Two-wheeler stunting is no less than a fine art for those who understand the skill and intricacies involved in the act. The practitioners of this tricky vocation use their talent to make everyday machines perform spectacles of a grand scale. Maneuvering their machines acrobatically in unison with their bodies, they make their steeds do unimaginable things, adding an element of risk and danger which inevitably makes the audience gets spellbound.
In the Indian scheme of things, a one-of-a-kind initiative driven by TVS Racing is the wind beneath the wings of those who practice the art of Stunt Riding. Called APP (Apache Pro Performance), it promotes the prowess of the Apache RTR Series motorcycles among its audience and helps them connect to the essence of the brand – Racing DNA Unleashed.
Although popular on a global scale, Stunt Riding is a relatively lesser known sport in India. So when TVS Racing brought the sport with the grand APPX (Apache Pro Performance X) event, which set the record for the longest non-stop bike stunt show in India, it stoked the passions of the stunting fraternity to pursue the sport with abandon. Suddenly, there were queries from amateur practitioners to perfect their techniques and participate in the sport in a more professional manner. Clearly, there is a lot of ground for the development of this sport in India. So in a bid to answer some common questions of aspiring bike stunters, and provide them some help and guidance on the way forward, we spoke with individuals from the 5 teams that participated in the APPX. Here goes!
Let us begin with the basics – what does it take to be a stunt rider?
“It takes a lot of endurance, both physical and mental to pursue stunt riding,” says Zahid from Team Bangalore, “However, that is just about the rider. To pursue the sport, one needs to also invest time and money”. Bunty from Team Delhi agrees with Zahid, adding, that while the riders hold their sport in the highest esteem, they place equal importance on the two-wheeler that will be their companion in performing the stunts. “What it takes to be a stunt rider? The perfect bike! While the Delhi team has trained and perfected their techniques with the TVS Apache RTR, you can also do a wheelie using a TVS Victor or an XL100.”
So what exactly goes into the making of the perfect bike?
“Great initial pickup, strong chassis, good brakes and shock absorbers are a must – both TVS Apache RTR 180 and 200 4V are fantastic choices in the category,” says Vikas from Team Indore.
Sound fun enough, but why the apprehensions about the sport in India?
Zahid is somber as he reflects that the reason the sport is misunderstood in the country is because of irresponsible riders who perform at public places without proper permissions. “The hurdles are manifold,” says Zahid, “To begin with my family and close friends did not encourage my foray into stunt riding. Second, we never managed to get sponsors at the initial stage and had to pool in money for our bikes as well as proper equipment for us. It was only after the TVS Apache RTR brand began to support us that we could put a proper structure to our passion.”
Stunt riding is known to have a high probability of injuries. So how do the record-holding stunt riders tackle this?
“Injuries are a part of every sport, and all of us had to brave them in the initial stage of our career. We are always prepared for this. They key to minimizing the injuries is to double check safety measures and keep practicing”, says Tony from Team Jaipur.
What kind of practice and dedication does it require to perform in a big scale event like the Apache Pro Performance X where teams performed for 5 hours non-stop?
Bunty from Team Delhi say, “Events like APPX are really big, where riders are performing non-stop for 5 hours. In order to prepare for an event like this, you need to make sure that your bike is well maintained and does not malfunction during the event. DO NOT dehydrate yourself. Prepare a script of all the stunts that you are going to perform at the event and ensure proper coordination with your team mates. Last but not the least, don’t be nervous, enjoy the event!”
What about signature moves? Do signature moves help in fetching recognition for the troupe?
“Yes, signature moves do give us a lead in recognition. We usually record our stunts and promote it on social media. Earlier, stunt riders used to get inspiration from global riders but now that is changing. The riders from India are getting recognized within the stunt rider community and also across the country,” says Vikas from Team Indore.
These signature moves are backed by some signature techniques which require specific modifications to the motorcycles.
So what are the modifications which facilitate such signature moves?
Biju from Coimbatore says, “The 12 Bar or Wheelie Bar modification is one such mod, made for wheelies done exactly at 12 ‘o’ Clock position. We place it just above the backlight. For doing a basic wheelie, you can use your footbrake but if you are doing a wheelie while standing, an additional handbrake is required which can be fixed close to the clutch. To perform freestyle stunts, an additional footrest can be fixed above the pillion rider’s footrest. Another modification is to create a tank dent so that riders can do the wheelies easily by sitting on the tank. Finally, we increase the number of teeth of the sprocket so that the initial pickup will be higher.”
What makes the Indian stunting scene special or distinctive as compared to its global counterparts?
“Indian stunt riding is a distinct concept which does not exist outside our country. Individual acts gain precedence over group performance across the globe. Indian teams, on the other hand, place most focus on team coordination and execution,” says Vikas.
Is there something that’s an absolute must for the aspiring stunt riders?
Zahid summarizes it in plain simple terms, “Always place a huge priority on safety when practicing stunt riding. Do not practice around a crowd or at places which may lead to disturbance. Always use safety gear!”
We hope that those answers to some common questions about stunt riding were useful to you. If you are an aspiring bike stunt rider, and have any other questions to ask, shoot away through the comments section below, and we will do our bit to have them answered soon.