It is strange that motorcycle reviewers are able to post their opinion of bikes after riding them for 50 or 100 kms. I mean I have done it myself so I understand what goes on there, but after about a month of riding the Xpulse, I’m still in no position to pass judgement on it.
This is mostly because my skill level for off-road riding is far far lower than I had imagined it to be. I have done the random trail, and ridden through the treacherous passes of Ladakh, but I’ve never really done pure off-road for extended periods of time. The only reason I went to dirt before, was because the road ceased to exist. It was just a small part of the riding experience, not the whole thing.
Now that I’m primarily focused on the “gnarly” stuff, I’ve realized I absolutely suck at it. It is hard to describe just how bad I am. The rally kit doesn’t help, it makes things harder actually, because the bike just wants to tip over, and the handlebar position means that I have no leverage to stop it. Also, the rally kit on the bike makes it more capable than stock, which makes me feel even more inadequate.
It is surprising then that I have dropped the bike only twice during these weeks. Once was in the jungle while trying to make a left U turn, but the second one was hilariously stupid. After practicing some 8s and just fucking about generally, I got back home. Tried to stop in front of the house, blipped the throttle to straighten up the bike, and found out it was in neutral. It tipped over to the right, and that was that.
I have been expecting more falls, and a bit more serious than that, so I installed Barkbusters. At around 7000 bucks including shipping, they are quite expensive. I briefly considered buying these Acerbis replicas, but I avoid buying any moto-related things from Amazon as a matter of principle. The Barkbusters are pretty awesome, I was even able to install them myself without ripping my nails off, which was a surprise. My mechanical skills are comparable to that of a frog with 4 amputated legs. The entire purpose of these guards is that when I drop the bike, the handlebar and controls shouldn’t get so mangled that I’m not able to ride back home.
Also picked up the Project83X tail tidy, it is very well made. This wasn’t exactly an upgrade for me, the rear fender was missing from the start on my bike, and there was no way I was putting that ugly piece of plastic back in. I fit the tail tidy myself as well, but that involved a lot more swearing and bloodshed than the hand guards. The holes on the rear subframe and the plastic underbody didn’t exactly line up, they need to if you want to fit this thing.
The service experience at Ladiyan Motors, Ropar, was awesome. They are just a very nice bunch of people, friendly and competent. Of course the usual crowd of Splendors was there, and they just went crazy about the bike. It certainly looks very special, kids especially love the damn thing. The service bill was an absolutely ridiculous 420 bucks, and that included things like removing the indicators and the rear number plate light from the plastic mudguard, and mounting them on the tail tidy. Got the number plates fixed in as well, no need to be scared of cops anymore due to my pink A/F number plate.
I have no other upgrades planned for this bike currently, the fact is that even in its stock state, the bike is capable of far more than I am, so it is me that needs upgrades. This will require lots of practice and patience, there’s just no alternative. My throttle control needs work, so does the body position, and the overall confidence is just completely absent. I may buy some tank grips, but that’s pretty much all.
I still absolutely love the fact that I own this thing, it forces me to be better, and at a laughably low cost. If I had bought an Interceptor, all I would be doing now is touring, and patting myself on the back for how good I am with motorcycles. The Xpulse has shown me that I know a very small part of the motorcycling ecosystem, there’s a whole universe out there that I need to explore and get good with. Time to get braaping.