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It’s a dream for every youngster: The first motorcycle. Some achieve it sooner, and some a little later. A lot of factors come into play to make that big purchase decision because the first motorcycle or scooter will always hold a special place in your heart. Whatever our heart may desire, it has to go through a lot of devil-angel decision making before it becomes a reality. You may dream of a budget supersport or a naked streetfighter, but when your mom says “How do I sit there? It’s too high”, you don’t stand a chance. Dad’s “Nah, too much money for plastic” does the trick too!
Let’s say you have managed to convince your family into buying your dream bike, you think its breeze from now, but it just gets tough – well, it did, at least for me. Enter – The Astrologer. Somehow, the planets which are millions of kilometres away, in their orbits, going about minding their own business, had a negative influence on me and that was it! Long story short – I was made to wait for five long, anxious years before I could lay my hands on my first motorcycle. But, things were for good – during those five years, I had made up my mind that my first motorcycle should be very special and very unique. And thanks to the internet, the enthusiast from a small-time town came across this Italian beauty – The Benelli TNT 25. And thanks to those years of waiting and dreaming, I was able to get my piggy bank filled up to the brim to purchase the bike of my dreams.
Apna Time Ayega….
The last few months of waiting was spent researching the TNT 25. Every door was knocked at – print magazines, websites, YouTube reviews, online forums, biker meets and yes, the only showroom here at Coimbatore. The more I came to know about it, the more I was more attracted to it. Though service costs were a bomb for a quarter-litre motorcycle, there were no questions as the decision was made firmly by the heart.
The First Flight – DEC 09, 2017
So there I was, at the Benelli Showroom in Coimbatore for a test ride. I had called the showroom the day before and told that I will be coming in for a test ride. The manager of the store came and received me, and went on to enthusiastically explain the features of the bike. I was in no mind of my own as I was fighting myself, picking up my jaws off of the floor. Once the explanation was done and test ride form was filled out, the key was handed over to me. I was off to the very first test ride of my dream bike. I flip open the key, slot it in, turn it up. The FI motor runs briefly and meter console does a self-test. I push the button and fire the engine, which comes to life with a single crank. The bassy exhaust note fills the air.
Grab the clutch, drop into first and away I go. After some fiddling with the switchgear and getting used to how the brake bites, I take the bike to the newly constructed flyover. It was empty for most of its 2 km stretch. I drop a gear, wring the throttle and within seconds the, odo raced past 8000rpm and the digital speedo, north of 120Kmph. The engine kept pulling and showed no signs of strain. It was a “HOLY SMOKES!!!” kind of experience before I ran out of the empty piece of tarmac.
A smooth and fast 2 km later, it was time to test the brakes. I slam both the brakes in tandem and the bike came to a stop in a straight line – like an arrow. No wobbling or tail wagging. The beefy USD front forks and 150 section rear tyres kept the beast in the leash. Spellbound would be an understatement of how I felt after the first flight. The TNT 25 also did perform well in stop-and-go traffic on the way back to the showroom.
The gear shifts were smooth and the engine felt well refined. Power delivery was linear and was not as aggressive as my friend’s Austrian daily. The little smile I had when I cranked the engine to life had transformed into a very wide grin when I removed the helmet after the test ride. I left the showroom, impressed with the overall performance. With no second thought, I happily broke my piggy bank and booked the TNT 25 in Rosso Red. The waiting for the D-Day then begun.
The D-Day – JAN 19, 2018
The big day indeed. The delivery experience was smooth as all the paperwork – invoicing, registration and insurance were already taken care of. I took with me, a box of homemade sweets and distributed it to all. The bike was covered with red satin and I was at my happiest as I unwrapped my very first motorcycle. I thanked everyone and left the showroom after some customary photos. I headed straight to the temple to receive Lord Ganesha’s blessing.
I loved each and every moment that I spent with my “Raptor”. Yes, that’s how I called my TNT 25. Every other petrolhead does it too – name their motorcycle/car and share a special bond with it. Whatever be it – our car or motorcycle is an extension of our personality. After “Raptor” came into my life, road trips are now a common occurrence and a source of stress buster. Bring rain into the scenario and the whole experience levels up. I am really glad that I am addicted to the smell of petrol and burnt rubber.
Not All izz Well
Remember how I said that service costs didn’t matter as the decision was made from the heart? Turns out I was blinded by love. Apart from service costs, there were few electronic niggles and sensor issues in my Raptor that were a constant cause of worry. Though Raptor is no longer a part of my life, I cherish all the memories that I made with him. Fights and heartbreaks are a part and parcel of love. With the Raptor, it went a little overboard or rather I wasn’t prepared enough. Though I loved my TNT 25 with all my heart, I had to let go of it – with a heavy heart. I will rather learn to live without something than to see it suffer with me and make me suffer. What started with love at first sight, thus ended with a mutually understood divorce.
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