1st March 2012, 3PM – Standing at the showroom 2 hours ahead of scheduled delivery time, waiting for the Dream to come true
The Dream did come True!!!
Black Venom III (pronounced ‘The Third’ and not the number 3) was this dream that came true. It took quite some pondering before booking and quite a few views and thoughts over my bank account to enable this dream to come true, and at the end of it all – It was worth every single minute, hour and day of waiting with no news that we all faced from KTM, worth all the sleepless nights once payments had been done, worth the big burn in the pocket (burn and not hole), worth all the aghast expressions on peoples face and tones in peoples voices when I told them I was buying another motorcycle that costed as much as it did & worth just everything about the whole experience that was endured during that one month.
A wedding during the second weekend of March led to a great chance to really ride Black Venom III over a considerable distance (though a shorter, quicker first ride took place with 2 other Dukes the same weekend she was delivered to me) to really see if the first impression could be bettered.
A friend (you will see some of his pictures in this post) and me set off towards Chikmagalur for a 3 day weekend on our Dukes and the first thing that was expected to happen with these two motorcycles on the road (he christened his Duke as “My Orange Lady”) is all the attention they got from all passer-bys driving past us at quite some insane speeds. Of course not to mention all the questions that needed to be answered by wide-eyed boys at signals whilst getting out of the city. Surprisingly they weren’t that irritating, just simple ones such as “Which Company? & How much does it cost?”.
Out of the city and onto the nice and what seems like never ending NH48 was a great change from riding out of the city to just get there.
|The so called “Dhoom” bikes by the kids from the town we were passing through|
About an hour into the ride, we needed to stop to give our behinds a little comforting break (which is the only ‘Con’ I feel about the Duke, the seat). Coconut water was the reason for the stop beyond the butt break.
|“Stop every 1 hour of highway riding” is what we were told during delivery|
Of course we did draw quite some attention with people being called out from beyond the green to see what was standing on the road outside their cultivated lands. Here as well questions were quite a few and grins galore as they wondered why were were all suited up and loaded up & why were the motorcycles the subjects of our lens’.
Getting back on the road and catching up with the already speeding vehicles that had passed us by during our break was a breeze. The quickly rising digital tacho is a pleasure to watch as it climbs through the 6 cogs quite quickly with absolutely no signs of strain on the engine. The well balanced body meant keeping straight lines extremely simple and easy under acceleration and braking too. Vibes kept away all though our journey to and fro all the way.
So we rode on with the Dukes swallowing kilometers away at quite an astonishing pace with absolutely no worries whatsoever. The little onboard computer is quite handy since it gave out fuel consumption, riding time and average speed.
The Duke loves open roads and tarmac, what it does not love is bad roads and it definitely does not love ‘no roads’. This is the one place where handling really needs the rider to put in more effort than he would otherwise. Once we passed Hassan and Belur, we found stretches of curvy roads with quite a few spots that would make it ideal for some photography. But reaching these spots meant taking the Dukes onto ‘no roads’. And they really don’t like being taken onto ‘no roads’. It took quite an effort to keep the motorcycles balanced and even more importantly prevent the road tyres from spinning and throwing up only mud / gravel without any traction.
|Getting here was a task, they don’t like ‘No Roads’|
|The hind quarters of the Duke is the best side of her|
|Trail & Error method for carrying luggage|
Back on the tarmac and one tends to fall in love with the suspension all over again. Decently firm and yet soft to soak up the unevenness of the roads ensure lesser fatigue and strain to the rider. It allows for taking on curves on the roads at higher speeds with out really having to think about how the motorcycle will react getting into and out of the corners. This combined with the engines desire to keep pushing along with the well balanced body really eggs you to want to take the outside line over a longer curve and tight inside line over short curve.
What it does take getting used to is the fact that you can really take corners / curves at greater speeds with complete confidence that the tyres will not give way combined with the overall setup of suspension and body. It took quite some convincing to push harder though a corner / curve compared to the way I would normally ride through on my other motorcycles. But what really happens is, that by the time you start enjoying the corners / curves they just seem to get swallowed easily by the Dukes.
One tends to really admire the Dukes when they are standing still. Everything else around the Dukes seem to be bland or uninteresting, they are all about the right angles at the right places. We shot them on the road, we shot them off the road and we shot them in a field, but all that stood out in these pics were the Dukes and nothing else. Not even the lovely sunset that we were using as a backdrop in the fields.
|The sun fading away in the background & the Dukes standing out|
|Right there stands an insanely stunning looking motorcycle. The fields look lost around it.|
Before we knew it, our ride to Chikmagalur was over and we had entered the rather congested town with extremely eager eyes following the Dukes on the roads. Everywhere the motorcycles went, people followed, questions followed and surprise followed.
There was an incident of man handling of the Dukes that occurred in Chikmagalur one of the nights we were there, but then again no one is to blame, they are magnets for idiots who want to touch and feel. Magnets for idiots who want to damage another mans property simply because he was too drunk. One night later we had to find a more out of sight location to park our motorcycles.
The wedding was a fun pleasant one and before we knew it, the extended weekend was up which only meant we had to head back home. This was the interesting part. Suiting up and loading up we left Chikmagalur, found a petrol bunk that had 91 octane fuel and continued on the journey back.
Hassan say another idiot try to open or flick the coolant reserve cap (which in my opinion he should have opened fully to allow hot coolant to burn his skin before we screamed at him), which means that there is something is going to have to be thought of to prevent such incidents from happening in the future. A means to cover or conceal the coolant reserve cap and rear brake fluid reserve.
Open stretches meant giving the throttle a gradual full turn, which was quite a lot of fun. Sitting upright Black Venom III maxxed out at 127kmph at full throttle. The next time around shall try the crouch minus luggage to see where she will max out.
All the way back, the motorcycle have kept 90 – 100kmph speeds with so much ease, and this along with everything else about this motorcycle tell me that “my dream has come true“.