On a cold Friday night, frustrated with daily routine, I decided to hit the highway and taste some fresh air. Time would always be against us, and with lot of work pending, I just had a day to spend hence decided to go for a lunch at Chadipur.
Chadipur is situated in Orrisa, a sea beach tourist spot sharing its wall with the DRDO missile test facility, just outskirts of Balasore. For riders like us, more than the destination, its the route which interests us the most as in this case, we would be getting a lot of freeway to push the bike and maintain triple digit figures.
My good friend, Sandip was more than happy to accompany me and we deiced to take the new kid, Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS for this run.
Early Morning failed start
As usual with us, the lazy riders, although we wanted to start as early as 4 AM in the morning, but eventually ended up starting at 8AM. It was a lazy morning also, sky was overcast and usual busy office hours traffic was missing too. That allowed us to get on to the highway in no time. As we took the Belghariya Expressway, cold breeze slowed us down a little.
Its a shame that they (Road Authority) don’t allow two wheels on the new bridge and we had to leave the expressway to take “Dakshineswar / Bally” exit.
So we left the expressway and took the Bally exit to cross the river via congested old Bally bridge and then the access road for GQ.
Soon enough the city traffic was over and as we entered the NH2 – NH6 junction, only to find a little drizzle forcing our first pit stop in Dhulagarh toll plaza. Weather was chilling and cherry on top, drizzle made it freezing for us.
Thanks to 3G and world of android apps, a quick weather update confirmed that the weather we are facing is temporary since later down the day, hourly forecast predicts much warmer weather and sunshine in our route so, without much delay we headed towards our schedule stop, that is Kolaghat, still 40 kms away.
Traffic was moderate and 3 lane stretch of NH6 till K0laghat was smooth and good enough to allow us cruise at fairly high speed with ease. But one problem started to bother us with 200 NS, the notorious wind blast.
The bike touches triple digit in no time, but with pillion and without crouching, the necessity of a front wind screen visor became evident as it was tough for us keep maintaining the triple digit figure for longer period but we still kept on going. Wish such high speed and empty freeway, 40 kms distance to Kolaghat was over in no time and we approached Kolaghat by 10 AM.
The stop was brief and short, just a little breakfast, cold drink for me, and hot tea for Sandip (he was not feeling well, due to cough n cold and off course wind-blast).
Open roads, riding ahead
On NH6, once we crossed Kolaghat, the 3 lane highway lost one of its lane and became that old 2 lane. Road condition was superb but we started to encounter heavy truck traffic. We could not maintain high speed and had to settle with 80/90 till we reach Kharagpur.
As we approached Kharagpur, we found a very enjoyable 0 corner, connecting NH6 with NH60. Pulsar 200 NS is a great handler and it felt home while taking the corner with hard acceleration. MRF Zapper tyres were far better compared to Euro Grip (Bajaj updated Pulsar 200 NS line up with MRF Tyres).
The Mighty NH60..
If the corner was not joyful enough, NH60 greeted us with long open concrete 2×2 freeway. But before we started the dash, it was time for our 3rd stop since the phones were ringing and both of us were in need to do some explaining back home for our early morning disappearance !!
Open highway, forget trucks or cycle, at some stretches, spanning 5/6 kms, not even a dog or cow to be seen, NH 60 drove us crazy as we pushed the 200 NS in red line. Pulsar 200 NS did 0-130 (even with a heavy pillion) in no time, but then again, the wind blasts were really high to sustain that speed for longer period of time, but we tried our level best to maintain triple digit and make up the lost time of slow / late start.
Broken roads / Broken Dreams
Last time when we rode in this stretch of NH 60 with R15 and P220, it was in good condition till Balasore, but this time around within 25-30 kms, just before the Jaleswar border, we found NHAI busy in digging up and reconstruction, meaning countless diversion and bad road. Our dream for high speed run came to a halt as we faced dust storms and frequent 2nd gear roll.
This continued for almost 40 kms till few kms before Balasore. Road condition improved just before Balasore as we took NH5. Clock was indicating by then it was 2PM, we were way behind our planned schedule. Since it was single day ride for us, we knew, by then we should be starting our return ride, yet, we were still 30 odd kms away from the beach.
Brief Relief on NH5
The NH60 ends just before Balasore by merging with NH5. Road is asphalt here, clean, plain and smooth. A much needed relief after the jerky ride of last 40 kms.
However the relief was brief since we just had 10/15 odd kms of NH5 after which we had to take the Balasore exit to get into the city streets.
Balasore to Chadipur
We took a quick stop here since the NS200 was low on fuel. Turned out that it gave 36 kmpl till now. The city roads of Balasore was crowdy as expected, we had to ask a couple of times for road direction for Chadipur.
Bad roads didn’t let us go, even here also, just as we crossed the town and headed towards Chadipur beach, road once again deteriorated. We were back on 2nd gear, struggling to adjust with the fatigue.
There was some relief just 5/6 kms before the beach, as road here seems to be under DRDO and the condition vastly improved. We can once again bump up the speed and cruise comfortably in 80s.
CHUTSPA at Chadipur..
Did you people watch that movie Haider ?? There Shahid Kapor, explained something called CHUTSPA, if you can remember.
What is Chutspa ?, As he explained with an example, where a Bank robber pulls a gun at a bank counter, robs the cashier and then visits the next counter of the same bank branch to ask for an account opening form to open an account to deposit his loot.
Similar thing happened with us also, as finally, tried & hungry, we approached the Panthanibas. The OTDC maintained hotel, having an awesome restaurant, which was our destination for lunch, was closed and off limit to general public. Some rich dude was getting married so the entire facility was booked.
“So what ?” Deep said, “lets try other hotels”, but allas, everything was booked for the same event. Even couple of the road side restaurant was out of staff since they were too earning some quick bucks over there in the marriage !!
All we could manage was a grocery store, there we fed our self biscuits and chips, along with Thumbs up (Right, secrete of our energy !!).
Lady in the store was kind enough to allow us park the bike under her watch. So we kept our stuff, the helmets and the bag in the store to go for a stroll in the beach.
The tourist spot only had handful of hotels and as they were all booked for the event, the beach was pretty much empty. We enjoyed the loneliness of the place as we walked for miles in that vast open beach. Saw a dead turtle, also made a new four legged friend, who walked along side as if he was the guide.
Clock was ticking towards 5PM and the light started to fade away since sun was setting. We decided to turn back and walk fast towards the shore since we still had to ride 300 kms for the return journey.
Day light was fading fast as we started our return ride. Thankfully, local traffic in Balasore – Chadipur connector was close to nil. We pushed hard to cover as much kms we could before complete darkness since we new the stretch from Balasore to Jaleswar was in pathetic condition.
Along with fading day light, our “el-chepo” point and shoot camera too lost its ability to capture view able pictures. By now, as we were in NH60, our headlight have taken full effect. So is the temperature, which was in race with day light, in a race of “who can drop faster”.
Our first stop was forced just before Jaleswar by the suicidal mosquito and insects. The powerful 60/55 headlights of this 200 NS, which was as good as a P220, attracted tons of insects.
By now, we knew, that if we had to make it to Kolkata on time, we had to ride non stop here on. So we took a 15 mins break there to prepare our self for the cold and hard ride ahead. We decided not to stop at Kharagpur and push forward for a dinner break at Kolaghat. A ride of almost 120 kms non stop in chilling weather condition. Though it was tough but we enjoyed the lights of Pulsar 200 NS in this long and dark stage. It was spot on.
Dinner Break at Kolaghat
Finally a proper meal as we stopped at Sher-E-Punjab (Kolaghat). We knew that while in a ride, one should not stuff him self with food, but hungry stomach failed to listen to our brains as we eat like a pig.
We started from Kolaghat by 11.30PM and this last 80 kms stretch was painful since after such a heavy meal, both of us were feeling bit sleepy. The sleepiness was getting boosted with chilling cold weather and light fog on NH6. We rode slow, stayed within 80/90 speed limit to allow our self a safe return. By 1AM, we finally reached our home, thanks to zero traffic in late night city streets.
Yes, we were disappointed with the missed lunch, perhaps those who we didn’t invited along side for the ride cursed us hence the lunch was missed, but primary disappointment was with Pulsar 200 NS.
Let us draw a picture here, we have done this same route in last couple of years with different type of bikes in the same price bracket, such as Yamaha R15 (v1), Pulsar 220 DTS-i and this time with Pulsar 200 NS.
- Yamaha R15 offered a staggering mileage of 50+ throughout the trip with pillion and while being redlined.
- Pulsar P220 DTSi offered 42 kmpl with pillion but driven within 85/90, occasionally, in NH60 we maintained full throttle cruise.
- 200 NS was offering in 36/38 mark, but yes given we have ripped it a lot, as we ripped Yamaha R15.
Mileage apart, P220 was the most comfortable, both for rider and pillion, even in high speed, there was very little wind blast. R15 was the least conformable, along with worst headlights, where as NS suffered mainly in aero-dynamics. We expected more from Bajaj, as although NS has no issue with its engine in maintaining triple digit cruising speeds, but wind blast made it really hard for us to cruise in speeds beyond 110+.