2021 was a very difficult year for me. I suffered a major personal loss, someone who was instrumental in making me the person I am today- my father. He was a friend, a mentor, an elder brother; in short, he meant the world to me. After his loss, I changed a lot. My way of life and my way of riding changed dramatically because of the added responsibilities I had. I could not help it even if it felt like I was losing myself in the process of trying to sustain without him.
But after a while, as I slowly came to terms with him not being around, I realized something. My father was the biggest support I had. He appreciated all I did and helped me in all my endeavours. And he would never want me to stop being who I am. He did not say much but he always kept a watchful eye. And I am sure that he is still doing that. And so, I decided to go back to doing what I loved doing the most- motorcycling.
I knew that being away from it for too long was only going to make things worse and also hurt the memory of my father supporting this life of mine. Motorcycling has been a way of life for me, something that keeps me going. So it was time to be an explorer again and be grateful for the life I have and to be grateful to my father for helping me build this life.
After a few short rides, I was starting to get back into the groove. A little later, I knew that I was ready for my next adventure- an amazing journey in which I got to explore newer places and do stuff that never fails to bring a smile to my face. The motorcycle I chose for this journey was the KTM 390 Duke. The one thing about the KTM 390 Duke is that it is thoroughly exciting. Another thing about the KTM 390 Duke is that bike tyres are crucial when you are riding a motorcycle like it.
It has loads of grunt and weighs quite less. That translates to a bonkers power-to-weight ratio that can make even a great pair of bike tyres squeal. So, I needed something much better than just great. Ultimately, I ended up going with CEAT Zoom Rad X1 bike tyres. The decision was based on the things I had heard about them and my own prior experience with them. Moreover, I have had my fair share of unfortunate tyre-related incidents, so I did not want to take a risk.
Now, the bike was set and the bike tyres were decided; the only thing left to be done was to get them installed. I went to the nearest CEAT Shoppe to get the tyres installed. Once fitted, I scrubbed the tyres in by riding a few kilometres. One thing that I liked about the bike tyres right from the get-go was the looks. Their profile and the tread design goes really well with the KTM 390 Duke. Anyway, with all that set, I was ready to go. My destination for this roadtrip? The heart of India- Madhya Pradesh!
Day 1: Delhi to Agra
The ride started early in the morning from Delhi and the destination for the day was Agra. While this is not a relatively long ride, I decided to start early to have some time to explore and ride at a rather relaxed pace. Another reason was to beat the Delhi traffic and the best way to do that is to start early. Delhi has its own charm when there are not a million vehicles on the road. So I enjoyed the weather and rode in a relaxed way up till we reached the Yamuna Expressway.
Yamuna Expressway is a pristine highway and there isn’t much to talk about. So I simply made a beeline for Agra and in 4 hours, we were in the city of Taj. The one thing I would like to point out though is the highway performance of CEAT Zoom Rad X1 bike tyres. Absolute stability and stellar grip; that is the order of the day. To make the most of the KTM 390 Duke’s thrilling performance, you need a good set of bike tyres and CEAT Zoom RAD X1 is one of the best in business.
After reaching Agra, the first thing I did was to head to my stay and unload the stuff I was carrying. Once done, I went to Agra fort, one of the most beautiful historic sites in the city. The place was absolutely mesmerizing. But my next stop was even more beautiful- the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world and the one that put Agra on the world map.
It is a sight to behold and the only thing I wished for was to be able to visit the place at night. But since I had a schedule to stick to, I left this wish to be fulfilled some other time. My next stop was Mama Franky for an awesome evening shake post which I went to get some sleep. The next day… was going to be a long one!
Day 2: Agra to Jabalpur
Day 2 of my ride was from Agra to Jabalpur which means more than 600 km. The initial 400 kilometres of the day went like a breeze. It was a smooth blacktop which meant that I was able to maintain a decent pace. The real deal though were the remaining 200 kilometres. Single-lane road with a boatload of speed-breakers and potholes. This stretch broke my schedule and my back too.
It took me quite a while to cover this distance but the one good thing was that I got to test the CEAT Zoom Rad X1 bike tyres in a different condition. Broken roads and potholes did not deter the tyres and I had complete control of the bike and utter faith in the tyres. More importantly though, in situations like these, you brake and accelerate frequently. For the KTM 390 Duke, it was braking hard and accelerating hard frequently. And yet, CEAT Zoom Rad X1s I had held their own and there was never an unnerving moment.
Regardless of the last 200 km being nightmarish, I reached Jabalpur safely but late in the evening. I was really tired too so I decided to head to my stay, get some sleep, and leave exploring Jabalpur for the next day.
Day 3: Exploring Jabalpur
After getting a good night’s sleep, I was ready to explore Jabalpur. The day started with breakfast but that too at one of the most famous restaurants of Jabalpur- Indian Coffee House. The food was amazing but more than that and true to the name of the place, the coffee was just out of this world.
The next stop was Bargi Dam. The place is one of the most serene that I have ever been to. Nothing but the sound and sight of an immense body of water accompanied by a rustling breeze. I spent quite a bit of time there just relaxing and taking photos. The next thing to check off the list in Jabalpur was Bhedaghat and, of course, the waterfalls.
Just visiting these two places made Jabalpur worth all the trouble I went through during the last 200 km of reaching the place. Such was the impact of Bhedaghat and its natural beauty that I can still hear the waterfalls I saw. After spending the day exploring the rest of Jabalpur, I went for the famous Chai of Jabalpur and then, to my stay.
Day 4: Jabalpur to Gwalior
The last stop on this roadtrip was Gwalior. A sprawling highway with a ride of nearly 500 km. All in a day’s work for me, my KTM 390 Duke, and the CEAT Zoom Rad X1 bike tyres. While the journey went fairly smoothly, the outskirts of Gwalior did throw some bad patches but nothing that the tyres were not ready to dispose of. While the distance was less than the day before, this ride came after a long pause and so I was a little rusty. By the time I reached Gwalior, I was fairly tired so I decided to simply have dinner and go to sleep.
Day 5: Exploring Gwalior and back to Delhi
Finally, on the last day of the trip, I had some time to explore Gwalior. The first and the only place I could visit this time was the Gwalior Fort… and for all intents and purposes, that is all you need! The fort is a marvel. A testament to the stunning architecture of the olden days and one that makes us wonder how were people able to build such magnificently massive structures in those days!
The Gwalior Fort is beautiful on the inside and the outside. And with the Gopachal Parvat in sight, it makes it even better. I spent a fair amount of time exploring the fort and clicking some photos. But I was looking at nearly 360 km of riding to reach Delhi so I had to leave a little earlier than I would have liked. The journey back to Delhi was a straight jaunt and marked the end of a fulfilling roadtrip.
As I mentioned before, the loss of my father was a nasty blow and it took me a while to regain my footing. Now that I have, I know what I have to do and it aligns with what he would have wanted me to do. With that, I would like to thank xBhp and CEAT Tyres for this opportunity. And to all the readers, stay tuned as there is a lot more to come. Till next time…
Tyre Review: CEAT ZOOM RAD X1
The bike tyres that I had for this journey were CEAT Zoom Rad X1s and let me tell you that these are some of the best tyres you can get for a KTM 390 Duke. The reason is simple; the 390 Duke puts out an insane amount of power and the tyres need to be capable enough to put that power down efficiently. CEAT Zoom Rad X1s do just that. Be it hard braking or rapid acceleration, these bike tyres never lose their composure and inspire loads of confidence. On the highways, the stability you get from the tyres pushes you to keep up the pace for as long as you like. Even when you encounter some bad patches, CEAT Zoom Rad X1s hold their own and you have enough grip and feedback to remain in control of the situation. While my journey this time did not have a lot of twisties, whenever I encountered one, I pushed to the best of my ability. As mentioned earlier, I have used these tyres before as well and I know how capable they are in corners. Overall, if sports touring is your thing with dashes of spirited riding, look no further than CEAT Zoom Rad X1.