Two things that most Indians can relate to are motorbikes, and cricket. India is the second largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, and cricket is more of a religion than a sport in the country. Most cricketers who make it on to the big stage usually purchase swanky luxury sedans or sports cars, but, there are a passionate few who prefer two-wheels to four. Intrigued? Read on and find out who they are and what they ride.
M.S.Dhoni's Bike - Confederate Hellcat
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, MSD, captain extraordinaire of the Indian Cricket Team is the most well-known biker amongst cricketers. He indulges in his passion for riding whenever he gets time in-between his hectic schedule, be it at his hometown in Ranchi, in Chennai during his season with the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) or when he is on tour for Team India. Dhoni is quite the connoisseur and owns a variety of bikes in his garage which comprises of a Kawasaki Ninja ZX14-R, a Ducati 1098S, numerous Yamaha RD350s and a custom dirt bike that was made especially for him by TVS Motors. Dhoni’s love for bikes is so deep that it goes beyond just owning these beauties: He recently launched a World Super Sport Championship racing team, christened ‘Mahi Racing India’!
But the pièce de résistance of his collection would be his latest acquisition – a jet black Confederate Hellcat X132. Not many are even aware of the existence of such a manufacturer. Based in Alabama, USA, Confederate Motors is one of the most exclusive motorcycle manufacturers in the world. Confederate motorcycles are made for the most discerning of riders, and their client roster includes the likes of David Beckham and Brad Pitt.
The Hellcat X132 is a limited-production street bike that is built by hand using exquisite materials such as aircraft-grade aluminium and carbon-fibre. The Hellcat employs a 2163cc V-Twin engine that outputs 132 bhp and 203 Nm of torque, mated to a five-speed close-ratio gearbox. Although equipped with a powerful engine and a race-spec gearbox, the Hellcat isn’t meant to blitz around the local track - it is best used to cruise at a sedate pace around town. Only 150 X132s will ever be made, and all that exclusivity and exquisite work doesn’t come cheap: the Hellcat retails at a mindblowing price of $55,000 (Rs 65 lacs in India, including import duties)! A well-deserved bike for the captain, that is as unique and cool as he is on the cricketing field. MSD must certainly be hoping to get on his Hellcat as soon as he is done leading the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 6 Playoffs!
Glenn McGrath's Bike - Ducati Multistrada 1200
Former Aussie paceman Glenn McGrath describes himself on his Twitter account as “Proud father, happy husband, retired cricketer, philanthropist, outdoorsman & loving life :)” Perhaps, it was the love for the outdoors in him that prompted his purchase of a gleaming grey Ducati Multistrada 1200. A perfect choice for the adventurous types, the Multistrada is an enduro-touring bike that can be ridden long distances, even on the most arduous of terrains on offer.
Powered by a 1198cc 90° V-Twin engine that produces a maximum of 150 bhp and 119 Nm torque, the Multistrada was built on a “four-bikes-in-one” concept, where all that the rider needs to do is select one of four pre-set riding modes: Urban for city riding, Sport for the twisty roads, Enduro for the rugged terrain, and Touring for cruising on the highway; the levels of power, throttle response, suspension, traction control and the anti-lock braking system vary accordingly in each mode. The Multistrada comes fitted with dual-purpose on-off road tyres that feature a hard-wearing compound on the centre with a softer compound on the sides with a custom-tread design, so as to offer good grip off the road, or on it. The ergonomics of an enduro-touring bike ensures that riders who are plus 6 feet, have the extra room and comfort while riding, which augurs well for the 6’ 5” McGrath.
Priced from AUD $22,990, (Rs 30 lacs in India, including import duties), the Ducati Multistrada sure is an expensive indulgence, but no less will do for one of the best bowlers in the history of cricket.
Jonty Rhodes' Bike - Royal Enfield Classic 350
One of the most-sprightly fielders the game of cricket has ever seen, Jonty Rhodes, has an affinity towards the outdoors and motorcycling in particular. With his association with the Mumbai Indians IPL team, Jonty has been frequenting India for the IPL seasons during which he makes it a point to ride around on his Royal Enfield Classic 350.
The Classic 350 is a modern take on yesteryear Royal Enfields, incorporating retro cues like the sprung single rider saddle and the oval airbox cover in its design. The torquey 346cc single cylinder engine lends itself perfectly to sedate cruising, letting the rider absorb in the landscape that passes by. The bike’s ruggedness allows the rider to traverse harsh terrain, be it broken roads or rocky mountain passes.
While Jonty Rhodes inspired the cricketing fraternity with his gravity-defying fielding, his personal inspiration clearly lies in riding the Royal Enfield Classic 350.
Shikar Dhawan's Bike - Suzuki GSX 1300R Hayabusa
The swashbuckling 27 year old left-handed opener, Shikar Dhawan, is a proud owner of a Suzuki GSX 1300R Hayabusa. Dhawan, who burst onto the International test cricket arena with a flawless 187 against the mighty Australians, is also one of the key players in the IPL franchise ‘Sunrisers Hyderabad’. He is known for his muscular physique, warrior-like aggression and a strong character of his own, akin to the characteristics of the Hayabusa.
The Suzuki Hayabusa is the most recognizable superbike in India, made famous by the Bollywood potboiler “Dhoom”, its name used stereotypically by those not in the know, to address any superbike that they might encounter. A Peregrine Falcon is called ‘Hayabusa’ in Japan, and the bike was named after the bird as they share the ability to hit speeds in excess of 300kmph.
The Hayabusa was designed as a sports tourer rather than an out and out track-oriented bike. With a 1340cc engine that produces 197 bhp and 137 Nm of torque, along with bodywork that was aerodynamically designed to offer the least amount of drag, the Hayabusa accelerates from a standstill to a 100 kmph in less than 2.5 seconds – that is as fast as a Bugatti Veyron! That might sound serious, but the Hayabusa can also turn docile when it needs to be with the ability to cruise at 70kmph in 6th gear, barely turning over 2500 rpm. The bike comes equipped with a unique feature called the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS), where the system offers three modes where power output and throttle response can be varied. This is a very helpful feature for new riders, so that they can gradually get used to the power delivery of the superbike.
At Rs 13,25,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Suzuki Hayabusa may cost lesser than most other superbikes in its class, but that doesn’t make it any less scarier – this bike is recommended only for the most hardcore of speed junkies! We now know what excites Shikar Dhawan!
Pragyan Ojha's Bike - Harley Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight
When you are labeleld as one of India’s best left-arm spinners and are one of the most sought after players in the circuit, you are likely to have a whole lot of stress on your shoulders. 26-year old Pragyan Ojha is a reserved, hardworking sportsman who has got the cricketing world in a spin, to add to this he has one helluva ride to take his mind away from the high-stress world of professional cricket. Meet his new found love, the Harley Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight.
The Forty-Eight is powered by a thunderous-sounding 1202cc V-twin engine that produces a peak torque figure of 95 Nm at a low 3500 rpm. The design of the Forty-Eight is characterized by unique elements such as the tapered peanut-shaped fuel tank, fat front tyre, low seat and low ground clearance. The bike has forward-placed foot levers and drag-style wide handle bar that impart a comfortable stance for the rider, while the low centre of gravity helps in manoeuvring the 260 kg bike in the city.
The Harley Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight is a bike built for those passionate about riding long distances. Ojha would certainly love to have his bike travel along with him to all his matches!