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Christina
01-29-2007, 02:23 PM
Motorcycle diaries

Stunts and speed aren’t the target for these riders, they drive purely for passion

Monalisa Sen

Bangalore’s Nikhil Hegde hardly looks the conventional biker you’d see in TV commercials or films. This 21-year-old electronics and communications student from the city’s MS College of Engineering doesn’t believe in sporting leather jackets, spiked boots or even fancy helmets. Speed thrills him too, like all youngsters, but the choked roads of the city hardly ever give him a chance to rev up his powerful Yamaha R1000 to even one-tenth of the 300 kmph it is capable of reaching.

Almost two years ago, Nikhil, an engineer, decided to put his superbike to better use. He set up FrenzyRyderz, India’s only official superbike group into ‘extreme street riding and freestyle stunts’. He says: “My passion for stunts has rubbed on to a number of other youngsters in the city and already we are a big group. All of us share the passion for superbikes, and when you don’t have the space and time to do on these bikes what they are famous for, this is the next best thing you do to enjoy these marvelous pieces of engineering.”

Most of the members of FrenzyRyderz are college students or fresh graduates who meet regularly and help their buddies hone the skills of stunt biking. An avid biker, Nikhil bought his blue Yamaha R1 with his savings and “some contribution” from his father. Says he: “These bikes are expensive and stylish, but for the adventure it gives you, the price is worth it. At 6.17 seconds, I have the second-fastest timing in Bangalore for a 200m wheely.” As expected, his parents weren’t too excited about Nikhil’s dare-devil acts on an “expensive” bike, but they conceded when they saw their son’s rising popularity. “I participated in a Wheelie competition at the Bharat Petroleum Speed Drag competition without telling my parents. But when I won the first prize in the event, even they got hooked on to the sport. Since then, I haven’t looked back.”

FrenzyRyderz’s popularity has been soaring steadily in technology-crazy Bangalore and now the group is planning a number of bigger events to take the sport to different parts of the country. In early 2006, one of Nikhil’s friends, Rishi Mohan, shot videos of the group doing their stunts and within six months, their trailer video was launched on the Internet.

It was a big success: within two months, the site recorded more than than 15,000 hits. Says Nikhil: “We have collected funds on our own to propagate this sport and make it more popular among youngsters in the country.” The group recently met Bollywood hunk John Abraham and did a promo with him for Radio Mirchi.

Nikhil says membership to FrenzyRyderz is governed by two simple things: one, you need to have a bike with an engine capacity of 400cc or more, and second, you need to share the same passion for bikes which everybody else in the group has. Stunt riding skills, says Nikhil, isn’t necessity to be a part of the group.

Adds he: “These marvellous pieces of engineering come at a price not many can afford. It is an expensive hobby especially in a country like India. But there is so much untapped biking talent in the country. The government can do its bit by building small time racetracks, and not chase us down at midnight and fine us for nothing.”

Powerful enough to touch 100 kmph in just under 3 seconds, Neehar Patil, a young doctor, says these bikes are not just about good looks, or machoism.

Says his friend and fellow member Rahul Mansabdar: “Stunt driving is always dangerous and even a small crash is enough to wipe out lakhs from our pockets. Most of us often end up saving our pocket money for several months to just get the bikes out of the garage. Sometimes a crash can also mean losing our beloved bike forever. Also, it is not always the crashes that eat up all the money. Even the daily maintenance costs of these are very high. For example, a new rear tire for these bikes costs Rs 16,000. And then, most of the spare parts are not available in the country since these bikes are manufactured abroad.” A businessman by profession, Rahul certainly seems to juggle his finances well!

Sometimes, the riders also install additional kits on the bikes to make it perform according to their tastes and dynamics. Says Sumanth SV, another member of the group: “These bikes run only on high performance fuels and require smooth metal roads to perform. Their mileage per litre of fuel is terribly bad, but that becomes a secondary concern when you are getting the adrenaline rush no other vehicle can ever give you.”

Nikhil and his friends have perfected the art of stunt biking. Says he: “We have developed our own way of doing the wheelies. We have perfected the art of standing up on our foot pedals or even on our seats before pulling up that front wheel in the air. Although we mainly target the youth for the kind of show we put up, its quite amazing to listen to the screams from even senior citizens.”

Adds Nikhil: “You cannot ever predict accidents. We at FrenzyRyderz believe in safety. We never stunt or ride without a helmet and always make sure that we are riding within the permissible speed limits. We want to become role models for all those who are interested in performing stunts on bikes. This is our own way to spread the message of road safety and respect for the traffic police.”



URL: http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=152938