#CEATxPlorer: To the statue of unity!

#CEATxPlorer: To the statue of unity!

A lion belongs in the jungle, a shark in the ocean, an eagle in the open skies and a biker… on the road. A biker’s natural habitat comprises open highways, gusting winds, and the roar of their motorcycle’s engine. They are not meant to be imprisoned in walls but the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown did just that.

There was the first wave that came with lockdowns that are still in place in some places. And then, right after my ride with xBhp during #roadTripUnited2021, the madness of the 2nd wave befell us. It was hard to believe that a dreamy ride like that could be followed by a nightmare like that.

Obviously, riding a motorcycle has been scarce in the recent past. Slowly though, things are falling back in control and the curbs are being eased off. I was desperate to go for a ride, simply heading out on my motorcycle destination be damned. And just as I was wrestling those thoughts, I got a call from xBhp.

To my luck, they asked me to be a #CEATxPlorer and I could not be happier. More so because it would give me a chance to take my KTM RC 390 for a ride because the tyres were compatible with it. I jump at opportunities like this as my office routine rarely allows me the time to ride.

The tyres I chose for my RC 390 were CEAT ZOOM RAD X1 radial tyres. I had heard quite a bit about their all-around performance and had come across quite a few real-life reviews from fellow riders. I have tried quite a few sets of tyres on my bike but these, by far, were one of the best of the lot but more on that later.

So, after getting the tyres fixed and breaking them in a bit, I was back on the saddle of my beast which had been sitting in my garage for the past four months waiting to be unleashed. Before I start to spill more details about this special ride, I would like to thank xBhp and CEAT for this opportunity.

Now, let’s talk about the destination because I can’t really let it be damned. While my craving to ride was going to be fulfilled wherever I went, my destination had to be Gujarat. That is because the last time I went to Gujarat was in January this year and I went to meet the lions of the beautiful Gir Forest. On my way back from there, I had a strong urge to visit the Statue of Unity but I could not do so due to the paucity of time. So, it had to be Gujarat. Enough intro, it is now time to Xplore so let’s start.

Day 1

As always, Day 1 started with a lot of enthusiasm but the rain had some other plans. We (me and two of my friends from Mumbai) wanted to start early and to that end, we were ready to go at 5 AM. But the rain was really heavy so we could not stick to our schedule in terms of the start of the ride.

Instead, we could only start around 6:15 AM with our full rain gear on. Our first meeting point was the famous Fountain Chowk after Thane. After the three of us met up, we headed to our destination. While the rain had played spoilsport to some extent, we were already quite happy and excited as we were meeting and riding together after a long time.

Throughout our journey towards Gujarat, we encountered heavy rains. Because of that, we had to take more than our fair share of stops because when it was dry I put my GoPro on and when it wasn’t, I head to stow it away. Frequent stops, unpredictable weather, and keeping my GoPro safe was a bit of a challenge, but I was enjoying the ride nonetheless.

One of the major factors making this ride enjoyable was the phenomenal road conditions. The Highway was pure bliss and the CEAT ZOOM RAD X1 tyres provided me all the grip I needed to stay safe and have fun. I loved the wet grip of these tyres and it is all because of the beautiful and functional tread pattern.

After a few hours of riding, we crossed the Gujarat border and met with our fourth fellow rider in Vapi. Post that, we were back on our way. We decided to have our brunch right after leaving the Gujarat highway near Surat. ‘Locha’ is a local Gujarati delicacy and one of my personal favourites.

After a filling meal, we decided to make our way to the Statue of Unity. While the highway was awesome, we did encounter some bad patches after leaving it. The tyres took care of everything the conditions could throw in their stride. I had a lot of confidence as not even once did I feel the lack of traction.

We finally reached our destination- the hotel where we were supposed to stay. It was around 30 mins away from the Statue of Unity. It was a long day of riding as we started our journey around 6:15 AM and reached the hotel at 4:30 PM. Regardless of the fatigue, we all had a wonderful time and so, we decided to get some rest and be ready for the next day.

Day 2

After a nice cosy sleep, I was ready to roll and have my RC 390 witness the world’s tallest statue. We headed out early and despite that, it was really hot out there. Our tickets were pre-booked for visiting the Statue of Unity as that was the only option and our time slot was 4 PM to 6 PM. So we had time on our hands, time that we decided to utilize by exploring places around the statue.

Among the many places we went to, the beautiful Sardar Mansarovar Dam was one of the most beautiful. And since we had a lot of time, we witnessed it from different viewpoints and let me tell you that each one of them was a different experience altogether.

We also visited the famous Cactus Garden which is a pretty peculiar place to visit. You get to see so many different species of Cactus all around the world in one place. Who thought I could like Cacti too…

Anyway, as we explored our time slot was approaching so we decided to make our way to the Statue of Unity. We reached the entrance of the main campus and only then did it hit us. The numbers do tell a story but it is nothing compared to actually witnessing this majestic statue.

At 182 metres, it is now the world’s largest statue. You already know that but you have no idea of its magnitude unless you visit it. Being dwarfed even by the feet of this statue that belongs to the Iron Man of India- we could only gasp over the enormity of this structure.

One is not allowed to carry any bags inside the campus so we left our bags, gear, and helmet at the locker facility. Now we were all set to go in. Everything inside the campus was so fascinating that it almost started to feel that the two-hour slot that we had was not going to be enough. Moreover, it was full of more and more information about Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

After spending some more time taking a look at all the exhibits, we decided to head up the statue. The high-speed elevators took us and the other visitors up to the 400-feet mark which is around the chest level of the statue. That, my friends, was one of the best parts of the trip. The world sure does seem small from dizzying heights like those.

After clicking some pictures there and around the foot of the statue, we decided to head out to our next surprise- the Laser Show which was due to begin around 8 PM. The show is one of a kind. Witnessing the statue all lit up in a pitch-dark night is a treat to watch. One can easily compare this show to the ones we generally see with Burj Khalifa and the sorts.

It was a heck of a day and there was a lot to take in. The enormity of the statue, the view of the world from it, and the laser show- it was a blast. Post that and some food, we decided to make our way to the hotel to be well-rested for the next day’s journey back home.

Day 3

The alarm went off at 6 AM and it was time to go. We freshened up, packed our stuff and by 7 AM, we were ready to go. This time, the weather was on point for a decently paced ride. After all, the only two things a biker needs is a good bike with a good set of tyres and good weather. I enjoyed the initial part of the ride because I was finally getting to test the CEAT ZOOM RAD X1 tyres in the dry. Unsurprisingly, they were just as impressive.

After around an hour or so of riding, we reached our designated point for breakfast. After that, we continued our ride ahead before being welcomed by rain again around Vapi. Our friend who joined us from Vapi was to bid adieu to us here and now the three of us had a lot of ground to cover. It did rain on our return journey too but it was much scarcer than before.

All said and done, with just one break in between, we reached Mumbai around 3 PM. I was content because, despite the rain and the generally fluctuating weather, I was able to see this ride through. You can know more about my experience with the tyres in the tyre review section but as far as the travelogue goes, this is Sayonara with thanks to both xBhp and CEAT for enabling me to take up this ride. Until next time…

Tyre Review: CEAT ZOOM RAD X1

 

My KTM RC 390 was equipped with CEAT ZOOM RAD X1 F 110/70R17 on the front and CEAT ZOOM RAD X1 150/60R17 on the rear. Among the many I have used, these are some of the best tyres out there for KTM RC 390 and with good reason. First of all, these are radial tyres because of which they ensure a bigger contact patch on the road providing highspeed stability. The profile of the tyres also makes it easy to flick the motorcycle from one direction to the other. More than that, the edge grip is so profound that it makes you want to attack every corner with all you have. Yet, I am fairly confident that with the compound in use I am gonna get a lot of kilometres out of them as well. The most impressive aspect though was the wet grip because that is the aspect that I got to test the most. The tread pattern is immensely deft in water-channelling and so, the tyre is always in contact with the tarmac and the traction and feedback you need are always there. So, if you have a KTM RC 390, or any KTM for that matter, give these tyres a try and I am sure you won’t regret your choice.

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