ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Trip Planning > Asia Pacific
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-21-2012, 05:31 PM   #1
katalyst OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Oddometer: 25
Trip to Kashmir and Ladakh

Hi all,

I'm planning to be on a flight to Delhi on the 3rd of August to ride Kashmir.

I've been reading through every single RR that I could find at advrider, HUBB, BCMtouring, xBHP and team-BHP, so I've a fair understanding (as much as is possible from Australia!) of routes, conditions, travel times, etc. The plan is to ride Kashmir CCW, with a detour to the Spiti Valley either on the way there (leaning towards doing it on the way, because it will give me more time for a shake-down of the bike) or back. There isn't a fixed itinerary, because I'm not under pressure of time, so I don't want to have to rush or do 10+ hour days to make it somewhere in time.

The main question for me at the moment is the best bike to take, and the best vendors and shops in Delhi to supply one. The absolute priority is reliability, because I'll be on my own. Safety aside, I had Vietnam ruined by a rubbish Win, and I don't want to spend my entire time in Kashmir worrying about whether I'll make it to the next town. The ones under consideration are the RE 500 UCE (for torque and carrying capacity) and the Pulsar 220 (more modern, perhaps more reliable, EFI, but limited capacity). I'd like a CBR250R or a KTM Duke (and would kill for an XR), but I doubt that I'll be able to find one second-hand or be able to find racks/carry enough on one.

Because reliability is so important, I'm happy to buy one. I'm also planning to find a good shop and have it thoroughly serviced: change clutch plates/brakes/oil, make sure that the racks and welding are ready (or have some fabricated), put on dual-sport tyres, drop any weight that I can, stiffen the rear suspension, etc. The plan is to spend a day or two in Karol Bagh finding a bike, then head to a mechanic and find the rest of the gear. Aman Automobiles looks promising (GurgaonTrails had a fair amount of work done for his Kashmir trip: http://advrider.com/forums/showpost....97&postcount=5). I'll probably also want to pick up some good panniers or bags.

If anyone has any advice on any of the above (bikes, bike vendors, reliable mechanics and equipment stores, in particular) it would be hugely appreciated, and if anyone else is planning to be in the region, it would be great to have someone to ride with.

Cheers

katalyst screwed with this post 07-24-2012 at 11:17 PM
katalyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2012, 06:17 PM   #2
katalyst OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Oddometer: 25
[Edit: nevermind - sorted these out]

A couple of specific questions while I remember:

Keylong and Manali aren't high enough for acclimatisation, but Pang and Sarchu are just tents; is there anywhere that has half-way decent accommodation where I can spend acclimatising, before Leh?

[Might ride to Jispa and stay at the luxury hotel, whatever that means: http://www.60kph.com/interact/manali_leh_tips.htm]

Do guest-houses/hotels in Leh and Srinagar have access to the internet / if I managed to get my hands on a SIM for Kashmir, would there be 3G in Leh and Srinagar for tethering?

[Best to go with the usual two - BSNL or Airtel post-paid / pre-paid from Leh - and BSNL might have 3G networks in at least Keylong and Leh

http://www.bcmtouring.com/forum/indi...llular-t32095/
http://bigtomsride.blogspot.com.au/2...-highway.html]

katalyst screwed with this post 07-22-2012 at 12:15 AM
katalyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2012, 08:04 PM   #3
Witold
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2004
Oddometer: 661
I feel the need to correct that you want to do Kashmir (left side) and Ladakh (right side) - not just Kashmir. Personally, I think doing it clockwise would be a lot better - you built up your scenery instead of being dropped into the best part and then the rest of the trip is downhill. Plus, it's a more gradual way to acclimatize. That is the way I did it last Summer on a bike I purchased in Karol Bagh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by katalyst View Post
Keylong and Manali aren't high enough for acclimatisation, but Pang and Sarchu are just tents; is there anywhere that has half-way decent accommodation where I can spend acclimatising, before Leh?
Keylong is plenty high and there are some people getting altitude sickness there already. The slower your gain in altitude and the less the exertion, the less chance for altitude sickness. I had big problems with altitude sickness and I was going the easy way (clockwise), but that was primarily because my bike broke and I exerted myself quite a bit on the first day of higher altitude.

Although the big accommodation hotspots are outlined on the internet, there are definitely more possibilities along the road. I passed quite a few little homestay type accommodations and quite a few tent setups. It's not completely deserted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by katalyst View Post
Do guest-houses/hotels in Leh and Srinagar have access to the internet / if I managed to get my hands on a SIM for Kashmir, would there be 3G in Leh and Srinagar for tethering?
I used a 2G stick for laptop tethering and... well... it's 2G. Slow as heck, but ok for basic email/etc. Coverage in the cities is fair. In the mountains, even 2G is going to be very spotty.

As far as internet connection, it depends on the specific guesthouse and your luck on that particular day, on that particular hour. There are lots of Internet cafes in Leh and they are all pretty mediocre focusing on the cheap backpacker crowd. After 11pm/midnight things do speed up considerably if you need to upload pics/etc. What do you need the connection for?

Ask away if you have any other questions. I did my trip on Karizma 220cc, but if I was going again, I would try to get a Pulsar 220. (best value) I ended up getting softbags, and putting more dual-sport tires on the bike. As for Karol Bagh, I'm pretty sure that there isn't even one reputable place there. They will probably screw you on the paperwork so that you are forced to sell back to the same place for a crap price. I would highly recommend that you make a friend on BCM and have them do the deal for you, preferably with you completely out of sight.
Witold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2012, 11:10 PM   #4
katalyst OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Oddometer: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Witold View Post
I feel the need to correct that you want to do Kashmir (left side) and Ladakh (right side) - not just Kashmir. Personally, I think doing it clockwise would be a lot better - you built up your scenery instead of being dropped into the best part and then the rest of the trip is downhill. Plus, it's a more gradual way to acclimatize. That is the way I did it last Summer on a bike I purchased in Karol Bagh.
Hehe sorry - I did mean both Kashmir and Ladakh. A few other riders have had the same advice, and it's something that I'm seriously considering, though it might cause problems with the plan to go to the Spiti Valley first.

Quote:
Keylong is plenty high and there are some people getting altitude sickness there already. The slower your gain in altitude and the less the exertion, the less chance for altitude sickness. I had big problems with altitude sickness and I was going the easy way (clockwise), but that was primarily because my bike broke and I exerted myself quite a bit on the first day of higher altitude.
It's good to know that I can start the process in Keylong - I've had AMS before, and I'm not keen to experience it again. I'll take plenty of Diamox, and with luck I'll be fit and ready to go on a trek from Leh by the time that I make it there, whichever way I go.

Quote:
I used a 2G stick for laptop tethering and... well... it's 2G. Slow as heck, but ok for basic email/etc. Coverage in the cities is fair. In the mountains, even 2G is going to be very spotty.

As far as internet connection, it depends on the specific guesthouse and your luck on that particular day, on that particular hour. There are lots of Internet cafes in Leh and they are all pretty mediocre focusing on the cheap backpacker crowd. After 11pm/midnight things do speed up considerably if you need to upload pics/etc. What do you need the connection for?
The concern for me was to be able to access Google Maps/Docs, because I use them for a lot of my planning. Some Indian riders mentioned that they were able to get 3G sticks to work, so I'll keep my eye out for one; otherwise, it's no big deal: I'll just need to map/waypoint a few days ahead whenever I do have access.

Quote:
Ask away if you have any other questions. I did my trip on Karizma 220cc, but if I was going again, I would try to get a Pulsar 220. (best value) I ended up getting softbags, and putting more dual-sport tires on the bike. As for Karol Bagh, I'm pretty sure that there isn't even one reputable place there. They will probably screw you on the paperwork so that you are forced to sell back to the same place for a crap price. I would highly recommend that you make a friend on BCM and have them do the deal for you, preferably with you completely out of sight.
I am hoping that I'll be able to avoid Karol Bagh entirely! With a few more days' reading and planning, the current plan is to try and get a Duke or a 220 through a private seller (using olx.in: there are ~70 Pulsar 220s in New Delhi, for example) then take it to Kaulson Racing Products (seems to be a proper operation that services superbikes, does racing setups, etc) or one of the mechanics mentioned by some of the local riders (e.g. Aman Automobiles). I've lists of the cost of spare parts thanks to guys at xBHP, so the combination of a relatively new bike and a rough knowledge of local prices should keep things under control. For the bags, I think that I'll just go straight to a Cramster dealer (Adventure 18), and I'll also put on some Michelin Siracs, Dunlop Monsters or Ceat Vertigos.

From your ride report, it looked as though you went to Karol Bagh for everything - bad experience? Apart from the clutch on the Karizma, did it have enough torque for ascents? My last experience was a Win with bad piston rings in Vietnam, and the 30km/h top speed when climbing at altitude was just tedious.

Edit: however all of the above turns out, my flight is on Wednesday next week - the best-laid plans. Hah!
katalyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2012, 10:42 AM   #5
Witold
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2004
Oddometer: 661
Basically, Delhi->Shimla->Srinigar are drab or nothing special. If I was doing it again, I would be tempted to do Delhi/Spiti/Leh, etc/Zanskar/Srinigar and then simply go back to Leh and go back to Delhi.

I had Diamox with me, but didn't use it. It is controversial. It doesn't actually treat altitude sickness - it just covers up the symptoms. So there are cases of people taking it and dying simply because they didn't realize they had altitude sickness.

I did a trek to Stok Kangri. Highly recommended. I'm not much of a trekker so I don't have much to compare it to, but it was amazing and I want to do more treks like this.

Get a GPS and load up the maps for the region. Works flawlessly. This is a very simple region where you can't really get lost. There is usually only one road and if there is a fork in the road it's obvious where each road is going. Cheap paper map is very sufficient for this region. Make sure you get the JPG map that is being passed around on BCM. (It highlights all the roads around Leh and shows which are restricted, bad conditions)

Quote:
Originally Posted by katalyst View Post
I am hoping that I'll be able to avoid Karol Bagh entirely! With a few more days' reading and planning, the current plan is to try and get a Duke or a 220 through a private seller (using olx.in: there are ~70 Pulsar 220s in New Delhi, for example) then take it to Kaulson Racing Products (seems to be a proper operation that services superbikes, does racing setups, etc) or one of the mechanics mentioned by some of the local riders (e.g. Aman Automobiles). I've lists of the cost of spare parts thanks to guys at xBHP, so the combination of a relatively new bike and a rough knowledge of local prices should keep things under control. For the bags, I think that I'll just go straight to a Cramster dealer (Adventure 18), and I'll also put on some Michelin Siracs, Dunlop Monsters or Ceat Vertigos.
That seems like a very good plan. I had a chance to ride a good amount on Pulsar 220 and it's a good bike. I would rather have it than my Karizma. The only negative I could think of is that going over rocks/etc the bike has less clearance and I hit the center stand on it quite a bit.

I did my trip on the Siracs. They are excellent. But I popped several tubes and 'unmounted' the tire as well. Make sure you have spare tubes/air compressor to fix on the road.

Cramster luggage is surprisingly PIA to get. In Karol Bagh, there are 300 shops selling the same knockoff junk everywhere. I got knockoff tail bags and they were sufficient for the trip and dirt cheap.


Quote:
Originally Posted by katalyst View Post
From your ride report, it looked as though you went to Karol Bagh for everything - bad experience? Apart from the clutch on the Karizma, did it have enough torque for ascents? My last experience was a Win with bad piston rings in Vietnam, and the 30km/h top speed when climbing at altitude was just tedious.
Well, I thought I had all the paperwork necessary to resell to anyone I want. But I didn't... they pulled a pretty good trick on me. I was forced to sell back to the same place I bought it from. And it's not really a complaint about Karol Bagh specifically... Indian business practices in general suck. Do not give anyone any money before they show you the work or you will be disappointed and you will have zero leverage to correct things. No matter how many questions you ask, they will screw you on the one question you forgot to verify. The further North you go, the less of an issue this is.

The roads in this region are build to accommodate trucks/military. All roads are graded very conservatively and your bike will never struggle at all. My Karizma had no problems on any roads, and neither will your Pulsar 220. I am sure of it.

However... there is one place that my Karizma could not reach; Marsimik La. This is not a road yet. The road is being constructed and there are basically tire truck trails all around that I tried to follow to the top. But at some point, my bike could climb no higher because it was too steep. Having little confidence in the bike by this point, I did not want to press my luck and gave up. (To be fair, Karizma is not meant for off roading and while I had several issues in the mountains, I had zero issues on normal roads in Rajistan/etc.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by katalyst View Post
Edit: however all of the above turns out, my flight is on Wednesday next week - the best-laid plans. Hah!
I don't care where you've ridden before. I can already tell you that this will be one of the top places you have ridden. You will love it.
Witold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2012, 06:53 PM   #6
katalyst OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Oddometer: 25
Thanks for all of the advice, Witold!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Witold View Post
Basically, Delhi->Shimla->Srinigar are drab or nothing special. If I was doing it again, I would be tempted to do Delhi/Spiti/Leh, etc/Zanskar/Srinigar and then simply go back to Leh and go back to Delhi.

I had Diamox with me, but didn't use it. It is controversial. It doesn't actually treat altitude sickness - it just covers up the symptoms. So there are cases of people taking it and dying simply because they didn't realize they had altitude sickness.

I did a trek to Stok Kangri. Highly recommended. I'm not much of a trekker so I don't have much to compare it to, but it was amazing and I want to do more treks like this.
I'm increasingly thinking that I will do it CW - it gives me more time on tarmac for the shake-down, for full acclimatisation without Diamox, prior to trekking.

Quote:
Get a GPS and load up the maps for the region. Works flawlessly. This is a very simple region where you can't really get lost. There is usually only one road and if there is a fork in the road it's obvious where each road is going. Cheap paper map is very sufficient for this region. Make sure you get the JPG map that is being passed around on BCM. (It highlights all the roads around Leh and shows which are restricted, bad conditions)
Done and done - I'm hoping that fact that there generally is only a single road will mean that it will be easy to run into other bikers along the way.

Quote:
I did my trip on the Siracs. They are excellent. But I popped several tubes and 'unmounted' the tire as well. Make sure you have spare tubes/air compressor to fix on the road.
Apparently there are tubeless versions available - with a puncture prevention/repair kit, would that be the better option?

Quote:
Well, I thought I had all the paperwork necessary to resell to anyone I want. But I didn't... they pulled a pretty good trick on me. I was forced to sell back to the same place I bought it from. And it's not really a complaint about Karol Bagh specifically... Indian business practices in general suck. Do not give anyone any money before they show you the work or you will be disappointed and you will have zero leverage to correct things. No matter how many questions you ask, they will screw you on the one question you forgot to verify. The further North you go, the less of an issue this is.
What went wrong with the paperwork? So far as I understand it, I'll need:

- Registration book, insurance certificate/insurance transfer receipt, a signed transfer-of-ownership form, a no-objection certificate, and a receipt for the sale
- The transfer-of-ownership set is to be signed by the previous owner or form no. 28, 29 and 30 to be all signed by the previous owner. The buyer's name is left blank, so that it can be completed when I find a buyer at the end of the trip
- The NOC will be, if possible, one for all of India, and it can be obtained at a Regional Transport Office

Quote:
I don't care where you've ridden before. I can already tell you that this will be one of the top places you have ridden. You will love it.
I'm looking forward to it; it says something about the beauty of the region that every rider who goes, no matter how skilled with a camera, seems to produce stunning photos.
katalyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2012, 01:56 AM   #7
Witold
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2004
Oddometer: 661
You will meet some bikers for sure. This is where Indian guys come for their adventure, too and occasional foreigners also. I expected many more riders, though...

Pangong and Tso Moriri lakes are on a schedule. Tourists rent spots in SUVs to rush during the morning to go to the lakes, and rush back during the afternoon to get back to Leh. Aside this mini "rush hour" the roads in those regions will be relatively empty. You will see very few cars, and even fewer motorcycles.

If I remember correctly, I initially had the Siracs mounted tubeless. After the tire somehow unsealed from the rim, I started putting tubes in, and also got a few flats over time because of the cheap tubes.

The way I screwed up my paperwork is that I filled out the transfer form with my name and info, so the next owner didn't have a transfer form to fill in their name and apparently another transfer form from me to them would not suffice.

It really is pretty hard to take a bad photo in the region. It is even prettier in real life. You really get the feeling of awe and adventure. I would love to do some more treks and camping in the region. Maybe check if the trek route to Turtuk is open yet and you can be one of the first people to ever do it.
Witold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2012, 01:14 PM   #8
archashok
n00b
 
archashok's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2012
Location: Bangalore
Oddometer: 1
Ladakh Ride

Hey katalyst,

i am a biker from India, doing Kanyakumari to Leh and then to New delhi via Srinagar in this August, around 6000 kms in Royal Enfield Motorcycle. Hope to see you on the Road.
Cheers,
Ashoka.

archashok screwed with this post 12-17-2012 at 07:56 AM
archashok is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2012, 05:28 AM   #9
GgnTrails
Adventurer
 
GgnTrails's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2012
Location: India
Oddometer: 11
Hey there. Found this doing a search for my old ID, whcih got discontinued. If you still have any questions on the route, go ahead and ask. It's still fresh in my mind, back for around 10 days now.

The Spiti inclusion will ensure a lot of raw landscapes and lots of offroading and broken road riding. Keep it at the end and you may be too tired to enjoy it. Keep it at the beginning, keep some off days, and you enjoy it more.

Gotta tell you this - The Enfield broke the footpegs due to just standing on the pegs on rough patches. They were damaged by the time we reached Kaza in Spiti Valley, got repaired, and finally broke completely by Keylong. Another Enfield's fork seals gave way.

The KTM 200 with the right tyres may be a good choice, saw a few on this trip. Did not see a single Pulsor, maybe there's a reason. Lots of Hero Impulse bikes this time.....if you dont mind the 150cc engine, it should be a great dual-sport baby bike. Ofcourse Enfileds rule there.....and I got to kick ass with the XR.

And no, there is a less than zero chance of you being able to rent an XR or similar.

And finally, you dont need maps or GPS. The are almost no alternative roads, so you pretty much dont need to find out how to get anywhere other than sticking to the "road" you took.
GgnTrails is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 11:43 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014