Topped out at an indicated 120 kph reminded me that windshields belong on cars, not motorcycles, on which they mostly become windpowered brakes. However, in this case, the Royal Enfield Meteor 350’s screen may well have been a transparent, bug-splattering crown; after all, it is our 2021 Motorcycle Of The Year. And it was on its way to meet the Mahindra Thar, our 2021 Car Of The Year. Car versus bike, COTY versus MOTY. There’s no real competition, of course, just a usual thematic exaggeration on our part. That’s not to say there aren’t similarities, though — if only in spirit. Both are all-new machines. Both are made by Indian companies. And both are extensions of traditions for their makers.
Cruising is to Royal Enfield what off-roading is to Mahindra. Over decades, bikes and cars from each manufacturer have taken thousands upon thousands of people to every dusty and muddy nook and cranny of India, and they’re still finding new places to go to. RE’s slew of organised riding experiences almost mirror Mahindra Adventure’s escapades into the real world that exists away from cities. And I know of no other manufacturers whose compasses point north more impatiently, waiting for frozen mountain passes to thaw in June so that they can launch up to Ladakh which is the spiritual home of these brands.
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