Ride to Coorg.
Two weeks into getting the bike, a few colleagues and me headed off to Coorg for a 2 day trip. The troop consisted of 6 vehicles in all. A Yamaha R15 (J), two Duke 200s (B and S), two 390s (me and K, both still in run-in about 250kms in) and a VW Polo. The Polo inevitably became the support car holding all our luggage. Two guys in the car, both riders at one time, also became capable backup riders for when we were tired.
The guys on the 200s were seasoned riders used to gunning it all the time. Thankfully the 390 is fast enough to keep up with the 200 even while running it in and trying to keep sober revs.
The path we took was Bangalore > Mysore > Kushalnagar > Siddapur > Virajpet and Virajpet > Madikeri > Kushalnagar > Mysore > Bangalore.
We tried avoiding Mysore by taking a by pass while going and discovered that the by pass was hardly even a road, dug up and pot holed making the going slow, although only for a few kilometres. Before and after that the highway roads were very good. After Kushalnagar we took a diversion to head through Siddapur, which turns out, was a bad decision as well. The roads aren’t terrible, but its not a highway anymore and full of twisties. Which would’ve been awesome if not for random patches of fairly bad roads, coming out of nowhere, just when we start picking up speed, scaring the bajeezus out of us.
During the first 100kms or so there was no order as such. Everyone excited, was gunning it as much as they could. At which point, some of us, realised that two of the group had little highway riding experience and would need to be chaperoned. A small talk (and some scolding) hoped to fix that, but well… if only it were that easy. It also turned out that S’s 200 was having issues with his front right shock absorber and he decided to ride it safe and so we decided that we’d try to keep an order. Me and B ahead, J and K in the middle, S and Polo being the tail. It worked out well more or less. Although a little more scolding and talking had to be sprinkled in along with the smoke and coffee breaks.
We had booked a stay at [http://www.springdalecoorg.com/contact_us.html](Springdale) on a whim and it turned out to be pretty damn awesome. We were the only ones there. Getting there would have been very confusing, but thankfully they came to get us at Virajpet and lead us home.
Its a home stay, in a beautiful bungalow, run by a nice and welcoming family of Coorgis (who, I discovered from a recent-er trip hate being called that. They prefer Kodavu… I think) who own coffee and pepper plantations all around the stay. Surrounded on all sides with very nice lawn and garden, with plantations and trees as far as the eye can see. A little bit on the pricy side, but IMO worth it.
We parked our bikes all fancy and crashed on the grass, giving the bums a much needed resting. We were served coffee and onion bajji’s for snack, of which we took as many servings as the kitchen allowed. The night entailed lotsa drinking and dicking around by a bonfire till everyone passed out one by one.
The lady who ran the place advised us to avoid Siddapur on the way back and go through Madikeri. Its an additional 20kms but she said it’ll be worth it. And man was she right! As soon as you pass Madikeri the roads become in-fucking-credible up to Kushalnagar. On the way in, to Coorg, through the twisties, I was excited and I was gunning it. The bike handled it without any issues at all. The bad roads asked for heavy breaking, to which the bike complied, no sweat.
But this… this road, beautiful.. wide… trees on both sides and next to nothing and no one on the road the entire 37km stretch. This was that the Duke was made for. We couldn’t hold it in anymore. Me and B shot off leaving everyone behind.
The 390 held its own very comfortably. I was going through the twisties at, well, speeds I might not be legally allowed, without any effort at all. Good roads meant hardly any breaking and just good throttle control was all that was needed. B(on his 200) disappeared ahead and I was riding all alone taking in the beauty of the road and the land through which we were going.
B was waiting at the Coffee Day at Kushalnagar as planned and the rest caught up. From then on all the way to Bangalore was mundane. We decided to skip the by pass and go through Mysore instead, which was fine except for one fairly bad traffic jam due to some road construction. It was getting a bit dark the last time we took a break so we decided to take it slow (highways at night scare me). Here is when we lost K. He, on his fancy new 390, decided to miss the exit for Bangalore. We were trying to guide him back to it for nearly one and a half hours on the phone, giving up eventually. He made his way back through some other exit and caught up with me and Polo close to our homes. After a smoke and making sure he’s okay we headed off home.
A few of things that I realised from this trip about the 390:
She loves cornering and twisties and is made for it. The thick metzeler tyres are perfect for pushing those corners hard.
The seat is not soft, but it is wider than other bikes and so is quite comfortable for long rides.
The riding position is perfect for long rides and city rides alike.