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