At ViaTerra we don’t just make motorcycling products, we don’t even just use these products; we actually live these products. That is the secret sauce of living in real world everyday conditions and the essence of creating products for the end user and not for a catalogue!
This spirit of ViaTerra was recently played out by Dhanush and Akash from the core team. The duo rode down to Pune from the Nashik HQ for a weekend of mud, slush, rock and root. Pune Offroad Expedition beckoned, as they set sail on the Hero Xpulse and the Royal Enfield Himalayan.
The ‘Boring’ Asphalt!
Long before any dirt could be munched for breakfast, they first had to get the tedious road section from Nashik to Pune out of the way. Dhanush reminisces of the time when the road used to be terrible and therefore fun on a bike like the Xpulse. But now with smooth 4-lane highways, it is just another mundane activity.
The Xpulse felt like a fish out of water on the road. But the Himalayan was in its element. Especially considering it was the ‘backup’ vehicle and was heaving all the luggage. All neatly and securely packed away with ViaTerra’s hard parts especially built for the Himalayan. With the Himalayan set to do the heavy lifting, the Xpulse was running light with just the ViaTerra Enduro Trailpack.
Built to Design…
Dhanush is part of the ViaTerra design team and has worked on a number of designs from the lineup. But when he is out on a motorcycle, he just enjoys the ride. Even though at the back of his mind, there is always a bit of product analysis happening. He tries to use and test the products as any end user would, i.e., without excessively focussing on the luggage or riding gear. Because as an ardent motorcyclist, even when your focus is entirely on riding and getting the maximum out of your machine, your experience allows you to find niggles in all the products you are using. Be it the motorcycle or the gear. Dhanush had the Corbett riding gear and Roost gloves for tackling the dirt at the event.
Akash who was riding the Himalayan was equipped with the hard parts made specifically for this model. He also had the Quick Release saddle stay, side stand extender and a Fly Magnetic tank bag. The ViaTerra Boot Bag was also used to carry the extra pair of dirt riding boots for the event. Akash was decked up in a Munro jacket and pant set and was using the Holeshot gloves.
Just upgrading your motorcycle gear is not enough to make you a better rider. You also need to upgrade your skills. Dhanush, who has prior experience of riding the Raid de Himalaya and a few other small off-road events, knew what to expect. There is a reason why he goes by the moniker, Driftjockey. For Akash, it was a first-time experience of tackling an event like this. He had a steep learning curve in front of him, steeper than the climbs on the western ghats that he tackled!
The event was 2 days, with gravel roads, forest roads, technical trails and a whole lot of slush thrown in for good measure. With the right equipment, it was a pleasure to ride. There were a bunch of experienced off-roaders who were happy to help all the newbies. There was also support and help in case anybody got lost, injured or needed technical assistance. The latter much in demand, as the newer motorcyclists were burning their bike’s clutch every time they got bogged down. Dhanush’s Enduro trailpack and the toolkit within, played saviour for many such motorcyclists, as he could help adjust their clutch so that they could ride on.
Riding in such conditions helps you hone your skill by improving your throttle control, understanding how to work the clutch. Another important arrow you add to your quiver is that of body balance. We are too used to plonking our butts on the saddle and forgetting about any movement, till we reach our destination. But in the dirt, you constantly need to move around, as you use your body weight to assist in controlling the machine. All of these skills are translated onto the road and in your everyday riding. Especially when you have panic situations and need to take corrective action in a jiffy. The muscle memory is what saves your bacon from getting toasted!
Riding in the dirt teaches you that cliches like ‘just send it’ and ‘when in doubt, throttle it out’ are very real pieces of advice!
For product designer, Dhanush, it was not all just fun and games in the dirt. It was also better understanding and evaluating the products he was using. Searching for areas of improvement to help you, the end user, have a happier relationship with your ViaTerra product. The ride was also an opportunity to figure out how these product fare in actual stressed conditions. As well as figuring out what new pieces of equipment can make the life of a rider better.
Through this dirt, slush and sweat the ViaTerra team will improve your everyday riding experience…