KTM 1290 Super Duke R. Management Fleet

Arun’s superbike seems to have taken umbridge at his extended absence

Owning a motorcycle is one thing. But riding a motorcycle on a day-to-day basis? Now that’s a different story, especially when the motorcycle you own sometimes owns you in return.

After covering 24,000km in 11 months, riding from two degrees Celsius all the way up to 54, I’ve learned far more about the driving culture here in the UAE than I was actually prepared for. I’ve dealt with occasional rain and mist, jaywalkers focused only on their phone calls and impatient drivers on the road, who keep changing lanes to get to their homes as quickly as possible (which actually leads to more traffic jams in the first place). And, in most of these scenarios, they tend to not realise there is a motorcycle right in front of them as well, as if a 1300cc V-twin that sounds like thunder somehow doesn’t have any affect on their senses. They still manage to not see my presence on the road.

In amongst all the chaos that Dubai traffic throws a biker’s way each day, owning a motorcycle comes with one major perk: it’s a thinking mind’s best mode of transport. On a bike, you are able to absorb all the little nuances that this city offers, good or bad. On a bike you are able to observe everything around you – the atmosphere, catching a glimpse of glorious sunrays that creak through the sides of Dubai’s iconic urban jungle, cheering up random kids in the backseats of cars with a throttle rev.

With that in mind, I decided to take an overseas vacation – a much-needed time-out to revitalise myself and prepare for the coming months. Not riding my motorcycle for a month was a painful process for me (as I expected) – every single day I missed my ride more than I can describe. Don’t worry, though, I won’t be delving into that part specifically because, like any good love story, it’s basically a cliché-fest.

By the time I got back to the UAE, just like those happy moments in any story that are followed by a tragedy, my motorcycle decided to throw her version of temper tantrums in the form of oil leaks from brake calipers. Unable to source the appropriate O-ring to fix the leak, it took more than a week to find a remedy; the best way being to replace the brake caliper unit itself. With expert help from KTM’s service team, we found a way around that mess and she was good to go but then, as luck would have it, the bike’s software decided to come up with all kinds of errors and battery power started fading, too.

After another service and another two days to fix those issues, she finally got back on her feet, with me thinking along the lines of ‘it’s alright to have some issues – they make owning a motorcycle a much more fruitful experience in the long run.’ And then my Super Duke took that thought and turned it up all the way to eleven, causing me to face another issue; one that nearly cost me my life. A kill switch error, which shut down all the power to the motorcycle, locked up my rear wheel and almost caused a high-speed crash. Thanks to my quick responses, however, I managed to get the bike back under control by pulling the clutch.

All of these woes befell me within two weeks of returning home from my 30 days vacation. Is this my motorcycle’s way of asking: “How dare you leave me here all alone for an entire month? Am I just a machine to you, after all we’ve been through together?”

If that’s the case, perhaps I need to make amends and, on my next vacation, take the bike with me.

Owning a motorcycle is just like an actual relationship. We have to work at it to keep everything in one place; we have to balance the pros and the cons, focussing on the bright side all times. And to do so, sometimes you have to pay some price. $625 to be precise. Biker life.

ATGATT.

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