Off-road motorcycles have evolved a lot, from the past few years in India. As lots of manufacturers are bringing more off-road focused motorcycle in India and people are getting more into it but proper competition bikes are still rare in India.
On 22 of august, I decided to join a ride organized by Adventure Rides® in Delhi. I reported the venue at 7, there I met Philippe Geelhand (enduro and Rally rider who participated and completed the prestigious Red Bull Romaniacs, and the Belgian and French Off-Road Championship during several years. 🇷🇴 ) Philippe handed me over a brand new KTM 450 excf 2020 model.
We started the ride from his place at 7:30 am, we were 4 riders on the KTM 450. Our first stop was at the fuel station. We filled up the tanks and headed straight to Aravali hills, which was around 8 km from there. Riding the 450 on the tarmac was strange with knobby tires but the bike was really fast, the acceleration was aggressive, the torque kicks in early and it pulls all over to the redline. The bike is tall but with a slim seat, there was not much problem, riding it on the tarmac.
After reaching the starting point of our trail, Philippe demonstrated a few techniques to ride better on trails. Then we started riding, I was behind him, learning and following him. The initial ride was smooth, it was mostly soft road with loads of corners. Later the terrain got tighter. We encountered gravel and slushy roads for almost the next 10 to 15 km, which was ok and I was trying to ride fast and match my speed with Philippe. The bike felt completely perfect on off-road, it was turning well, breaks were sharp and the grip level was absolutely fine. It was like a dream off-road set up for me, everything was working incredibly well. Power of the motorcycle was more than adequate on those trails as I hardly shifted to higher 4 and 5 gears forget about 6th gear. I was completely enjoying and singing my favorite song inside the helmet because I am from motocross background but I never experienced such ferocious motorcycles before.
Later after we rode for 15 kms, we headed to peaceful and quiet place in wilderness only 30min, from crowdy Delhi). The terrain got a little trickier wherein we encountered slightly higher hill climbs and bushes trails but we all did it and reached our first stop which was near the lake. The place was beautiful and there was no sign of humans around there. We sat there, had few energy drinks, water, and interacted with each other for a while.
Philippe made it clear this time, that trails are going to be much more technical and struggle from there. We all agreed to it and started again with all the energy and enthusiasm. Later we saw big 2 feet bushes and the whole place was surrounded by trees, who’s branches were troubling my action camera which was mounted on the top of my helmet. This terrain was challenging as we couldn’t identify the terrain as it was covered with bushes and there were lots of stones and ditches hidden inside them.
Later our pace dropped due to the technicalities of the trail but the fun began. Philippe being a great teacher helped me and other riders a lot to deal with those trails. As I was not carrying a hydration pack, I stopped multiple times to drink water from. The bottle which I was carrying in my bag. We came across some steep hill climbs covered with big rocks, but Philippe helped all of us to cross that as well and after almost riding 10 km we came on the main road and stopped for water and energy drinks. By that time we all thought that we were done for the day and Philippe came and told us we still have to accomplish another trail. We rode more southwards after crossing the Gurgaon-Faridabad HW. We took a rocky trail after the stone crushing factory and rode to the Panikot Lake.
We took 15 mins a break and got back on the motorcycle. The part was comparatively easy and fast. By that time I also got used to the motorcycle and was feeling confident riding it.
We did some fast trails and reached another beautiful lake (Panikot Lake). We clicked pictures and exchanged experiences with each other for 15 mins. The last part of the trail was phenomenal, I enjoyed every bit of it and gave my best to ride faster. We all reached back safely to the point. where we picked the motorcycles all drenched in sweat but all of us had a great experience and for me was the best off-road ride of my life.
I must say that the whole ride was well planned by Philippe and there was no commotion at all. The way he decided the route starting from easy to suffer and the places he took were outstanding. Philippe knows by heart over 200km of amazing off-road trails in Haryana and can adapt the track that you want to challenge in terms of terrain difficulty and riding time.
With the end of lockdown restrictions, you can easily join the first “KTM Riders Academy” in India that Adventure Rides® organizes with I AM ADVENTURE® to improve your off-road abilities. First Off-road Camps are organised in Gurgaon, Munsyari (Uttarakhand), and Manali (HP).