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Prologue

It was 2-30 pm on 11-08-2010 at Probiking chennai. I mounted her inserted the key turned the ignition and pushed the starter button. She purred like a tiger cub. Now to take off. My foot automatically pushed the gear lever down and pulled down my helmet visor and eased her forward . finally a long chapter had come to an end.

It all started 5 years ago when I made an open promise to myself that if ever a bike is launched in the 2.50 lakh range I would go for it. My family liked the joke and laughed. There was only the comet at that time which was having all sorts of problems. I never had any money to spend on my joke at that time any way. I had my maruthi 800 for company and it was also a difficult buy for me. So days passed but I kept repeating my joke with my family. Years rolled by no bike was launched by any one worth saying a super bike for the poor like me.

It was during 2007 that things started looking up. The era of super bike launches started in our country at premium prices. I still remember going to the Suzuki showroom at trivandrum and experience visually the Suzuki hayabusa. The dealer even promised he would deliver the bike within 2 weeks of booking @ 12.65 lakhs . I would have taken her on the spot if  had the money but …  it was not to be.

John Abraham ( movie star) started the super bike hype in our country I feel so. Finally when bajaj show cased Kawasaki ninja 250, at auto expo, I thought it was just another show launch of what which may never come.

But finally when they launched the bike during oct 2009, for 3.00 lakhs approx well I thought I had a real chance of getting one. My old promise was repeated every week to my family and they had promptly told me to shut up up as there were a lot of other priorities to be taken care of first.

My house at trivandrum was due for a major renovation which meant that I had to put in all my available resources including from my wife to get the renovation done. So ninja was forgotten for good.

But riding a scooter for the last 3 years I really wanted a bike. So after much deliberation I narrowed down my choice to karizma ZMA, which being an army man I will be able to take it from the  CSD canteen. My house renovation continued from sept 2009 till march 2010 and we completed the work and shifted to the renovated house by april 2010. that being done now I had to take a bike.

Mentally prepared to buy the ZMA, I had made enquiries and got invoices to apply for a loan. If not the ninja at least I have a bike. Meanwhile a visit from my wife to vellore, she told be that it would be better that I go for the ninja. Thanks to Probiking Trivandrum, who had displayed the ninja and my wife had to see it almost every day as my house is located near to the PBK shop.

So again the shelved ninja project came alive in my mind. Now for the money. Bankers were due for a pay revision I hoped that this may enable me to apply for a loan and part finance my ninja. So finally during july 2010 I was able to get 2.00 lakhs loan and hopping that my wife pools in the rest. Now the question came up from where to take my ninja from Chennai or Thiruvananthapuram ? spoke to PBK Chennai and PBK Thiruvananthapuram. Finally decided to take the bike from PBK Thiruvananthapuram. As I am out at vellore, I told my wife to book the bike in her name. a couple  of days before the booking day my daughter had high fever and was admitted to hospital. I had to rush to thiruvananthapuram and I drove down overnight in my maruthi 800 – 800 kms from vellore to thiruvananthapuram on 07th/08th july 2010. So my bike thing got delayed and I was back in vellore after 10 days.

Also my finances were short due to some unforeseen expenditure by about 50,000/- . unless my wife gives 1.50 lakhs again its bye bye ninja . I had reached my wits end and started thinking about going in for the ZMA again and remitting the balance money back. Atleast the drama will have an end. The finances from my wife was getting delayed and I had many a sleepless nights to have a final word from her whether or not the money will come.

Finally my wife’s loan was through and she gave me a lakh on 3rd followed by another 50,000/- on 5th Aug 2010.

Its now or never , as I have seen that for me the time is when ever the money comes I have to go for it. So took a DD and drove to Chennai on 6th and paid the full amount for the black ninja . As the bike was in stock they promised to have the delivery on 11th. Driving to Chennai from vellore was also for a route check as while driving the ninja I did not want to get lost in Chennai city.

Things done now its was the fear of driving from Chennai to vellore about 140 kms. I had a  test drive of the ninja on 6th and I felt very comfortable to drive her and half my fears were put to rest. Now I had to take on the Chennai traffic while taking delivery on 11th. 11th morning took a day off from work and climbed on the shatabdi exp from Bangalore and reached PBK Chennai by  11-30 am. They had promised to deliver the bike by 1-00 pm and I felt comfortable as the traffic from adayar to poonamalle will be in some control. But the thing got delayed, the service guy started explaing the features to me and finally he came to the gear part and told that its one down and five up and found that the gear lever was not there. I started wondering whether my ninja was automatic transmission type. He apologized and asked me to wait so that the gear lever is fixed. I had to really put in lot of effort to control my temper a 3.00 lakh bike delivered without gear lever. If it was a door delivery( in a delivery vehicle ) in Chennai the bike would have come without the gear lever. Finally the bike was delivered at 2-30 pm.  Time to take her to vellore. They had put in 4litres of petrol and my request for a 10 litre filling on extra payment was politely declined saying that the pump was across the road. The low fuel light was on and I had to fill her up for my drive. I reached the pump and they told me that there was no speed petrol. I consoled myself and for the next 3 pumps there was no speed petrol. I started to get tense with the hobsons choice of damaging the fuel pump with low fuel level / damaging the catalytic converter if put in ordinary petrol. Finally on the 4th pump I got speed and put in 10 litres ( whew ). I had decide to break up the drive into something like 4 parts about 30 kms each and reached poonamalle and drove ahead. Felt good. Had my first break after the nemili check post. Removed my shoulder bag and strapped it on the rear seat it was good to have some weight off my shoulders for the rest of the drive. After some time had a hard braking on the rear brake and she skidded….well instantly eased off the rear and used the front . my techie man never told me that the tyres are to run about 160 kms aleast to beak in and get a good grip. Got drenched enroute near Ranipet. But wet ninja I noticed that the engine temp had really gone down and the indicator at the low level. Reached vellore  at 5-30 pm and well it was home with my Ninja. Called up PBK Chennai senthil kumar and karthik and told that I am home. So now to do the running in and get to know my ninja better. The story ends and thanks for reading .

Prologue - II - what i wrote on XBHP during Nov 2009... quite strange

I love Ninja, but I may have to let her go. The cost of owner ship working around Rs 8000/- per month for a 3 lakhs loan I may not be able to pull  smooth out of the corners especially since I am badly into aeromodelling which is sort of my first priority. I have had my share of biking starting with BSA GT 50 which was a 4 gear 50 CC rocket during 1982, fully imported from italy  and had a mono rear suspension  ( mine was from the first lot ). Then RX 100, Bullet, RD 350, bullet again etc etc..  enjoyed RD 350 the most.  Ninja at best for me will be a weekender rocket and that’s it. I want a bike that I can take daily and carry my wife along   ( rear seating matters here).

The reviews of the ninja I will call them chocolate reviews all done within the confines of the chakan test track of bajaj is an eye wash. I don’t want people to tell me that a modern 4 stroke bike twin cylinder of 250 CC goes all the way to 150 kmph. Please tell me which modern 250 CC bike does below 150 kmh ? . the seating posture is also sporty which means little difficult compared to a regular seating posture when it comes to city rides and very long rides. Even Bike India has failed in this aspect to give a realistic review as they too was sailing inside the track only.

Fuel efficiency may not matter much when you are spending 3 lakhs but then its no super bike of 12 lakhs to completely ignore it. Ninja at the most will give a milage of 20 km to the litre as users have reported mileage in XBHP ranging from 16 Kpl to 23 kpl. My Yamaha RD 350 used to give me a milage from 14 to 18 Kpl she would touch 160 KM.( before u ask where , I was doing a little flying for some time at kerala aviation training centre trivandrum I hope u will understand now) I had maintained her like a gem. Also using the correct Octane petrol is critical for the ninja as the ignition timing sort of set on the petrol octane I think. Ninja has to prove itself on Indian roads and bajaj has skillfully not given the machines for extended road testing.

Bajaj will never manufacture the baby ninja here and it will remain an imported CKD unit.( As they are going to launch their own bikes in the range of 350 cc to 500 cc ) Now be prepared to shell out all your dough on the spares which will be priced through the roof. So the total cost of ownership is going to hit your GUTS harder than you think.

But the way I had enjoyed biking since my college days baby ninja is definitely a thriller and will remain so. No offence here baby green is good but may remain out my present scheme of things. I will take the green girl (black for me) only if my better half contributes 50%, else its ZMR for me. Hoping for the best.

 

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