Engines : Long Stroke | Short Stroke

My two cents on the long and short of this stroke business.

An engine stroke basically refers to the full travel length of the piston in one direction along the cylinder walls of an internal combustion engine.

Longer Stroke :

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V Twin – Long Stroke Engine

A long stroke engine means pistons travel more hence giving out a punchier, longer torquing push to the flywheel, this long travel torquing push also means that you hit the rpm threshold early after which the engine delivers little extra torque due to mechanical energy loss. If you’re the type that loves the low rpm thump and grunt of the engine while it effortlessly pulls you away even at a higher gear, then long strokes are your thing.

For : The cruising types, easy riding like a king gliding o’er the landscape of mere minions and the rest.

Shorter Stroke :

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Inline 4 – Short Stroke Engine

A short stroke means piston travels lesser, which in turn means that it can be run at a higher revolution per minute rate. Moving parts are minimized providing the ability to draw more power through the bandwidth of an increased rpm threshold. However, this means that relatively low torque is delivered at low rpms and the engine needs to be juiced up to a higher rpm in order to harness the torque it delivers.

For: The racy types that don’t mind changing gears constantly or revving up high, the type that love making her scream with pleasure.

Analogy : fig0224

In car terms, you can imagine the short stroke as a high revving petrol engine while long strokes have a low rpm torquey characteristic like a naturally aspirated diesel engine.

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Heavy lugging vehicles have long stroke engines vs motorboat engines that have a very short stroke.

To sum up :

It becomes a matter of personal choice eventually as to which kind of engine you would prefer to say as ‘better’ than the others but knowing your stroke preferences can translate into making a much more informed choice when buying a motorcycle.

The RPM gauge red-line is a big indicator in modern bikes to gauge the stroke of an engine, short strokes can go up to almost 18000 engine rpm whereas very long strokes have a red-line placed as low as 5600 engine rpm.

  • Long Strokes = More usable lugging torque at low to cruising rpm range with lesser gear shifts while riding.
  • Short Stroke = Progressive spread out torque that peaks at high rpm and needs relatively more gear changes while street riding.

Medium Stroke engines haven’t been mentioned due to the nature of this post being a comparison, so i’ll keep that for the next post.

Ride on ya travelling band of precious loonies, cheers and ride safe as well.

 

 

 

 

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Kick Starting an old Royal Enfield Bullet

Here’s a small guide to kick starting that old bull out of the shed and start rolling on it. Being an ageless aged motorcycle you’ve got to realize that this machine is completely mechanical, its design dates back to an era when our grandfather’s winding dial fixed line telephones and monochromatic televisions used to be a rarity. Thus its just improperly rude to expect something this old to start easily and if you’ve left it ignored for years then consider your leg personally prayed for whilst I write this monologue.

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Checklist before starting :

  • Non-rusted fuel tank with fuel.
  • Relatively clean carburetor.
  • At least minimum engine oil levels.
  • Sparking spark plug.
  • Dry firing point and decent ignition timing.

Kick Start Procedure :

  1. Stand up from the seat.
  2. Turn the handle bar completely to the left so your right knee can be spared if the bike decides to kick back. Also engage choke lever on the carburetor if the bike hasn’t been started lately.
  3. maxresdefaultEngage the decomp (cylinder decompress) lever, slowly move the kick starter one full cycle and let it come back to its original position . (Do not kick yet, this is just to push oil out of the sump and into circulation).
  4. Take a good look at the ammeter now, if the needle is positioned either to the plus or minus directions – engage the decomp again and very gently take the kick lever down just till the ammeter pointer moves to neutral position then release kick to normal position. (This is basically to provide maximum leverage to the engine so it can successfully crank the next rev cycle).

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    Gun points to ammeter xD

  5. Once neutral ammeter position is attained, disengage the decomp completely and give the kick lever a committed and torquey kick. (Do not throttle up fully while starting).
  6. Once the engine thumps to life disengage the choke and hold the rpm at slightly more than idle for twenty to thirty seconds before letting it idle on its own. (Do not over rev).
  7. If the bike does not start while also emitting a strong smell of petrol, then disengage the choke lever and try steps 3, 4 & 5 till it starts or till you give up.

Mighty thanks for reading… keep riding, traveling, exploring and basically jigging to this wonderful opportunity called ‘Life’.

Cheers.

Guide to Solo Motorcycle Riding

Getting used to your inner silence as you embrace the totality of the world expressed starkly in being exposed and singular; just two eyes, just two ears, one man (or woman) and a set of two wheels cutting across a landscape in its nakedness. The epitome of independence as an expression, a meditation, a penance, a risk, an expedition, an escapade however you name it, matters naught but little since deep down it still is something you’d almost involuntarily do, something more resembling a need and less a mere desire.

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This post serves the purpose of sharing a few personal tips about solo motorcycle riding in India, assuming that you’ve done a bit of group rides and know the basics of riding out of town, here goes :                         if notclick link Loading up for your Ride…

  • Reliability of your machine is paramount when it comes to solo riding, all those normal bike niggles become the source of irritation and worry when alone. So try to eliminate any issues with your bike that you were accustomed to living with.
    • Avoid leaky or smokey old bikes.
    • Make sure engine oil is topped and fresh.
    • Spare clutch and throttle cables are a must.
    • Toolkit is essential.
    • Spare tyre tubes or Puncture repair kit and DIY experience.
    • Spare length of nylon rope and bunjee chords.
    • Med kit with bandage patches and medical tape.
  • Self tested rain wear for you and your luggage, especially if you’re travelling in the mountains.
  • Carry a spare BSNL sim card if you’re heading to desolate or off road locations, could help in emergencies.
  • If you are undertaking an expeditionary ride, it would be very wise to assign someone at home as your non-riding partner and report your movement to him/her.
  • Get yourself insured for accidents and emergencies, keep photocopies of it with your non-riding partner as well.
  • Research and keep a list of nearest authorized service centers for your bike in your travel zone.
  • Carry an offline or paper map of your travel zone.
  • Keep some emergency cash somewhere safe and not so accessible, you don’t want to get stuck in a place because the one functioning ATM in that town isn’t anymore.

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Some dangers that need be mentioned :

  • National Parks / Wildlife sanctuaries are home to a tremendous amount of fauna many of which are built for the hunt, riding through solo on a motorcycle on a desolate jungle road is dangerous enough not to be stopping to casually take a selfie. Keep your senses sharp and don’t become a professional hunter’s man snack.
  • Small time thievery is common sometimes in India, especially on the fringes of a developing metropolis so its wise not to leave anything unfastened, unguarded or flick-able. I’ve lost 3 good pairs of gloves to petty thieves till date, they love gloves!
  • Going to a public toilet when soloing in India means leaving your fancy bags on your fancy bike alone for a snazzy length of time. In a way its similar to shutting down your computer firewall and go click waltzing into dark-net, carry toilet paper or spare water and learn to use nature …deal with it!
  • Anger… yes anger is one of the biggest dangers while soloing, anger can piss off anyone; you don’t want to piss off hotel caretakers, fellow road users, village punks, waiters, mechanics etc especially if you’re traveling alone. Drop the anger in exchange for mirth, this will turn these very bunch of people into very helpful albeit overly forthcoming souls.

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They say the key to happiness is freedom and the key to freedom is bravery. This holds especially true for a solo rider, being calm and able to process your mind even in difficult situations is possibly one of the best things your mind can be equipped with while solo motorcycle riding.

Happy travelling.

Pip #5 | KAZA

Places in Pictures

Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India

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Getting to Kaza involves riding through one of the most dangerous roads on the planet. Constant landslides lay waste to any attempt at feeble human infrastructure, after driving through what feels like two thousand kilometers on a rocky un-paved surface one reaches this place smack in the center of Spiti valley. The town is situated on the higher banks of River Spiti, an area where only a couple of hardy crops have the ability to grow during summer months.

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The floor of the valley still perched at a dizzy height of almost twelve thousand feet above sea level is as marvelous as the trouble you took to get here. The delicate designs that centuries of natural forces like water and wind create are in no small regard, masterpieces.

Kaza exists amidst these pieces of natural art, a central town to a dozen satellite settlements around with population pockets barely reaching three digits. Equipped with a fuel station and more than half a dozen hitherto hotels, it proves to be a good base for further exploration whilst serving you with whatever a little town like this can muster from around.

In Kaza it also never rains for more than a day, after hours of constant rain, temperatures drop enough to make it pelt ice and snow for the rest of the cloud withering duration. So be doubly warned and planned for any winters you plan to spend here.

People here are very kind and hardworking, it’ll surprise the hats off your head to witness the amount of work done by local women. Like I said, hats off!

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Hotels are well positioned to offer you a basic rooms with lots of caring warm food delivered in their tastefully decorated common room. Expect to see plenty of expedition stickers on room doors, mementos left behind by travelers to remind you of the many folk who’ve ‘been ere and donnit’.

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Beside Kaza flows one of the valley’s principal water givers, River Spiti, this clear, bubbling, pretty river splits herself into a dozen streams capturing a broad valley surrounded by towering peaks of brown and white.

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The town still retains that old world charm as most old architecture is still being actively used by locals. Walking into small pathways around town are rather educating as they provide a glimpse at their ways of life in this harsh landscape, apart from being a visual extravaganza that this town already is.

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Kaza is an ideal place to stay over if you intend to check the numerous monasteries in and around which have been expertly crafted into this dangerous yet beautiful landscapes by masons of old. The history that these monasteries encompass is breath taking and dates back to almost the 12th century, even such a hard and unforgiving landscape has been fought for since longer than anyone today can even imagine.

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That about sums up this expression of a post about Kaza, a pip that I just couldn’t stop myself from doing.

Cheers to all my fellow travel bugged souls and happy exploring indeed. 

Pip #4 | World’s Highest Post Office

Places in Pictures

Hikkim, Himachal Pradesh, India

                                 Hikkim a small settlement nestled deep inside eastern Himachal Pradesh in Spiti Valley, situated at the height of over four thousand four hundred meters above sea level this has to be one of my posted pips. Forget internet, this place has no mobile network coverage or for that matter doesn’t even have a traditional telephone line anywhere in town or around…

… Which is exactly why I like it, where one gets to taste a concentrated shot of life preserved in the past with experiences such as meeting the postmaster over a cup of hot local tea whilst posting the ‘oh so important postcard’ back home as memento. The world’s highest post office ladies and gentlemen :

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But its not just this little settlement that captures one’s imagination; the views get exponentially engaging as you leave the river valley below to start ascending towards much rarer air. The road in many places would make you bet your arm that it wont hold up from crumbling down, but apparently it does, albeit barely.

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Every turn of this dangerous road however, greets you with grand canyon like views of this massive mountain dessert, landscapes I have never experienced anywhere else in India. Funnily its also the only place in the country where one finds signboards indicating town populations as low as ‘thirty’.

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There’s also a brilliant campsite for folks willing to brave this unforgiving yet utterly beautiful mountain-dessert scape. Walking up a gradual slope here can get you gasping for air, so I suggest acclimatization before heading up here in a hurry.

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Overall, its an experience to be had in life as far as i’m concerned, hence this pip.

Happy travels guys like always and deep gratitude for people reading, liking and following the blog.

Cheers.

Wildfires!

As a motorcycle enthusiast I find myself riding about many a times in pristine, ecologically rich environs or so my intention are nine out of ten times. Its a magnificent feeling to soak in the air exuded from these earthen life-givers we call trees, especially when they do that in the collective like in a grove, sanctuary or a national park. But every now and then one comes across the destruction of that very sacred space, something that makes me cringe, cry and cough… WILDFIRE!

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This year (2016), the world is experiencing unprecedented levels of wildfires across the board almost everywhere. This post is a small tribute to the plant and animal lives lost in Uttarakhand, India this year. (Over 3000 hectares of forest destroyed, Feb-April 2016)

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The amount of smog that is thrown up into the atmosphere is immense, this white washes any and all views you’ve come to expect from the mountains around. A lot of it is naturally caused while an equal amount is man made. Here are few things that everyone ought to follow during the dry months in a forest:

  • Do not setup campfire if its gusting dry winds.
  • Make sure you put a boundary of small rocks around your campfire.
  • Only build a campfire if you know how to leave no trace of it when you leave; dismantle and wet extinguish your camp fire.
  • Do not chuck lit cigarettes! Stub em out (use the car ashtray if you are driving).
  • Report wildfires with legitimate hashtags so anyone actually helping knows where to go. Or communicate to local authorities.

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Simple steps can halve the number of wildfires we are currently experiencing so lets toast to being a little more aware and responsible for what we end up creating.

 

Pip #3 | Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh

                                       Have any of you avid / ardent travelers happen to bypass ‘Kalpa’ on the road to Spiti, whilst passing through Kinnaur on one of the world’s most dangerous roads? Maybe you were on a tight schedule, or happened to miss that little road going off the beaten path or maybe just not in the mood to take that detour. Whatever the case, i’m here to pop an update (read as rub it in) as to what you missed as the sun went down on Kalpa.

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Yeah, sat there having a warm cup of tea while nature played its own eloquent orchestra right in front of my very stunned eyes.

This is a place where you’d want to pull up an armchair and rest your legs on the balcony parapet; as you gaze the crimson orange hues of sunset while soaking in the diverse cacophony of myriad birds tweeting around.

Until next time…

Cheers and happy traveling people