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Sunday, August 31, 2014



Rajasthan is synonymous with Palaces, Forts, legendary tales of valour, victory and pride! Maharajas live there in lofty Heritage Palaces. They still walk like Kings, head held high with pride and creating and building dreams and accomplishing them.

Harley Davidson Motorcycles are synonymous with freedom, bikers who walk like Kings, held high with pride, legendary tales of incredible rides, victory and a sense of happy accomplishment. Harley Davidson motorcycles make you dream!

There are a lot of similarities between aristocratic Royalty of India and the century old Harley Davidson heritage lineage. As Throttlequest.com was planning the Royal Heritage Odyssey in some of the prominent Palaces of Rajasthan, our team did not have too much difficulty in our choice of motorcycles. My personal first choice (and favourite) would have been the Road King as a motorcycle. However, seeing the theme of our tour and the kind of folks that we were going to meet up, the Heritage Softail took precedence.

The Heritage Softail is a massive motorcycle. It feels looks and runs with the power of a railway locomotive. Have you seen the headlights on this thing? It can light up an open air concert! The presence of this bike is more than Royal and the Heritage that it brings along will carry us through our Royal Ride!

The Heritage Softail!
Day1: 14th August.
The Softail looks like the “Hardtails” of yore. Thankfully it is much softer! But I am not here to talk about the details of the Heritage Softails. The official test ride of the Softail is coming up done by our Throttle Quest team reviewed by Sheldon. Sheldon was with me getting the bike ready at the Harley training centre. Harley had prepped the bike pretty well; they had given us the riveted leather bags, rear seat with a comfortable back rest for my travel partner and wife; it looked and sounded perfect! The only aspect I missed was a Phone/GPS holder on the bars.

Getting the Softail ready for the Royal Desert Odyssey!
We were Ready to Ride!

Rolling out of the Harley Davidson training garage, we were two up, me and my partner/wife, fully loaded on the 350 kilo behemoth we landed on the NH8 on our way to our first destination, Jaipur, the Pink Capital of Rajasthan. The Heritage Softail roared down the highway gliding effortlessly at 120kmph. The Harley guys at Gurgaon had shined and tuned up my bike impeccably. She was running beautifully and the glint of the chrome reflecting the afternoon sun. The loud BLARP of the pressurised horn, the loud beat of the bike and the sheer majestic presence of the bike cleared the way for me wherever I rode. Even truckers moved aside as I rode along out of respect!

Yes, this is India!

And this is the fun of India... Cows on a Highway!
I had 260 kms ahead of me. I leaned back, stretched out my legs, relaxed and just rode on. It was like cruise control. Before I could realise, I was already at Amer Fort. I had laid 260 kms to rest without batting an eyelid!

At Amer Fort, we stopped to do a photo session. It is mandatory! How can we be in front of this magnificent heritage structure on top of the hill, looking down at us with a legacy of 450 years and us on a motorcycle with a 100 year old history and not take photographs for posterity and maybe, who knows, for history! A photo session beckoned. Sheldon joined me with the Iron 883. Let us not compare machines now! We were enjoying this special moment.

The Heritage in front of the Historical Amer Fort!

Throttle Quest Team!
At Jaipur, we were booked at the Lebua Lodge, courtesy Maavalan Travels Pvt Ltd, destination experts who customised our travel. Not many people know but the Lebua Lodge shares a common wall with the historic Amer Fort. The ride to Lebua Lodge was arguably one of the toughest during our entire tour. It is a clear 2kms of off-roading with sand, gravel and tough undulating terrain! Tough for a bike that is not purpose-built for this kind of riding. But actually it turned out tough mostly for the rider. It is really not easy to manoeuvre 400 kilos on two wheels on a surface that has little or no definition at all! I was glad not to topple over or get any punctures either.

Going Off Road with the Heritage Softail is a challenge for the Rider!
I parked my beautiful Heritage Softail bike right in front of an Aravali Hill mount and admired it at this beautiful location and the bike for a long time before taking off my clothes and heading to the pool!

It was indeed a satisfying riding day. But we had a long way to go...

Two lovely beauties: my wife and pillion Partner, Katerina, taking pleasure to pose unabashedly with the Heritage Softail!
EOD, I checked the bike, the tyres, the engine, the oil, logged my kilometres, verified the underbelly after going off road... everything looked perfect. We were ready to ride next day!

Text and Photographs: KEN
To be continued...
Text and photos: KEN. (Krishnendu)
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Item Reviewed: ROYAL DESERT ODYSSEY 2014, Part I Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Krishnendu, aka Ken.
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