The Leh season opens soon, and bikers across the country are preparing for the adventure called the Leh-Manali highway. This ride through some really tough terrain and high passes is no walk in the park. For three intrepid riders, it wasn’t enough of a challenge. They wanted a far more difficult one for both man and machine. This is their story.
Deepak Kamath, Dilip Bhat and Sudhir Prasad have thousands of kilometres and many years of riding under their belt. Between them they have covered the most demanding roads in India, and Deepak Kamath has even circumnavigated the globe. Now, they decided to raise the stakes. So, in June 2017, the trio set off on a 15,600km Trans-Siberian Odyssey across six countries – Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia.
Their motorcycle of choice was the Made-in-India Bajaj Dominar 400. The team’s choice of vehicle was dictated by the fact that there would be no backup or support during this long ride and they would be spending a lot of time far from civilisation. The Dominar’s strong 35PS motor generating 39Nm of torque had the power and performance to take on any kind of terrain or road conditions.
The 53-day trip took them through demanding and unforgiving terrain, and through harsh and extreme temperatures. They rode through it all: high-altitude passes, grasslands, river beds, sand, rocky terrains, dirt trails, steep gradients and loose gravel. They rode the 3,000km-long Road of Bones and negotiated the sheer drop of over 100 metres at a 45-degree incline at Charyn Canyon in Kazakhstan. This made the Dominar 400 the only Indian bike to do the Charyn Canyon and ride the Road of Bones. They also rode the Old Summer Route, a 420km gravel and clay road that remains one of the greatest challenges for adventure motorcyclists. In fact, there is no record of any other motorcyclist conquering this route without a support vehicle, making our trio’s motorcycles the first Indian bikes to ever have reached and humbled this road.
The bikes did not betray their trust. The three completely stock Dominars worked flawlessly without a single problem; this is a testimony to the Dominar’s bullet-proof build and reliability. The Trans-Siberian Odyssey is, in turn, a testimony to the grit, determination and toughness of the hyper-riders and their Dominars, alike.
Not many bikes can boast of this achievement, making the Dominar the first Indian bike to do the world’s toughest journey, the Trans-Siberian Odyssey.