The IBW Af­ter-party

The party may have come to an end, but we were still look­ing for­ward to the ride home


EVERY YEAR THE IN­DIAN BIK­ING COM­MU­NITY gets to­gether in goa to cel­e­brate mo­tor­cy­cles, and this year’s In­dia bike Week (IbW) was no dif­fer­ent. two days of mu­sic, fun, mer­ry­mak­ing, con­tests, mo­tor­cy­cle launches and bev­er­ages later, the venue was left in dark­ness and si­lence on the night of 25 novem­ber, as the crowds fil­tered out, the dust set­tled and stands were torn down. It seemed that the IbW ex­cite­ment was over but, con­trary to the preva­lent mood, my col­league har­ket and I were still some­what pumped; it could be be­cause we were pre­par­ing to ride back to Pune on two awe­some mo­tor­cy­cles. We had at our dis­posal one sports tourer, the du­cati Su­per­Sport S, and one ad­ven­ture tourer, the tri­umph tiger Xca, and nearly 500 kilo­me­tres to en­joy th­ese fan­tas­tic ma­chines; clearly IbW wasn’t over for us yet.

the next morn­ing we rolled out of our ho­tel in calangute with me astride the red du­cati, while har­ket com­man­deered the tall tri­umph; the plan be­ing to take turns rid­ing both bikes to fig­ure out where each of them

ex­celled. We headed north to­wards ma­pusa on the nar­row, tree-lined goan roads, and stopped off at a charm­ing church to seek bless­ings and take a few pho­to­graphs. the tiger was nice and re­laxed through th­ese quaint lo­cales, rolling along with just a hint of throt­tle and soak­ing up speed-break­ers and pot­holes alike. the du­cati, on the other hand, was strain­ing at the bit — the 937-cc L-twin ea­ger to break into the higher reaches of the rev range where it was most at home.

It was then across the goa-kar­nataka bor­der to at­tack the rolling hills of chorla ghat on our way to be­la­gavi (erst­while bel­gaum). here the nim­ble du­cati ex­celled, its for­ward-bi­ased rid­ing po­si­tion and light­weight trel­lis frame al­low­ing it to slay apex af­ter apex, while the Öh­lins sus­pen­sion soaked up un­ex­pected mid-cor­ner bumps and un­du­la­tions with­out un­set­tling the mo­tor­cy­cle one bit. I was ex­tremely im­pressed by how com­fort­ably the Su­per­Sport can be rid­den at a quick pace, its chas­sis, sus­pen­sion and sticky Pirelli rub­ber in­spir­ing con­fi­dence, and with­out hav­ing to duck into a full rac­ing crouch.

af­ter a quick lunch stop I hopped aboard the tiger, its silky-smooth three-cylin­der mo­tor happy to pull along at a re­laxed can­ter. the tri­umph is more laid-back than the du­cati and doesn’t de­mand to be rid­den ‘on the boil’; how­ever, once I set­tled in and picked up the pace, I was pleas­antly sur­prised to note that the pli­ant sus­pen­sion and large front wheel didn’t ham­per its abil­ity to dis­patch a set of cor­ners with con­fi­dence and poise.

We were soon pass­ing through be­la­gavi where we stopped for fuel and turned left on to nh 4; the wide high­way that would take us all the way to Pune. With a mag­nif­i­cent sun­set to our left, we pulled over to take a few pic­tures and ad­mire the flam­ing or­ange ball as it sank into the hori­zon be­fore con­tin­u­ing on our way. both mo­tor­cy­cles are ex­tremely fast, and cruis­ing at triple-digit speeds in no stress for ei­ther. the du­cati’s rid­ing po­si­tion, al­though some­what sporty, isn’t overly com­mit­ted and I was clear of the wind blast be­hind the wide far­ing and ad­justable screen, with­out ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any of the back or wrist pain as­so­ci­ated with race replica mo­tor­cy­cles — I think du­cati have got the sport-tour­ing prin­ci­ple just right on their first try.

the tri­umph tiger is built to cover long dis­tances in rel­a­tive com­fort, and it was right at home blast­ing along the high­way, its smooth 800-cc triple singing away as the miles flew past. here, too, I had an ad­justable screen to shield me from the el­e­ments, while the broad seat, com­bined with the re­laxed rid­ing po­si­tion and easy-to-reach han­dle­bars truly make this a mo­tor­cy­cle for all-day com­fort. as night fell, it also be­came ap­par­ent that the tiger, with its op­tional ex­tra fog-lamps, was better pre­pared to take on our dark high­ways as the beams from the full-Led lights pierced the black­ness and il­lu­mi­nated rough patches and other ob­sta­cles. the high seat and up­right rid­ing po­si­tion also al­lowed me to look over cars and better pre­dict the thick­en­ing traf­fic as we neared the city.

It was late when we en­tered Pune and rode up to the of­fice to park the mo­tor­cy­cles be­fore head­ing home. We may have been tired af­ter a day of rid­ing, but both bikes kept us well en­ter­tained and I was smil­ing till my head hit the pil­low as I re­counted the awe­some time we had at IbW this year.

We had at our dis­posal one sports tourer, the Du­cati Su­per­Sport S, and one ad­ven­ture tourer, the Tri­umph Tiger XCA, and nearly 500 kilo­me­tres to en­joy th­ese fan­tas­tic ma­chines

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