We were sure about the place and wanted to drive within 180-250 kms as the rental was for a day. Hogennakal was on the list but later dropped it. No doubt the road to Hogennakal is superb and well maintained but we had to opt out, thanks to high profile case which was just then settled. And then Mr. Drugs Baba suggested the famous NH 48 with Shravanabelagola – Belur – Halebidu. This was on my list for quite some time and thanks to him, I quickly said YES. After some search on Google we found out that the roads were really good.

As it is Harley and we are talking about the 750 & 883 cc bikes it makes sense to have safety gears even if the roads are buttery. Luckily I managed to borrow the gears again (after the Leh ride) from my colleague, Poornesh. I requested him to arrange for one more set which he kindly obliged. Poornesh is a professional stunt biker and has all the necessary safety gears with him which comes in handy for me at times (rather, every time). We personally went and took the bikes from Wicked Ride team. There was some documentation to be done which we finished in few minutes. Once the paper work was over and the keys handed over to us, we did not waste even a minute to sit and start the bike. So far the thumping sound of Royal Enfield was joy to my ears but after listening to the sound of HD, Iron 883 in specific I forgot all about RE. It was as if somebody replaced the old file with a newer one in my hard disk! But it is impossible to forget my Leh ride and how RE was the work horse pulling me on those rugged terrains. One of the wickedride member briefed us about some basics and the console before we could leave. I and MH700 had to leave our bikes behind and for the first time in our life we were happy to do so with a big smile on our faces! Once we left, all along the stretch till we reached our home almost everybody turned their heads looking for the bike. The funny part was when I was on Street 750 and nobody even cared to look at me. All thanks to HD who have come up with Street 750 for Indian roads minus the trademark sound. The only sound we get is the radiator fan which kicks in now and then. The radiator sound for the first time literally scared sh*t out of me. I never knew about the radiator fan sitting behind the good looking radiator until I called up wickedride and informed them about this weird sound! I guess the team would have felt, what a novice we have riding HD. It was Friday night and Bangalore traffic was at peak especially in the busy bustling South Bangalore. We both were waiting for NICE (literally, it is nice) road which is an expressway and badly wanted to cross 3rd gear! After paying a nominal toll fare, we both took our bikes to the expressway. And once we saw the entire stretch with few trucks on it, we opened the full throttle. I am not sure about MH700, but with Street 750 I reached 0-100 in 6-7 seconds. The reading on speedometer was changing as if it was a gas station pump! As I reached 120, the engine was literally talking or rather begging for more. I crossed 130 and then finally 140! The acceleration is brutally fast. That is when I realized somebody was sitting behind me. My sister, Soni sitting behind was one tough girl who did not even utter a word. Only thing she said after the speedo dropped to 90-100, ‘I can’t feel my cheeks’!!!!! By 21:00 we reached home and all the neighbors came out. They had come out not to welcome us but Iron 883 sound made them!!! We had quick dinner and started to pack our bags. By the time we pulled out all our gears from the closet and finished it was 01:00. After that I was busy making arrangement for my next ride (Bhutan) and MH700 was searching for his gloves which he finally found at 02:00. We woke up at 06:00 in the morning and straight away went to see the beauties waiting for us downstairs. MH700 dream of seeing HD right in front of his eyes after waking up, finally came true.

Iron 883
Street 750 (even Bruno is happy to see)

Now we had to pick Drugs Baba who was waiting for us at his home. I asked MH700 to pick him and meantime I had some other plan. I took Street 750 to my boss home which happens to fall on the way and gave him a joyride on Street (This is November and not the appraisal time….). My boss is also a bike lover.

My Boss on Backseat….
My Boss on Backseat….

Finally around 07:00 we left Bengaluru and headed straight towards Hassan via NH 48.

Street 750 on NH 48
Street 750 on NH 48

After almost an hour’s drive we reached Shark Land, which is our regular stopover on this stretch for breakfast. And we are served delicious, mouthwatering tatte idli with vada (unfortunately no sharks on the menu). And as we entered the hotel premises everybody literally dropped their plates after listening to 883 sound and seeing the two bikes. And also my Golden Helmet! Many walked up to the bike and clicked selfies. Few years back I was in the same league. After breakfast it was time to leave and I wanted to ride 883 now. It was almost 12 hours seeing this beast and listening to its sound. And I thought now is the time to sit and ride the beast. Next 50-60 kms it was pure bliss especially on a wonderful stretch with wind blowing on your face at 120 kmph. That’s the advantage of having an 883 or probably an open face helmet….

MH700 & Drugs Baba
GoldenHelmet & Drugs Baba

The digital fuel indicator of Iron 883 was misleading in our case and maybe it was one off scenario. The console showed two markings but the bike refused to start and I had to pull over. Luckily MH700 and Drugs Baba weren’t too far. I informed them about my situation and to my luck there was a fuel station just few yards from where MH700 had stopped. Till my friends came back I thought of taking few pictures especially with the bright sunshine glaring Iron 883.

Golden Helmet with Iron 883
Golden Helmet with Iron 883

My friends were back with fuel and after few minutes we left for Shravanabelagola. On the way we took few pictures of Street 750 and Iron 883. Around 13:00 we reached Shravanagelagola base and parked our vehicles in the temple premises. As we approached the entrance I could see the steep climb we had to do. I badly wanted to stay back with Harley and look after them rather than climb! Somehow after lots of struggle and panting we reached the top. My situation was exactly like Po from Kung Fu Panda movie when he rushes to meet Master Shifu! I was in no hurry and took my own sweet time. Once you reach the top you are greeted by some wonderful scenes. It was really worth the climb.

Top view of Shravanabelagola
Top view of Shravanabelagola

Gommateshvara Bahubali

Drugs Baba explaining the history of Jainism to MH700
Drugs Baba explaining the history of Jainism to MH700

Soon we reached down and had few ice creams before starting off to Hassan for lunch. At Hassan, we had a good lunch and the waiters were very good to us! Thanks to HD…….. From Hassan the road to Belur is good and you will love to drive on this stretch. We reached Belur around 17:00 and did a quick walk around the temple. The beauty of this place is very well explained in the images and I have no words to describe the great architecture and skills our ancient kingdoms had.

MH700 – Rajjo – Drugs Baba
MH700 – Rajjo – Drugs Baba

The stretch from Belur to Halebidu is very bad. Even by the normal city bikes standard. Somehow we reached Halebidu around 18:00 and again due to time we did a quick walk around. Be prepared to answer few standard questions if you plan to ride or purchase HD.

  • How much does the bike cost?
  • Foreign bike?
  • Mileage?

We were literally tired answering all the above questions. Just when we were about to leave, we got a call from the real owners of the bike, wickedride. They wanted an update about our ride and when we would reach Bengaluru? Luckily by then we had covered all the places. We knew that we had to rush now, safely. From there on it was just ride, ride, ride and ride………. Most of the trip/travelling we are busy clicking pics and taking selfies but here just for a change we forgot we had a camera. One word of caution for fellow bikers: Keep distance from the sand trucks especially on NH 48. Most of the time these fellows will be sleepy and anytime they will veer the truck towards you. We reached the Nelamangala toll plaza around 20:30 and we stopped for a quick tea before heading into city limits. Around 22:00 we reached the real owners and handed over the bike with a heavy heart……… but I guess HD and our thirst with it was not over. Due to some logistics, we were asked to keep Street 750 till the next morning! I literally wanted to kiss Mr. Vivek…………

                                                                                                     01/11/2014
31/07/2011                                                                                               01/11/2014

Three years ago I managed to get inside some apartment compound and sit on Iron 883. Took this picture and showed it to all my friends. Probably they would have laughed at me and also my child like behavior. Today it feels great to have actually taken this bike out for 650 Kms!!! Feels nice ………….. Thank you www.wickedride.in and the whole team: Vivek, Anil, Varun and Pruthvi. With due respect to Iron 883, I would like to mention few details or rather numbers and also a small review about Street 750. I am not a hardcore know-all person who knows the-all stuff about biking but I do know few things which makes me feel good about bikes. I somehow personally liked the Street 750 a lot, minus the sound. The overall comfort, size, torque and mileage was very appealing to me. (Maybe because of my height also!) Street 750: General Spec: Weight:                                   220 Kilos Engine:                                    V-twin, 60 degrees, 750 cc Fuel capacity:                         13 liters Mileage:                                  25 kmpl* 0-100:                                      6-7 seconds* Distance covered:                  650 kms* Top speed:                              155 kmph* *Based on our ride experience only.   Opinion/Comment: Likes: The engine is an engineering marvel because at 750 cc it is so smooth and refined. And the torque is available throughout the ride. Usually some companies divide the torque into low-end, mid and high-end but with Street 750 you almost get the torque always. As if it is waiting for your order. Dislikes: The engine sound is really not Harley. As I mentioned above, nobody can tell if it is Harley or not unless and until they see the badge. And in my case the badge was missing on one side of the fuel tank! In short, the engine only purrs and doesn’t roar…. The other disappointing thing is the headlamps. For a bike with 750 cc and speeds of 120 on an average we need good headlamps and the ones on Street 750 really don’t do justice. And there is no ABS. Many Indian bike manufacturers with 180-200 cc are offering ABS and HD can’t? Hard to believe. Finally: after all the likes and dislikes, if I were to make a final call on Street 750? Then I would definitely ‘live with Street 750 on Bengaluru streets’……………………………….. About Iron 883: Just one thing: Shaitan on the streets!   Route Map: Bengaluru-Shravanabelagola-Belur-Halebidu

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10 thoughts on “A Day with Harley Davidson

  1. Nice blog. You’ve documented the journey perfectly.

    One annoying question from me though: kitna deti hain? Both the bikes. I’ve heard it from others, but just want another rider to clarify.

    Like

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