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India gained Independence on 15 August, 1947, and we recently celebrated 70 years of freedom. India, has one thing in common with an American motorcycle company, which in the literal sense has had no connection with our country. The only connection is, the title - Indian. Yes, it is Indian Motorcycle we are referring to.
The Indian Independence Movement is one which went on for 90 years, starting way back in 1857. A turning point in the struggle for freedom though, was when Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi came back to India in 1915 after fighting for civil rights in South Africa. At the same time, but way out in America, in Indian Motorcycle was promoting a different kind of freedom - Motorcycling.
Going forward several years to 1942, the Quit India Movement had started in India, against British rule and also against them sending Indian soldiers to fight alongside the allies in World War II. On the other side of the world though, Indian Motorcycle, in 1942, stopped manufacturing for civilians, so that they could make more motorcycles for American Troops.
Finally, in 1947, when India gained Independence and the name ‘India' was on almost all newspapers in the world, Indian Motorcycle in America was busy building its brand, by putting their famous ‘Indian-Head' fender mounted light, on all ‘authentic' Indian-built motorcycles.
Well, after having so much in common for such a long time, it was destined for Indian Motorcycle and India to come together, and they did, in 2014, when Indian Motorcycle made their Indian debut by launching three models. The brand's connection with India though is only increasing. Today, Indian Motorcycle has 10 models in the Indian market.
With niche cruiser motorcycles like those in the Indian Motorcycle stable comes a certain lifestyle. A lifestyle of riding together in groups, and Indian Motorcycle tapped just that to celebrate 70 years of India's Independence.
Indian Motorcycle, in Bangalore, and in other major metros brought together owners of Indian Motorcycle bikes, to ride together in harmony, celebrating Indian Independence. The ride was open to all Indian Motorcycle owners, and all riders from the IMRG (Indian Motorcycle Riders' Group).
The IMRG was started in India just last year, to bring Indian Motorcycle owners together and provide good customer experience. This also helped Indian Motorcycle compete with arch-rival Harley-Davidson.
The IMRG in Bangalore rode to a restaurant on the outskirts of the city for breakfast. It was quite a sight, and sound to behold - several Indian Motorcycle models, riding in formation, with the heavy rumble of the high-capacity V-Twin engines also syncing to an extent, and with a few of the motorcycles bearing the Indian Tri-Colour up high.
The DriveSpark team too rode with the IMRG, and after breakfast, having taken delivery of the Indian Chief Vintage and the Indian Scout 60 for a day, revved the beasts and headed to Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh, on a 130km ride to celebrate freedom, while experiencing the power and might of the machines from Massachusetts.
The Indians needless to say, were a breeze to ride on the tarmac, and the Indian Chief Vintage took comfort to the next level. However, despite being cruisers born for the smooth highway tarmac, on our ride from Lepakshi to Dandiganahalli Dam in Chikballapur on the outskirts of Bangalore, the motorcycles did not twitch even when ridden off the road. The Indians, with the robust build, seemed perfectly engineered to withstand rough use.
engines without him/her breaking into a sweat. Riding the big cruisers for a day left us with a sense of pride and haught, while the confidence of the machines did not seem to waver even after a few hundred kilometres of hard riding.
The Freedom ride gave us at DriveSpark, a refreshing break with some mean machines to play with. It is the very same ride which has resulted in these beautiful pictures of the retro-styled modern cruisers.
Indian Motorcycle has some pretty good motorcycles in its product line-up. Even though their products are comparable and some even better than their arch-rival Harley-Davidson, Indian Motorcycle still lags behind in sales numbers. However, if they continue to take up rides and initiatives like this to be part of the Indian Society, the sales numbers would only go up.