KTM’s celebrity stunter sat down with us for a quick tete-a-tete at 2019 India Bike Week
Abhishek Wairagade: Let’s retrace your footsteps. Where did it all begin?
Rok Bagoros: I started back in 2007 with the scooters. I always wanted to do motorsports but I come from a poor family. Motorsport is one of the most expensive hobbies that you can have and I couldn’t afford anything until I was 17 and I discovered stunt riding on YouTube from other stunt riders like Chris Pfeiffer. I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I started to work in a restaurant to earn some money to buy a broken up scooter, I repaired it and practiced some tricks. After years and years of practice, I became better you can say.
AW: Were you always into motorcycles?
RB: I did a lot of other sports because as I said, I couldn’t do motorsports. I love sports so I played football, tennis - which is my favourite sport besides motorsport and basketball with my friends.
AW: How did KTM approach you?
RB: We have two big motorcycle expos in Europe, one is in Milan and the other is in Germany. I was at the expo in Germany and I was to have a meeting with them but nobody was there so I travelled and slept in the van because I didn’t have money for the hotel. Back in 2010, KTM launched the 125 Duke and they were presenting that at the expo. I went over to them and told them what I wanted to do with the bike and they said that I’m at the right place at the right time — they were searching for a new, young face to present the Duke. That’s how we got together.
AW: Which is your favourite KTM to stunt on?
RB: My favourite stunt riding KTM is the 200 Duke but I don’t ride it anymore because I need to ride the newest model. So, between the 250 Duke and 390 Duke I choose the 250 because the engine is smoother for stunts. For riding I choose the 390 Duke among the smaller Dukes. My favourite one is the Adventure 1290 S, I bought that bike for myself recently and I love that bike.
AW: How difficult is it to stunt with a single-cylinder bike?
RB: It’s very difficult. On small bikes it’s okay, it doesn’t matter. The 690 though has a big bore cylinder, 690cc and you need to adjust a lot to make it less aggressive. We need a smooth engine for stunts.
AW: The 250 Duke that you’re riding here, is that modified in India or did you bring it with you?
RB: We modified it here at the local KTM store, we built it for two days. We do this all over the world, sometimes we bring our bikes, sometimes we assemble it locally.
AW: Are you carrying the parts with you or do you source them from here?
RB: We carry most of the parts but some stuff like tyres we got from my sponsor here.
AW: How’s the experience been in India so far?
RB: I haven’t seen a lot, because I haven’t seen anything apart from the workshop and the event but the event is amazing. You can see a lot of stuff is very big and everyone tells me Goa is different from other parts of India. I wouldn’t know because it’s my first time here and I’ve come straight here. So far, so good! I love the weather, back home it’s freezing and it’s warm here. I will be here for another week to explore the city.
AW: What do you think about IBW?
RB: I saw this event many years ago online, a lot of fans said, “Hey Rok, come to India”. So much stuff is happening around, I don’t get to see it because I have to focus on my show but once I run around I see a lot of different stands, a lot of different brands and people. It’s pretty interesting.
AW: Are you involved in the R&D for the development of any KTM bikes?
RB: Yes, of course. I’m the ambassador for the Duke. Sometimes I go to the R&D department and they ask me if I have any inputs, if something is prone to breaking or if something needs to be changed. I tell them what they can improve. They are currently working on a new model for the future we are already planning to work together to make something better than the previous models.