Avantura Choppers Rudra Launch Ride

13 November 2017, 02:00 PM Vikrant Singh

What is it?

A 23-inch front wheel on a motorcycle! 

It looks as outlandish as it sounds. And then, when you throw in a 20-inch rear with a 250-section tyre to go with it, bizarre doesn’t even cut it. But then, this is the world of choppers, a world where ostentatious is normal and presence is everything.

And this is the Rudra, a chopper.

Ostentatious? Just look at those wheels! Presence? By the gloss load. And that heavily raked out front screams chopper louder that Dolly Bindra; yes, she is quite amusing. But that’s just the start because choppers are as much about personalisation as they are about being flashy.  

For the uninformed – that’s me a few days back – choppers are a genre of custom motorcycles much like bobbers, cafe racers and scramblers that have come out of custom shop closets and into the bright lights of production lines.

Made To Order

Now, the Rudra is offered with a choice of three handlebar shapes, two engine finishes and three fender options. There are five graphic themes to choose from as well with each scheme coming in two colour choices. And given that the plan is to sell just 200 bikes by the end of 2019, chances of any two bikes looking the same are slim. Now that's definitely a home run in terms of personalisation when it comes to a series production motorcycle.

As far as design goes, the Rudra is an intimidating motorcycle. It comes with a small headlamp and a long and slim tank, but the fat handlebar and that huge V-Twin of an engine give it a menacing stance. Plus, the low seat and a tyre hugging wide rear fender lend the Rudra an authentic low rider stance. But, thankfully, it isn't short on ground clearance, a handy attribute for Indian roads.

Avanturaa Choppers Rudra

Avanturaa Choppers Rudra

  • Displacement2,025.7 cc
  • Mileage - ARAI17.5 kmpl
  • Kerb Weight346 kg
  • ;

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 23,90,000

On this special version of the Rudra, the attention to detail is lovely too. I am not a big fan of the 'gear' graphic scheme on the body panels, but the wheels look gorgeous. As does the belt pulley. It also gets contrast finish for the engine, the gearbox, and the associated parts like the gear shifter and brake. The housing for the instrumentation, the headlamp, the exhaust and the front forks carry the same black theme too. 

Now Avantura Choppers says Rudra is a motorcycle made in India but with a global vendor base. So, the 2000cc, air-cooled V-Twin comes from S&S in the US, the Beringer 6-pot calipers for both the front and rear discs come from Germany, and most of the other bits – the clocks, the wiring harness, the suspension, the switchgear and the lights – come from Taiwan. Avantura does make the frame, the swingarm and the wheel at its facility in Vasai near Mumbai. 

Easy Rider

Now we did mention earlier that the Rudra was an intimidating looking bike, mainly on account of its length. But, it also weighs nearly 340kg. Plus, physics dictates that with a steering rake this lazy, its slow speed handling would be as challenging as getting your 10 year old to do your bidding. No wonder, dread was right up there on my emotion scale minutes before riding it. 

The good news is the moment you sit on the bike, get both your feet firmly on the ground and lift it off the side stand, all those fears disappear. Sure, at low speeds the Rudra doesn't have the agility of a rabbit being chased by a Retriever, but it isn’t that difficult to pilot around either.

The pulled-in handlebar on this particular Rudra helps. Also as you build momentum, you soon forget you are dealing with a 23-inch front. It does take some muscling around to get the bike to change directions. But again, it isn’t something one can't get used to. 

For one, it rarely feels overtly inert or disconnected. Long sweepers are easily dispatched and there's decent cornering clearance too. It's only around the really tighter stuff that you need to put some effort and weight into countering its front's affinity of dropping into bends.

Torque Talk

The Rudra, for all its glitzy swagger, is a comfortable motorcycle to spend time on as well; at least when it comes to ergonomics. We tried an ‘ape’ handlebar equipped Rudra as well, and on both counts, it felt right for laid back riding. The seat – made by Mustang in the US – is a reasonably large and cushy unit too. The only really downside here is ride quality.

There isn't much suspension travel to begin with. And then there's very little give at slower speeds. So, even if the road is mildly broken, the rider can feel almost everything happening at the wheels. Taking such sections at speed doesn't help either because the rear just tends to skip about. It's best then to take it easy and ride it out as slow as possible.

The engine meanwhile is great. With all that prodigious amounts of torque, it feels right at home, ambling about at under 2,000rpm. And then when you open the throttle with vigour, you better hold on because two things tend to happen. First, even with that insanely fat rear tyre, the rear can spin up. And second, when the rear hooks up, the horizon charges at you with visceral ferocity. 

It's a good feeling. And with that terrifically loud exhaust note from the aftermarket pipes, you can't help but grin under your helmet every time you open throttle. That is until you remember that the brakes aren't exactly sportsbike units. So, you roll off sooner, brake lighter and get very little in terms of feel or feedback; so naturally, you pray harder.

Bookings Begin

Avantura Choppers will begin taking bookings for the Rudra (priced at Rs 23.90 lakh, ex-showroom) and its paternal twin, the Pravega, at the India Bike Week. It will take around three and a half months from order to delivery. 

Now, the company believes that choppers in India are for riders who have already done it all; ridden sportsbikes, cruisers, adventure bikes, you name it. And they are now looking for something that’s more personal and less mainstream, but with enough performance to keep them interested.

In that sense, Avantura Choppers has got it right with the Rudra. The only big issue is the lack of consistency in the ride experience, from one model to the other. But the company says that it has already worked out the solutions for it and this inconsistency will be absent on customer bikes.

Stay tuned for our ride report on a production model soon.

Photography by Kapil Angane

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