Well, I’ll not shy away from admitting to the fact that I’ve always been a car guy, a number of reasons for that, but primarily because we never really had any two wheelers back home; barring the short duration when my sister got a TVS Streak for herself. Alas, I was too young to ride it at that time. So, I’ve always been more fascinated by machines with four wheels on them.
When I got a call from Keshav — our Features writer — to attend the TVS Motosoul in Goa, I thought about it for a moment, but then I thought — why not? — a question I’ve started asking myself more often lately. So, off I went to the beautiful state to attend the third edition of Motosoul.
Motorcycles flooded the streets of Goa, with people from all over the country heading over to the biking festivals. On reaching the venue, I was flabbergasted, and I can undoubtedly tell you, I hadn’t seen this many motorcycles at a single place before — apart from, perhaps, the two-wheeler parkings at Delhi’s metro stations. Just that the machines here seemed much more meaner and badass.
To give you a bird’s eye view of the entire festival, there were multiple custom-bike launches, flat track runs, slow races and musical performances, among many other activities. TVS had a lineup of its iconic motorcycles parked away in a nice, cosy gallery, including an example of a TVS 50 moped that clocked 105 kph in 1982!
Coming to the unveils for the first day, we were treated to four custom-built motorcycles, three of them based on the Ronin and one on the Apache RTR 310. The first one was a Ronin-based scrambler by Rajputana Customs. It featured a smaller gas-tank, a retro ribbed-pattern seat, flashy gold fuel tank caps and mean-looking off-road tyres.
I wish you could hear the Ryoma from the Indonesian-builder Smoked Garage, it was really some music to the ears. It featured an orange-black paint scheme with a rather good-looking seat with T’s embossed into it like the one in the headlamp, and a front as well as rear camera to record your journeys on the machine, if you ever get the chance to be on one.
TVS had its own factory-custom too, a bobber named Dark Bobb, donning a dual-tone tank and classy graphics all over the panels. Harsh Kamble, the Head of Concept Design, TVS, hinted that we might see the Dark Bobb in production sometime in the future, let’s just hope that comes true.
Smoked Garage had another custom motorcycle, but this time, it was built on the RTR 310 platform. The Trickster, as it was aptly named, was a freestyler, with a high-mounted exhaust, raised handlebar, twin brake callipers at the rear and a three-piece seat, a rather quirky addition. We also got to witness the Trickster in action, doing stunts in the freestyle zone. Apart from these four bikes, there were three stunt-customs too, that TVS built itself, based on the RTR 310.
A few yards away from the stage was where the actual hands-on fun was happening. People could experience the dirt track and take part in whatever races were taking place, notably the slow race; it’s not always about speed, is it? Ah, I wish I knew how to ride! Some of our talented friends were performing stunts on BMX and unicycles too.
Had I been in Delhi, I would have been attending Jashn-e-Rekhta, a music and culture festival that I wait the whole year for. But it wasn’t a bad day to be attending the Motosoul in that aspect as well. We had performances by Farhan Akhtar and Karan Kanchan. If there’s one thing I love more than cars (and perhaps bikes now), it’s music. So, the day ended on a high note for me, as well as for many of my fellow attendees and enthusiasts.
Onset of day two and we were back at the festival. It started rather feebly, for the lack of a better word, as people kept bouncing between Motosoul and IBW — which was happening right across the street. There were motorcycles pouring in and out of both the venues throughout the days.
Coming back to Motosoul, the crowd started filing in after some time, and we were back in action. After the quaint arm wrestling battles, we had national and international racers on the stage for a brief session and some crowd interaction. Apart from the few (but annoying) technical glitches, the session was quite engaging and insightful. Aishwarya Pissay, a top motorcycle racer and the first one from India to win a world championship, spoke about the immense importance of mental health along with physical health in sports and how it should be more talked about. Tanveer seemed like a soft man under a fearless racer, all his answers being very homely and inspiring, and KY Ahmed was faster than his counterparts, at least at the rapid fire round.
TVS had a couple of more launches for us on day two. It started with the Lightning Blue edition of the Apache RTR 160 4V, which got dual-channel ABS and voice commands. But the more interesting bike on the stage for the day was the Apache RTE, which TVS released specifications for.
We got a chance to speak to Mr. Babu, who heads the Research and Development for TVS, about the RTE. On being asked about the prospective time of launch of the road-legal version of the RTE, Babu commented, ‘This is just a beginning! We just started last year with two rounds of racing and in 2024, we are looking at the full-year championship to wrangle this electric. This is a platform where we can breed our ideas, mature them at limits of performance; and so, it will come in the future. The whole idea is to use this as a platform to develop and bring such road legal bikes.’
There was another announcement, but this one wasn’t about a bike. It was about the launch of co-branded merchandise with Petronas and extension of their collaboration for the next season. At the podium outside, people gathered around for the results of the races.
After another day packed with launches and unveils, it was time for some more musical fun. The first act was by Raghu Dixit and his co-musicians, together dubbed as the Raghu Dixit Project. Most of the songs being in Kannada and me being unfamiliar with the language, I was unable to understand a word. But he strengthened my belief in the fact that music has no language. It transcends these barriers and touches you right at the heart. I’ve been privileged to have had a chance to attend quite a few concerts in the past three years, and I can, without a hint of doubt, say that I enjoyed Raghu Dixit’s concert much more than most of them. The show ended with a gig by Ritviz and we called it a day.
What an enthralling experience it has been to be a part of Motosoul 3.0. Does the tagline ‘It’s more than a festival; it’s a feeling!’ hold true? Well, it does for me! I’m back in Delhi now, eagerly waiting for the next edition! I have to be careful though, else I might quickly turn into a bike person.