No superbikes, Delhi bikers get their cheap machines enhanced for thrills
They recently made their presence felt a little over a month ago when four bikers were arrested, nearly 90 bikes were seized, and two policemen injured during Shab-e-Baraat on June 25.
A week later, another group of bikers were captured on tape as they performed death-defying stunts at India Gate with the police looking on helplessly.
An embarrassed Delhi Police had pulled up its socks and put an elaborate anti-stunt drive in place. However, the bikers were back on the city roads on Saturday night. It was a gradually swelling pack of young bikers with disregard for the law.
This time it ended with the death of an alleged member of the gang in police shooting.
Aged between 16 and 24, young motorbike enthusiasts may not be able to afford superbikes. But, to fulfil their passion for speed, they get several modifications done to their machines for extra thrust. Text messages and Facebook communities are their mode of communication.
“Streets are the only place where we can go full throttle. We don’t harm anyone then why are we being targeted? If police and the government have a problem with stunt biking, they should provide us some place where we can test our machines,” said Aslam Ali, a resident of Karol Bagh who loves to perform stunts on his Yamaha-FZ bike.
Unlike their counterparts in the west, where biker gangs are organised and have much deeper pockets, many bikers in Delhi do not even own a motorcycle.
According to a random and unofficial profiling by the Delhi Police of those detained or fined for performing stunts over the past three weekends, the bikers are aged between 16 and 25 years who own or borrow economically-priced bikes.
They fill up their tanks from stations located in north and central Delhi before taking to the streets without helmets.
“Usually, these groups strike only during some festival when they can break rules. A PCR van or small police team cannot chase a group of over 50 to 100 bikers,” said a police officer.
A stunt-biker, who did not wish to be identified, said their group comprises mostly young, undergraduate students. They hit the road late at night or early morning.
Most of their bikes are fitted with a 300 ml nitrous oxide cylinder sufficient to propel their 150-250 cc bikes forward for 15 short bursts.
Most of the modification work is done at streetside repair shops in Karol Bagh, Rajouri Garden, Kirti Nagar, Okhla and Nizamuddin.
Most bikers love to upload their pictures on their Facebook accounts and videos on YouTube.
“We have noticed that sometimes these large packs are conglomerations of four to five such groups that meet by chance at central locations such as the India Gate,” said another officer.