The ubiquitous saree guard…!

That bane of Indian motorcycling-the saree guard!
I cannot understand this fetish Indian motorcycle manufacturers have! Why, oh why, do they have to insist on having an ugly piece of metal strapped to the side of a perfectly proportioned motorcycle? I can’t understand its practicality,  nor do I see how it achieves its purpose. How many times have you actually seen a lady in a saree strapped onto her hubby/boyfriend/ friend/ girlfriend astride something like a CBR Honda 250 R?? Lets face it, sensible women today do not wear a saree when riding pillion on a fast motorbike! And I ask this question- just whose sensibilities are the manufacturers aiming to please?

Some years ago, Hero Moto Corp has launched the Hero Impulse, a dashing (albeit only 150 cc) dual purpose machine. I skim through some reviews until I come to one which has some decent photos of the motorcycle. What’s the first thing I notice? Gosh, they’ve done it again! Like some rudimentary appendage that refuses to come off,  the saree guard hangs on to the motorcycle’s side for dear life, a full two feet above the ground!  So I suppose, when you plan a ride from Delhi to Leh to test what this machine can do, you would have a real test in the making. This would include getting a saree clad lass, feet rested solely on yours beloved saree guard, clinging on to your back through all of the journey. She would’nt get too exhausted though, she would have the ‘manly’ saree guard to thank for it! Ditto, with my new machine- an adventure tourer from Royal Enfield- the Himalayan. With 180mm of rear suspension travel and 220mm of ground clearance, the last thing I’d expect to transport on this machine is a pillion not wearing riding gear. But government regulations dictate that this purpose built, all terrain motorcycle also come shod with a saree guard, if nothing else! I also read somewhere that in my neighbouring state you cannot register the bike without the crash guard installed on the bike. I mean come on- these things (crash guards) often do more damage than good. But then that’s a rant for another day.

Folks, get a life. Discard that atrocious saree guard. Get your moto to breathe. Admire its cute butt without a merciless appendage. Listen to the call of the open road. Manufacturers, give us an option. We don’t want to pay for an accessory we do not need. Give us smart luggage panniers instead.

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