Contributed by: Argho Ajay Mukherji
With the two wheeler industry heating up in India, motorcycle manufacturers are trying to make the best out of it. Sales are soaring up every year & thanks to the new trend of motorcycling events & marketing gimmicks to engage with the customers, the trick is really working for every manufacturer. Though Royal Enfield has been organising rides for their customers since more than a decade now, their annual Leh-Ladakh trip also known as The Himalayan odyssey is super hit with their loyal customers & every year Royal Enfield registers 100+ riders from all across the country. Also the annual RE owners meet the “Rider Mania” has paved ways for several other biking festivals in the country for ex. India Bike Week & India Superbike Festival.
Recently Performance Factory got the chance to ride with the KTM Mumbai team to Guhagar beach, an event organised exclusively for KTM Duke 390 & RC 390 owners also known as Orange Tour. My ride for the event was the new kid on the block, the KTM RC 390 & trust me that smile inside the biker heart of mine was quite enigmatic. Post a regular briefing session on the do’s & don’ts during the ride, we stated off a little late as per the pre-decided schedule from the KTM Khanjurmarg showroom.
As we touched the NH17, we were hit with quagmire of heavy truck & state bus traffic, not at all making life easier for the group of 20+ riders. Now here is the catch, how does the RC 390 performs & handles this crunchy situation? Frankly, if the roads are smooth in spite of a heavy but moving traffic you will definitely love the handling of the RC but what will drain you is the quick & regular gear shifting which starts bothering you pretty soon. Post Wadkhal naka, the turn towards the old Mumbai-Goa highway is a pure bliss for riders specially with the KTMs because this route offers you mix roads of long straight empty stretches of newly laid tarmac, great twisties to test your cornering skills & multiple options of road side dhabas to feed the ravenous biker inside you.
The distance to Guhagar from Mumbai is approximately 325+ kilometres which mostly consists of motorcycle friendly roads except few patches where the road repairing sessions are on & as far as I know it’s on since last two years now. Post our arrival in Guhagar we were very warmly received by the KTM officials who ensured everyone’s weariness is well taken care of. The setup at the Privilege resort in Guhagar ensured that a great evening is waiting for us & within a time frame of 90 mins everyone was back to the main assembly lawn eagerly waiting for the party to begin. The evening was kicked off by Mr. Mayanak Bhatt, the service head of KTM Mumbai & Goa. Some interesting brand videos followed by a small DIY session about the Dukes & RC 390 had really set the right mood for the evening. One interesting fact he disclosed during his session was the 24/7 road side assistance provided by the KTM service team within a range of 100 kms in the entire country.
Surprisingly my GoPro videos were an instant hit & it was great to see that the riders were actually very keen to learn about the right riding postures & gear shifting techniques. Once it was announced that the bar is open then rest as we all know it becomes a history with motorcyclists, but me actually being a teetotaller I was keener about the Malvani fish fry which was being served at the dinner table. The morning saw an early visit to the Guhagar beach by all the riders with their KTMs & few actually tired their luck on the sand trying to push the dukes through the trenches, what happened next stays in Guhagar.
As always, the ride back to the pavilion is always very disheartening, a late evening entry into the city followed by few cups of tea & coffee & then finally waving good bye to the epic Orange Tour. The bad part about the whole experience was that I had to give back the keys of the RC 390 with a heavy heart & a soar bum, but then I think the RC had already struck a chord with me in this 650+ kms ride. Overall a very good show put up by Mr. Sanjiv Prajapati, Manager of KTM East Mumbai, Mr. Amit Shah, Manager of KTM Goregaon, Mr. Ashish Trivedi, Manager of KTM Nariman Point & we hope to bring you some more interesting ride stories from the Orange Tours in future.