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The Duke of Direwolves - Lisbeth

Discussion in 'Non FIAT Cars and two wheelers' started by anoop, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. anoop

    anoop Superiore

    "I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters: not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bull****. For those ten seconds or less, I'm free." (Dom: Fast and Furious). Replace the quarter mile with a 60 km daily ride and ten seconds with couple of hours and I have my story there, in a nutshell. While most of the guys hate long commute to office, I look forward for the commute - and do end up taking the long route most of the days.

    My Unicorn was serving me faithfully but he was nearing the 90K mark and after almost 9 years of ownership, boredom was settling in and I wanted to have some fun doing the daily run - after all, that is the only time I get to be with myself. But what is fun and what bike for that fun ride? That was a question which was dogging my mind for quiet some time - only because Hero have discontinued the Impulse.

    On the outset, I knew I don't want a bullet for the city grind - I have been riding bullets for almost 10 years and my garage usually have one or more bullets, but still I went and took a TD of few bullets - CL 350, STD 500, TB 350 and TB 500 (Did not try out CL 500 because I had a Desert Storm with me until few months back ). Of these bikes, TB 500 impressed me most and I did consider the bike briefly, but then I was not looking for a touring machine, but a fun commuter - so out went TB 500.

    I hate plastics and plastic clad bikes, so out went R 15 and CBR Twins. I was not able to find an Impulse in any Hero showrooms, so that option was also out. Took a TD of Duke 390 and I was blown out of this world by the power delivery, but I was not sure about the off road credibility - so kept the Duke twins as an option. This was followed by a TD of Pulsar NS 200. Though the bike was good when taken alone, it was no comparison to the Duke.

    When I realised that I am no longer close to choose a bike, I turned to my trusted friends and opened a thread in Team BHP and started devouring all the Duke threads in Team BHP and XBHP. The more I went through the threads, I was convinced that Duke can handle the occasional mud baths and gravel spins with ease.

    Though there was few other recommendations (RTR 160, Karizma etc), no other bike had the character of Duke twins. So, armed with lot of expectations, went to do another TD, but this time - Duke 200 - and came out disappointed. Yes, the bike is fun and nimble and all that - but it don't explode like its big brother - the Duke 390. Then started the real battle of choice - Duke 390 vs Duke 200.

    After lot of reading, discussions with friends, fellow BHPians and other few helpful souls and few more TDs later, I realised that Duke 200 is what will suit my needs better. It was sealed by this passage from one of my favourite TV show hosts - Jeremy Clarkson

    "But it is also bloody scary. You know the brightest and best have worked their magic on the wiring in the traction-control system, and on the shape of the body so that it generates the right amount of downforce. But you also know that the contact patch between the tyres and the road would fit on a piece of A4 paper. That's all there is gluing you to the road. That's all there is between ending up at home. And ending up in a bag.

    And that is always at the forefront of your mind when you mash your foot hard onto the throttle. Which is why, very shortly afterwards, you will take it off again. On a very wet road in Hertfordshire, the longest time I ever engaged full throttle was less than two seconds."

    I know that D 390 is much more bike than Duke 200 but as Doc Ebono ( Fellow BHPian) aptly summarizes, "390 is a lot more bike. But that for bikers has never automatically translated to a lot more fun."

    - - - Merged Post - - -

    Since BTM KTM is more or less near to my home and I was more happy with the way the sales person interacted with me, I decided to book the bike from them. They had a fresh lot available, so I got to pick my bike from 25 fresh examples. The sales guy Jayesh did a good job (explaining, giving a longer TD, coming with me to the stockyard etc). He also told me upfront that he will not be available during delivery since he will be travelling and arranged another sales rep to take care of my delivery.

    I paid for the bike on Wednesday and the delivery was promised to be on Saturday morning - reached slightly before the delivery time and saw that the bike was undergoing a wash and clean session. While whiling away time, waiting for my bike, I spotted a familiar 390 (familiar in Team-BHP) and before I can count 10, I was talking to Nasirkaka - It was a pleasure meeting you.

    After waiting for almost 30-40 minutes, the sales rep handed over me the owners manual, insurance and tax paid receipt and asked me to come down to the basement and before I realised, the delivery was over. No formal key hand over, no hand shakes or smiles.

    After getting the bike and while doing the PDI, came across two issues:
    I had asked the guys to set the rear suspension to 5 and I got assurance from 2 guys that it is set to 5, but when I checked it was set to 2. The sales rep tried to pass it to me saying it is actually 5, and I had to be a bit firm with him to get it fixed at 5.
    The RPM shift light was also not set, even after reminding them twice.

    No one from the showroom was even present when I took the bike from the basement (the sales rep went away while I was doing my PDI, and never returned to check if I have rode out or not) - wife put two nimbus and I rode the bike out from the basement.

    The moment I rode her out, all those delivery woes where thrown into oblivion - what a pleasure it was. My kid was grinning away to glory and I was like an oaf with a big grin plastered across my face.

    - - - Merged Post - - -

    Few snaps from the first photo-shoot:


    Yeah, Its my new bike.


    Let me learn the controls.


    Another angle


    My two wheeler garage

    Some trivia:

    Chain the key:

    The BTM KTM was out of KTM key chains, so I was trawling the net to find a suitable key chain for the duke before I took the delivery, but had a hard time finding something I liked on-line. It was then my wife smsed me the URL of Team BHP store and I was like Duh!, how can I forget this. She gifted me a set of LTD key chains, which came on the very same day I took delivery of my bike.


    Name Game:

    What is in a name? For many, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet", but for me, choosing the name of my bikes and cars are something very intimate - it is something I love doing. My Unicorn was christened Jeevs because the bike reminded me so much of the world's best gentleman's gentleman. The bike was ever dependable and very forgiving. But D 200 and Unicorn are two poles apart - while one is calm the other is ferocious - so much so that I did not even had to hunt for a name - I christened her Lisbeth the Direwolf. (A tribute to Lisbeth from the Millennium series by Steig Larsson and Direwolves from A Song of Ice and Fire (Or better known as Game of Thrones)).

    Functional Mods:

    The first thing I did after parking the bike in my parking lot is to remove that ugly sari guard. The tyre hugger will be removed once the rains are over.

    Took a leaf from Doc Ebono and got the knuckle guards fitted with end weights of TVS Apache. Cost - 448 INR for two end weights and the rubber bush.

    One of my major gripe with Duke is the almost non existent mirrors - I could not see anything other than my biceps in them. I replaced them with a pair of mirrors from TVS Apache. Cost - 260 INR. The mirror is not an exact fit - the thread patters are different, so I unscrewed the Duke's mirror from the stem and had to shave off a bit of Apaches mirror base to fix the flange of Duke's mirror stalk.
    The new mirrors are much better and I can see the traffic behind me without flexing my neck every time.


    - - - Merged Post - - -

    In a nutshell:

    Looks good, goes better.
    Rev it up, baby - one of the best rev happy engines out there.
    Fantastic breaks
    oodles of character - Duke is not for you if you like to lost in a sea of similar looking bikes out there.
    Exhaust note - I love the way the exhaust sounds and cant have enough of it.

    No mechanical tacho - the digital tacho bars do not give the same feel of seeing the tacho needle race past the RPM readins. Some times, analogue is better.
    Mirrors - they are a joke. Cant see anything behind me, even after adjusting them a lot. Fixed this by replacing the mirrors with that of TVS Apache.
    Puny tank - be ready to be a frequent visitor to the petrol pumps.
    Fit and finish - there are some rough edges like exposed wiring, uneven seating of fuel lid etc, but not a deal breaker.

    Issues faced:

    Mainly with the MID:

    I set the time once but the clock lost couple of hours after overnight parking. Will need to set it again and have to keep a watch on it for accuracy.

    Every time I switch off and switch on the bike, the display gets changed to average speed. It would have been good if the display remembered which mode was used last.

    No manual way to reset the time travelled, avg mileage etc like in cars. The time travelled counter gets reset automatically if the bike is parked for an hour.

    Future plans:

    Horn Upgrade
    Head light upgrade
    Paddock stand
    Tank pad \ sticker
    Rim highlighter if I can find a competent guy to do it

    - - - Merged Post - - -

    The bike rides beautifully - be it on the road and off the road. Though I am restricting the RPMs because of the running in period, the commute have become much effortless and much more fun. The bike is eager to pull from any gear, and responds to throttle inputs instantly. It is much easy to do impromptu overtakes, but on the same way, it is easy to cross speed limits before you realize, so have to keep a check on the speed to make sure that you are not riding faster than needed. The suspension soaks up minor road imperfections but I am not so confident to take the speed breakers fast as I used to do with my Unicorn, mainly because of the bent \ cracked rim stories I have read on line.

    Off the road, the bike feels planted in mud tracks, but on loose gravel, you have to be careful. I haven't got much time to test the off road prowess, but what small ride I did, she performed well. Will be taking her to some more trails soon, and will update the thread.

    The headlight feels adequate when you are alone - but the moment there is serious traffic from opposite direction, you will be left wondering where the headlight did go - an upgrade is in the offing soon.

    The horn is pathetic, and have to be remedied with a pair of additional horns.

    The seat is firm and is an absolute delight. The most I have spent on saddle till now is about 1.15 hrs continuously and the seat is absolutely brilliant.

    The seating position is different and will take some time to get used to, if you are graduating from a commuter like Unicorn. But it don't take much time to get used to it, and the bike will fit like a glove once you are familiar with the riding position.
    7 people like this.
  2. pabhishek

    pabhishek Esperto

    Linea T-Jet
    Thats a great addition in your garage!! :up
    1 person likes this.
  3. SX4enthusiast

    SX4enthusiast Amatore

    Wish you many happy miles on your lovely duke 390.

    Hope you enjoy the mind-blowing awesome rev-happy engine!


    Sent from my IdeaTabA1000-G using Tapatalk
    1 person likes this.
  4. sine04

    sine04 Regolare

    Mysore/Bangalore, Karnataka.
    Mysore/Bangalore, Karnataka.
    Fiat Enthusiast
    Um.. Its a lovely duke 200. ;)

    @anoop- I was keenly following the thread on the other forum. Quite an interesting read and a wise decision at the end! Have a great time with the Duke! :)

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
    1 person likes this.
  5. vj_v1

    vj_v1 Superiore

    Congrats on the new Bike. The 390 has been on my list for a long time now but is not happening for some reason.

    My friends have started using the following Gangs of Wasseypur dialogue against me these days when i talk about the 390.

    "VJ tum rehne do, tumse na ho paaye"

    I was thinking you mistakenly pasted the thread on TFI instead of the Definitive forum. :D
    1 person likes this.
  6. SX4enthusiast

    SX4enthusiast Amatore

    sorry for the typo error!

    Sent from my IdeaTabA1000-G using Tapatalk
  7. SX4enthusiast

    SX4enthusiast Amatore

    Are they aluminum rims? If they are, be very very careful...otherwise they will break just like how my son's cycle rim broke!

    Sent from my IdeaTabA1000-G using Tapatalk
    1 person likes this.
  8. anoop

    anoop Superiore

    Thank you!

    Thank you Bro - the engine is unbelievably rev-happy :p:D

    Thank you Sine - that thread did help em to narrow down my choices. My head was screaming for 390 and my heart wanted 200 ;)

    Thank VJ. He he - not, not mistakenly, but composed for both the forums ;)

    I don't know what material the rim is made of ( it says light weight alloy or something similar), but they are not expensive - i think they are priced at around 3.5-4K per piece.

  9. mahesh.bandel

    mahesh.bandel Amatore

    Grande Punto 1.3
    A warm Welcome to the orange brotherhood from another D200 owner!
    Very wise decision: heart over head. 390 has ample power which is literally not usable on our traffic stormed roads and that's the reason the number of accidents on 390's have been on the incline. 200 is a complete city/highway package and will never let you unimpressed.

    Yes, The alloy wheels need to be taken care of. I have ended up replacing the front alloy. Keep the drive chain clean and lubricated at all times. Chain sprocket has a very short lifespan of not more than 10k kms. Overall experience of ownership is super fun!

    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  10. anoop

    anoop Superiore

    Thanks Mahesh. I am ok with a 10K life span of the chain-sprocket, but more worried about the alloys. How much did it cost you to replace them?
    Did you buy a paddock stand yet?

    1 person likes this.

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