29 Apr 2012

How to Restore Your Yamaha RD350...

The Yamaha RD350 was indeed the most legendary bike which stormed Indian roads. But it also was the most difficult to maintain. Or so some say. In this post, I’ll talk about how a little dedication and effort will take you a long way in resurrecting your RD 350 and enjoying a everlasting love – affair with her.

I’ve already given preambles to the 350 here. So let’s get down to business directly.

There are many who wish to buy and ride an RD, but fear the fact that she’ll be too much effort to maintain and still not give rewards like they expect. Suckers! Her spares will be tough to find and so will a competent mechanic. True! We find many mechanics who claim to be able to restore an RD (they’re just posers actually). But if you pick the right mechanic (and I mean a good one) and know where to look for parts, life becomes much easier. It’s still NOT a cakewalk! Trust me, if you’re looking for a cakewalk, go look elsewhere. Don’t waste an RD... It’s simply too precious to fulfil stupid whims and fancies.

The best thing to do (if you REALLY want to OWN an RD) is to buy one in a beaten down condition with the engine running and clear papers. Yes, clear papers! Else, boy, are you gonna be in trouble! You may even forge papers, but you don’t know the history of that bike! God knows which jackass got her into trouble and bailed. So go for one with clear papers and a running engine. Then approach a mechanic whom you’ve known for some time, who’s less talk and more action, and get ready to have the time of your life. Depending on the diagnosis, your RD will need:

1.      A New Ignition Kit – Lots of folks go for RDD (Ron Chinoy’s kit), or the Raju brothers Racing kit, or a CDi with TVS Scooty Pep ignition coils, or others. The 1st 2 work okay for a while, after which compatibility with modern and classics starts to wane and it shows on the performance of your bike. The best option is to pick a Points or Kiran Bhide TCi kit, both of which are highly compatible for with RD350 (Hell, they’ve been made for the RD). The ignition kit will also need an alternator, a magnet, a mounting plate and a cam. The Kiran Bhide kit can be sourced from Bangalore (you just have to look it up on the web). For Mumbaikars, the rest of the parts (points, plate, cam, magnet, etc.) can be bought at Suraj Auto at Grant Road, opposite the famous Ram Auto Parts.

Yamaha RD Points ignition kit

14 Apr 2012

When the Stakes Are High...

Ever seen certain people perform when the plenty hangs on the results? Or have you tried concentrating on an activity knowing that the the outcome depends heavily on you and will impact many others? Tried riding/driving when you had to get to some place urgently? Watched a race where a driver tries real hard to pass someone in front, makes a move and ends up throwing away all his hard work? Ever wonder why we mess up when it matters most?

Yerkes and Dodson had conducted an experiment on rats in the early 1900s (one that will not please animal activists). It involved leaving a rat in a caged maze. When the rats would go through an incorrect door, they would get a slight shock. Those slight shocks would make the rats simply motor along to find the right door. The scientists thought if they upped the level of shock, the rats would be motivated to learn faster. But the results proved otherwise. When the level of shock was very high, the rats couldn’t concentrate! They lost the ability to think straight and find patterns. The high level of shock was just too high for the rats to focus on anything because of fear. They had lots of trouble remembering which parts of the cage were safe and were unable to find the exit. Yerkes and Dodson called this the Inverted – U principle. It states that the performance of an individual, beyond a level, starts dropping as the level of stimulus increases.
Yerkes & Dodson's Inverted-U Theory

We humans react in a similar manner when the stakes are high. Senior bosses, who are offered obscene salaries and bonuses, are forever under pressure to perform. They want to justify their salaries so bad that they start making bad decisions, decisions which to a rank outsider vary from silly to downright dumb. Or they resort to unethical schemes to spike up performance momentarily. When we work very hard on something where the stakes are high, we concentrate on what the outcome MUST BE! No slip up, no mistake; we must not screw up anywhere or the consequences will be severe. In those moments, we lose concentration. We lose our skill, our competence. This negative motivation works against us. Share traders, CEOs, racers; this rule of thumb applies to everyone! Does this apply in sex too? Experienced people can provide some insights ;)

I’ve ridden/driven like a maniac when I’ve been in a real hurry; where I thought a second’s delay would prove fatal. The result? I’ve reached 5 – 7 minutes before the time I took when I cruised along. On the other hand, when I ride fast with a free mind, there have been instances when I’ve halved the time taken (same destination, same amount of traffic). Shows that a free mind amplifies your performance while a heavily burdened one restricts it (imagine, when you need it most).

Lord Krishna, in the Bhagwad Gita, says “Focus on the outcome, not the action.” Makes sense. The only catch is it’s hard to implement. Employees work too hard to appease their bosses rather than focusing on the task at hand, software engineers work at double the pace to complete a deadline, etc... and the result? You get the point, right? There’s always a next time. One slip up is not the end of the world. This is a lesson for managers too. Don’t burden your employees with too much or try to motivate them with too much responsibility... it often backfires.

This rule may be somewhat contrary to what successful entrepreneurs go through in the initial phases. The most successful ones have gone been through times when they’ve had to succeed or their families would be on the road. But there has to be some part of this rule that has applied to them. Some part of life where they’ve worked without thinking about the outcome which has led them to where they are. The best performers (Sachin Tendulkar, Rafael Nadal... you can add any name you want...) don't worry about the consequences. They excel at their work and leave the outcome to God.

Thus, dear friends, we work better when we don’t inflate the stakes and not vice versa. Too much motivation is not good for any living being. Aamir Khan said in 3 Idiots “Don’t focus on success. Focus on excellence, and success will follow.” Let’s try making that a way of life. Let’s focus on doing a really good job of the task at hand. Try following this principle and tell me if it works. Cheers!

6 Apr 2012

3 Quotes That Make Us Wake Up!

No Prelude needed. Simply enjoy these mind blowing and awesomely true quotes.

John Lennon Awesome!

Epic Steve Jobs words!

Why the world is in chaos!

What do you think?
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