Initially a kid pedaled a three-wheeled minibike, then went around the neighborhood on a bicycle when he felt ready for the two-wheeled fun. The bicycle was the ideal vehicle—light, swift, and didn’t need gas. Two strong legs were all it took to get a rider to places. In a matter of time the lovable, tame street machine became not good enough for finding new roads and discovering what “riding free” really felt like. He was good and ready for the biker culture.
The memory of that first touch was incredible. That glow in his eyes would be etched on his face and stay there. He places his feet onto the footboards. He can hear his heart beating faster, feel the smashing shortness of his breath. He settles into an easy cruising slouch and doesn’t bother about the windblast. He is now armed for inexhaustible adventures.
The 13th Inside Racing Bike Fest and Trade Show, billed as Asia’s only motorcycle show, that kicked off last weekend at the World Trade Center in Pasay City was exactly that: all choppers glory of two-wheeled road rippers guaranteed to deliver more power, more performance, more swagger, and more fun. The event offered test rides, mods, battery, riding jackets, gloves, cover, gears, wheels, helmets, performance parts and accessories, an inventory of high-quality components, and aftermarket support. The venue filled up with a significant collection of motorcycles in a plethora of body styles from entry-level to top-of-the-line bikes capable of disgorging deafening exhaust barks and blistering acceleration that creates earthquakes where surface and rubber come in contact. The show had all the credentials. In basketballese, it was a LeBron James kind of slam dunk. Or a mini choppers Woodstock.
Its stable of motorcycles is hard to resist. There are always those in a group that attract a major crowd, the ones that you can’t take your eyes off them. The big boy of the bunch, a hulking BMW GS, was a big spectators puller—massive like a rampaging black rhino on a steroid overload. Then there’s the Suzuki Raider R150, an uber cool beauty, good-looking like a piece of art. It gets high points for craftsmanship even when viewed from afar. And then there’s the Royal Enfield ready to sledgehammer anything that gets in its way. It’s a beast of a chopper, but a handsome, desirable beast all right.
A pair of interesting items that grabbed a little more attention than usual were a 2014 Royal Enfield Twinspark 350 and a 2016 Scrambler Ducati 800 cc. Both are custombuilts from STKD Customs. The Royal Enfield was fabricated with an ultimate surfboard rack for owner JB Borromeo, a surfing enthusiast. Its body structure also got several enhancements—gas tank, mufflers, rim mags, and tires. A spirited ocean completes the outdoor adventure. Borromeo’s other truelove, the 2016 Scrambler Ducati 800 that he calls a copy racer which were put together and tailored according to his idea of a trophy possession—mufflers, windshield, mags, shock absorbers, and custom seat—has a special parking spot, in his heart, and taken out only to step into expos limelights.
Each of the machines in the show were clearly tooled for efficiency … and effect. Every detail added reflects each manufacturer’s idea of how a machine should stand out with a distinct look and keep its tradition of quality workmanship alive. In time, they may be repaired, modified, and restored, but each is built to survive the test of rust and time and will still do duty as a reliable working companion. As such, each ride is going to be one pleasurable journey back to the pat when young friends William Harley and neighborhood brothers Arthur, Walter, and William Davidson thought of something that would give them speed more than pedaling their bicycles in Wisconsin, USA in the late 1800s.
A little motorcycle history … The first mass produced “bike” was created by Hildebrand and Wolfmuller in 1894. It was also the first time the “bike” was called motorcycle. German inventors Gotleib Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach were the first to use petroleum to fuel it. Indian motorcycles were produced in 1901 then followed by Harley-Davidson two years later. These days, names like BMW, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha (Japan) and Hero MotoCorp (India), Triumph, Royal Enfield (England) Ducati, KTM, are thronging the streets looking good and going fast. Honda, with its catchy “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” created the market for visually attractive motorcycle, well crafted, and affordable mode of commute which radically changed what was once an outlaw image of riding a motorcycle. Hollywood films greatly influenced that tough rider image best exemplified by “Hells Angels”, an all-male global biker club known for its brawling, ruthless, and violent culture pattern.
Motorcycles have now become a mainstream form of transportation in the Philippines, complementing the everyday lives of those who ride them: fast food deliveries, courier services, the Highway Patrol Group, tricycles, commuters to work, and the local barangay patrols. Street-wise and city-friendly, capable of gliding through a crowd of hippopotamic vehicles on the wide open highways, motorcycles can overskip potholed, corrugated surfaces and get around tight hairpins with ease. Also, its tiny dimensions allow for effortless parking in confined spaces. Motorcycles are sparing with fuel which is a bonus to riders worrying about increasing fuel prices. Happily for environmentalists, too, electric motorcycles, very attractive to the female market, ride virtually silent and are emission free.
Photos by Diana Noche
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