Since '02 xBhp is different things to different people. From a close knit national community of bikers to India's only motorcycling lifestyle magazine and a place to make like-minded biker friends. Join us
Ever since the dawn of mankind, one of the key things that have led us to where we are today is the sense of competition. Competition with others and competition with oneself. The latter gives rise to the pursuit of perfection which inevitably paves way for betterment. And while perfection may be elusive, betterment often leads one to perhaps the most desired thing in the world- supremacy or superlatives. This story is about two superlatives from our world, the world of motorcycling. The Kawasaki Ninja H2, the world’s fastest street-legal production motorcycle and the Triumph Rocket 3, sporting the world’s largest engine on a street-legal production motorcycle.
And before you read the rest of the article, have a look at this music video that we made, featuring these machines. #CapturedOnCanon
Building a little more on that quest for supremacy, it led mankind from cave drawings to exotic paintings, from an imperfect wheel to space shuttles, and so on. While it also led us from spears and swords to guns and nuclear bombs, we’d like to keep pessimism at bay here. Instead, we’ll focus on machines, invented for convenience and more often than not, pitched against each other in pursuit of adding the prefix -est to the adjectives used to describe them.
For petrolheads like us, the only machines that matter are from the world of automotive and there too, motorcycles… for the most part. It was imminent that the sense of competition was going to engulf this space as well and here, there were two ways to go about it. Racing is one as one can tell looking at the nearly 300 bhp monsters tearing up the asphalt in MotoGP. And the second, an integral part of the first one too, engineering.
From bicycles to motorized bicycles, and then motorcycles, we have come a long way. A plethora of manufacturers produce motorcycles that are meant to serve their purpose as a means of transportation. But they also produce motorcycles to let their competition know where they stand. As a result, motorcycles have gotten faster. But this battle of science and engineering gave us some breathing space which bred variety and, in turn, less weight and more power is not the ‘only constraint’. Which is why we’d duly like to mention that motorcycles have also gotten ‘bigger’.
Starting with the Kawasaki Ninja H2, it is a motorcycle, despite still being in production, that has already made its way to museums. And it did so for good reason. Before the Ninja H2, the direction of the battle between litre-class motorcycles was seemingly heading nowhere. It simply burst onto the scenes and added a whole new dimension to the power game. Even that is an understatement but sadly, sometimes language simply fails you.
Forced induction, a technology that had been away from the two-wheeler space (at least production ones), was adopted and adapted by Kawasaki. A whole lot of engineering and the need for the ‘River Mark’ insignia gave rise to the 300 bhp-plus and 400 km/h-plus Ninja H2R, a machine so ballistic that it was not road legal. The street-legal H2 may not seem that extreme on paper but if it was not for ‘The Gentlemen’s Agreement’, more often than not, it would show one its own brand of extremity.
While there may not exist a simple way to describe the Ninja H2 and the experience of riding it, one can always try. According to us, the one way that’d make it to the list of everyone will be the acceleration. A litre-class inline-4 is no slouch but the jolt of acceleration from the supercharger’s boost is something surreal. And then there’s the top speed. So the Ninja H2 has most definitely earned its way into the distinguished list of ‘superlatives’.
Next up, we have the Triumph Rocket 3. It’s interesting to know that the Rocket was actually conceptualized to compete in the cruiser market. Also, it was initially supposed to have a triple of around 1,600cc capacity. Thank god that none of that happened. Instead, the Rocket III (yes III and 3 are different things in Triumph speak) carved its own niche as a ‘muscle bike’. And muscle it had in spades. The Rocket III debuted with a 2,294cc straight-three engine mounted longitudinally.
The Rocket III was disruptive and we know that because the first time we rode it was just that, the first time. Now we have at hand the Rocket 3. With ‘largest’ not being enough, the new one features a 2,458cc triple and you have around 165 bhp of power and 221 Nm of torque at your disposal.
The thing one realizes when riding the Rocket 3 is the friendliness. It is a beast, undoubtedly, but it is like the Giant from BFG. Don’t get us wrong, it will still decapitate you with sheer pull if your right wrist is disrespectful and if figured out correctly, it can probably pull SUVs and at some pace too. So the Rocket 3 is not cocky, not emphasizing its size every waking minute but it will show its teeth when prompted. It is most definitely a marvel of engineering fitting an engine of that much size and magnitude between two wheels. And so, it Triumph-antly earns its superlative tag.
Having these two motorcycles in the xBhp garage made us realize that these motorcycles are the ‘heavyweights’ of the motorcycling world borne by the ‘competitive’ drive of some very ‘passionate’ people. So when it comes to being able to provide a deserving setting for these two, except open highways, we could only think of a few. And out of those few, we went with something that has been an indispensable part of of our history and mythology. Known by various styles and names such as kushti, pehalwani, and mallayuddha; we are talking about wrestling.
When we reached the akhada with the Ninja H2 and the Rocket 3, it was easy to realize why these motorcycles fit the place. Looking at the wrestlers going at it be it the warm-up, exercise, preparation or practice bouts, it all made sense. Looking at them trying to do that one extra squat (baithak) and that one extra pushup (dand), trying to one-up their opponent and looking for opportunities for that one move that gives them the upper hand… it was such a rush.
Though it is sad to see that the sport which was once a staple of entertainment and competition in India has been dragged down to a level where it is rarely highlighted… unless a movie comes out that is. The land of The Great Gama and Dara Singh has abandoned both the sport and the sportsmen who were once national icons and decorated sportspersons.
We are thankful to Guru Shyam Lal Pahalwan Akhara for familiarising us with the sport and letting us gain more perspective on how the Rocket 3, Ninja H2, and wrestling are prime examples of mankind’s pursuit of betterment… the one that has led us here.
About Canon EOS R6
My first serious camera was a Canon 30D back in 2005. It improved dramatically on the quality of the photos I was taking and there was no looking back. I have travelled to more than 50 countries just with Canon cameras! In 2020 I got my hands on the Canon EOS R6 to shoot these two special machines which I added in my garage.
It offers the best of both worlds, with in-body 5-Axis Image Stabilization, I can now take handheld trail shots at night, which wasn’t really possible earlier! The EOS R6 features a 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor with approximately 20.1-megapixel which means it has got bigger pixels which allow more data, especially while taking low light videos!
The no crop 4K 60 frames per second will also allow me to not only slow down the cinematics but also reframe on the edit table. The 120 FPS full HD will be even cooler.
To capture some of the world’s fastest cars and bikes the 12 fps mechanical or the 20 fps electronic shutter will be very helpful.
The new DIGIC X imaging processor will help reduce the rolling shutter and also makes insane autofocus possibilities on the camera.
Additional stuff like the swivel screen, the super-responsive touch screen, dual SD cards and the great tactile feel of the camera when I hold it in my hands also matter a lot.
The best part is that the simple adapter also allows me to use the older Canon lenses with no compromise on the quality of video or autofocus at all.
I am quite happy with the results of the shoot. There is also a music video that I shot with the Canon EOS R6 and these two bikes that will be released soon on xBhp YouTube!