Sunday, January 10, 2010

Life carbureted

I love the fog, I love the cold but by the end of the day it became unbearable. It was foggy throughout the day and the wind-chill on the bike was playing havoc on my fingers, toes and face despite all being covered. I got a K&N installed on the bike today. It was an ordeal but for some reason, the cold mitigated the impact; the wait didn’t feel long despite being so, it felt like I was semi-hibernating. Everything around me seemed to be moving in slow motion, with the Sun nowhere in sight and every passing hour seeming like the hour before it, I wasn’t keeping tab of time either. The owner of PERFORMANCE MOTORR SPORTS in Mohali turned out to be much older than what I’d expected from the voice on the phone. A Sikh ex-serviceman, he was one of those people on whom age doesn’t play havoc of senility. Lean and lanky, he talked like someone in his 30s though he’s probably in his 50s. My love of motorcycles started to spill out in the semi technical conversation that ensued. His name is Gurpreet and I didn’t see his surname mentioned on his business card or when he introduced himself; rather unlikely for Sikhs to do so. He told me that he first ventured into bike tweaking in college when he rebuilt a Triumph from the early 1900s. I doubt if Triumphs were manufactured in those days or maybe the 1913 that I heard was actually 1930. Anyway, his description of the overhaul was captivating, he went on to describe the Czech Jawa and how it got relegated into a Yezdi. I also learnt that “Yezd” is a province in Iran which was the inspiration for the name Yezdi, given to the bike by the Parsi owner of the company who took over Jawa. Jawa was superb, Yedzi wasn’t bad till they gradually compromised on the quality of the bike to an extent that doom was irrevocable. The guy also has a Hyosung Comet, the beautiful Korean Hulk. I’ve just seen one once and it’s a sight to behold. Gurpreet has had a very serious accident on the bike in which he broke his leg. He got banged by a truck and credits his life to the superb stability of the bike. He also has a Willy’s Jeep and Ford Icon amongst others. He told me how he got down to rebuilding the radiator and heating system for the Willy’s and I was mesmerized by the details. We then got down to discussing the Bullet and he was impressed with my (at least theoretical) knowledge on it and my GK on engines. He went to give me a diagrammatic explanation of how air circulates in an engine, something I was oblivious to. Then by the time modifications were carried out to fit the K&N-R1100 and hide it from unwanted attention, we’d talked about many things including a few personal details (ha ha and still no mention of the surname, I liked that). Time flew by and so did my bike when I rode it. I bid goodbye to my new friend and he invited me over for a chat anytime I was free. I rode to the motor-market in the cold. The exhaust and the intake were louder now, I could hear the bike breathing-in very clearly; I hadn’t before. At the motor market, my mechanic wasn’t very pleased at the amount I’d spent. His expressions said that I was crazy to have spent more than 25 times the amount that a regular air-filter comes for (100/- Vs 2600/-), while he charged me peanuts to service the bike. I hope he doesn’t start overcharging me from now, thinking I have some extra cash burning holes in my pocket. I hope he understands that it’s my hobby and passion and I cut other expenses to spend that little extra on my bike after gaining as much knowledge from every corner that can assimilate. If he doesn’t, I’ll look for another. Anyway, after many hours, the sky and the milieu still looked like the time I had left home. I went to the University to eat lunch. It was semi-deserted. The food was good as always and I ate a lot of it. With my jaws, lips and fingers numb from driving a long time in the cold, I had a difficult time, breaking the Laccha parantha, dipping it in Shahi Paneer, bringing it to my mouth, biting it and chewing; the easiest part was to swallow the bolus. It was so cold that I was finding it difficult to keep my hands out and wished for a robotic arm to put the food into my mouth while I kept my hands gloved. The sky dimmed further, not because the sun was setting, it was still 3:30pm, but because the fog became more thick. I reached my Institute and finally my lab to proceed with the experiment. After finishing it, I headed home. It was dark by then. On the way home, I stopped at the Enfield dealer and met the old bunch there, ogled at the new bike models and even spent some time to learn the art of chain tightening; I’m sure I’ll be able to do it on my own the next time. I was cold even inside the house despite wearing a warmer and a sweatshirt. I felt listless at home and didn’t wanna do anything, I didn’t wanna write, didn’t wanna watch TV, didn’t wanna be around my parents. Then I got a call from my girl to check if I was doing alright. That was very sweet of her; she’s in Delhi with her parents to meet the guy they’ve selected as her potential life partner.
K&N installation also requires carburetor re-jetting. Fuel injection’s alright, carburetor’s fun. I’ll buy a bigger pilot jet and main jet from the Royal Enfield Agency and hopefully will manage to fit them on my own. I’ve already opened the carburetor twice before and have a fair idea where the jets are located. It’s actually a very simple job that every carbureted-bike owner must know. It’s daunting at first so you must always do it twice the first time you’re at it. You must know the rules of carburetion to keep it all smooth and running. If you alter air-intake, you have to tweak carburetion. If you alter exhaust, you need to tweak carburetion. Life is but a carburetor.

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