2020 was truly one of the most desolate years in recent memory. The pandemic, the lockdown, and the resulting psychological impact was devastating in a lot of regards. But once the number of cases started receding, we felt a ray of hope. As little as it may have been, we were able to hope that we might just be able to return to our pre-COVID lives. But then another disaster struck in the form of the second wave.
Unfortunately, it was just as bad. My whole family tested positive for COVID-19. The stress and the emotional turmoil I underwent during that phase was immense. But thankfully, all of us recovered. The cases started to decline again and all of my tests also came back normal. Once again, the mental impact it left was intense.
So I started to wonder what I could do to fix that. Being a motorcyclist, the first thing that came to my mind was riding. Riding the open roads, riding in the mountains and just… riding. Motorcycles can heal a great many wounds and those who love motorcycles as much as I do can relate to this. Anyway, I also had a destination in mind. Palampur and Bir Billing.
Raghav Kataria, known as Raghav Vlogs by his viewers, is an ardent motorcyclist and a MotoVlogger. He has been riding motorcycles for a while and is an avid explorer, always on the lookout for experiencing different places and cultures. He was also a part of the #roadTripUnited2021 as he rode with us from Goa to Delhi. You can know more about him on his channel linked here.
Since the destination was all set, it was now time to choose a motorcycle. I have ridden quite a few but the Dominar 400… not so much. So I thought to give that a shot. Now, where do I procure a Dominar 400 from was the question. Thankfully, RvGang members always come up to help me and I was able to borrow one from them.
Now, even the bike was sorted. But there was still one problem. The tyres of the bike seemed a little worn out and having dealt with tyre-related issues in the past, I did not want to take a risk. And just when I was thinking about it, I got a call from xBhp asking if I had any upcoming plans to ride and I would want to do it the Smart Way.
They explained that I could get a set of JK Tyre BLAZE RYDR tyres for the Dominar along with the TREELCARE Kit that would turn the tyres to SmartTyres and me… a SmartRider. Invariably, I agreed. The very next day, I found myself at the JK Tyre Store getting the tyres installed along with the TREELCARE Kit. These SmartTyres are a revelation. With a few simple steps, I could monitor the vitals of the tyres on my smartphone and keep a track of them.
All you have to do is to install the TREELCARE sensor on the wheel, get the tyre fitted, download the TREELCARE App and using that, scan the QR Code on your kit package. Boom! All you need to know about your tyres, from pressure to temperature, is right there on your phone. Without a doubt, SmartTyres are a neat invention and go a long way in making your rides even safer.
Now, everything was set. At this point, another friend of mine decided to join and as they say; the more, the merrier. The destination was waiting, motorcycles were ready and so was I. I got all my stuff packed and was ready to depart the next day.
If you are a passionate long-distance two-wheeler rider who loves to take pictures and videos, then we have created this platform called #xBhpJKSmartRides in association with JK Tyre just for you where we will provide you with the necessary support, including cash sponsorship and a set of #SmartTyres from JK Tyre, to enable you to go on your dream ride, while also testing and reviewing the new set of tyres and creating engaging motorcycling content to showcase it to the world. Know more about how you can be a #xBhpJKSmartRider by clicking here.
So the day was finally here! My friend, Manan, and I were ready to start and it was time to roll. We started our ride from NH-44 and our destination for the day was Palampur. Nearly 500 km to cover and the last stretch was through mountainous roads so we knew we had to leave early. So we did and our first stop was at Murthal. After a filling meal of Parathas and Cold Coffee, we were all charged up and ready to ride.
The initial stretch of the ride was spent getting acclimated to the new tyres and also, to break them in. Once that was done, we were able to up the pace considerably and it did not take us too long to reach Chandigarh. It got a little boring to ride the highways but the one thing I loved was being able to monitor my tyres.
Motorcycling is all about precision and every little thing matters. When the tyres heat up, the pressure increases and the contact patch of your tyre is reduced affecting the grip available. When it is cold or wet, it drops and that could increase the drag that affects mileage. All of these little things that are generally ignored can significantly improve or degrade your riding experience. With the SmartTyres, I was always in the know and that added to my confidence.
About the grip from the BLAZE RYDR tyres, it was fantastic. They are very stable on the highways and are always ready with the traction needed. After Chandigarh, the ride was more exciting and it got better as we entered Himachal Pradesh. As we inched closer to our destination, the arrow-straight roads turned into a serpent. Loads of corners, some high speed flowing ones, some low-speed hairpins but the tyres took on all that like a pro and I never felt like I had a dearth of grip.
But motorcycling is a mix of things you can control and things you cannot control. Weather, of course, is the latter. We reached Palampur safe and sound but on the way, looking at the sinister clouds we could tell that we were in for some hairy weather. Anyway, we made our way to our stay, had dinner and went to sleep. At night, I heard the loudest thunder ever and in the mountains, stuff like that is scary.
As we had predicted and as the thunder announced quite clearly, it started raining quite heavily at night. We woke up around 8 AM and it was still coming down. While waiting for the weather Gods to have some mercy on us and this roadtrip of ours, we were wondering about what we could do on the day.
Breakfast was the priority and for that, we could not wait any longer for the rain to simmer down. So we decided to walk to a local cafe for some food amidst the rain. Words can’t do justice to the amazing experience that it was. Anyway, after we had our breakfast and came back to the hotel, the rain had finally stopped.
So we decided to explore Palampur. One of the first places we went to was Saurabh Van Vihar. It is a beautiful and quiet park that can be defined with only one word- serenity. The footpaths are littered with leaves, the birds are at their chirpy best, there’s a boating lake and all of that with the captivating view of the Dhauladhar Range.
In addition to this beautiful park, we explored the local markets of Palampur and after riding around the city, went to have a little fun in the outskirts. Mountain roads can be treacherous and even more so during the monsoon season. The roads were all wet and yet, I had all the confidence needed to make the most of the weather and the setting.
This made it clear that the BLAZE RYDR tyres are not only good in the dry but the wet as well. Much of the credit goes to the clever groove design that helps with efficient channeling of water from under the contact patch of the tyre. Add to that the benefits of them being SmartTyres, and it made for a fantastic experience riding in the mountains.
After a day well spent exploring Palampur, it was time to go to bed and get ready for the adventures that awaited us the next day.
Our goal was to reach Bir and explore as much of it as possible. It was only 30 km from Palampur but due to the on-off rain, it took us around an hour and thirty minutes. The first thing we did was to go to the stop where all the paragliders land. But to our luck, it started raining again. So we made our way to Himalayan Pizza Bir. Despite slight disappointment because of the weather, I really enjoyed having pizza in a rooftop cafe in the amazing weather.
And when the rain subsided, the paragliders were back at it again and seeing them all land right in front of us was an absolutely amazing experience. My friend Manan wanted to go paragliding but because of the weather it was risky, so we decided against it. Predictably, we were not able to do much because of the weather and called it a day.
We woke up around 7:30 and after some discussion, decided to head back to Chandigarh as we had explored much of Bir and paragliding was a no-no because of the weather. But we thought if we had come so far, we’d go up to Billing too since it wasn’t too far. Upon reaching there, we realized why the paragliders were being asked to deter. The cloud cover on the top was immense and the visibility was nearly zero. So, we just took some photos and decided to head to Chandigarh.
We decided to take a different route to Chandigarh this time- the Mandi-Chandigarh highway. It was a bittersweet decision because while the roads were good, the traffic was terrible due to the trucks. It got late by the time we reached close to Chandigarh so we decided to go slow as it was night and it was risky to ride briskly. Around 10 PM we finally reached our hotel in Chandigarh.
A part of day 5 was partly spent exploring Chandigarh and places like Sukhna Lake which brought back memories of my Cricketing trips to Chandigarh. After all that and a filling of Paneer Kulchas, we made our way to Delhi to conclude this amazing short trip. I am really glad that I took up this trip as it nearly lightened all the stress of the tough times I went through and I am really glad that I got to know about the SmartTyres and what a nifty piece of tech they are. So I would like to thank xBhp and JK Tyre for this ride and eagerly wait for the next adventure!
My experience of riding with the JK Tyre BLAZE RYDR tyres in their SmartTyres avatar was an amazing one. Starting with the tyre, I simply love how well the tyres perform. These sports touring tyres are a perfect fit for any motorcycle that you want to use for sports touring. The Dominar 400 puts out a lot of torque and a lot of power and it can maintain its highway pace for a long time. The BLAZE RYDR tyres more than keep up with it and provide you excellent grip under braking and acceleration along with phenomenal stability. The cornering grip is something I was not able to test extensively because of the weather but when I did try to push, they always had my back. Finally, the weather gave me the chance to test out the fantastic wet grip that these tyres offer. From wet roads to standing water to water crossings, the tyres never made me feel unsettled. The most impressive aspect though is them being SmartTyres. With the TREELCARE Kit and TREELCARE APP from JK Tyre, SmartTyres help you monitor the vitals of your tyres in real-time enhancing not only safety but also the riding experience. My thanks to JK Tyre for making such great tyres and innovating further to turn them into SmartTyres!