The recent Cartier Vintage and Classic Car and Motorcycle Rally held in Mumbai left a bad taste in the mouths of true aficionados. Here’s why [Read more…]
Bike India was invited to witness the highly popular Ducati Week in Malaysia recently and that too in the august company of Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss. Here is a brief account of that memorable experience
Story: Aspi Bhathena
The Ducati Week has become extremely popular among the Ducati owners across the globe. More then 500 of them attended the Asia Week in Malaysia recently. There were owners from Australia, Hong Kong and the Asian region. This event was organised by Naaza, the importers of Ducati motorcycles in Malaysia. Bike India was invited to take part in this biking festival.
Quite a few events had been organised over the MotoGP weekend and, for the kick-off of the Asia Week, we had the honour of having dinner with Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden. The following day we had the pleasure of meeting Loris Capirossi over dinner. On Saturday night there was a street party where there were a couple of hundred of Ducati motorcycles lined up along with a few exotic cars like the Ferrari, Lamborghini and Ford Mustang. On the race day all the owners rode to the Sepang track in a convoy with police escort. The icing on the cake was an opportunity to ride with Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss on the Panigale on the Sapang MotoGP circuit.
On Sepang Race Track Astride The Ducati Panigale
I was lucky to do one lap behind Loris Capirossi on the 848 Ducati Street Fighter before he waved me through. That one lap was good enough to learn the lines. The 848 was a good bike to learn the circuit as it was neither as quick nor as demanding as the 1199 Panigale that I rode later. At the conclusion of the session it was nice to hear that Loris was impressed by my riding capability: a remark like that from a double world champion is something special indeed!
After exiting the last corner in the second gear you start shifting up without rolling the throttle back or pulling the clutch thanks to the built-in power shifter. At the end of the start-finish straight you are flat out in the sixth gear and also flat on the fuel tank under the tiny screen, trying to avoid the wind buffeting you as the digital speedometer is well north of the 250-km/h mark. As you approach the first corner, you start squeezing the front brake lever with two fingers and increase the pressure once the weight has been transferred to the front wheel and simultaneously shift down from the sixth to the second and you don’t need to blip the throttle thanks to the slipper clutch that prevents the rear wheel from locking up and prevents the engine from over-revving.
Half way through the corner you release the brake and start feeding the power, but have to keep it tight so that you remain on the correct line to get a good drive out of the second left-hand corner. From here it is flat out through the fast right-hander that leads on to a short straight where you get full RPM in the fourth gear before you brake hard for the 90-degree second gear right-hander. As soon as you hit the apex of the corner, release the brakes and start powering out of the corner, you can feel the traction control kicking in. From here onwards it is flat out in the third gear through the left and you ease off a little before you enter the next right and it is up to the fourth gear before you come down to the third for the double apex right where you carry a lot of speed and where you are actually braking in the first part of the corner and powering out as the second part opens up.
Then it is up to the fifth gear and back down to the second for the left hairpin. This is another corner where you trail-brake right to the apex of the corner before you start to wind the throttle as the next right is quite tricky and you have stay as wide as possible and disregard the first part of the corner or you will not make it through the second part of this long right-hander. This corner is done in the third gear, then it is up to the fourth and back down to the third for the left-hander and back to the fourth before you brake deep into the tightening right-hander and keep to the extreme left before you tip it in and start powering down the back straight, using all the track and a little bit of the kerb before moving back to the right side of track and shifting through to the sixth gear and back on to the brakes and down to the second for the final left-hand hairpin and powering back to the start-finish line.
The Panigale is a sweet handling motorcycle, but is extremely demanding physically when you are pushing hard and trying to keep up with someone like Troy Bayliss.
At the conclusion of the session it was nice to hear that Loris was impressed by my riding capability: a remark like that from a double world champion is something special indeed!
A custom building legend with the Midas Touch
The word ‘versatile,’ has been mercilessly bandied with many famous people of recent times but we really think it is appropiate in the case of Kenneth Robert Howard, or Von Dutch, as he is popularly known to his legions of fans the world over. Besides being a motorcycle mechanic of repute, he was also a pin striper, a knife maker, an artist, and a gunsmith.
His father, Wally Howard, was a Los Angeles sign painter; and, by the age of ten, the young Kenny Howard was able to paint and letter at a professional level. The Von Dutch nickname was intended to mean “stubborn as a Dutchman”. In the early 1950s he started of earning money by doing pin striping along with fellow pin striper Dean Jeffries. Von Dutch has been a major influence in the customizing vehicles from 1950 onwards till today. Some of his famous award winning work include the flying eyeball and the custom Kenford truck, along with numerous award winning custom motorcycles and custom cars. Many custom car and motorcycle enthusiasts, regard him as one of the fathers of custom culture in the world.
Von Dutch also designed and produced the Mare’s Leg, a cut-down Winchester rifle for the very famous television series Wanted: Dead or Alive. After a prolonged battle with alcohol addiction, he died in Spetember 1992, but not before he became a poster child of rebellion, biker attitude and creative free-thinking. Kenny Howard’s legacy still endures to this day – the Von Dutch company is now a licensed American multinational brand operating in more than a dozen countries and favored by celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.
Over the past two decades, Shinya Kimura has risen to the top of the heap of custom bike builders with his stunning ‘zero style’ design of custom bikes
Up until now, custom bikes have mostly been the fiefdom of the West. Arlenn Ness, Jesse James, the OCC family – name any renowned custom builder off the top of your head and chances are, he will be American. But, slowly but steadily, the rest of the world is also waking up to the art of custom craft and creating a name for themselves in a field that requires enormous artistic talent, painstaking attention to detail as well as a thorough knowledge of metallurgy. Somewhere near the pinnacle of this list lies Shinya Kimura.
Shinya Kimura is a Japanese born custom bike builder and founder of Zero Engineering and Chabott Engineering who originated the “zero style” of custom bikes. A Zero-style bike is typically based around a rigid goose neck, a pre-1984 Harley Davidson engine, springer front end, spoke wheels and often includes parts of the bike remaining in bare metal.
In 2006 Kimura set up his own shop named Chabott Engineering to build both custom bikes as well as moving himself toward the world of art. He has also co-authored various books like “Art of the Chopper by Tom Zimberoff” and Zero Chopper Spirit – Samurai Bikes from the East and has also taken part in Biker Build-Off where he was put up against another great builder in the form of Joe Martin.
Shinya Kimura will be premiering two of his famed retro custom builds at this year’s Calendar Show. While the first of these two is a recently completed 1973 MV Augusta 750S named “Blue One”, details about the other remains undisclosed up till now. The former has already won the Quail’s Custom/Modified 1st Place Trophy and the Cycle World “Elegance in Action” Award in another event held previously. Over the past two decades, Shinya Kimura has built up an enviable clientele of motorcycle connoisseurs willing to pay top dollar for works of art that truly stand out from the usual breed. Like actor Brad Pitt, seen here in the picture with one of Kimura’s creations, the ‘Flash’ Café Racer.
Photograph courtesy: www.vanishingpointbikes.wordpress.com
1500 Horses roar in Mumbai
Photography : Atul Aherwar
0 to 100 in a second and top speed of 403 kmph, Ian zooms past in a blink of an eye.
IAN KING and the Gulf GP Originals Fuel Drag Team came to Mumbai, India to showcase their 1500 HP drag bike. The bike was showcased in Lower Parel, Pheonix Mills and Inorbit Mall- Vashi and Malad. Gulf had organized a media showcase run of the Drag Bike at Kharghar – Navi Mumbai.
The Bike is a collaboration between PUMA Engineering and Gulf Lubricants. The Bike is a 1500cc 4 Cylinder Engine it churns 1500 Horses with an explosive Mixture of Nitro Ethane and Methanol. Least to say, it’s a rocket on wheels.
Gulf Oil brought this bike to India to portray its commitment and support for motorsports in India.
The tyre of the bike is a huge section giving massive traction needed for the bike. The bike has a fixed flat leveled wheelie bar to avoid flipping out and also housing a parachute to assist in braking when speeds hit 400 kmph+ during the drag.
Bike India attended the event and had a word with Mr. Chawla – President – Lubes Business. Chawla maintains that motorsports is now gaining popularity in India after F1 especially. Drag Racing is the largest sport in the world when it comes to viewership and viewer involvement. Chawla is optimistic that with Ian doing his run here in Mumbai, fellow motorsport enthusiasts will follow suit.
The entire team from Gulf were very happy with the response from the crowd especially when Ian revved his bike. The following pictures will convey the story of just how much Ian had here with his run in India.
The number of the girls riding two-wheelers is growing fast, and what’s growing even faster is their self-confidence and riding speed.
One of them has taken things to the next level by breaking all boundaries and records and entering the Guinness Book of World Records – not for her super-model looks, but because of her unparalleled biking skills. Riding at a breakneck speed, she set the Bonneville Salt Flats afire by recording an overall land speed record of 374.208 km/h on her Suzuki Hayabusa. Bike India presents Leslie Porterfield, the Fastest Woman in the World on a Motorcycle, who is now attempting to become the fastest person in the world!
THE JOURNEY OF A CHAMP
Leslie Porterfield virtually vanquished the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2008 when she achieved a land speed record of 374 km/h in the 2,000-cc modified class, making her way into the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘Fastest Woman in the World on a Motorcycle’. The title was previously held for over 30 years by Marcia Holley, motocross rider and stunt woman, who had attained a top speed of 369.12 kph (229.361 mph) astride a single-engine streamliner motorcycle in 1978.
Porterfield was also honoured as the AMA Female Rider of the Year. Among her many achievements she has been featured in the Discovery channel documentary, ‘Speed Capital of the World: Bonneville’. This gorgeous rider tours the world as a public speaker and as an advocate and role-model for the rising population of woman riders. She is a member of the prestigious Bonneville 200 MPH Club and runs High Five Cycles, a used motorcycle dealership in Dallas, US.
Interviewed By: Sarmad Kadiri
Bike India: You have been riding for 16 years now. How did you get hooked to motorcycles?
Leslie Porterfield: I bought a beat up old motorcycle at 16 for transport. I did not know anything about motorcycles and didn’t know anyone who rode them. I loved learning how to ride. I had no idea how buying that first motorcycle would influence my life!
BI: It’s quite a feat for a novice rider to become the ‘Fastest Woman in the World on Two Wheels’. What other records have you demolished until now?
LP: I hold many records. From the Production Class 1,000-cc record on a Honda CBR1000, a naked (“No fairings,” she explains, so that people don’t get wrong ideas), to a 1,350-cc record of 336 kph that made me the first woman on a conventional motorcycle in the Bonneville 200 mph (322 kph) club. I also hold the record of 374.208 kph (232 mph) in the 2,000-cc turbocharged class with fairings. I set a record of 376.5 kph (234 mph) in the 1,350-cc turbocharged class with fairings in 2009.
BI: When did you realise that you could enter the Bonneville 200 mph Club? Why did you choose a conventional motorcycle?
LP: I like conventional motorcycles. I am a motorcycle enthusiast. I chose them over cars and streamliners. Bonneville had always been a dream of mine to go to. I was in awe my first time on the salt. It is like being on another planet. Pictures don’t do it justice.
BI: Tell us something about your mean machines and the team that helped you break the world record.
LP: I have a great team and sponsors that help me prepare the bikes. Sir Speedy Printing and Marketing and Foremost Insurance have been a great help as sponsors. My fastest bike is a turbocharged machine with over 500 horsepower (507 PS). We have done much work on developing bodywork that is aerodynamic and fabrication of parts. It is truly a custom machine. It also has the best electronics from Apex Speed Technologies. It logs so much data, it is truly overwhelming! It helps us tune for the ever-changing elements at Bonneville and helps me be a better rider. It is great having so much information about everything that the bike is doing at high speed.
BI: Do you like to get your hands dirty at the workshop?
LP: I have a wonderful team and I also work on my own bikes. I often change tyres, tear down motors and do work on them. I try not to work on them during the events, though. I am too busy competing! I have a great team that works on the bikes if I tear them up.
BI: Racing is a physical and mental sport. How do you prepare for a race?
LP: I make sure I am mentally and physically prepared. I go over the motorcycle and am confident that it is ready. I then picture what I need to do to make the perfect run and get the record. I make sure my gear is ready to go fast, also. My Shoei helmet and Fieldsheer leathers are a very important part of keeping me safe.
BI: Which other motor sport events do you follow?
LP: I love MotoGP.
BI: You know, India might host a round of MotoGP soon?
LP: Yes, and I will definitely come to watch a race in India when MotoGP comes there!
BI: Do you have a motorcycle that you use for your daily commute?
LP: Yes, a CBR1000RR. I also own dirt bikes.
BI: Tell us something that we don’t know about you…
LP: I spend time with my four rescued dogs and volunteer to help homeless children. I also like scuba diving, racing cars (road racing), riding horses, flying aeroplanes and running my motorcycle dealership, High Five Cycles, in Dallas.
BI: Okay, now let’s do some rapid-fire questions. Your favourite food?
LP: Pepperoni pizza.
BI: Your hobby?
LP: I love to travel and meet new people. I travel extensively!
BI: Your favourite motorcycle?
LP: All motorcycles!
BI: You broke the Bonneville Salt Flats speed record on a Suzuki. How did you prepare the bike for it?
LP: Yes, it is a Suzuki Hayabusa. It is turbocharged, has a Falicon crankshaft and stronger rods, an MTC lock-up clutch, modified Airtech bodywork, Dunlop tyres, Marchesini wheels, larger fuel injectors and electronics from Apex Speed Technologies.
BI: Wow! That’s a lot of technology. Do you still own the record breaking CBR and ‘Busa?
LP: Yes, and I will be running both these bikes again this year (this time attempting to become the fastest person in the world).
BI: We wish you good luck! Any advice for young Indian riders and enthusiasts?
LP: Enjoy riding! Enjoy the freedom of the road on two wheels. Also, always wear a helmet and watch out for other drivers. If you dream of racing, follow that dream. You only fail if you never try at all.
Although the Harley Owners’ Group (HOG) has several active members from the fair sex worldwide, ladies and Harley-Davidson bikes were not synonyms in India – at least until now. Sheeja Matthew is the first lady in India to buy a Harley. Bike India talked to this proud owner of an Iron 883
A Place In Biking History
Sheeja Matthew, ‘the first woman to buy a Harley-Davidson in India’, has secured a place in the biking history books of the country. Married to a Bangalore-based businessman, who also happens to be an avid drag racer, Sheeja too is thrilled by speed. She has participated in several drag races herself and has even won two ladies class titles in the two-kilometre Nandi Hill climb race held in Bangalore.
This 34-year-old bike enthusiast has been riding her husband’s Yamaha RD 350 for over a decade and can now be seen cruising along on her newly acquired Harley-Davidson Iron 883. No wonder, her seven-year-old son is highly excited and likes being dropped to school on the Harley, which has made him popular at school. Sheeja is a self-proclaimed foodie and an avid shopper.
Here is an extract from the interview:
Bike India: You look very comfortable on a bike as big as the Iron 883. Which bike did you own before this? Do you still own it?
Sheeja Matthew: My husband owns a Yamaha RD 350, which has been with us for years. I have been riding it for over a decade now. The RD 350 is the bike to possess, but then you hardly get to see it now-a-days. And, yes, it’s going to remain with us for a long time to come.
BI: Many other big bikes are available in India now. Why did you choose a Harley?
SM: I grew up watching macho men riding Harley-Davidson bikes on television and in Hollywood films. It was always my dream to get my own Harley. The bike has such tremendous brand appeal, people on the road go ‘Wow!’ when they see it coming. When Harley-Davidson opened a showroom in Bangalore, I knew I should buy one. Actually, I wanted the one on display, but it cost about Rs 32 lakh (probably the Electra Glide). The Iron 883 suited my budget. I ride to and from work every day (a three-hour ride) and I needed a comfortable bike. This Harley fits the bill.
BI: It’s nice to see ladies on Harleys, but how did your family react when you decided to buy this bike?
SM: My husband is very supportive. He is a car and bike enthusiast himself and also a drag racer. I had a discussion with him and he agreed, because he knows that buying a Harley has been my dream for a long time. This is my birthday gift to myself. (The Iron 883 cost her about Rs 8 lakh and her businessman husband didn’t mind sharing 20 per cent of the burden.)
BI: There is a steady stream of exotic bikes heading for India. What will your next purchase be?
SM: Well, I am still basking in the glory that this Iron 883 has brought along. Maybe in the next couple of years I will plan an upgrade. As for now, I am planning to customise my Iron 883 with some H-D accessories.
BI: You’re everywhere in the media. How do you deal with this new-found attention?
SM: I didn’t know that I was the first woman to buy a Harley-Davidson in India until the company people told me. I had never dreamt of something like this. I have received thousands of messages and Facebook friend requests of late and I haven’t been able to keep up.
BI: Who gets greater attention? The Iron 883 or you?
SM: I don’t know…(giggles). I think people look at me and the bike. When I took it to work, half the office came down to the basement where the 883 was parked. They sat on it, took pictures and went on talking about it while I was happily showing off the bike.
BI: What would you like to say to other lady bikers?
SM: All I want to say is that they shouldn’t fear the odds. Buying a Harley-Davidson was a 15-year-old dream come true. Anything is possible. Just be independent and dream big!
“I remember very well my first ride on a bike about 30 years ago. We had bought a brand-new Yamaha 550 XT, a 550-cc, one-cylinder off-road bike with a fantastic acceleration that was a recent release at that time. The publicity slogan was, ‘Ride the Bull’, and the experience was exactly that. Rough, tough, no self-starter, but with a high fun factor. I learned to ride it in a gravel pit. A hard school, but very effective. Of course, I also had to go to the driving school. I was very lucky to get a good teacher. He had the ambition to teach me how to ride a bike, not just how to move one. Later on, I underwent several training courses, which helped me a lot to improve my skill and gave me a lot of self-confidence too.
“My next bike was a BMW 800 GS with a two-cylinder Boxer engine. Much heavier, but much more comfortable for long rides. This one was followed by a Honda 650 Dominator and the last motorcycle I owned in Germany was a BMW F 650 GS, all of them off-road bikes. I preferred this kind of bikes because they are lighter and more manoeuvrable than street bikes or choppers – perfect for rough and narrow roads. Unfortunately, they are not available here in India.
“I lived in Munich, which is very close to the Alps, and therefore I did a number of wonderful rides through the mountains to Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France – sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. I rode on all kinds of roads, also unpaved passes through snow and ice, and I enjoyed all of them. Now I am living and working in south Kerala. More than three years ago I bought a used Bajaj Pulsar 180 which I still possess. On that bike I got used to the chaotic Indian traffic and rustic roads, especially to the left-hand drive rule in India. One thing that really shocked me (and still does) was the rude manner of many people. One of the basic things we learn in Germany is politeness when participating in road traffic. Give way to others and try your best not to bring yourself or others into dangerous situations. Here in Kerala it seems that many drivers don’t obey traffic rules and drink-driving seems to be normal. In most European countries they would immediately lose their licence for a long time and get a severe punishment. Nevertheless, I love to ride bikes. It opens my heart and my mind. A few weeks ago I made a one-week trip to the Kerala mountains, up to Munnar, Marayoor and Thekkady, mostly on small roads. I drove through the tea plantations and rainforest, saw wild elephants passing the road in front of me – fantastic! Even though I was alone, I enjoyed it immensely. Often I have been asked whether it is boring to drive alone. Boring? When I ride on my bike I don’t need anybody else. Of course, in the evening and during the breaks it makes for greater fun if you have someone to share the experiences. Maybe next time?
Dr Angelika Weber, a German lady with a passion for motorcycling, has been living and working in ‘God’s own country’ for the past three years following her marriage to an Indian. She recounts her experience of riding an Indian motorcycle and coming to terms with our chaotic traffic after nearly 30 years of owning and riding various bikes across Europe.
It is not every day that a budding automotive designer gets a chance to do a project for a national company that has established itself among the best in the country. Satyajit Kulkarni is one such lucky chap who got an opportunity to showcase his designing talent by being part of a team of young designers who represented a top design institute.
TVS Motors, one of India’s well-known two-wheeler manufacturers, wanted to see what potential the young generation had in terms of designing and styling a different genre of bike that is unseen in the Indian market. TVS wanted Satyajit and his team to design and conceptualise a bike that would represent a new style of biking in the Indian market. They came up with a Supermoto concept. Now, Supermoto is a genre of biking that mixes three different kinds of riding surfaces together. A Supermoto bike is so designed that it can handle well on tarmac, rough surfaces and dirt. Internationally there are championships that are held on such bikes and there are purpose-built tracks that provide the above mentioned surfaces to race on.
TVS have a rich pedigree in circuit racing and motocross racing. Therefore, Satyajit and his team narrowed down on a Supermoto bike for this project. The concept has all the typical traits found on a Supermoto bike. The USD forks seen on the concept are very similar to the ones found on motocross bikes. However, these are thicker than the Motocross USD as they have to perform on tarmac as well as dirt. A Supermoto bike uses wheels that are smaller in diameter than those on a motocross bike because most of the time these bikes are used on tarmac. However, the tyres used are bigger than those found on off-road machines. This is due to the high use of such bikes on tarmac and less on dirt. And keeping that in mind these youngsters have shod the concept with such wheels and tyres. The handlebar is also wide just like a competition Supermoto bike. The suspension of the concept is also a bit lower and stiffer than a motocross bike’s because it makes the bike handle better on tarmac. The overall design of the concept is very much on the lines of a Supermoto and we hope TVS seriously considers building such a bike in the near future.
This concept is based on a liquid-cooled, 250-cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine, which is the preferred choice of many manufacturers as it is simpler to built and easier to maintain and costs less than any other configuration. The exhaust design is also sleek and minimal. However, it should have been placed in a higher position than it currently is. The tank and front fender are typical Supermoto and the high, short seat also fits perfectly into a Supermoto’s portfolio.
Besides Satyajit, the team that worked on the concept included Ajay Chaudhary, Varunjeet Bhinder and Madhur Illa. Ajay was responsible of sketching out the concept and it was Satyajit who rendered it in 3D. These youngsters worked very hard on this concept which was also their fourth year project for transportation design at the DSK International School of Design. This concept clearly portrays the highly creative minds of these four students, who proudly call themselves ‘automotive designers’ today!
These bikes do not have a headlamp. They have an awkward looking iron bar extending from the rear seat. They are generally covered with thousands of stickers and they tend to sound like the loudest factories in the locality.
Though they are registered as two-wheelers, the riders prefer to go on a ‘One-wheel Ride’.
Xkmph.com organised the second annual motorcycle stunt show in Kurseong, West Bengal, on December 26, 2010. The ‘One-wheel Ride’ is one of the most awaited stunt shows in the hills of West Bengal and Sikkim.
The show had some of the finest stunters from Kurseong like Wang, Rohin, Prawesh, Ananta and Kunal. They were representing the Kurseong xKmph stunting community. The team performed some excellent stunts and tricks that were lustily cheered by the crowd. The major attraction of the show turned out to be the official stunters of xKmph, Milan Pradhan and Monu. The duo kept the audience on their feet as they carried on with breathtaking stunts one after the other. Wheelies, stoppies, rolling stoppies, one-hander stoppies, high chairs, human compass and donuts, all came quite easily from the duo.
With proper gear and protection we had a super fun session of volunteers to ride as the stunters’ pillion as they performed stoppies and wheelies. Both of them used several bikes from different makers and performed some adventurous stunts even with multiple pillion riders.
One of the additions to this year’s show was the inclusion of ‘daCyclist.com’ members. DaCyclist.com was launched in mid-2010 as a sister Website of xKmph.com. It is aimed at bringing a greener lifestyle into existence by promoting the use of bicycles. One-wheel Ride was a good opportunity to showcase the hidden talent of this community. Three cyclists from daCyclist.com performed beside the biking stunters. Dhiraj, Rana and Sunny performed everything that our bikers had performed on the motorised variants.
The message that everyone carries at xKmph is quite simple, be it stunters, tourers or even pillions: ‘Ride hard, ride safe and always wear a helmet’.