India's biggest biking festival, India Bike Week 2016 (IBW 2016), was attended by over 12,000 riders from across the country and is now done and dusted. Despite being in its 4th edition, IBW does have a long way to go before it truly becomes a festival for the biking brotherhood.
1. More Brands This Year
In the first two years of India Bike Week, the festival was a Harley Davidson dominated event and didn't really represent the larger biking community. That has really changed this year with new brands like Ducati, UM Motorcycles and Mahindra Two Wheelers debuting at the festival. Brands like Triumph and Indian Motorcycles also had a large number of riders participating this year. Although the Japanese bike makers and Royal Enfield are still missing, the growing number of brands is a healthy sign.
2. Dougie Lampkin Steals Show
12 time Moto Trail World Champion Dougie Lampkin had the crowds cheering to his stunts. He rode without a fuss around the event grounds, climbing and riding over every single obstacle. The big jump from the stage to the crowd was quite entertaining and the organisers will want to bring him back next year to showcase his skills.
3. CS Santosh At IBW 2016
The presence of the Indian who conquered Dakar- CS Santosh - was certainly a big crowd booster at India Bike Week 2016. Having participated twice and finishing it once, Santosh now has a growing fan following. He was seen mingling with fellow bikers sharing his experiences on endurance and motocross racing. He was also awarded for his Dakar conquest by the organisers which was heartening to see.
4. Women Power
The number of women riders participating in India Bike Week is growing and this year we saw atleast 20-30 of them. From the Diavels to the Speed Triples, the women looked quite a ease handling these big bikes. We do hope this will inspire more women riders to ride and be part of this biking festival.
5. Biker Clubs Growing
Over 200 biking clubs from across the country participated at this year's edition of India Bike Week. Some of them even had dedicated stands at the venue showcasing their bikes and accomplishments. Every club wasn't restricted to one bike maker but everything from the Bajaj Pulsar to the Kawasaki Ninja were on display.
1. No Helmets!
Bikers riding without helmets was the most common sight at India Bike Week. The organisers say riding inside the venue without helmets is ok as they want to show off as this is a festival. But we clearly disagree and want the organisers to be stricter and enforce the helmet without any leniency in future editions. Even bike makers need to ensure that riders without helmets will not be allowed inside the venue. One bike maker even told me that 'This is Goa'. That's quite an unfortunate attitude.
2. Lack Of Adrenaline Kicking Events
For India Bike Week to be truly a festival, the riders need to feel the rush with exciting events over 2 days. There were plenty of dull moments during the two days and bikers were heard complaining about the lack of action. They was hardly anything new to look forward to this year except the Tiger Training Academy.
3. New Venue
The organisers were forced to shift venues from the usual Vagator to Arpora at the last minute. From the hotels that we were put up into the stands at the venue, it lacked the excitement and the cool sea breeze that Vagator offered. Also, organisers should take this festival across India and make mini editions of India Bike Week.