Harley-Davidson Chennai HOG Ride

Harley-Davidson HOG Chennai 2 webChennai recently woke up to the sound of 300 Harley-Davidson motorcycles roaring through the city. H.O.G. chapters across India from Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Indore and Kochi came together with their families making this a big milestone for Harley-Davidson in India as it was the biggest zonal ride ever. The posse made their way through the streets of Chennai to Mahabalipuram in celebration of the 2nd Southern H.O.G. Ride. The three day event, organized featured live music, stalls having the latest Harley-Davidson merchandise on display, a tattoo parlour and a “Swap Shop” where riders could exchange motorcycle accessories and install them on the spot.

“The Southern H.O.G Ride has always been one of my favourite regional rides. I attended the first Southern H.O.G Ride in 2012 which was nothing short of fantastic. This year’s edition has been equally fabulous if not more. These three days passed in a flash, as I made new friends, shared my riding stories and will now be riding back home with a whole new set of brothers” Bala Chandrasekharan, Director, Coromandel H.O.G, Chapter, Chennai. Coromandel Chapter is the host chapter for the Second Southern H.O.G. Ride. As the men at Harley-Davidson say, ‘You’re not just buying a bike but an entry into a culture and lifestyle that the brand offers’.

Story: Rommel Albuquerque

Harley-Davidson HOG Chennai 1 web

Harley-Davidson HOG Chennai 4 web

Harley Rock Riders Show, 4th Dec, Delhi


Washing your bike

In India it’s almost become a norm to have your watchman or gardener wash your bike/scooter for you every morning. This is actually more harmful for your motorcycle and reduces the lifespan of both the paint and the mechanical parts of the motorcycle. So instead show some TLC for your faithful companion. To help you out we’ve ironed out the myths and given you a few tips as well.Washing3

  1. Park the bike in the shade and let the engine cool down before you start washing. If the engine is hot and you pour water on it, you’ll ruin your engine.
  2. Using a high pressure washer, gently hose down all the dirt and grime from the bike. This will allow for a kind of “pre-soak” to loosen and dislodge foreign particles.
  3. Use a cleaning solution made specifically for motorcycles or cars. Using other cleaning agents can cause problems with discolouring the finish or even damage the chrome.
  4. Next mix the cleaning solution in a bucket of warm water and using a sponge start scrubbing in a circular motion. The soapy water acts as a lubricant and does not scratch the paint.Washing1
  5. Rinse the soapy residue off with a gentle stream of water and make sure no soap is left on the bike. Also make sure you spray the underneath of the bike with water, as these parts gather the most dirt.
  6. Use a chamois cloth or any soft cloth to wipe off the moisture from the paint. This will keep the finish from getting scratched, and prevent water streaks and spots on the paint.
  7. To keep the tyre of your bike clean and looking new, use a tyre cleaner. Do not use any regular soap or shampoo. When cleaning the tyres of a bike, use a nylon bristle brush to get the dirt out from the treads.
  8. Spray the whole tyre with the cleaning foam and let it sit for some time. The foam will evaporate on its own and the bikes tyre will look spanking new.

Iron Woman – Sheeja Matthew

Sheeja Matthew with her Harley Davidson 883Although 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:

Sheeja Matthew with her Harley Davidson 883Bike 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.

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!

Aerial Two- Stroke

For decades, two-strokes have enabled many of us to fly, albeit without actually leaving the tarmac for long. Now, for the first time, we had a chance to soar skywards with a two-stroke on our backs. For more, read on…
Words: Gasha Aeri  Photography: Sanjay Raikar

For decades, two-strokes have enabled many of us to fly, albeit without actually leaving the tarmac for long. Now, for the first time, we had a chance to soar skywards with a two-stroke on our backs. For more, read on…
Words: Gasha Aeri  Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Steve McGraw, if given a Jaguar and chiselled looks, might not be able to make for a good on-screen investigator and neither will Steve McQueen be able to make a guitar sound good with some penned lyrics of his. But then these mechanics don’t fit very well in the world of two-wheeled autobots. Here, if a two-stroke heart pumps life into a roaring 100-cc bike, it can also make you touch the horizon with a powerchute up your back. Welcome to the world where an engine is the solution to all major riddles and this time the task is paramotoring.

Sounds quaint, but not much of a rocket science it is. An easy and equal fragmentation resolves all the mysteries relating to the term ‘paramotor’, a paraglider with a motor.

With more and more cubic capacities hovering over us, bore and stroke fighting for more power, aerodynamics escaping from every atom of air and every single km/h unit standing triumphant against rivals, I thought looking at the crab fight from a little above the ground level would be a nice idea.

Being friends with the right people always pays. A bunch of flying enthusiasts and the right equipment was all that was needed to accomplish the task. The paramotor with us was
a single cylinder, two-stroke, 160-cc engine with a powerchute big enough to support the weight
of my flier friend. Explaining the paramotor a bit more in detail, the one with us with fine carbon fibre blades was worth a sigh. The blades stand in a cage, attached to which is the harness where the flier sits and the powerchute comes handy just in time for flight.

So this is what happens, the flier (still in the harness) holds the motor on his back, takes a little run before the launch and then the motor propels the powerchute for a flight. Once airborne, the chute gains greater height as the engine powers it, the direction and speed can be controlled by the flier manually. For an easy descent or to decelerate, the paramotorist has just to cut the throttle. Sounds very simple, but paramotoring sure does require formal training and guidance. A paramotor can fly for as much as three hours (approximately a distance of 100 km) in 10 litres of fuel and the top speed achieved goes no more than 40-55 km/h. Sounds a fraction for the high-fliers of tarmac, but, trust me, the feeling to look at the world as God sees it is a different high.

When asked, I was told that the single-cylinder unit in the paramotor we used delivered an impressive 14 PS. The conversation, enveloped with the excited cries of how heavenly it felt up there, revealed that many have also used two-stroke production engines from bikes to make a paramotor of their own. Another fine example to prove that energy never dies, but just gets transformed from one form to another and, in this case, one purpose to another.  Why paramotor and not old-school paragliding? With an engine-propelled chute, one need not sit with a fixed gaze at the anemometer waiting for suitable wind velocity.

The day which passed by with powerchutes flying over my head and roaring engines killing the silence of those open fields still made me wonder what mechanical surprise awaits me next. Maybe,
a two-stroke submarine! With such curious minds around, you never know.