Reise Moto trailR Academy off-road training experience | Testing the trailR at the limit
When my colleague Karan first sent me the invite to the Reise Moto trailR Academy's off-road training event, I was somewhat hesitant to say that yes I'm up for it. Here's why — just a week ago, I spent an entire day off the road testing the spoke wheel variant of the KTM 390 Adventure in sweltering heat and that was quite exhausting. The Reise event would take place in Delhi, which in the summers turns into a Miele oven at full blast. But when I read the full release which stated — with training by Ashish Raorane and Arunas Gelazninkas — I replied 'yes', in no time, and was ready in the boat all set to paddle away! Afterall, it's not everyday that you get a chance to be trained by Dakar riders, the toughest motorcycle endurance riders in the world.
Reise Moto is a sub-brand of Gujarat-based tyre company Mahansaria group. They've joined hands with European brand Mitas to manufacture two-wheeler off-road tyres in India. The brand was launched earlier this year and they have tyres for motorcycles as well as scooters. The trailR is their 50:50 on-off road tyre, suitable for entry-level ADVs. And if you haven't read the title of this story already, Reise Moto invited a bunch of auto journos to test this tyre at the Throttle Shottle Moto Ranch in Gurugram.
Before we begin, let me give you a little background on the experts who'd be training us motor noters. Ashish Raorane. The first Indian privateer to compete in the toughest class of the Dakar Rally — Malle Moto. In this category, the competitors compete on their own, solo, without any kind of assistance or backup from a crew. Yikes. Riding solo for over 8000km across 14 days on no roads at all? Ashish signed up for that in 2021, but sadly couldn't cross the finish line due to two crashes . You've gotta give it to him though, man's got big cojones for doing it in the first place. He's now the official brand athlete for Reise Moto and will also help the brand to develop new tyres.
Our second trainer was one Arunas Gelazninkas. Not a familiar name, but here's why it should be. This Lithuanian has won the Malle Moto class not once, but twice. Enough said.
For our training and testing, Reise Moto had joined hands with Hero MotoCorp, who had supplied over 25 XPulse 200s for the event. All the bikes were equipped with the trailR tyre and so our adventure began.
Ashish and Arunas started with the basics of off-road riding. They taught us how to sit on the motorcycle and hold it properly, in different scenarios, and why it is important to do so. Off-roading requires you to unlearn a lot of everyday riding techniques for optimum performance. For example, they advised to sit in the centre of the bike and hold it with your ankles while keeping your feet only slightly rear set on the foot pegs to get the perfect balance. Unlike on a road bike, where you should sit far behind, with your toes on the pegs.
After the theory session was wrapped, it was time to put it all into practice out on the track. The 25 odd bikes were split into two teams, team Ashish and team Arunas for two separate training sessions on the track at the same time and off we went. Ashish started with teaching us how to brake. A very crucial aspect of off-road riding. He took us out on a loose sand part of the ranch and told us to "be our own ABS". He told us to brake using the tap tap tap method to slow the bike effectively. Just like on the road, it's the front tyre that should do almost all the braking, but one should use the rear brake to balance the bike. The key was to lock the rear tyre, then quickly get off the brakes and then repeat this process three or four times before a corner. "Always complete braking before the corner", he said. That's because if you continue to brake mid-corner you might loose the front-end or even your rear given how twichy the surface might be.
After this was done, we went to the other part of the track where Arunas was teaching us all about body positioning and weight shifting. He had laid down a slalom course and asked us to tackle it with just one hand and then with one leg swinging out to imbalance the bike. That was tricky and then some, but a very good exercise to understand the bike and that helped me to tackle those banked berms later.
A quick ORS break after both these activities were concluded, we went out again, to ride a few trails. Throttle Shottle is quite an interesting track. It has sharp corners, flowing corners with berms, small jumps, big jumps and even an almost vertical loose sand pit to scare the crap out of you. Firstly Arunas showed us how to ride a banked berm in the best way possible. The trick is to move the bike with your hands, with you staying put in the centre. This seemed intimidating at first, but was arguably my favourite thing which I did in this event. If you get it right, the way the bike just flows under you and the front grips is oh-so-satisfying.
We crossed mud pits and gravel roads next to see how the tyres perform on slushy surfaces. I was really impressed by the trialR's performance here because of just how confidence inspiring the bike felt even in thick muck. It just never skipped a beat. On the rock pit and gravel roads too, the bike stayed planted even when we were absolutely gunning it. The trailR gets a Chevron pattern and that is what helps it to throw out dirt quickly and help it to grip.
Day one was concluded and after a night's rest we returned back the next morning. Fortunately and surprisingly day two began with overcast and it stayed cloudy till noon. I was particularly happy because I was fairly over kitted for this event. Note to self: don't take your touring kit for an offroad event the next time it happens in Delhi. Day two began with Arunas showing us how to tackle the fast bits. Longer berms, straights as well as corners. But the really tricky part was what Ashish taught us to conquer. The sand pit with almost vertical slopes at both ends. This is where I was impressed the most by the Reise trailR tyre. It grips really well even in loose sand giving you a good feel of the front as well as the rear, again inspiring confidence to go faster.
The last training session was the notorious balancing act over the concrete pole. Seems easy, but isn't. The formula to cross this without falling is to have a linear throttle and eyes set at the exit.
All set and done, both Ashish and Arunas had a surprise planned for us after lunch. A two-part friendly race! The first would be a relay race and the second a slow speed race. Pairs were made and off we went. Team #evoPower, me and Karan Singh from Powerdrift bagged P3 in the relay race out of the eight pairs, but in the slow speed race we competed against ourselves! I managed to climb up to P3, on the podium, ahead of all the other journos, only losing to two professionals. Not a bad day at work at all.
The Reise trailR Academy off-road event was an eye opener. It taught me how to ride better off the road, whilst evaluating the performance of the trailR, which performed flawlessly. The trailR should be high up on your list if you're considering a 50:50 on-off road tyre for your ADV given its competitive price and good performance even on the road.
Getting trained by a couple of riding legends that they are, Ashish and Arunas, is something which I won't forget for a long time.