India

Motorcycle diaries: The new wave of Indian bikers

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Image caption Bikers often go to great lengths to make a bike visually represent their own style and character, from the paint job to the leather trims and everything in between.

Until recently, biking in India was only for the hardcore enthusiast.

It was only the very brave, riding modified Indian brands like the Royal Enfields and Rajdoots, who dared to take on India's highways on just two wheels.

But in recent years, international motorcycle brands have entered India and made their presence felt.

With clever marketing that feeds off India's admiration for American pop culture, brands like Harley Davidson are taking the Indian market seriously.

Photographer Rahul Dhankani, along with Madhumita Nandi, chronicles India's latest wave of motorcyclists.

Image caption Today, a typical biker is a man in his 30s, who works in a multinational corporation and is looking to find an outlet for his increasingly global ambitions. Here, Sridhar Sethi, a software consultant in Bangalore, poses with his Harley Davidson.
Image caption Indian navy officer Captain Arun Verma fell in love with motorcycles in the early 1980s. When he's not at sea, he can be found working on his bike or out on the open road, riding up to 500km (311 miles) a day.
Image caption Salamath Sheriff, a food entrepreneur in Bangalore, rode a Yamaha RX100 in college. Many years later, he returned to riding when the Harley Davidson became popular in India.
Image caption Hitting the road over the weekend is how this couple unwinds.
Image caption Sporting colourful headgear, bracelets and leather jackets, Indian bikers are serious about looking right for the role.
Image caption Leroy Trout builds customised bikes, creating one of a kind motorcycles in Goa.
Image caption Royal Enfield is the most popular bike in India. While its comparatively lower price may be a contributing factor, the old world charm of a large single-cylinder engine and the vibrations of a traditional chassis have kept many loyal to the classic Enfield, and it remains the favourite for long journeys on Indian roads.

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