Saturday, September 08, 2007

First (long) ride in Apache 150

What I found in the 20 km long ride in my beloved Apache is that this bike is a wild beast when you want it to be so. Overtaking slow moving traffic is just a twist of the throttle away in 3rd gear. 2nd gear is seldom required. I am utterly bewildered by the refinement of the Honda engine in the Unicorn. It's great; but vibes in some bikes is a very nice thing to have. Vibes in Apache is a very nice thing to have. The little tingle you feel in your palms (upto about 6000 rpm) keeps you aware that you are riding a machine that's powerful and very responsive (it keeps you awake too!). The engine is super tractable. The gearbox has come a long way from what it was in the running-in period in terms of feel. If you had read the article on Unicorn in this blog, you would be knowing that I felt that it's gearbox feels too light for me. Of course, if I spend more time on the bike I will get more accustomed to it. But, in Apache it feels solid. You need to put in a good amount of shove to get the shifting done and it's no chore. The number of false neutrals has drastically reduced but one problem I still find with the 'box is it's reluctance to shift down gears when the speed is too low for that particular gear. The solution I have found out is blipping the throttle just before shifting. It works fine for me. The box is super good when it comes to fast upshifts. You can just bang gears like anything which is so critical in keeping up the momentum when accelerating hard.

The brakes are nothing but absolutely spot-on. There is so much feedback that you get from them that you won't lock up the tyres even in first rains. I experienced it on my way back home. The tarmac was coated nice and neat with a layer of rain water + one coat of grime + the usual spilled diesel, oil etc!! It never felt scary to brake from 70 kph or 80 kph which is pretty normal speed on this bike. Of course you've to use both the brakes and judiciously switch the braking pressure between them at the various points of your braking.

Since I left the rear shocks in their softest setting, cornering was a bit wallowy where the roads were undulating. It doesn't bog your confidence down, however.

The soundtrack, I love it. It's a personal preference, of course. The most important thing, I didn't feel any pains at all riding the bike for 20 km inspite of it's sporty handlebar - footpegs combo!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey your experience makes me desire for an apache ... Great observatory skills (as usual)!!!