superbike in india

Should you ever buy a Superbike in India?

I never ride anybody else’s motorcycle. I’ve been biking for well over 7 years now, and till last Sunday, the biggest motorcycle I had ever ridden was my dusty little old Duke 390. Have you ever asked your friend for a “test ride” of her sultry hot girlfriend? No? Then why his bike? There are a lot of reasons why I think that’s a bad idea: 

  1. It’s pointless: Riding somebody’s bike for a few kilometers doesn’t tell you shit about shit. In fact, you can’t tell shit about shit even if you ride somebody’s motorcycle a hundred kilometers.
  2. It’s unsafe: Every bike, like every girl, has a different personality. Some always want to please you and keep you happy, others try to kill you at every chance they get. You can never be sure what trouble you are getting onto.
  3. It’s cheating: So obviously when you ride somebody’s bike, they’ll ride yours. Do you really want that to happen? Do you think your machine would like that? Try convincing your better half for a one night wife-swap, you’ll get the answer.
  4. Why?: Unless John Britten rises from the dead and specifically asks for you by name to test ride the Britten 1000 on the Nurburgring, I can’t imagine any situation in which you would have a good reason to give up your own machine for something else.

Test rides are different.

Test rides are different because those bikes don’t belong to a person. As bad as I may feel about them, they are like porn stars that are meant to take some pounding, it’s kinda in the job profile. Test rides are also quite pointless, unless you get to ride them over a week, which is nearly impossible. What they are good for though are speeding, profile photos and bragging rights.

A nutcase like me who’s constantly pissing everybody off obviously doesn’t get to do a lot of test rides. In fact I’ve only been able to do that with 2 machines, the Duke 390 and the RC390. The Duke because I was going to fucking buy it, the RC because of KTM Kanjurmarg’s manager Mr. Sanjeev, who’s a really nice guy and let me have some fun on it.

I doubt he’ll be doing that mistake again, since I took the RC from Kanjurmarg to Airoli and then back, when I was supposed to go till the next light and make a U-turn.

Fast forward half a year, and I got this opportunity to test ride Kawasaki’s entire range in India. The following bikes were available at Kawasaki Palm beach:

  • Z800
  • Z1000
  • Ninja 1000
  • Versys 1000
  • ZX10R
  • ZX14R

I thought I’ll ride the Versys 1000 and the ZX14R, because it won’t make any difference anyway what you take over a 300m service road. I genuinely wanted to check out the Versys for its touring capabilities, the 14R was just meant for some fun and some swag.

I didn’t get to ride either.

It’s a funny story! So we reached the showroom, and all the bikes were lined up on the road, except the Versys. Turns out some walking bag of cash biker came by that morning, rode the Versys, and bought it, cash. So it was no longer available for a test ride. It was too hot, definitely too hot for full riding gear. I filled in the form, gave it to the lady behind the desk, and thought I’ll ride the 14R and fuck off from there.

I was given a token for the Z800.

The logic was that my current bike is a 390, so I obviously should start with something small. Well, point taken. I waited and waited as people took the Z800 out for the ride, and then finally got to plough it. I didn’t feel anything special, which was expected over such a short road lined with kids popping wheelies on their cycles and old people walking around in random directions. Did manage to wildly fishtail in second gear though, which was cool.

So once I was done with the Z800, I thought I had “proved” that I can ride the 14R.

Me: “I’m done with the Z800, I’ll take the 14R now.”

Lady: “No sir, you can’t take the 14R.”

Me: “What? Why?”

Lady: “You won’t be able to handle that bike.”

Me: *Laughing on the outside but feeling like somebody just cut my balls off on the inside*

I’m not a big guy, 5’8″, lean, 60 kgs. I kinda get why somebody would think I can’t handle something that weighs 200 kgs more than me and pulls 200 horses. Any good biker knows size doesn’t matter, but like every other girl in the universe, it totally mattered to the one behind that desk.

In an attempt to salvage some pride and some use for sweating my ass off for an hour, I chose the Z1000. I’m not sure what would’ve happened if I had asked for the ZX10R, but we’ll just let that hang in there as something to wonder about in future when I get high.

As expected, the Z1000 was no different from the Z800, or for that matter my Duke 390 or a Pulsar 150 or a TVS Heavy Duty Super XL. The only thing I noticed was how smooth both the Zs were, how easy it was to pull from 40-140 in 6th gear, something that the Duke absolutely sucks at.

What were we talking about again? Oh ya, should you ever buy a Superbike in India?


It’s absolutely useless, you would never be able to use even 25% of the power that these death machines have to offer. When I say death machines, I am not saying it in some sweet, metaphorical way. Anything that makes over 100 horses and doesn’t come with Traction Control is bound to kill you someday. Nobody has that kind of patience and self-control to tame these beasts, apart from monks, and everybody knows monks don’t ride superbikes, they ride Ferraris.

44 thoughts on “Should you ever buy a Superbike in India?”

      1. Your writing style is witty as you know that.. But as long as superbikes are concerned i think you cant use them to the full potential anywhere in the world except race tracks..!
        In india you can atleast accelerate to a desired speed limit under control but with strict speed limits in other countries you sometimes feel that you were just better of taking a public transport and utilise your time doing some other productive stuff.
        If i talk about Australia the speed limit is 60km/h on inner roads and highways its 100km/h. So basically you are just testing your patience to the point where you just ejaculate and end up getting a hefty infringement..!!!

  1. Why was this smaller than usual? Effect of getting balls cut from inside? Also, why no more pics of the Kawasaki lady?

  2. If the author thinks that he doesn’t has the patience and self control, he shouldn’t generalise it. Mentioning that Z800 and Z1000 are same… and that doing 40 to 140 in 6th gear….. shows that the author needs to get back to basics of riding and understanding different bikes….

  3. I know everyone is thinking it so I’m just gonna say it – you should have asked her what else can I ride around here (and winked)

  4. Its subjective & more than that personal choice to own Superbike in India… to explain in your language a normal shitty ass Titan watch shows the same time as highclass slutty ass Rado watch still people buy it why?? because then can & want to…

    When it comes to Superbikes or Supercars practicality is never in consideration for 75% of population…

    As far as danger involved in riding these machines involved its simple “Everyone thinks riding a superbike is like getting busy with 5’10 busty Brazilian bombshell…In reality its like getting into cage with Pro MMA nutcase who will put you one your candyass for your every mistake you make”

    PS: Thanks for lovely snap with Blade… & for record I can ripp th Japanese Bombshell all day long 🙂

    1. LOL, I know man practicality goes to shit when the heart wants something, but damn those things are so unbelievably impractical for our road conditions.

      I’m sure you can rip the bombshell 😉

  5. totally agree on this one yet again @akhil! ive been getting forwards of R1’s and 675’s getting wrecked on the streets..i mean whats the point of buying such powerful machines and landing up in accidents!!!

  6. Pretty opinionated post. No harm in that. But as someone said, you really cannot generalise the superbike experience and say its impractical.

    I have had good friends and good luck and have ridden quite a few superbikes across various categories, and never found them ‘unworthy’ of being ridden on Indian roads.

    Are they quick? Yes, definitely. Are they difficult? Yes, to the uninitiated, it seems difficult. But I personally feel that in these cases the onus is upon the person riding them to get his technique right. No two bikes ride the same. Hence jumping from a Duke 390 onto a Z800 and it feeling similar is a concept I personally cannot grasp.

    Its an oxymoron basically when you say they are ‘regular bikes’ because its so contradictory. At the same time, on the one primitive level, its a motorcycle with two wheels, and engine and a chassis, its so similar!

    Hence comes the part about ‘understanding’ how to ride each machine effectively be it a TVS Super King, or the ZX14r.

    Nothing against your blog, good posts, and great humour. But this one post I do not agree with.


    1. Haha, I like that you don’t agree with it Sagar 🙂

      I say that I felt the Duke and Zs to be the same because the place I got to test ride didn’t allow me to do ANYTHING of what the Z is capable of. I still believe that superbikes are a fatal combination with India roads, simply because we have far too many variables, and adding a crotch rocket to the equation doesn’t really help in any way.


      1. True that. Which makes us Indians far better in terms of reflexes and quick thinking. As for road etiquette or rules, well we’re a long way off.

        That being said if I buy a superbike, I wont be riding it at WOT all the time. Just like you can never use your Duke 390’s full potential ever within city limits.

        What I would actually buy it for is definitely the appeal and power, the advanced chassis and brake systems, and the simple pleasure of ownership. If I keep thinking about utilising the bike’s full potential all the time, then I’m missing the point. I doubt people abroad even do that.

        We have tracks, and some decent highways for that, racetracks being the ideal place for such stuff. Also the wealth of information one can collate after a few trackdays is invaluable.

        So finally my point is its definitely harder to own and use a superbike on a daily basis in India, but definitely not impractical or unwise.

        1. Yeah, we can go anywhere in the world and ride like a boss!

          Maybe it’s my personal point of view, although I’ve seen a lot of others make the same mistakes as well. When you have so much power, at some point you always do something stupid. If you are lucky, you survive, if not, something bad happens. Full potential is absolutely impossible!

          The superbike ownership experience must be rich and awesome, and the feel you get while riding these machines is superb. Do you need that much power is the question I think 🙂

          1. That’s what’s meant by ‘with great power comes great responsibility’

            *stare into sunset with tough looks on face, trying to convey the inner emotional turmoil*

            Well, humour aside, as you move from a scooty to a motorcycle with gear, its quite a jump as to what all you can do with the machine. As you keep climbing the ladder, the whole business keeps getting more and more serious. That happens everywhere.

            I personally do not think of a superbike as a 200bhp crotch rocket. It can be a Duke 200, a Duke 390, a Ninja 650 or a fire breathing monster, but only when I want it to. That is the crucial point. So as long as things are taken well and slow and you have a couple of thousand kms under your belt, your perception and range of control changes. That is when you move up in increments.

            So the way you’re objectively viewing the matter, without the temperament, I’ll agree and say they do not make suitable machines for people not ready to ‘learn riding’ them or learning to harness that power. But with some wisdom, some skill, some technique, and a mind eager to learn more, they make beautiful machines for mostly any city with tarmac/asphalt roads.

          2. Agreed, but in my experience, no matter how much wisdom, no matter how many kilometers under your belt, no matter how much skills, shit always happens 🙂 Shit on a small bike is OK, shit on a 200hp monster is death.

  7. A man after my own heart.. I completely agree with you man.. Which is why I’m sticking to the ninja 300… I can upgrade to a liter bike anytime I want but I won’t coz of everything that u mentioned up there.. Glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks this way.. Unless it’s a track only bike I don’t think I’ll ever upgrade to a liter for the road in India..

    1. I agree! Although it’s likely that in future I’ll get tempted and buy a superbike just for show off and then probably die smiling on it 😀

  8. I think I’ll buy one. And that’s mainly because –

    A) Its really tough to afford a supercar (for me) and one should have either a superbike or a supercar just to know what engineers can really do when let loose.
    B) Having power reserves is a thing I fancy (sometimes more than using full power).

    P.S. – I’ve got KTM Duke 200 at the moment.

    1. I know mate, I would too, I’m talking more from an objective point of view. However that doesn’t change the fact that it’ll be a potentially suicidal decision 🙂

  9. Question : Should you ever buy a Superbike in India?
    Answer : Yes

    why monster (Yamaha sponsor) ? that monster is bigger that does not mean it’s better. At same price Red Bull is smaller but better. (size doesn’t matter)

  10. There’s one reason , it seems, why Kawasaki is getting a lot of bikes sold, and you have shown that reason here 😉

    When it comes to passions, practicalities and other mundane stuff like needs take a back seat. No one needs even a Duke 200, for that matter. But some of us do want 200hp propelling us from naught-to-onslaught in oh-my-god seconds.

    For some of us, it’s a bucket list item, to own a superbike once in our wretches wage-slave lives.
    For some of is, it’s a proxy/next-best-thing substitute to something we always dreamt of, but couldn’t do – like fly fighter jets.

    If we all lived within our needs, forget SBKs and supercomputers and cellphones, we wouldn’t have bicycles, calculators and landlines even, and we’d still be grunting in our deer-skins , clobbering you over the head with a stick to take over your cave and piss all over your cave-man drawings and neanderthal blog posts, like this one 😀

    1. I know, and I understand that! We need almost nothing of what we own these days, that’s the way shit goes down so that’s the way it does 🙂

  11. Hey Akhil
    Took delivery of my very own white Duke 390 on 30th Jan. Ran it in for 600 odd km, got it serviced, rode it down to Mumbai from Ahmedabad on 8th Feb!
    I dunno if you remember or not but I was the CGT owner who so valiantly defended RE in that super famous article of yours… Long story, but I ended up selling it for exactly what I bought it for and ended up wheels-less, finally landing up in the KTM showroom.
    Wanna meet up, chat a bit, get some insights into this machine man… If you’re free, drop in a mail and I’ll get in touch with you.
    Btw, what about the newer ones with the slipper clutch and the softer handgrip and stuff?? Big boner killer man. Keep thinking ‘if only I’d waited a couple of weeks’.
    Anyway, hit me back man. And keep writing…I’m a big fan of riderzone!

    1. Hey Sarthak! Glad you know you’ve joined the KTM club 🙂

      Don’t worry about the slipper clutch and shit mate, it doesn’t matter. All of these things are very slight improvements that are aimed squarely at obliterating the Ninja competition.

      I’ve left Mumbai now, trying to become a traveling wandering writer 🙂 Will definitely give a holler if I’m there.

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  13. Hay Akhil, u doin dude?, while I normally like many of your highly opinionated posts/rants, I wanna for the fuck of it give my 2 cents on this piece. Firstly there is major mismatch of your article and the content, if your article was “How to influence SBK sales women and win test rides?” I would have had a good laugh and passed on, unfortunately-well, it is your article, so you get to choose whatever the heading will be, anyway’s, refuting your points from my experience, and I’m sure my experience holds good for many riders who use bigger bikes (lets say 600cc and above) for regular commutes, shopping sometimes, weekend rides , tours etc . So i moved to a bigger bike a year or more back, and within a month, wrung the throttle a little hard when my tyres were cold, tried to swerve a rogue autowala who came out of nowhere,lost my rear and crashed, this is where I agree with you- patience levels plays a major role for any SBK owner. What I do not agree with you on is, everything else. Riding a SBK in Indian cities is not meant to feel like at Isle of Mann, because lets face it,they arent.Now should you own a SBK in India?, If you can afford to buy one, maintain it well, spend good money on gear and ride like a normal bloke and not a dickhead on a fresh shot of Viagra, yes,..why, the hell not??.Riding a SBK in India is a continual and incremental experience, when you learn to ride within the torque band of the bike in the city and you slowly master the throttle response in various situations, its pure joy like nothing else, to ride a SBK well, you need to be fit, that pushes me to be healthy, talk about your passion influencing good lifestyle choices. I can go on and on man,but, I’m done. I wish you safe riding as always, take care.

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