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Archive for February, 2010

In 12 or so days since the ‘crack’ scare I’ve spent a lot of time with her. Been taking her out pretty much every day. The crack itself seems to be holding up.

Dad was in town and I got to show him the bike.

Apart from the odd trip down the road to the shop (about once in 5 years) on the Kinetic Honda, he hasn’t really gotten on to a bike in well nigh 18 years. He’s also become infinitely cautious about anything, be it driving through the traffic-infested jewelry districts of Chennai or simply walking on the street.

So I got one helluva kick when he simply swung a leg over the bike, put it in gear and shot off down the road before I could say a thing. I was left grinning like an ape as I haven’t seen Dad that uninhibited in years. I think the bike just took him back a couple of decades to a time when he was a far less tense person. It was great.

I then went to Razzaq’s a couple of times to try and get the ‘sissy bar’ – the little one behind the seat which keeps the pillion from being ignominiously deposited arse-first on the street, fitted. A had left his somewhere around the nether regions of the shop. Of course, it couldn’t be located.

So, I planned on taking the bike across to S Unc’s place to basically learn about it and clean it up a bit.

Which I did last Friday.

Luckily, I got the day off seeing as I spent the last one at work (when it was a public holiday).

I landed up there at around noon-ish with my mechanic pants on and a six-pack (since it seemed the right thing to do). Spent the next 3 hours opening it up, elbow deep in grease, sipping beer with a beatific grin on my face. We found that the reason the damn thing was vibrating so much was that one of the primary bolts holding the engine in place,… well,.. wasn’t.

Greased the chain a tad and then headed to Addu’s to get the fork done.

I ended up spending the rest of the day from 3:30 till 9:30 at night at Addu’s.

While sitting around, I was peering at a couple of wrecks lying at the side.

I did a double-take when I realised that one of the wrecks was a Yezdi 350 frame while the other one was the complete bike, with engine and all. Now this was a bombshell of a bike which was very briefly sold in the 80’s before it was pulled from the market due to the fact that the bike itself had some trouble with its points system. It had a twin-engine putting out a brutal amount of power. Enough power to actually leave the legendary Yamaha RD350 in the dust. Today, getting parts for them is virtually impossible and bikes in running condition fetch upward of 1.25 lakhs.

Watched him sit and take apart the forks and the gearbox. Ran off to Balaji Auto Parts behind Commercial Street for a bunch of parts. Changed the primary chain (which Addu insists on calling the ‘timing chain’) and the clutch plates and had to have it closed up under a combination of tubelight, candlelight and bike headlights. Headed back the next morning to have that bolt installed.

Addu at Work

The bike is now riding like a dream. The clutch is wildly smooth and the engine just roars. Great beat.

Having said that, the damn thing is now leaking oil like an intemperate drunk and my headlight suddenly shut off last night. Realised it was a loose connection which probably happened when he worked on the fork.

Went to Addu’s today and he tightened the case and said it wouldn’t happen after this but found a bit of oil on the seam of the crankcase when I got back. Need to get this checked.

Quite apart from which he did a great job on that gearbox.

She now rides like a bomb!!

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“Oh-Em-Gee (OMG), I Heart (can’t flippin draw a heart on this keyboard!) the steak at The Only Place. Oh and Bee-Tee-Doubleyoo, (BTW) the chicken pasta is Ay-Doubleyoo-Ess-Em (AWSM).”

Which is entirely true about the steak and the chicken pasta (Hail Shoaib, King of The Only Place!), except that the syntax had me so distracted that the content didn’t really register.

Firstly, I hate SMS language.

No, wait.

I abhor SMS language.

No, wait.

I loathe SMS language.

In an SMS it has some sort of defence considering the shortening of a word into this sort of code allows you to save time and possibly money (since it gets sent as a single SMS instead of two).

The migration of this ‘language’ (for lack of a better/lower word) to the written and spoken word though has little excuse. It drives me around the bend in chat and is execrable in an email where you actually have the chance to sit, look at, compose and edit your words.

A few years ago a cousin of mine sent me a hideous email written in SMS language asking if he could stay with me in Delhi. It made me go cross-eyed, seriously contemplate saying not only NO, but also whether to hire a hitman to wipe that taint on the family name off the face of the planet.

As if it weren’t bad enough to have to read this stuff, I find that one now has to LISTEN to it!!!

The constant use of such acronyms by brain-dead, linguistically challenged morons could actually lead to a situation where people actually forget the words they stand for while using them at the appropriate time. Which scarily, would probably be referred to as the ‘evolution of language’. In my heated opinion however (NOT ‘IMHO’) this would be nothing less than its degeneration, signaling the imminent death of words and sentences of beauty not to mention the burial of poetry (I defy you to claim there could ever be a John Keats of SMS language).

In the future we might actually have a generation that speaks in sms acronyms without even knowing that they ARE acronyms (shudder..).

I can instantly see people jumping to point out the many instances of modern words which have come about in this manner.

However….

SOD THAT!

Bee-Tee-Doubleyoo, Oh-Em-Gee, Are-Oh-Tee-Eff-Ell, Bee-Are-Bee and the like are NOT and CANNOT be likened to the following (courtesy http://www.hyw.com/Books/History/Medi0015.htm)

BANK/BANKRUPT- In medieval times Italian moneylenders used benches in the marketplace to conduct business. Latin for bench was Banca, which transferred to English as bank. These lenders were required to publicly break up their benches if their businesses failed, the Latin expression being banca rupta-, becoming bankrupt in English.

BEDLAM:- Bethlehem hospital in London was built to house the mentally ill. As most commoners were at best semi-literate, they mangled the name so that it emerged as ‘bedlam’ with the implication of chaos deriving from the insane antics of the residents.

BLACKMAIL- Sixteenth century Scottish farmers paid their rent, or mail, to English absentee landlords in the form of WHITE MAIL (silver money), or BLACKMAIL (rent payment in the form of produce or livestock). The term blackmail took on a bad connotation only when the greedy landlords forced money poor farmers to pay much more in goods than the they would pay in silver. Later, when robbers along the borders demanded payment for passage and ‘protection’ the farmers called this extortion blackmail as well.

BONFIRE- A pagan festival held in England during the summer was celebrated by
burning in huge piles the bones of livestock slaughtered during the past year. These “bone fires” continued into christian times being celebrated on St. Johns Day, June 24. And were still held up to 200 years ago in remoter areas. By the 16th century bonefire was changed to bonfire and referred to any large fire.

BRIBE- A bribe is a sinister thing today but it didn’t start out that way. In 14th century France alms given to a beggar were called bribes. Soon beggars began to DEMAND such alms, when it reached England about 100 years later it came to mean “to extort or steal”. Within another century it came to mean instead of extortion,”a voluntary inducement to get someone to do something for the giver” which has endured to this day.

CURFEW- Despite the modern perception, Medieval cities were actually rather well regulated places, with municipal ordinances governing many aspects of public life to maintain order and safety. However, even the best maintained cities were mostly built of wood, fire was a constant danger, and most cities experienced a devastating fire every few decades. To help provide some protection against fires, many cities required that fires be banked at night. On his first rounds of the evening, the night watchman would remind all the citizens to cover their fires. In Old French this was covre feu, which became coeverfu in Anglo-French after the Norman Conquest, courfeu in Old English, and eventually our modern “curfew,” with the meaning of a limitation.

FREE LANCE- A knight –or other man-at-arms– without ties to an overlord, and thus “free” to accept employment where ever he found it, a mercenary.

HAVOC- A medieval war cry signifying “no quarter.”

TO BEAT BLACK AND BLUE- Originally the colors were BLAK and BLA when first recorded in around 1300. Bla being the bluish-black color of the human skin when bruised.

TO BEAT THE DAYLIGHTS OUT OF YOU- Derived from the original phrase/threat “I’ll let daylight into you!” Which referred to using your sword or knife on the offender.

(I love random lists of random trivia)

Effectively we seem to have moved through one long cycle in time from ancient Egypt and come back to using hieroglyphics to express ourselves.

But, to actually SPEAK in hieroglyphics (‘I heart….’) seems ridiculous to me.

It actually leaves me mystified as to why exactly these acronyms are used in conversation.

Could it be that it actually requires less time and effort?

Hmmm…

Nope, that can’t be it.

After all, Bee-Tee-Doubleyoo is actually one syllable more than ‘By the way’. Oh-Em-Gee is the same number of syllables as ‘Oh my God’.

Is it the fact that people simply don’t know better?

Hmmm….

Nope, I have extremely articulate friends who now seem to resort to this bilge so it can’t be that.

Which leaves us with just one explanation….

People think its ‘cool’.

Well, WTFUS!

(Wake The Fuck Up Shitheads!)

It sure as hell isn’t!!

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Worried about her all night with nightmares of the engine falling right off when I’m doing about a 100 on the highway.

The first thing I did on Monday was call S Unc.

During lunch I did a quick trip to Doc with C tagging along on his Roadking.

Doc took one look and pronounced it……………………… wait for it…………………………. a Crack!!! Yeah, gosh-darnit-who’d-a-thunk-it?! Though, to be honest, I was actually hoping it was a deep scratch if you can believe it..

Akbar, our man-for-all-bikes-that-are-Yezdi-or-Jawa told me I should have words with the chappie who sold it to me and/or ask him to pay for the repairs.

Course ol’ Doc said I should leave it with him, that he’d get it welded, service it and work out the kinks in the fork for a thousand bucks and then ‘No Tenshun!’

Meanwhile, went over to Nilesh’s little shop which is virtually next door.

Now this is one interesting place. Its a tiny little place and he either has or can source any part you could possibly need/desire. If he doesn’t have it, he’ll hunt it down for you. Which was the case with my bike’s seat lock. Apparently these are very hard to come by (since they don’t make them any more) and he only just sold one last week. I had visions of shelling out a bomb for a lock that really doesn’t keep anything in particular, safe.

So, you can imagine my shock when he said it would cost me ’70 Rupees’

Yup, I shit you not… SEVENTY!! For a part which is no longer manufactured!!

Course, I could do little more than laugh when he told me a PAIR of mufflers for the bike would cost me a 100 bucks.

Talk about low maintenance 🙂

Headed back to Doc and in 2 minutes flat a kid whose head probably didn’t reach my bikes’ handlebars fitted them to the pipes.

In the meantime I had a word with Socrates about that crack. He immediately said that it was already there when he got it (which on close inspection of the pics I had uploaded earlier shows that its probably true), that he had had it checked out by his mechanic Moosa and that it wasn’t a problem at all. He also mentioned they had put some sort of glue on it which was true enough as A and I were remarking on the slight sheen over the length of the crack. Socrates said that I could paint it over if I liked but that he hadn’t as it didn’t bother him. Of course it isn’t the cosmetics of the crack that had me worried of course and when he realised it he said it wasn’t a problem since he had ridden nearly 3700 kms with that crack present. Made me feel a tad better that he didn’t duck the issue.

So I headed off, clean forgetting to speak to a chappie who’s supposed to do my insurance for me.

In the evening headed over to S Unc’s place.

He took out a heavy Maglite which looks more like a weapon than a torch (no wonder cops prefer that to a nightstick!), peered at it and then delivered his opinion.

Apparently, one really has to be li’l nervous when there’s oil leaking from a crack. Until and unless that happens, things can be left alone. Consequently he pronounced that the bike was under observation for the next 15 days. If it doesn’t leak in that time I can just leave things be and ride on until the day it starts leaking or I decide to open up the engine. Either way, we’ll take a decision then. The options at the time would be welding it (yuck!) or fitting a new case to it. Now this second option was actually suggested by a guy who is perpetually at Razzaq’s.

This chap (I have no idea what his name is so we’ll call him Squeak for now – simply because I like the word) Squeak has a Yezdi Classic. Methinks its a bit of a hybrid as it has the Type B tank but the Classic side panels (the triangular ones as opposed to the ovals). He also has the weirdest looking solid-iron carrier fitted to his pillion seat. When I saw it I did a double-take as it looks rigged to carry a damn elephant! Turns out that our man Squeak is a milk-man and that he carries a ton of weight in the form of milk cans. Beneath the iron carrier he has two loops and we found out that these are for a pair of detachable shock-absorbers which he has to fit before he loads the bike with milk. Since two shocks aren’t enough for all that weight the man has to use four!!

Back to the story.

Squeak suggested changing the casing. When I observed that this meant that I would lose the engine number (which is embossed on the case) in which the bike is registered, he said that they would hammer it into the new case. Now this sounded highly suspicious (and illegal) to me.

However when S Unc himself said that was an option, I figure it has to be legal. After all, he’s the chap who had a showdown with the Customs guys who tried to hold up his Yamaha RZ350 since he refused to bribe them. He’s also been eating my head about how my bike is illegal until I get the insurance done.

So, that taken care of, I stuffed myself with some of M Aunty’s cooking and then headed off home.

This time with the bike sounding rather more like a growling Rottweiler than a howling Banshee and with a rider rather less than upset.

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The day after picking her up, I took her out and spent about forty-five minutes cleaning and wiping her down. Then rode out to meet A and a couple of friends in Indranagar. Stopped by the bunk to top up the tank since I knew it was well into reserve.

Tried to open up the tank and the damn thing wouldn’t unlock.

That morning I’d tried the ignition key on the tank lid and it locked very sweetly.

Trouble was that it wasn’t the original and it wouldn’t unlock it.

Of course, this stuff never even remotely occurred to me.

So here I was with a bike about to run out of fuel and a tank that wouldn’t unlock on a Sunday afternoon in Bangalore (where on Sunday people only move out to drink beer and even mechanics shut shop).

Rode down to Indranagar praying to high heaven that it wouldn’t just stop and, as luck would have it, just happened to pass a mechanic. Went in and he pulled out a bunch of keys and tried them. None worked.

I was given detailed directions to some key-maker in some village which is smack in the middle of Indranagar (who’d a thunk it…). Went off in search of this chappie. Didn’t find him but did come across two locals passing the time of day by the side of the street.

These guys gave me detailed directions to a key shop that supposedly lay on the main road. Of course I was more than a tad skeptical but one hardly had much of a choice.

I followed these directions to a line of shops all with their shutters down.

With a sinking feeling (and an ‘I knew it…’ expression) I was just about to turn around when I spotted a single shop which was open. And sure enough, it was the key shop.

In five minutes flat the guy made me a new key for it and a duplicate for my ignition. That too, with the Minda handle (for lack of a better word) which I seem to recall is the original Yezdi key make.

Headed off to Antz, grabbed lunch and then A and I headed to Razzaq’s.

Our friendly-neighbourhood-Yezdi-surgeon pronounced the engine in sound condition. Akbar, one of his lead-ladka’s looked it over and cleaned the plug, checked the chain and the idling speed.

At this point, Dr. Razzaq (or Doc as he shall henceforth be referred to) decided to dazzle us with his Yezdi prescience.

Without riding the bike or even touching it he said that it needed a fork job.

This had me completely foxed as he was spot on. The front fork was giving me some amount of jarring feedback when I went over bumps at a certain angle.

When asked how he knew, with a complete poker-face, Doc claimed that he saw it being put on the main stand and from the way the handlebars and fork came to rest, he just knew.

Needless to say, we were wildly impressed (though of course we tried to look cool and nodded like it was obvious).

He also checked and found there was only one muffler which is why it seemed to be smoking more from one side. Even this muffler was only a short one so he pulled it out and chucked it.

Which of course resulted in the bike announcing its presence in the next timezone (and what a beat it has!).

Then, A and I took our bikes out on to the Airport road for a bit of a cruise.

On an open stretch I took her up to nearly 90 km/h. The vibration was ridiculous. I think this was because of the fork which needs work (as Razzaq had mentioned). The beat was beautiful though she sounded rather stretched at that point. This had me rather surprised as Roadkings are known to touch 120 and 100+ with no hassles at all.

So, anyway, I eased up on the throttle and as she slowed to about 80, the engine suddenly died on me. Now at that speed, in gear without freewheeling, the wheels suddenly sort of locked up and she started to skid.

I thought I was a goner.

And then, just like that, she fired again and I roared off down the road.

Pulled over slightly shaken and very puzzled.

A and I switched bikes so he could see what she was like and so that I could see what his bike felt like when pushed to higher speeds.

His was a lot smoother. Of course, part of that was due to the fact that both my mufflers had been done away with giving the bike a monstrous roar as well as some amount of vibration. Additionally, my bike had been re-bored and done about 3700 kms since. Socrates did mention that he had ‘taken it up to 8o kms’ which probably means the bike hasn’t been run in at higher speeds which could explain the seizing.

Anyway, at one point A pulled over and we had a chat and he had spotted a crack on the engine block (below).

Now this is something that I, my uncle, A, Razzaq and all his mechanics had missed.

Given that it was getting late and nothing could be done we headed towards Charminar in Fraser Town to drown my sorrows in kababs. Turned out the chap has started a whole new line. He has monstrous tangdi kababs with the whole haunch of the chicken in different marinades. Great stuff.

Headed to A’s place, chilled, then spent about 15 minutes kicking her to life and then headed home to worry about the bike the next day.

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I found her.

And in the oddest way ever.

I got a call on Saturday evening from Unc saying that Addu had landed up there with a bike for me and to come down and have a look. I happened to be stuck with the electrician and managed to reach Addu by 6. There was a ’93 Roadking standing there. It looked like it needed a bit of a paint touch-up but that was about it. It belonged to a kid standing there named Mohan.

So, I swung a leg over it and took it out for a ride but only after I nearly killed myself in ten feet flat having slammed on the brakes and discovered… they weren’t there!!!

Turns out the chap had to fit brakes to it and nearly didn’t tell me. I’d have been up Shit Creek without a paddle if I had tried that while trying to avoid a lorry.

Rode it around. Seemed like a nice bike. But, the chap was asking for 25K. And I would have to change the tyres as they were totally shot (not to mention add brakes, change seat cover, etc.). I told him my final offer was 18K and walked off.

As I was about to turn left into Unc’s lane, I got a call from ‘Yezdi Beauty 19995’ which was what I had named Socrates in my phone. He said he was on the other side of town but that I could try out the bike on Richmond Road. So I asked me where he was and he said ‘Hutchins Road’. Which was exactly the lane I was going to turn into.

In two minutes he rode down to my end of the lane and I saw her. I’d seen pictures of her before (below) since I’d heard about this one on a jawa club email group but in reality she looked even hotter. All black, with the black decals and nicely chromed with a lovely beat. I took her for a spin with Socrates on the bike with me and ended up at S Unc’s place. He quickly took a look and then we had a long conversation with ol’ Socrates who turned out to be rather a Jawa nut. He was enthusiastic and told us about his Jawa with a sidecar and showed us pictures of it on his phone. So, ultimately, I was thrilled with the bike and decided to take it without delay. The man quoted 21K and finally gave it to me for 20K. The engine has been re-bored once and is now set at .2. It sounds very sweet and moves really well. Very taut handling. He uses only stock parts and the only parts that weren’t original were the handlebar, the clutch and brake levers and the seat.


Stopped off at an ATM on the way and withdrew cash. He dropped me home, we exchanged cash for papers and keys and it was a done deal. Funnily enough he happened to know some people in my apartment complex.

I decided not to take her out my first night as I didn’t want to crash her on my first day owning her.

So, I looked at her, patted her, put her to sleep for the night and headed out to celebrate.

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I’m getting the distinct impression that there are a few legendary names in Yezdi circles in Bangalore. Men who were once mechanics but who have become veritable automotive doctors who loads of Yezdi lovers run to in times of need.

Last Saturday I went over to my Uncle’s place. Now he needs a bit of an introduction. S Unc isn’t really my unc. He is actually an old, close friend of my folks. He also happens to be a bit of a legend in biking circles in Bangalore. Back in the day, he used to work at the Enfield R&D centre in Kancheepuram (I think it was). In his off time he also raced bikes at Sholavaram. His first and enduring love was a bike and he’s been lucky enough to spend his life in that line. He ran a bike showroom very successfully for many years in Bangalore, has now retired and spends his time tinkering with his bikes. He’s got a few beauties too – a 1951 Matchless, two 1984 Yamaha Rz350s (one of them a limited edition signed by Kenny Roberts himself) and his own 1963 Jawa.

Each of these has a story.

The Matchless is in pristine condition, was owned by his uncle and left to him and was in fact the bike on which he learned to ride. This in itself is rather amazing to me because that bike makes a Bullet look like a pansy 100cc bike. It has a dent in the tank which apparently happened when S Unc ran into a buffalo in Goa about 30 odd years ago. I’m told this bike was part of the last batch shipped to India.

The Rz350s are two monsters which are the grandkids of our RD350. They were also apparently the last road-legal two-strokes which were sold in the USA making them collectors items now. One of them is about 68bhp. The other one has been tweaked and is apparently such a monster that my Unc is a bit nervous about stretching it unless he has perfect road.

The Jawa was my Unc’s first bike, gifted to him by his grandfather. It was in wretched condition about a year ago having been lent to one nephew and then passed through several. He then spent the better part of 8 months restoring it and its now absolutely stunning. I haven’t seen such a beautiful restoration job on a Jawa.

I took A along to meet him and after poring over his bikes (drooling rather) we headed over to his mechanic. He would’ve come along himself but he broke his leg a couple of months ago and is still recovering.

The mechanics name? Addu.

Addu

We went in search of Addu and after a few wrong turns we came upon a little shop with 3 yezdis lying in front and figured this must be the right place. We were confronted by a sprightly chap in overalls and a bristling beard. This turned out to be Addu. When I quoted my Unc’s name, some three or four of the mechanics around brightened in recognition and in 2 seconds I got him on the phone and Addu was chatting with him. Turned out Addu had a Roadking in mind. It was a 1995 CDI but the chap was quoting 25K. Anyhoo, thought I’d check it out and then talk about cost. In the next few minutes of chatting with Addu he discovered that we were just enthusiastic about bikes and he quickly urged us into his workshop.

This turned out to be a warren of rooms within rooms. We got to see some great stuff. It turns out Addu is not ‘just a mechanic’. The man is a Yezdi and Jawa enthusiast with all the pack-rat qualities of a collector. He proudly showed us his trophies (he placed second at Sholavaram in 84 and 85). He then pulled out a monster 20 litre Roadking tank which he said he bought at the Mysore factory when it shut down in 2000. Actually, he bought a ton of stuff there. He showed us two Colts – a curious 60cc moped engine on a sort of stripped down frame. Apparently they used these for testing of some sort and one of them actually had all the race track fairings and everything. Apparently they would touch 80km/h which is a rather scary thought actually. He also had a 1953 Jawa with the Ammeter on the tank itself, waiting for restoration. Beautiful piece of machinery. He had all the track fittings and fairings of a Jawa which he says he is in the process of fitting to a bike. He also had a number of Jawa 350 engines which he recently sold and apparently himself designed a CDI for it.

So, as I found out, Addu is rather a legend in Bangalore Yezdi circles and needs to introduction to bikers around. And I was quick to discover why. He has a boundless enthusiasm and love for bikes that goes way beyond a mechanic wanting to make a little money for himself. He knew we weren’t there to buy anything that he had on offer but he took nearly 45 minutes of his time ushering us into his workshop to proudly show us his various treasures. I know I’m going to head there soon enough.

Razzaq

So A and I headed off to his mechanic – Razzaq. Razzaq makes his home in a little alley in Shivajinagar, just after the Gujli (the chop market where you get every part under the sun). When we got there I found that ‘Razzaq-bhai’ has about 30 bikes parked around his place. He has three or four customers standing and waiting with him all the time and is much in demand.

The story goes that A had heard there was some chappie in Shivajinagar who was really famous and wandered around ’til he found him. He then spent several weekends just sitting with him and getting to understand Yezdis and Jawas. Razzaq finally got him a bike for 5K. It had been standing at a construction site and looked an absolute wreck and A was obviously pissed. However, Razzaq assured him that the engine was sound. And sure enough, he got the bike up and running and A has been a fan and loyal customer ever since.

Sure enough, Razzaq-bhai had a few leads on various bikes. The next day I took C (from work) along with me and went to him. C was wildly thrilled as he was able to get a number of things he had been looking for for his bike (an 88 Roadking I believe). Tried out a 95 Roadking which someone had brought over for sale. The ride was great with a rock-solid front fork and great engine. The rest of it however was badly in need of attention. Rims needed to be changed, rust removed from the pipes, tyres needed to be changed, indicators, a carburetor cover had to be fitted, the tank un-dented and painted and so much more. And the chap was quoting 18K Some bleeding gall!!

Anyway, I headed back there on Wednesday again and C got the decals for his bike while I waited around for a bike to show (all described in my last post about my time at Razzaq’s).

Now, I’ve heard of another couple of bikes for sale. One 95 Roadking in stunning shape for 21K (ol’ Socrates) and now an 84 Roadking in very good shape (apparently) with a chappie named Azhar-bhai. C referred me to that one. Will have to see how things go this weekend. Also got a couple of leads in the classifieds. Lets see what happens.

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I just got back from Razzaq. Spent about an hour-and-a-half there. Met a guy there who has a Yezdi Classic for sale. I think its an ’83 Classic. Said he’d have it over at Razzaq’s tomorrow and that I could take a look at it and talk to him (Razzaq) about it. Also, that Jayanth guy (the one with two Roadkings) came over there supposedly to show me one of his bikes. As it turned out he was this rotund chap walking down the street with the pipes of a Monarch in each hand. Couldn’t bring his bike over apparently and said that I had to go to his place to see and ride it. Didn’t have time for that one.

Earlier this morning A forwarded me an email he had received from some biker group about a beauty of a ’95 Roadking for sale for 21K. Couldn’t get through to him so sent him a text. A few hours later Socrates (I shit you not!) called back.

Sounds like a decent chappie who knows his bikes. This bike is supposed to be in great shape with original parts and a single owner in Mysore. Its been re-bored once and done about 3,500 kms since and is riding very well (so he says). He said (reading my mind) he has to sell this one because of parking shortage. He has another Roadking and has now fitted a sidecar to it and has promptly run out of parking space. So, he said he’d ride into town tomorrow on work and meet me and that I could check it out and even take it to a mechanic (he apparently knows both Razzaq and Addu).

In the meantime Razzaq sent me with Akbar (his top mechanic) to see a bike which he had done. Its a ’73 modified Type B but the fool of an owner has done some bizarre stuff with it. He’s swapped that beautiful Type B Classic tank for a Roadking’s, changed the side panels to some sort of weird convex Roadking panels and done a real number of a paintjob on it. The whole damn thing is some sort of deep shiny sparkly maroon. On top of that he’s gone and done some strange gold flame graphic thing and gone one step further and painted his name on the front dome. Must be a bloody Tamilian!

I shuddered just looking at it.

On the way back Akbar decided that he would ride and then gave me a lesson (both verbal and demonstrative) in riding a Yezdi. Much the same as one he gave A 3 years ago I’m told.

In the meantime I’d brought C along and he was wildly pleased to lay his hands on decals, license plates, a sparkplug and a rear reflector for his Roadking. Says he’s going to land up next week and get his forks done there.

All told, a very satisfying visit. And I’m now starting to get the hang of the bike itself. I’m now finding neutral with no problems and my shifting is getting a little smoother methinks.

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