Every now and then we come across a certain set of people on magazine covers or performing an acrobatic balance on one wheel, — i.e. performing a freestyle riding, — on the 42 inch screen of your drawing room. Why this discussion turns imperative is because somehow the facade of this being a means of being popular or sound cool in your group is taking lives on roads almost every day today worldwide. Especially in a country such as India where helmet is a ruin to the hairstyle, scenes such as night time stunting “stars” on public roads is a worry some concern for parents and a bother to a road’s code of conduct. This in a layman term can be deciphered that the young generation tries to pull stunts on public roads just for fun which in literal sense is illegal.
“Burnout marks can be seen in Malaysia, Thailand, Russia, South Africa, India and more”
Coming to the term ‘Motorsport’; Wikipedia spells the term as “Motorsport is a global term used to encompass the group of competitive sporting events which primarily involve the use of motorized vehicles, whether for racing or non-racing competition.” The last part of the definition where motorsport is also used for non-racing competitions is where Sportbike/Streetbike Freestyle Riding event comes into picture. This as a sport is said to have originate from United States of America and hence the place eventually hosts a number a Freestyle Riding competitions every year such as XDL, SBFC (Streetbike Freestyle Championship) and more. Europe on large is pretty dominant after USA but burnout marks can be seen even in countries today such as Malaysia, Thailand, Russia, South Africa, India and more.
Freestyle Riding as a motorsport though is in its struggle, is trying hard to find a practical recognition in the eyes of official global motorsport federations such as Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM). The one big establishment in the recent years has been in the form of XDL which is a Freestyle Riding Championship. The first championship originated from USA and has for almost a decade today being to places such as South Africa, India and many more. XDL, for a layman, is pinnacle championship for Freestyle Riding just like Formula 1 or WRC are for racing or rallying.
XDL, for a layman, is pinnacle championship for Freestyle Riding just like Formula 1 or WRC are for racing or rallying. — Click to tweet
“Many companies employ Freestyle Riders during prototype testing”
The upside of this skill is slowly finding its place in the development of motorcycles. Many companies are starting to employ Freestyle Riders to research alongside them during prototype testing. The motor grunt, brake biting force, mass centralization, nimbleness, NVH testing, suspension performance are just a few parameters which can and are being scrutinized to develop a better experience for the consumer. Since you can suffice with practically most of the parameters in relatively smaller need of space compared to a racing circuit where bikes are conventionally tested, this is being considered an economic and space saving alternative testing method.
Many companies employ Freestyle Riders during prototype testing — Click to tweet
“Freestyle Riding has the potential in India”
The face of any motorsport in India isn’t as vibrant as in the developed countries and one major reason for that is the cost incurred by the sport in the first place. However, Freestyle Riding has the potential to fight out the economic viability in contrast. With an Indian leg of XDL organized back in October, 2014 at Buddh International Circuit (BIC), Atinderjeet Singh defined himself of potentially having close to the same skill set as the international riding fraternity as he was judged by the XDL committee members from America itself. Maybe it is time to embrace things away from the VFX’s in all those adrenaline packed action movies and appreciate the real time skill-bearing bodies that treat the sport in terms of pure passion than anything else.
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