The curious case of India Bike Week

By | February 23, 2016

First off, a little background about me. I don’t like cruisers, Royal Enfields, Harleys, the lot. I don’t like biking festivals, India Bike Week, Bike Festival of India, Intra-Uterine Device whatever. And I run this blog like John Oliver runs Last Week Tonight, without giving a single fuck, and getting a lot of them.

Today’s question is this:

Why does India Bike Week exist?

And the answer is this:

Because Harley wants HOGs to have a place to show-off, while other manufacturers use it as a stage to market their own products, and for the people behind IBW, it’s just good business. 

If you search online for motorcycle festivals in the world, one name stands out above all the rest: Sturgis. It’s probably the biggest such event in the world, with the 76th edition happening this year. There’s a remarkable connection between Sturgis and IBW, Harley Davidson.

Harley appears to be the biggest force behind both these events, and it’s easy to tell that by how overpowering their influence is. I’ve written about the preferential treatment HOGs get at IBW, and Sturgis is at least partially, if not completely, Harley’s bitch.

But why does a company that’s been making motorcycles for more than a century feel to need to organize these giant city-level traffic jams?

Marketing and advertisement.

Most manufacturers try to market their products on the merits of the said product. Speed, agility, power, looks, reliability, and cost of ownership, among other things, are what KTM and Suzuki and Kawasaki and Yamaha use to advertise and sell their products. But how do you sell a motorcycle that sucks at all of these attributes?

Build an aura around it, make it into something special, something more than just a motorcycle, and then pump money to brainwash people into believing your marketing bullshit.

Royal Enfield has used this technique since the beginning of universe, but they just copied Harley and created smaller, cheaper, shittier versions. Rider Manias are nothing more than India Bike Weeks for Bullet riders. Once enough number of people know about RMs and IBWs, they want to experience them at least once, and it doesn’t matter if they come back or not, because the next generation of brainwashed zombies is already looking forward to be disappointed.

It’s a self-sustaining shitfest.

But here’s the problem, IT WORKS. There are far too many gullible sobs around who’d believe anything and do anything to feel a little better about their life.

You can tell how convincing the marketing bullshit of these companies is by the fact that thousands of normal human beings show up at these “festivals”, get drunk on overpriced booze, eat roughly a tonne of dirt along with crappy overpriced food, walk through each other’s piss, shit and vomit, and still want to do this every fucking year.

Have you ever wondered why there’s no equivalent of India Bike Week in the car industry? Because there’s no manufacturer out there who’s still making old, leaky, under-powered cars in the name of tradition. There’s no place in India where car enthusiasts get together and get smashed, because nobody is paying money to convince them to.

It’s also a manifestation of putting your motorcycle on a pedestal and worshiping it, to convert it from something mechanical that helps you taste adventure, into a mystical collection of metal and fuel that apparently has a soul. Manufacturers with below-par products are the ones peddling this mindset, because they simply have to.

From a purely motorcycling standpoint, these events are next to useless, apart from the opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals. However, in my experience, when you do meet people who you like at the venue, your first thought is invariably to get the fuck out of that giant dust cloud, so you can at least talk in peace without some stupid music destroying your hearing or some fat assholes fighting at the next table.

And yet many people go, good people. I’ve done IBW twice now for fucks sake, and why? Because for many others like me, it’s an excuse to ride, a very moronic excuse, considering how dangerous the already dangerous roads of Goa become with so much more traffic, but an excuse nonetheless. If you’ve done one biking festival, you’ve done them all, but we still keep going, because we are eternally hopeful that somebody will understand what we really want.

Only Motorcycle Travelers Meet understands what we really want.

To the people behind these biking fuckfests, I have a new motto for you.

We know your bike sucks, just like your life, but come to us, get so drunk you can’t walk straight, rev the tits out of your bike in neutral, fight with people you’ve never met before, look at plenty of prepaid cleavage and thighs, eat shit, and come back again soon!

Here’s someone else who agrees.

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  • raj_pol

    Spot on bro. The only point I disagree is on the cars part -you would not believe the number of shitty cars that get dumped in our country. In fact most of our budget cars would not sell in any developed country in the world. Car owners are even greater morons (a lot of them) but then that is the way it is. Also, Harley’s are losing business in their home country and hence the move to other places like India.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Hehe 🙂

  • Buggi Avinash

    Bro, I must say you u did steal my WORDS !!! I wana meet you in person n treat you if you come down to Bangalore sometime…you just said what my heart felt by attending the IBW for the first time this year…and you said it perfect…they just a bunch of shit load CHUTHIYAS…!!! Plz get in touch..with me n lets talk ….

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Bangalore soon!

  • Shash

    Wow… Spot On Dose.
    Well I have not been to any of these big showoff parade of weirdo but I have seen the pics and heard stories a lot.
    Have vitnessed the very own ISF Pune where in similar trashing and wholeshit goes on. Anyway…
    But yes its an stupid excuse fr a lot to ride and choke Goa fr once in an year.
    I m already off all this nonsense but this is what I wd have written had I been there.
    Great peice.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Thanks!

  • LOL

  • Vivek Otari

    Though i have not been there, i have seen videos. Too many Harley’s compared to Non-Harleys. The company literally owns the show.

    Sorry for Mr. Burman’s experience but he has nailed it.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      He sure has.

  • Priyankka Dutta

    I couldn’t agree more and was in the middle of my own blogpost about bikes and bikers in India when someone shared this article with me. FYI I have never met any happy reveler of IBW and I have insider folks at respective brands URGING me not to buy their bike cz as you said… And true to their egos… Its the worst in the category… Kudos!!! Loved the article.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      🙂

  • batatawada

    Went to the IBW for the first time, though only for 1 day (paid 3500 for full two days via bookmyshow because i’m a moron).
    Observations –
    1. Too many harleys
    2. Overpriced consumables
    3. Good place to buy riding gear / bike accessories which I wouldn’t otherwise find in Pune (also they have discounts, apparently)
    4. Who plays EDM / House at a Biker event? It should be METAL!!
    5. Custom bikes were cool.
    6. Overall it was like a Bacardi Weekender with bikes.

    Meh.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Meh indeed.

    • David Inder Masilamani

      4. Who plays EDM / House at a Biker event? It should be METAL!! … I was happy to do one hour of rock on day 2… DJ Blackjack!

  • Norvin

    You spoke my mind. This pretty much summarizes what happens at IBW. I’ve been to 3 out of 4 IBW’s and the only thing that makes me do that each year apart from that lovely ride from Blr to Goa is the MTM stalls, BIG Trip, Classic bike restorers and a few custom bike builders. Every thing else is a proper propaganda

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Indeed.

  • Umang Shankar

    What a whiny bitch, come to BOBMC Ridermania next by RTMC Bangalore, an only Fest in the world, yes you heard it right, World….. That’s run completely by the community and for community only… Yes corporates come, only Cz they allow so, to off load a bit of cost from the rider… And yes whenever it seems feasible there can be no sponsored event….
    So research bro, ride bro, travel bro, writing english just won’t cut the cake for every time….

    • David Inder Masilamani

      its a Bulleteer only event… please mention in CAPS!

  • rishabh kaushik

    It’s not that bad. During IBW, density of fucktards on other epic routes is negligible. That helps.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Lol, agreed 🙂