General

Indian-built COVID-19 motorcycle is both sublime and ridiculous

An Indian engineer has designed a built a motorcycle that abides by COVID-19 social distancing rules

WITH the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic looking like it is starting to ease here in the UK and Europe, it’s easy to forget that other continents are still in the grip of the crisis and the sanctions it brings.

One such country is the motorcycle mad India, where over 30-million powered two-wheelers are sold every year.

But the motorcycle landscape in India is vastly different from the UK, as the needs of riders vary massively from the UK and Europe.

Living with the Kawasaki Z H2 during COVID-19 lockdown

While large capacity machines and sports bikes are all available in the country, for the most part, it is cheap, cheerful, and small capacity machines that rule the sales charts.

They are also used in a very different way and can be seen by some, especially living in rural areas as the only form of family transport. As such it’s more uncommon to see a bike in the city being ridden by one individual, with two, three, or even four people from the same family riding on one bike a fairly common sight.

With the advent of COVID-19 and the restrictions that brings, the act of riding two-up has now become discouraged, as social distancing cannot be adhered to while a couple (or more) people are crammed onto a small capacity machine.

Rather than see this as a problem, one canny engineer, Partha Saha, saw it as an opportunity to build a new type of motorcycle to circumnavigate the government's orders.

After buying a donor motorcycle from a dealer, Saha took the machine home and began to modify it to accept two people in a socially distanced manner. He used the existing forks and swingarm and built a custom, stretched frame that allows the two people on the machine to ride with a space between them – a bit like a tandem bicycle.

While we applaud his efforts and are impressed by the engineer’s skill in designing the bike, we wonder what it’ll be like once he hits the twisties.

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