Kawasaki Bajaj Caliber – My First Love

It’s a love story; it’s a story about a man who fell in love with his machine! My bike isn’t the best looking nor is it the fastest or quickest one out there but it certainly has conquered my heart. When I was in my 6th class my dad bought a Kawasaki Bajaj Caliber (the first model), a capable bike at that time, back then I considered buying Caliber as a, good decision since everyone was riding the HH Splendor and Caliber offered an unmatched exclusivity along with little extra power and an awesome exhaust note.

But since the launch of CBZ I was little unhappy as CBZ was the bike to own in the first part of 21st century. Since then lots of bikes have been launched in our great little country and till last year I somehow wanted to get rid of this old Caliber of ours.

Of the 10 years that the Caliber had been with us, last 5 years it had been under my care. And I must say that it didn’t gave any big worries to me, unlike other Caliber owners I was pretty happy with it, except for the fact that I wanted it to be a little more powerful. The 111.6cc mill develops around 7.6bhp at the rear end which is capable of taking the bike to a top speed of 85KmpH, pretty good for Indian roads (just being optimistic). As soon as my father bought the bike he fitted it with a side box, which destroyed the look of the bike even though it’s very handy while traveling.

Till last year I used to ask my friends to lend their bike to me for long rides, but I don’t know what happened so that pulsars and unicorns became so boring that, now even for extra long distance touring I prefer my good old trusty Caliber and even my friends have started to appreciate it. I think that I fell in love with the exhaust note of my Caliber, the exhaust note becomes prominent after 5000rpm and the sensation that the noise gives is simply worth the hassle of owning the bike.

The thing with the modern extra smooth, extra soft bikes that we generally see nowadays is that, everything falls into place and everything happens quite like u want them to. This make the whole riding experience very uninvolved, as we start to ride the machine unconsciously whereas the best thing about this old workhorse of mine is that one cannot expect anything to happen quite as he wanted to, the gears wont change as you intended them to, some times oil starts to pour from the cylinder head and soon after some time the engine revs to red line as if it had no problem. It’s been just a few months since I started to take the bike for long distance touring. And to my amazement it has performed amazingly well. Generally 150cc bikes accompany mine but everyone anonymously agrees that my rear seat is the most comfortable, even though the suspension is on the hard side. The handling of the bike is superb, despite of those poor quality tires; it inspires lots of confidence while braking as well as cornering. The bike feels stable even at speeds near 75-80kmph on rather bad roads, unlike other 100cc commuters which tend to generate lift and start vibrating like hell and it never felt hard to keep the pace in the long run with other bikes as it’s not practical to maintain three digit speeds on Indian roads. The comfortable seats mean that we can travel longer distance without those occasional stops.

For now the longest that we traveled was a 1000 Km round trip within 36 hours. That trip was really hard on us, not to mention the bikes; the trip was mainly confined to NH17 and the awesome destinations along its length. But the trip which actually took my bike to limits was the one to Wayanad, a beautiful district in Kerala where we found the best biking roads in India. Wayanad is essentially a hill station in the Western Ghats and my home is near the coastal region of Kerala so we had to climb the jaw drooping peaks of Western Ghats and that to in summer. The mountain roads were not exactly what we call forgiving even the Pulsar 180 was finding it difficult to climb and was crawling alongside the Caliber, but thanks to the shorter gear ratios of Honda Shine, it was performing quite well for a 125cc bike. The places where caliber took me were simply superb and even though we were expecting some big trouble from it, surprisingly it didn’t give us any sort of mess, not even a puncture! Moreover the places were simply “breathtakingly beautiful” and we really enjoyed the whole trip. Might be because of all this My Kawasaki Bajaj Caliber has become my First Love that will never go off my heart.

– Nidhin Chandran