Living with a Ducati Hyperstrada

The Ducati Hyperstrada 821 is a unique crossover motorcycle that combines the lean, athletic design of a supermoto with the proficiency of real-world touring – in essence, a touring version of the famous Hypermotard.

Powered by a 821-cc L-twin, the 2015 Hyperstrada is smeared with all the touring goodies such as semi-hard 50-liter nylon/plastic composite side bags, windshield, Scorpion Trail rubber, ABS, DTC (Ducati Traction Control) combined with Ducati Safety Pack, wider grab rail for passenger and two 12-volt outlets one on each side below the rider’s seat and three riding modes to control power and torque:

  • Sport (110 hp with ‘High’ torque)
  • Touring (110 hp with progressive ‘Medium’ torque)
  • Urban (75 hp with progressive ‘Low’ torque)
Long term review of 2015 Ducati Hyperstrada

Ticket to the gorgeous crossover🙂

Having a couple of days with the 2015 Ducati Hyperstrada 821, here is my ownership experience to help you decide if this is/isn’t the motorcycle you want to live with.

City Commute

Remove the side bags and the addictive low-end torque delivered by the L-twin ensures a wonderful ride to putter around in city and despite the heat from the engine in bumper-to-bumper traffic it makes you smile when you knock-everyone out at the traffic-light GPs.

Pillion Comfort

A broad seat and wider grab rail for the pillion works wonders for the rear passenger, only if the rider is of small-to-medium built – courtesy, the lean design derived from the Hypermotard.

Touring

Tarmac touring is where the Hyperstrada shines, taking the medium-to-bad tarmac and light-dirt roads in good stride, however hard-core off-roading is definitely not its forte.

  • Fuel – The Hyperstrada can happily binge on regular 91-octane Indian fuel without any complaints, although the manual says 95-RON. Expect a full-tank range of 240 kms
  • Suspension – Non-adjustable front suspension is a let-down for a touring motorcycle and gets unsettled when you hit those flyover-joints and mid-road bumps. The rear suspension with preload and rebound adjustment-only works reasonably well
  • Tyres – The Pirelli Scorpion Trail tyres provide brilliant traction in wet and dry weather tarmac
2015 Ducati Hyperstrada 821 long term review - built for tarmac touring :)

Ducati Hyperstrada – perfect for tarmac touring🙂

Looks

I just couldn’t resist talking about it!! The Ducati Hyperstrada is a stellar-example of ‘Form Aiding Function’. Ducati really knows how to build such simple and beautiful-looking motorcycles.

The Hyperstrada looks best from the ‘front with the side-bags’ and from the ‘side with the center-stand on’. The single-side swing-arm looks haute, but gets shadowed by the exhaust and the side bags.

Ducati Hyperstrada long term review in India

Beauty in simplicity!!

Things I love about the Ducati Hyperstrada 821:

  • Torque, Torque, Torque – delicious torque laced linearly throughout the rev range
  • Build Quality and Looks – the build quality with respect to panels, weld-joints and switches are top-notch.
  • Side bags – The side bags are water resistant (not water proof), Ducati provides an aqua-pack waterproof dry-bag to keep the luggage within the side bags.
  • Center Stand – a super convenient aid for short-riders to mount the bike with the side bags-on, easy to clean the motorcycle and lube the chain while touring

Niggles:

  • The windshield is fixed and non-adjustable
  • Riding in rain – water from the tyres get sprayed onto the back of the pillion and reach as far as the back of the helmet of the rider
  • Mirror – visibility with two-up riding is useless
  • Front suspension unsettles into a mid-corner bump and those shabby flyover-joints
Ducati Hyperstrada 821 long term review in Bangalore

The perfect balance between a supermoto and a tourer !!

Between being part street bike and part supermoto with touring abilities, the Ducati Hyperstrada provides an all-around motorcycle experience.

Ride De Maharashtra

Monsoons unlock a whole new aura of green and serenity in Maharashtra – like the “green saturation” has been turned to a 100%.

In spite of the recent intense rains which has crippled life in some regions of this beautiful state – we were welcomed with stunning vistas, impeccable roads and the sweetest people who truly personify ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’, a Sanskrit verse that translates to ‘consider the guest as god’.

View from Sajjangad Fort - Motorcycle Touring in Maharashtra

View from Sajjangad Fort of the road leading to Thoseghar Falls!!

Motorcycles:

KTM Duke 390 Touring in Maharashtra - MSH4

KTM Duke 390 on MSH 4

Triumph Daytona 675R Touring in Maharashtra - MSH4

Triumph Daytona 675 R on MSH 4

Day 1: Bangalore > Belgaum > Amboli Ghat  > Sawantwadi

  • Distance: 605 kms
  • Stay: Hotel Renuka Palace, Sawantwadi @ 1260 INR/night/room (Non-AC)
  • Parking for motorcycles: Sheltered parking within hotel premises

Must-do Things:

  • Soak-in the beautiful landscape of Western Ghats laced with mist, waterfalls and the twisty-roads of the Amboli Ghat
  • Belt delicious chaats in Sawantwadi coupled with a lazy stroll around the lake within the town
Riding on Amboli Ghat - Triumph Daytona 675R and KTM Duke 390

Amboli Ghat 

Day 2: Sawantwadi > Malvan > Kudal > Ratnagiri (via MSH 4 aka Maharashtra State Highway 4)

  • Distance: 201 kms
  • Stay: Mango Villa, Ratnagiri @ 1600 INR/night/room (Non-AC)
  • Parking for motorcycles: Sheltered parking within homestay

Must-do Things:

  • Ride the MSH 4 – Ditch the NH 66 and take this state highway that offers pristine views of the landscape and beaches along the route
  • Savor delicious food at Hotel Amantran, Ratnagiri (My personal favorite being the meal-thali)
  • Visit the Ratnagiri Fort (south-side to go inside the Lighthouse) – Ratnagiri Lighthouse allows visitors to enter the Lighthouse for public between 4 pm to 6 pm
Maharastra Ride - KTM Duke 390 and Triumph Daytona 675R on MSH 4 Malvan

MSH 4 – Ride along the coast from Malvan to Ratnagiri

Aamras Thali at Hotel Amantran Ratnagiri

Aamras Thali at Hotel Amantran Ratnagiri

Day 3: Ratnagiri > Devrukh > Marleshwar > Amba Ghat > Panhala > Kolhapur

  • Distance: 180 kms
  • Stay: Digvijay Residency, Kolhapur (AirBnB) @ 900 INR/night/room (Non-AC)
  • Parking for motorcycles: Sheltered parking within the house

Must-do Things:

  • En-route to Marleshwar Falls – Imagine looking at about 30+ waterfalls in a single frame!!
  • Ride through Amba Ghat – beautiful twisty road best relished only on a motorcycle!!
  • Visit Panhala Fort, one of the largest forts in the Deccan region
Serene village near Devrukh - En-route Marleshwar Falls with Daytona 675R

Serene Village near Devrukh – En-route Marleshwar Falls

Touring Maharastra on motorcyles - En-route Marleshwar Waterfalls

Marleshwar Falls

Amba Ghat - Touring Maharashtra on a Triumph Daytona 675R

Amba Ghat

Day 4: Kolhapur > Sajjangad Fort > Thoseghar Falls > Satara > Wai > Panchgani > Mahabaleshwar

  • Distance: 235 kms
  • Stay: Hirkani Garden Resort, Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani road @ 1000 INR/night/room (Non-AC)
  • Parking for motorcycles: Sheltered parking within the resort

Must-do Things:

  • Visit Sajjangad Fort and Thoseghar Falls
  • Bun-maska and chai at Lucky Bakery, Panchgani
Enroute Sajjangad Fort Satara

En-route Sajjangad Fort

Mota Dabdabba - Thoseghar Falls Satara

Mota Dabdabba – Thoseghar Falls 

Chota Dabdabba - Thoseghar Falls Satara

Chota Dabdabba – Thoseghar Falls

Bun Maska and Chai at Lucky Bakery Panchgani

Bun Maska Chai at Lucky Bakery Panchgani

Day 5: Mahabaleshwar > Poladpur > Varandh Ghat > Bhor > Lonavala

  • Distance: 235 kms
  • Stay: Ferreira Resort, Lonavala @ 1000 INR/night/room (Non-AC)
  • Parking for motorcycles: Sheltered parking within the resort

Must-do Things:

  • Varandh Ghat – the most scenic ghat I have ever visited, but laced with the most-horrible roads (worth the scenery)
  • Relish Dryfruit, soft Chikkis at Maganlal and Chocolate Fudge at Cooper’s at Lonavala
Varandh Ghat Maharashtra - Touring on the Daytona 675R

Varandh Ghat – the most scenic ghat I have ever seen in South India!!

View from Varandh Ghat Maharashtra - KTM Duke 390 and Triumph Daytona 675R

Viewpoint at Varandh Ghat

Day 6: Lonavala > Karjat > Mhasa > Malshej Ghat > Alephata > Pune

  • Distance: 270 kms
  • Stay: We were hosted by our dear friend Alok in Pune

Must-do Things:

  • En-route to Malshej – brilliant roads and vistas
  • Stopover at MTDC Malshej for tea and snacks with stunning views of Malshej Ghat (if the mist obliges: D)
Mhasa - en-route Malshej Ghat - Touring on a Triumph Daytona 675R

En-route Malshej Ghat near Mhasa

Malshej Ghat in Maharashtra

Malshej Ghat – Maharashtra

Bhimashankar Wildlife Reserve Forest Canopy - Enroute Malshej Ghat

Forest Canopy – Bhimashankar Wildlife Reserve Forest

Day 7 & 8: Pune – to rejuvenate the motorcycles and ourselves

We revelled with delicious foods @ Puneri Misal at Bedekar Tea Stall and Bun Mask Chai, Kheema Pav at Café GoodLuck, Kalyan Bhel, Marz-o-rin and Kayani Bakery.

Puneri Misal at Bedekar Tea Stall Pune

Puneri Misal at Bedekar Tea Stall Pune

Bun Omlette Cheese at Cafe Goodluck Pune

Bun Omlette Cheese at Cafe Goodluck Pune

Day 9: Pune > Bangalore

The most boring part of the ride, since our Maharashtra Ride was over and the arrow-straight National Highway (NH48/AH47) added to our woes.

Total distance covered during the Maharashtra Ride: 3000 kms

MSH4 - Malvan to Ratnagiri on a Triumph Daytona 675R and KTM Duke 390

MSH 4 – Malvan to Ratnagiri

I truly believe that the monsoons are the best time to visit Maharashtra, everything is so enchanting, full of life and devoid of the tourist-rush.

Thank you for the wonderful hospitality and hosting us and our motorcycles!!

Bedekar Tea Stall Pune

Misal or widely known as Misal Pav, is one of the most popular breakfast items in Maharashtra and different regions serve their respective versions of Misal such as Puneri, Kolhapuri, Nagpuri, Khandeshi and Nashik.

Puneri Misal, the version of Misal served in Pune has been perfected by Bedekar Tea Stall, has been serving delicious Puneri Misal with bread slices since 60 years.

A typical Misal Pav would include:

  • Base Mixture of Usal curry & batata (potato) bhaji
  • Curry known as Tarri/Kat/Rassa
  • Chivda or Farsan
  • Garnish of onions, coriander & tomatoes + lemon wedge
  • Pav bread

Bedekar Tea Stall is a simple restaurant with very basic ambiance, but thrives on ‘serving delicious food’ and ‘great service’ – how many restaurants do you find nowadays, where the serving staff and owners greet you with a genuine, warm smile.

At Bedekar, misal has to be paid, ordered at the counter and then served at your table, one has to choose between spicy or non-spicy curry (tarri/kat/rassa).

Puneri Misal is mild on spice compared to the Kolhapuri Misal.

Puneri Misal at Bedekar Tea Stall Narayanpeth Pune

Puneri Misal – The Best Misal I have tasted!!

I highly recommend to try their Chilled Solkadhi, a drink made from coconut milk and kokum which is absolutely refreshing and aids digestion as well.

Useful Information:

  • Timings: Tuesday to Saturday (7 am to 7 pm) + Sunday (7 am to 3 pm) + Closed on Mondays
  • Cash only, no cards are accepted
  • Ample place to park 2-wheelers
  • Weekends are crowded, head on a weekday to relish the Misal Pav
  • Location: Bedekar Tea Stall, Munjabacha Bol, Narayan Peth Pune
Bedekar Tea Stall at Narayanpeth Pune

Bedekar Tea Stall

Rayaru’s Kitchen Ulsoor Bangalore

Rayaru’s Kitchen brings the authentic flavors of Karnataka cuisine to central Bangalore with a delicious spread of ragi mudde, donne biryani, mutton chops, chicken saaru etc. with outlets in Indiranagar and Ulsoor.

Run by Mr. Laxman, Rayaru’s Kitchen is based out of a parking-lot on the street adjacent to Nilgiris Supermarket on Ulsoor Road with minimum ambiance. This outlet being a sub-set of the one in Indiranagar, food is brought-in limited quantities and doesn’t have the entire spread.

Donne Biryani:

Donne Biryani is the traditional Karnataka biryani which is cooked more like a pulao (unlike the layered-style cooking) and served in bowls made out of areca-nut palm leaf.

One can choose from biryani-rice or naati-koli (country-breed chicken) donne biryani or farm-breed donne biryani.

Naati Chicken Dum Donne Biryani - Rayaru's Kitchen Ulsoor Bangalore

Naati Chicken Dum Donne Biryani!!

Ragi Mudde:

The most popular and traditional Karnataka preparation cooked using Ragi (finger millet) flour, salt and water, best enjoyed with spicy chicken/mutton saaru (stew or sambar or gravy), a staple component of South-Indian cuisine.

Ragi Mudde with Parota at Rayaru's Kitchen Ulsoor Bangalore

Ragi Mudde with Parota

Useful Information:

  • Timings: 12 pm to 3:30 pm (Open from Monday to Friday only)
  • Contact Number: Mr. Laxman +917483241249
  • Location: Nilgiris Supermarket Ulsoor Road (Reach there and ask for directions)
  • Food is brought in limited quantity, so highly recommend to call Mr. Laxman
  • Ample parking for bikes and cars
  • Cash only, no cards are accepted
  • Don’t forget to relish the complimentary soup!!
Rayaru's Kitchen Menu Ulsoor Bangalore

Menu at Rayaru’s Kitchen Ulsoor

 

Weekend Monsoon Ride Getaways from Bangalore

Monsoon is the most-awaited season in India, when everything rejuvenates – lands turn green, highways get crowned by lush green canopies and structures, roads appear clean and fresh.

The otherwise disarming charm of places and travel unveil a whole new dimension during monsoons. Presenting the 3 must-visit weekend monsoon ride destinations from my beloved Bangalore.

1) Mekanagadde, Mudigere

Laze around, soak up the pristine air and views of the Western Ghats..

Nestled between Chikmagalur and Sakleshpur, Mekanagadde is the home to ‘Bettada Bhairaveshwara Temple’, a 600-year old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva offering some stunning views of the Western Ghats laced with clouds.

Triumph Daytona 675 R at Bettada Bhairaveshwara Temple at Mekanagadde

Reveling in the pristine air of Mekanagadde!!

Useful Information on Mekanagadde:

  • Route: Bangalore > Sakleshpur > Anemahal > Hanbal > Devarunda > Mekkanagadde
  • Distance from Bangalore: 255kms
  • Road Condition: Brilliant tarmac till Devarunda (the last 5 to 10kms to the temple is being repaired, so be cautious)
  • What to see: Bettada Bhairaveshwara Temple, Mekanagadde
  • Where to Stay: Mekanagadde Home Stay
  • Where to Eat:  Sakleshpur – choose from Hotel Surabhi or Hotel Ashritha (both are right on the highway with good amenities)
Bettada Bhairaveshwara Temple at Mekanagadde near Hanbal Sakleshpur

Bettada Bhairaveshwara Temple in full glory!!

Touring in Sakleshpur on a Triumph Daytona 675R

Its ok to stray off the highway😛

2) Ayyana kere, Sakharayapatna

Witness the magnitude of 2nd largest lake in Karnataka, the biggest lake in Chikmagalur..

With the backdrop of Shakunagiri Hill towering at 4500 feet, this 900-year water body was created to support the farmers overcome shortage of water for irrigation by Raja Rukmangada.

Ayyana kere at Sakharayapatna about 20 kms from Chikmaglur

Ayyana kere – Be stunned by its vastness..

Useful Information on Ayyanakere:

  • Route: Bangalore > Chikmagalur > Sakharayapatna > Ayyana kere (Chikmagalur-Kadur highway NH173)
  • Distance from Bangalore: 225kms
  • Road Condition: Brilliant tarmac all the way up-till the lake-bed
  • What to see: serene roads en route to the lake
  • Where to Stay: Chikmagalur
  • Where to Eat:  Not many options to eat at Sakharayapatna (recommend to eat/carry food from Chikmagalur)
Coffee plantations grace the Sakleshpur to Belur (SH112)

Miles and miles of coffee plantations🙂

Sakleshpur to Belur State Highway (SH112)

Green Tunnel🙂

3) Kotagiri, Ooty

Tea Estates and delicious chocolates..

Relatively ‘not-so commercialized’ (yet) amongst Ooty and Conoor is Kotagiri (Mountain of the KotasKota is the traditional tribe of Nilgiris), blessed with beautiful roads and hectares of lush-tea estates guarded by cloud-clad Nilgiris.

In fact, the limelight on Kotagiri faded once the direct road from Mettupalyam to Conoor was built – before that one had to reach Ooty via Kotagiri from Mettupalyam.

Touring on the Daytona with Arai Helmet in Kotagiri-ooty

Infini-Tea Plantations grace the Kotagiri-Ooty Highway

Useful Information on Kotagiri & Ooty:

  • Route: Bangalore > Chamarajanagar > Satyamangalam > Bannari > Mettupalyam > Kotagiri (for the love of twisty roads)
  • Distance from Bangalore: 315 kms
  • Road Condition: Brilliant (I am yet to encounter bad roads or bad food in Tamil Nadu!!)
  • What to see: Kodanad View Point & Catherine Falls
  • Where to Stay: Lots of lodges, villas, cottages in Kotagiri
  • Where to Eat:  Head to Ooty (lots of options and don’t forget to relish home-made chocolates)
Roasted Almond Dark Chocolate Moddys or Modern Stores Ooty

Never miss a chance to ride for chocolates😀

Touring on the Triumph Daytona 675R near Kotagiri-Ooty

Lush green hills and step-farms adorning the Nilgiris🙂

These monsoon weekend ride getaways are best relished with great company, your favorite music, motorcycles and the numerous breaks along the highway for chai and charcoal roasted corn laced with spicy chutney.

Bon Appetite and Safe Riding!!

Moddy’s aka Modern Stores Ooty

A trip to Ooty is incomplete without tasting and bringing-back home-made chocolates. The art of making chocolates was introduced by the British in the 1800s, when Udhagamandala (the actual name of Ooty) rose to become the numero-uno place for ‘British Collectors’ to spend the summers in south India.

Ooty is the home to two of the oldest home-made chocolatiers in India – Kingstar Confectionary and Moddy’s.

Moddy’s aka Modern Stores has been delighting chocolate-patrons from school kids to tourists to food-connoisseurs to the locals, since 1951 with over a 100 varieties of home-made chocolates.

Roasted Almond Dark Chocolate Moddys or Modern Stores Ooty

Roasted Almond Dark Chocolate

Taste them in any form from ‘solid chocolates’ to ‘liquor-filled bonbons’ to ‘fruit-based bonbons’ to ‘hot-chocolate’ to ‘brownies’ to ‘chocolate pastries’ and you will be smiling from your heart🙂

Chocolate Brownie at Moddys or Modern Stores Ooty

Chocolate Brownies – Perfect for Ooty’s weather!!

Useful Information:

  • Timings: 9:30 am to 9 pm (Open all days of the week)
  • Location: Modern Stores 144, Garden Road, Ooty
  • Parking: Ample space to park cars and motorcycles
  • Cash and cards are accepted
  • Don’t shy away from asking for a sample, before buying more quantity
Touring Ooty on a Triumph Daytona 675R

Ooty – best relished on a motorcycle🙂

5 Breakfast Ride Getaways from Bangalore – 4th Edition

The quest for more breakfast ride getaways from Bengaluru continues…

Presenting the fourth-set of the 5 best South-Indian Breakfast Getaways from my beloved city.

1) Gayathri Tiffin Room (GTR), Mysore

One of the most iconic vegetarian restaurants in Mysore, GTR has been delighting food-patrons with South-Indian breakfast for decades

  • Must Eat – Masala Dosa + Kesari Bath + Filter Coffee
  • Distance from Bangalore – 150 kms
  • Highway – NH 275
  • Location – Gayathri Tiffin Room (GTR)
  • Timings – 7 am to 11 am and 330 pm to 8 pm (Closed on Monday)
  • Motorcycle Parking- Available
Kesari Bath and Masala Dosa - Gayathri Tiffin Room (GTR) Mysore

Kesari Bath and Masala Dosa – Gayathri Tiffin Room (GTR)

2) Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room

Ask anyone in Chitradurga for good breakfast and they will point you to this place, Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin room is nestled in the central part of Chitradurga town with a close proximity to the fort.

  • Must Eat – Khali Dosa + Masala Dosa
  • Distance from Bangalore – 201 kms
  • Highway – NH 4
  • Location – Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room Chitradurga
  • Timings – 7 am to 8 pm (Closed on Tuesday)
  • Motorcycle Parking- No dedicated parking (but you can park across the street before the shops open by 9 am)
  • Recommended to visit the Chitradurga Fort, its majestic !!
Khali Dosa at Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room Chitradurga

Khali Dosa – Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room

3) Swamy Hotel, Hiriyur

Thronged by truckers, Swamy Hotel is the South-Indian replica of a dhaba which is rugged on ambiance but high on taste of the food and friendly staff.

  • Must Eat – Ghee Dosa + Pongal
  • Distance from Bangalore – 159 kms
  • Highway – NH 4
  • Location – Swamy Hotel Hiriyur
  • Timings – 6 am to 12 pm (breakfast-only) – Open all days of the week
  • Motorcycle Parking- Yes, they have all the space to accommodate an entire motorcycle assembly line😛
  • Good to Know – There is a separate family section inside the main hotel (recommended if you are accompanied by your wife/girlfriend and kids)
Ghee Dosa at Swamy Hotel Hiriyur

Ghee Dosa – Swamy Hotel

4) Ganapati Coffee Bar, Madhugiri

Popularly known as ‘Shivanna Hotel’ by locals, Ganapati Coffee Bar is a humble South-Indian mess serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Must Eat – Khali Dosa + Idli with Chilli Bajji
  • Distance from Bangalore – 105 kms
  • Highway – NH 69
  • Location – Reach the Superintendent of Police (SP) Office inside Madhugiri town and ask the locals for Shivanna Hotel instead of Ganapati Coffee Bar, the hotel is about 200 to 300m from the SP office (Google Maps link to the Madhugiri SP Office)
  • Timings – 7 am to 5 pm – Open all days of the week
  • Motorcycle Parking- Available
  • Recommended to visit the Madhugiri Fort, its majestic !!
  • Good to know – The coffee (ironic to the place) isn’t good
Idli with Chilli Bajji at Ganapati Coffee Bar in Madhugiri

Idli with Chilli Bajji – Ganapati Coffee Bar

5) Kadambam, Channapatna

Although this once beautiful highway is plagued by the hordes of restaurant-chains and eateries, Kadambam stands out with its authentic Iyengar cuisine.

  • Must Eat – Sakkare Pongal + Khara Pongal + Puliyogare
  • Distance from Bangalore – 66kms
  • Highway – SH 17/NH 275
  • Location – Kadambam Channapatna
  • Timings – 7 am to 12 pm (breakfast) – Open all days of the week
  • Motorcycle Parking- Available
Sakkare Pongal and Khara Pongal at Kadambam Channapatna Mysore Road

Sakkare Pongal & Khara Pongal – Kadambam Channapatna

All the above places accept only cash – No Cards.

For more unique breakfast ride getaways, browse Set 1, Set 2 and Set 3

Happy Tripping!!