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The Rise of Superbikes Industry in India

V.Anand and his Sundays since last November haven’t been the same. Earlier, the Chartered Accountant used to spend leisurely Sunday morning, getting up at around 11 am. But then he became a Kawasaki Ninja 650 owner and his Sundays drastically changed.

Now his preparations for Sunday start from Saturday night— he cleans his bike to get it ready for the Sunday morning ride. And on Sunday at about 4 am, he quietly makes his tea and sneaks out with his Kawasaki Ninja buddies.

The wind doesn’t dare block your way. The dust rises and settles at your order and the vast curvy road is waiting to be conquered by you. Whooshing past vehicles and kissing the road on an occasional head bend send shivers down the spine. This is the power of superbikes which have brought riding close to flying in an open sky.

Bikes are making a comeback in the Indian automobile segment but wait; these are not the run-of the-mill motorcycles. We Indians are giving a go-by and gunning to own a superbike to feel the luxury and create our own style statement. Now motorcycles are no longer about mileage only. Many people are investing in super stylish beasts to relive their passion for biking.

Superbikes, by definition: high-performance motorcycles of 500cc and above, are not cheap, yet the sale of this segment of motorbikes, ruled by the likes of Enfield Bullet and Harley Davidson, has been gathering pace. A niche market for super bikes is becoming popular in India, with enthusiasts seeking tantalizing rush of adrenaline. Even high price tag of these roaring machines is not dissuading them from becoming proud owners of these luxurious bikes.

Mainly, there are three clear macro trends that are driving the growth of luxury bikes in India:

  • According to The Times of India report, there are 2080 ultra-high net worth individuals in India with a total wealth of over $50 million. The number of millionaires is projected to grow to 3,05,000 by 2020.
  • As per UN report, India has world’s largest youth population.
  • The pace of urbanization is all set to increase in the country. By 2029, 69 metropolitan cities will be home to around 78% of India’s urban population.

Luxury bikes market vrooms at fast pace

On the basis of their engine displacement, India’s motorcycle segment can be broadly classified into the following four segments:

  • 500cc-plus (ultra-luxury and sports bikes)
  • 200-500cc (premium/entry-sport)
  • 110-200cc (prestige and upwardly mobile)
  • 75-110cc (value/workhorses)

According to The Times of India, Indian market is growing for super bikes and adventure bikes which have engine capacity of above 500 cc. Soon their sale will reach to 20,000 units by 2020.

Source: The Financial Express

With over 65% market share in the high-net worth bikes segment, Harley Davidson is expecting to register growth in tier-II Indian cities. Since 2010, more than 12,000 Harley Davidson bikes have been sold out in India.

Apart from home grown Royal Enfield and global biggie Harley Davidson, Indian market has also witnessed the entry of new players like Ducati and Benelli. Further, DSK Benelli has crossed 500 superbikes milestone in Bengaluru in a short span of one year. Also Ducati India has opened its new dealership in Pune. At present, it has its dealerships in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bengaluru and is planning to have two more dealerships by the year end.

According to Ducati India’s Managing Director, Mr. Ravi Avalur, India’s superbike fan base is largest in the world. The company has received fantastic response for the bookings of its new superbike Panigale 959 cc. At present, the company deals in Diavel, Multistrada, Hypermotard, Monster and Scrambler brands. All these bikes start from Rs 6.83 lakhs.

Yamaha has also imported its YZF-R1 and launched YZF-R1M. Similarly, Suzuki has unveiled GSX S1000 and S1000F and reported a 40% growth in its superbike sales in 2014-15. Royal Enfield manufactures its superbikes in India. The company has also reported a hike to 49,156 units in Feb, 2016 from 30,240 in 2015.

The last year’s edition of India Superbike Festival (ISF) in Pune was one of the largest superbikes gathering of nearly 3000 bikers from different parts of the country. These super stylish premium bikes with a price tag of lakhs of rupees have grabbed whims of Bollywood also. Many people have bought these high priced luxury bikes after the release of a popular Bollywood movie ‘Dhoom’. The film in which these super stylish bikes played an imperative role has brought enthusiasm and demand of people for these ultra-powerful machines to the fore.

Biking Clubs in India

This high speed of adventure has given birth to various biking clubs across the country for group riding. Some of the famous bike clubs in India are:

  • Bangalore Jawa Yezdi Motorcycle Club
  • Bulleteers Club, Bangalore
  • RD Club, Bangalore
  • Goan Enthusiasts and Riders
  • Wolves on Wheels, Kolkata
  • Group of Delhi Superbikers
  • Bikerni, Pune (an exclusive women bikers group)

Even bike manufacturers have set up their own biking clubs like Suzuki Biking Lords and Harley Owners Group (H.O.G). Ducati India is also planning to introduce ‘Desmo Owners Club’— a Ducati owner club in India.

Superbikes launched at Auto Expo, 2016

It’s not only fancy cars that caught attention at Auto Expo, 2016 as even motorcycle manufacturers had put their best bikes on display. Here’s a collection of some superbikes unveiled at Auto Expo, 2016

Yamaha MT-09 Yamaha M1
Suzuki GSX RR Suzuki GSX-S 1000
Honda CBR 1000 RR Honda RC213V
Benelli TNT 600i Benelli Tornado TRE 1130
Triumph Street Twin Triumph Rocket III Roadster
Aprilia Tuono V4 1100

Luxury Bikes: A rage among middle-aged professionals

Well, into their middle-ages now, they’re successful, sitting in board meetings, discussing mergers and deals. But catch them in a vulnerable moment and you will be thrilled to see them pouring over an Enfield Bullet, checking Harley Davidson bikes over the internet or discussing import duties on superbikes with their peers. Before you ask, let me tell you, these are not newbie bikers or college students out for a lark, but mostly middle-aged motorcycle enthusiasts who, thanks to their fat wallets, are able to relive their adolescent fantasies at this stage of their life. These are some passionate bikers who work hard around the week and enjoy few hours of speed biking at weekends.

With their selected group of friends with whom they have nothing else in common, they’ll discuss speeds and revolution per minute (RPMs) and figure out where they want to head for their next weekend outing. Then on weekend, they slither out at dawn in their riding gear and super stylish bikes to enjoy some valuable hours when nothing matters but the wind as they streak past cars crawling at a snail’s pace of 100-120 kmph.

Easy financing and buying options

Users of superbikes may belong to the creamy layer but the easy availability of financing options from banks as well as non-banking finance companies have made it feasible for the middle-income group professionals to become proud owners of these super bikes. Curiously, many banks offer loans for high-end bikes at lower rates than normal two-wheelers. For instance, during the period of October 15-December-15, HDFC Bank offered super bike loan and two-wheeler loan at an average internal rate of return (IRR) of 12.25% and 22.28% respectively. The bank also offers accessory funding of up to Rs 2 lakhs.

Have a look at Superbikes Accessories:

  • Helmet: Rs 3000-3,500
  • Jacket: Rs 5,000-7,000
  • Gloves: Rs. 1,500 – 2,000
  • Knee pads: Rs 1,500 – 2,000
  • Trousers: Rs. 5,000 – 10,000
  • Shoes: Rs. 5,000 – 7,000

Harley-Davidson has also partnered with HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank to give easy financing options to buyers.  Even in some cases, banks may not have an off-the-shelf loan but they tailor-made as per their buyer’s needs. After all, someone who can afford a bike worth Rs 5 or 6 lakhs is a potential high net-worth buyer for lenders. Further, financial institutions give preferential treatment to every luxury bike customer. A relationship manager of the bank personally visits such customers.

Even manufacturers of these superbikes are putting all their efforts to entice buyers. For instance, Harley Davidson has launched a roadside assistance program in India to help riders in case of breakdown. Moreover, DSK Benelli offers a breakdown service, which is functional even at night.

Plans to localize Superbikes production

According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, the sale of superbikes has increased exponentially in the country. To fulfill increasing demands and deliver bikes on time, various superbike manufacturers are planning to localize production by setting up manufacturing units in India. As India levies a high tax on imported vehicles as compared to locally assembled vehicles, this move of manufacturers would help to cut prices of luxury bikes. Industry leaders like British classic bike maker Triumph, Japanese Kawasaki and American Harley-Davidson are assembling their various models at Indian factories. Furthermore, Italian motorbike brand Benelli, which has entered India through a partnership with Pune-based DSK Group as DSK Benelli, is also planning to manufacture its superbikes in the country.

Have a safe journey!

With increasing affluence, motorcycling is catching on in a big way in India among all age-groups. It doesn’t matter how your bike is made and what it costs because when you zip by on these modish machines, with the wind blowing on your face, the feel of speed and passion is simply incomparable. The journey becomes more enjoyable and intriguing than the destination.

However, it becomes important to keep your bike insured from all unforeseen losses or damages. A mishappening comes unannounced and therefore, the best way to protect your premium bike is to buy a bike insurance policy online. A comprehensive policy protects your vehicle against a number of perils, such as fire, earthquake, flood, storm, riot, theft, and accident. Also, a motorcycle insurance policy is mandated by the law, so procuring one will certainly protect you from all hassles.  Your luxury bike is one of your most valuable assets which you love to flaunt. But to keep enjoying its ride, it is imperative to safeguard it. After all, cars move your body but bikes move your soul!

Vikas Agarwal
the authorVikas Agarwal
Vikas Agarwal is an IIT-Varanasi graduate in Chemical Engineering. He is the Founder and CEO of - an investment advisory website. He is a Business Development Professional but a Value Investor at heart. He writes articles on Finaacle, which focus on simplifying the art of investing and the causes of human misjudgment when it comes to investing. He also shares his experiences as an investor and lessons from some of the greatest investors of all time.

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