All Terrain Vehicles or ATVs or quad bikes are becoming the biggest rage amongst Bengalureans looking for a quick adventure, thrill and adrenaline-induced moments. With a quad bike, you can zip around on most terrains, from rocky mountainous regions to sandy surfaces, mud tracks and bush lands. The excitement of manoeuvring around shrubs and boulders and the many hair-raising moments in between, is attracting the attention of young daredevils looking for a venturesome day out in the sun. RITZ gets speed devil Gokul M to chronicle his experiences while riding a quad.
“My love for quad biking started very early in life, when I used to read about it in popular mechanics magazines in the late 1990s. In those days, quad bikes were mostly of the three-wheeled kind which was later banned globally because they caused a lot of accidents and were considered too dangerous.
I first got to ride a quad bike in Punjab on a friend’s farm, when I was around 18 years old. He had imported it as farm equipment and I rode around his estate. Riding a quad bike the first time was a very scary experience, and if you ride motorcycles, you need to unlearn a lot to ride a quad. The way a quad turns is very different because of the two front wheels. It doesn’t lean into a turn but changes its path of direction. Another thing is when you stop a motorcycle; you keep your foot down, which you should never do on a quad. The accelerator on most models is fixed on the handle bar like a brake lever, which also needs getting used to.
A quad bike behaves differently on different terrains be it road /tarmac, dirt, sand, etc. But once you get used to handling it, and are accustomed to the basics of control, its good fun as it can pretty much go over any surface.
There are quite a few places opening up which offer quad biking on a set course. These places have mandatory safety gear and instructors to guide on riding them properly. Quad biking is like the new Go-karting around the country, and due to the low cost of Chinese made quad bikes, it is quite affordable too. I have quad biked in the outskirts of Bengaluru, Mysore, Yercaud on a variety of bikes, right from a 95 cc Chinese bike to the 600 cc Yamaha.
The best quad bikes are usually made by Yamaha, Kawasaki and Polaris. They come in different engine capacities. The most powerful quad I have ridden is a Yamaha X Raptor, on a beach in Kerala. That was one of the best times I have had with a quad bike as I rode on the sand and with the splashing water it an awesome experience. Next on my wish list is to ride a quad bike on the sand dunes in Dubai.”
Quad biking can cost anywhere from Rs 500 for a 1 km trail to even Rs 3, 000 for a 6 km trail depending on the bike.
Dirtmania in Mangalore and Chikmagalur offer quad biking.
(The writer is an automobile engineer-turned-communications professional and is crazy about quad bikes, bikes and scooters. He boasts of a collection of 18 vintage scooters from the Vespa to the Lambretta. He has biked his way up to Ladakh, Bhutan and across South India, and is now going gaga over quads)