The engineer that I am, I always like to analyze a problem before jumping to conclusions and working on a solution. More than often there are multiple ways to solve a problem and sometimes a combination of solutions works better than just one.
To change Ratchet’s riding position from leaning forward to upright, I could raise the handlebar using handlebar risers or by using fork spacers. I chose to do a little bit of both because adding too long handlebar risers could mess with the steering and adding too long fork spacers could mess with the dynamics of the motorcycle. After all the Duke 390 has a short wheelbase and moving its center of gravity up needed to be done carefully.
Along with raising Ratchet’s handlebar by a couple of inches using handebar risers, I borrowed a couple of fork spacers from a friend and fit them. The fork spacers were 63 mm long (about 2.5 inches) and had the effect of raising the handlebar even more.
The result was this.
In order to test out these mods this past weekend I took Ratchet for a long ride to Kumbharli along with a bunch of friends. We rode up and down NH 17. Its twists and turns and long straight stretches turned out to be just the kind of road I wanted to put Ratchet through.
First up was a ride-it-like-you-stole-it speed test. The secluded four lane Sawantwadi bypass was apt for this test. I dug my helmet into my tank bag and twisted the throttle till I could twist it no more. I touched 145 kmph a couple of times and then braked hard to come to a stop. The motorcycle behaved itself perfectly. No sign of hesitation or unease whatsoever.
Next I wanted to check whether the mods I made to Ratchet had an adverse impact on cornering. At the outset I have to place on record that I’m more of a cruiser and less of a speed demon. I’m more than happy to watch people do all kinds of stuff on their crotch rockets and clap from the sidelines. So I was quite surprised to see that I scored 4 out of 5 on the Metzeler fun meter (that’s what I’m calling it). Not bad for a first attempt at riding like a hooligan.
Ratchet behaved himself on corners and hair pin bends. At one point I started having too much fun and had to hold myself back. I realized that I was beginning to ride like the kids on their Dukes who I curse from my car as they zip around traffic and flaunt all rules. Clearly Ratchet had become bad company and I was loving it. And that scared the crap out of me. 🙂
As regards riding posture, I think these mods nailed it. I rode close to 700 kms over the weekend and experienced no back or neck pain whatsoever. I was sitting upright as if I was riding an adventure motorcycle.
With these mods I can easily see myself riding Ratchet all day for days on end. I thought I would need to move the foot pegs forward. But raising the front of the motorcycle did something and the foot pegs didn’t seem out of place anymore. I could stand on the foot pegs and run over speed breakers and rumblers without a problem. Everything seems to have fallen into place. The transformation of Ratchet to a KTM 390 Adventure is complete.
Only a few minor mods are left, none of them being structural. One involves docking the ridiculous tail of the motorcycle and installing a tail tidy. Another is elongating the side stand by an inch to compensate for the fork spacers. I need to finding a more powerful bulb for the headlight. I also plan on installing a pair of LED auxiliary lamps for improved night riding. Maybe change the rear tire to a Ceat Vertigo Sport for off-road use. Stuff like that.