Need to Know Yamaha FZ25
Price: Rs 1.18 lakh (ex-Pune)
Engine: 249 cc, SOHC, two-valve, air-cooled, single cylinder
Output: 20.9 PS @ 8,000 rpm, 20.0 Nm @ 6,000 rpm
Transmission: Five-speed, chain drive Brakes: 282-mm disc (F), 220-mm drum (R) Tyres: 100/80-17 (F), 140/70-17 (R), tubeless Weight: 148 kg (kerb)
The absolute best part of spending the night in Sarchu is the night sky. and the sheer number and brightness of the stars
Rohtang pass, and you need a permit from the Green Tribunal, costing Rs 50 and acquired online, before you are allowed to proceed. The check post opens at 6.00 am and we had already arrived a good 10 minutes before that. After waiting impatiently and grinning wryly at the irony of needing a hard copy of a “Green Tribunal” permit, we were through to the other side. Our Himalayan adventure was well under way.
As the mostly excellent road (little patches of deep and sticky mud notwithstanding) wound higher and higher, the sunkissed and snow-capped peaks, but a hazy silhouette in the distance as we left Manali, came into sharper focus. Cruising above the pearly clouds was utterly fascinating, and Anosh, who had wrested the FZ’s keys from me earlier that morning, was grinning from ear to ear. By the time we made it to Tandi, and the last fuel station till just outside Leh, the urge to get back in the saddle was too strong to resist.
Back in the saddle, I furrowed through two sizeable water crossings without breaking into a figurative sweat (it was far too cold outside for any literal sweating), the FZ’s competent
On a clear night (if you can brave the cold), the heavens open up, that drape the inky black leave you spellbound
suspension taking on the rocky undulations with great aplomb. As the verdant greenery of Rohtang gave way to the bleak, yet no less impressive, bare cliffs of Baralacha La, the FZ and I were smoothly transitioning from left to right through the bends, its ride and handling allowing me to push on where other bikes were slowing down.
After a patch of under-construction road that required a lot more standing on the pegs than I was expecting, we finally arrived at our campsite in Sarchu. Living in tents at fourteen and a half thousand feet above sea level can sound daunting, but the campsites are typically well-equipped, and our fancy Swiss tent was very good at keeping the cold at bay and even came with an attached bathroom! The absolute best part of spending the night in Sarchu is the night sky, though. On a clear night (if you can brave the cold), the heavens open up, and the sheer number and brightness of the stars that drape the inky black leave you spellbound.
Of course, I couldn’t dawdle underneath the stars for too long, as we were headed to Leh early the next morning.
The Gata Loops and a couple of more mountain passes were left behind without any drama before we arrived at the More Plains. The lush, expansive valley will skew your sense of perspective, and leads to the last pass before Leh, Taglang La. The road surface on Taglang La is excellent, and the quality of the tarmac was pretty amazing overall, major props to our bros at BRO (Border Roads Organisation) for their relentless effort to keep the passes open and the roads smooth. From there, it was but a short ride to our hotel in Leh.
The next morning, we acquired our inner line permits at 10.00 am from the district commissioner’s office via a travel agent, and the pivotal moment finally arrived. The big one: scaling Khardung La. The tarmac is smooth and even all the way to the South Pullu check post about half way up. From there it’s all one big mud path broken by puddles and slushy bits. Despite the height and the unforgiving road, the FZ25 ploughed on like a champ and arrived unscathed at the top of the pass. As I took a bit of a breather (the bike didn’t need one) I reflected back on what we had achieved with a great sense of pride and affection towards the FZ25. It had proved its capabilities and how! Bounding up the mountain without showing any signs of strain or effort, and calmly dealing with all the havoc the journey threw at us.
My only regret is that I have to hand the keys back to Yamaha. This epic journey, as I said before, forges a bond between bike and biker, and the FZ25 sure has won me over with its power and grace on one of the most challenging roads in the country.
The famous Taglang La was a blast to ride on