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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Back to Zappers

Barely after a year of riding, I decided to make some significant changes to my dear Pulsar220Fi. I chucked the bulky fairing, removed the clip-ons and changed the tyres from Zappers to Vertigos. All this was done with the sole idea of leaving tarmac (occasionally) and going where the P220 was not supposed to go: on dirt, mud, slush and snow! The choice of Vertigo was a good one for such rides given the choices that we have. I did countless kilometres on the Chattarpur dirt track in South Delhi and the Aravali hills dirt tracks near Manger village short of Gurgaon.

The CEAT Vertigo
Thus espoused with the idea of going offroad and prepped the bike for such ventures, I went off to some greener and larger pastures; the kinds that beckon most riders in this country. With the help of some close friends and associates, namely Vivek Sharma and Nitin Bawa, I started learning and practising the rally competitive stretches of Mashobra – Baikalti, 15 kilometres off Shimla, went to the Spiti Valley twice, did the Gramphoo – Losar riverbed several times, did a long trip to Ladakh, went desert sand thrashing in Rajasthan a few times and covered 50000 kilometres doing these rides over the past few years.

Ladakh on Vertigos
It is indeed a pity that I actually did not participate in either Raid de Himalaya or Shimla Motorcycle Challenge or Desert Storm or any of the rallies in these sectors. But that has more to do with Bajaj bikes not being homologated for racing. And I did not want to participate in Group A; I was loathe to run my tiny Pulsar with the big bore high torque purpose built machines of the KTM Team, the Yamahas and Husqvarnas of the world!

All these years, my Vertigos stood by me in good stead braving through dirt, snow, mud, slush and black ice. Not once did I lose grip or felt anything short of confident on these tyres while throttling out of a dirt corner in a blaze of dust and loose gravel. Oh what fun it was!

Coming back from Spiti
And then suddenly, after half a decade of running on Vertigos, I had a change of heart. No, I did not put the heavy fairing back on. Nor did get the clip-ons back. I simply changed the tyres back to the stock Zapper that the bike was originally shod with. And just as suddenly I started seeing the world with different glasses. Okay there were some downsides too with the Vertigo. I lost out on top end. I could barely cross 115 clicks. Though some of it was due to the poor aerodynamics since I had done away with the fairing. And riding on tarmac was wobbly at best.

Zapper is back with a new dawn!
And now back to the Zappers gave me a different kind of confidence on tarmac that was missing from my rides all these years. The Zapper is a trailblazing piece of rubber. Suddenly I was back to leaning at angles that I haven’t achieved in years on my Pulsar with the Vertigos. Even on the straights the Vertigos rode smoother, more stable and clearly way faster. I started hitting redline more frequently easing past 120 clicks even on my daily city commutes. Of course I would not dare blast out of a gravel-filled corner with my Zapper. Make no mistake; the Vertigos are excellent dual tyres. But on tarmac, I feel that in India, the Zapper is king. And as of now, I am newly rediscovering and fully enjoying the tarmac ride with my P220 Fi on the Zapper.

Zapper is the King on tarmac in India!
Text and Photographs: Krishnendu KES (KEN)
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Item Reviewed: Back to Zappers Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Krishnendu, aka Ken.
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