Tanika Shanbhag – Hero XPulse 200 Review by the youngest stiletto shifterDecember 24, 2021
The Youngest Stiletto Shifter – Tanika Shanbhag
Tanika Shanbhag is a motocross athlete from Satara, Maharashtra. At nineteen years old she is the youngest “Stiletto Shifter“. Belonging to a family of motocross athletes, the dirt arena is her second home. Tanika started riding motorcycles since the age of 12. At 14 she was introduced to the competitive racing arena. Last year, she decided to go professional and take it up as a career pursuit.
Tanika Shanbhag’s association with riding bikes began when:
It all began with a Braap
My dad being a 4 wheel rally driver introduced me to bikes at a young age. I learnt how to ride a bike but wasn’t interested in racing at first. It wasn’t till my younger brother took up the sport and we went to Bangalore for his training and the trainers there made sure I just rode as I already knew how to.
As I rode a Honda crf250 on a motocross track for the first time and took a few little jumps and still had the bike under control. I started enjoying myself, the feeling that I got when the bike took off and had both wheels in the air even if it was for a second was thrilling and I loved it. On our way back home I told my parents that I wanted to start racing and no one was more happier in that moment than both of my parents. That is where it all began.
MRF National supercross Championships
I started participating in the MRF National supercross Championships along with my brother. I finished 3rd my very first race in the u14 category in the 5th round of the championship that year. I couldn’t ride in the championship next year as I had out grown the category and the next category was the sx2 open which I wasn’t ready for to compete in. I had my doubts about racing due not getting a continue flow through out due to lack of experience or motorcycle or injury or my fear, then I did the Indian Baja my very first 2 wheel cross country rally.
The Demo class
They created a demo class so that I could participate as I was 16 at the time and you need to be 18 to start rallying. Day one I had a bad crash in the first stage and my bike wouldn’t start and I had to wait for 4 hours in the middle of the desert and no cell service for the rescue car to come get me. They gave me a restart on day 2. It was a 75km and a 35km stage through the sand dunes which was very exciting as well as exhausting, but I completed the rally, this was the event where I knew I wanted to rally two wheelers.
My options were – other two wheelers you had short-listed
No we didn’t have any other bike in mind. The Hero Xpulse 200 was intended to replace the Hero Impulse.
Tanika Shanbhag’s previous motorcycles were:
- I rode the KTM SXF250 for supercross
- Hero Impulse for the Indian National Rally championship and
- A Yamaha WR450.
Tanika Shanbhag chose the Hero Xpulse 200 because –
My hero impulse had an engine breakdown in between a rally stage and I couldn’t complete the rally. We bought the Hero Xpulse 200 after that. Simply put ,the bike’s handling, suspension, power delivery, and stability is unbelievable. Except for the weight, I have absolutely no complaints for the bike.
Number of kilometres clocked so far on the Hero Xpulse 200
I have clocked around 600km on my hero Xpulse so far
Tanika Shanbhag’s Most memorable ride
I recently participated in the Rally of Himalayas in October. I was scared to be riding that event from all the stories I had heard about the terrain, climate, and the circumstance you have to ride it. But I did participate on my Xpulse 200 and I’m so glad that I did! Day one wasn’t very good for me, I was 7th out of 8 people in my class and 35th over all out of 75 participants.
Day 2 was a 52km stage and a 24km stage and by the end of the 1st stage I was 1st in my class and 12th overall. I finished day two, 1st in my category and 10 overall.
Day 3 was the same stage as day 2 but reverse and I finished 9th overall and won my category. It was my first win this year and in an open category and I was very happy with my riding. This was a really important experience that I needed to boost my confidence in my riding and to know I can do it.
Tanika Shanbhag recommends the Hero Xpulse because:
- The bike is very rider friendly and forgiving.
- Once the bike is in motion it is so easy to handle the bike even if it’s heavy.
- The suspension are so amazing that you don’t even feel the bumps as much you normally would even on the stock suspension, and
- The rally kit….. that’s even better!
While we conclude this review and gear up for the Christmas Weekend we wish the young athlete all the very best and look forward to seeing you on an international podium in the near future. For our readers, here is an inspirational music video by Maati Baani featuring Tanika Shanbhag.