Upcoming bikes in India: Should you really care?

By | February 8, 2018

Auto expo is here, and we are getting a look at the new and upcoming bikes in India. I haven’t checked all the new launches, but here are a few educated guesses.

Hero will show up with a few exciting concepts, then launch an uglier version of an existing motorcycle a few months later. Mahindra will showcase a few different version of the Mojo, and then launch nothing new. Honda will display a few bikes India could definitely use, and then launch them in Indonesia.

A Facebook friend of mine recently asked me a question, “Is it worth waiting for the upcoming motorcycles that’ll show up at the Auto expo?” He’s in the market for a new bike, planning to get rid of his Royal Enfield and pick something better. This article will try to expand my answer to him, why you shouldn’t really care about the upcoming bikes in India.

Upcoming bikes in India: 90% will never get launched

90% of the concepts never make it to production, they are just used as a marketing tool and then forgotten. Concept bikes are like those advertisements “Meet lonely females within 5 miles of your location”, they are everywhere, they claim to be your dream come true, and they are meant to fool you into buying good old repackaged bullshit.

This is especially true for the Indian market, where cheap scooties and fuel-efficient bikes sell vastly more than performance oriented machines. Why would Hero bother to create the Hastur when it sold over 165,000 Splendors just in December last yea? Why would Honda bother to bring the CB500X here when it sold 189,000 Activas in the same period?

If you see any concept bike at the Auto expo, or hear any news of an upcoming bike launch, it’s safe to assume that it’s not going to happen.

Upcoming bikes in India: 5% will get delayed

The small fraction of the bikes that do get launched get delayed, by months at least, and sometimes by years. The TVS RR310 was first displayed at Auto expo 2016, and launched just a few weeks ago. The Mojo test bikes were spied on our highways for so long that people got frustrated, finished engineering degrees, and designed their own motorcycles, all before Mojo deliveries began.

Sending a bike into production is a big decision, it marks the direction a company would take for years to come. Manufacturers use these launch news teasers as a way to gauge response from the public, what’s the probability of this bike being a success? The bigger the company, the slower they move, the longer the delay.

If you see a production ready bike at the Auto expo, or hear any news of a bike launching soon, it’s safe to assume that at least a few months will pass before anything happens.

Upcoming bikes in India: Launch to delivery is a long wait

The remaining 5% new bikes that do get launched make it into the hands of customers only after another few months. There’s always a gap between launch and first delivery, usually something around 3-6 months. The reason for this delay is obvious, the company wants deposits and commitments from customers before committing itself to the production, and they also get to decide production volumes based on the public response.

After a bike is supposedly “launched”, one of the first delays is in the delivery of test-ride vehicles. It’s easy to get a display piece, but one that needs to be ridden on the roads by future customers requires registration and insurance. The TVS RR310 was launched in the beginning of December last year, there still aren’t many test-ride bikes around the dealerships. Once the test-ride bike arrives and customers are satisfied, their machines usually take another few months to arrive.

If you see a bike that has officially been launched, it’s safe to assume that it’ll be at least a few months before customer deliveries actually begin.

Upcoming bikes in India: You must never buy a new motorcycle

I don’t understand people who brag about being the first owner of a new motorcycle in a particular region. Like “Happy to be the first women in South-East Delhi to own a white Himalayan without center stand”, or “First Mojo owner in downtown Kohlapur in front of bus stand behind Maganlal Chikki”.

It’s like saying “Look at me people! I’m the first confirmed case of Zika virus in the country”, or “So happy to be the first women in India to be a tested carrier of Ebola”. What kind of a person buys something that has no user reviews, no history, no data to base future predictions on, and feels proud of such a decision?

Every new motorcycle needs at least 6-12 months just to iron out all the little defects, I’m yet to see a motorcycle that rolls out of the production line perfect. Manufacturer test scenarios are limited, only real-world usage tells you the truth about a machine. All new bikes have recalls, all new bikes have issues, all new bikes get updated versions. Don’t be a lab rat, let someone else take the risk, there’s absolutely no advantage of buying a brand-new motorcycle, it’s not like an IPO. Wait, read user reviews, and then decide if it’s worth it.

If you see a bike whose deliveries have just begun, it’s safe to assume that it’ll take at least a few months before genuine user reviews will start pouring in and the bike would be worth looking at.

Upcoming bikes in India: It’s not worth the wait

Add up all the little delays here and there, and you are looking at anywhere from 1 to 5 years before an upcoming bike in India is actually worth taking a look. What’s the point of waiting for so long? Isn’t it a much better idea to pick the best of what’s available now, enjoy it, and then sell it to buy something better when it comes along?

Waiting for a new and upcoming bike is like saving all your sex for old age, you’re missing out on all the fun, for the shaky promise of future awesomeness.

Experience different bikes, get what’s good now, enjoy it, then buy something else that’s good at something different. I can’t wait to get my hands on an electric motorcycle, a lot of people find them to be soulless, but someone like me who hates oil and grease loves the concept of a machine with like 10 moving parts. However, this doesn’t mean that I would sit on my ass and wait 10 years for them to become mainstream.

It’s OK if all you want to do is jack-off to an imaginary bike, it’s fun, I’ve done it. It feels nice to think this concept would make it to my garage, but to live your life based on the assumption that it’s definitely going to happen is stupid. There are no bad bikes, all of them offer something unique, something exciting, except of course for Royal Enfields, they are just fucking dumb. Use the motorcycle to make your life more interesting, don’t bother too much about which one to buy.

If you see a bike that you love, buy it, enjoy it. Nobody can stop you from masturbating to concepts, but orgasming to fantasy is always less fun than orgasming to reality.