Images: Gaurav Thombre
If you’re an ardent enthusiast of motorcycle stunts and are reading this, chances are you’re already well aware of what we’re doing with the ABC of Stunting series with the Bajaj Pulsar. But for those of you who have just joined us, we are basically letting our in-house bike stunt expert Hrishikesh Mandke share his trade secrets with you via this step-by-step guide each month. After covering the basics, last month we progressed to the slightly more challenging (and therefore thrilling) stuff and taught you guys how to slide your motorcycle and drift it. This month, Hrishi has yet another stunt up his sleeve that I’m sure many of you are dying to learn.
Walk around the track: This is step one according to Hrishi. He says ramps come in different shapes and sizes, and since the shape and size of the ramp impacts your jump it is unwise and dangerous to jump your bike around on an unfamiliar track.
Checking the bike: Make sure your Bajaj Pulsar is in top nick for a stunt like this. You don’t want things going wrong with your bike. In fact, there’s a reason why Hrishi and his stunt buddies choose the Pulsar NS200 for their stunt-capades. The bike gets a Nitrox mono suspension at the rear and telescopic front suspension with anti-friction bush, which means you actually get the robust set up that you need for a jump. Then there’s that long 1363mm wheelbase to keep things stable and 167mm of ground clearance to ensure you don’t hit anything when you land. Finally, 23.2bhp and 18.3Nm. Plenty of grunt to actually take off from the ramp.
Stay loose: Although this may seem totally out of place but Hrishi says it’s best to stay relaxed on the bike. The key to executing a good jump with the bike is to stay neutral and trust your motorcycle. Keep your body loose and not rigid. And don’t panic because panic inevitably leads to survival instincts kicking in, which means you’ll end up reacting to what the bike is doing instead of being proactive in ensuring that the bike does what you want it to. Once you get it right, then you’ll know that you can do it again and again.
Squeeze your knees and grip the tank: The sculpted 12-litre petrol tank of the Pulsar NS200 is particularly conducive to being gripped with the knees. But why do we keep coming back to this? Because the last thing you want your bike to do is move around and shift around. And the only way to stop or minimise this is to grip the tank between your knees. The other thing to remember is to stand on the pegs. You certainly don’t want to be seated when the bike lands after a jump.
Keep your head straight: Quite apart from the fact that you need to be looking ahead at the patch where you’ll land, keeping the head straight also ensures that the shock of the landing is better distributed.
Keep your arms and legs bent and crouch a bit: With a jump, you’ll have to use your legs, arms and backbone much like a suspension for they will have to absorb a part of the impact. If you keep them straight and rigidly locked then the shock of the landing might injure you since the force of the impact won’t be distributed properly. Instead if you keep the arms and legs bent and the back crouched, then they will be able to absorb that impact much better.
Stay on the gas at take-off: Gather speed and as you hit the ramp, stay on the gas until you’ve taken off. If you shut the throttle too early you will lose momentum and therefore altitude. You might even be faced with a situation where the bike fails to jump. Worse, the nose flies and then lands immediately because the bike has lost momentum. It is extremely jarring and can see you crash.
The landing: Stay on the gas through the jump and then as the wheels touch the ground, roll off the throttle. If you keep the throttle pinned open then there is a chance that you will land and the bike will immediately do a wheelie and throw you off.
Nose too high: So you’ve got off the ramp, the bike is flying through the air and all is well. But it isn’t, and you realise you’re going to land with the bike’s nose high up in the air. The trick is to roll off the throttle and get the rear wheel to stop spinning. This helps bring the nose down.
Nose too low: This is the exact opposite of number 9. You’re going to land on your nose, so what do you do? First, don’t panic (easier said than done). Then, get on the throttle. As the rear tyre gets spinning, the spinning action of the wheel will help straighten the motorcycle. Ideally, Hrishi says you should land with both wheels hitting the ground together.
The Bajaj Pulsar NS200 can take jumps of up to three feet without any modifications. Without the necessary mods, jumps that are higher than that might damage the motorcycle. So take care that you jump, but not too high.