True to the promise they made a few months ago, Royal Enfield have entered the realm of online shopping with their protective riding gear and motorcycle apparel. [Read more…]
LAST MONTH I RODE THE ROYAL ENFIELD 650 TWINS IN THE US AND WE WERE REALLY impressed by the two motorcycles. At that time I speculated that the Conti GT would be priced around the Rs 3 lakh mark and the Interceptor around Rs 2.75 lakh. However, Siddhartha Lal blew us all into the Arabian Sea in Goa at the launch with the announcement of the prices: Rs 2.50 lakh for the Interceptor and Rs 2.65 lakh for the Continental GT. In fact, Siddhartha reminded me about a discussion we had had at their technical centre in the UK last year about how manufacturers tend to double the price of a motorcycle when they add a cylinder to the engine, say, from a single to a twin-cylinder. The single-cylinder 535 Conti GT was priced at Rs 2,10,000 and now Royal Enfield have not doubled the price, but just charged the cost of adding another cylinder. With this pricing Royal Enfield are sure to shake up the motorcycle market and, in the process, have also shown how manufacturers have been taking the customer for a ride.
Mahindra’s Classic Legends have brought the Czech brand, Jawa, back to life by launching the Jawa 300-cc, the “Jawa forty two”, and concept Perak with Bobber styling.
Last month Hero MotoCorp showed four versions of the X Pulse at the biggest motorcycle show in the world, EICMA (the Milan Motorcycle Show). The four variants looked very impressive. After parting ways with Honda, Hero have gone from strength to strength. Taking on the best global players head-on is no mean feat. Hats off to Pawanji for achieving monthly sales of 7,50,000 motorcycles. A great job, sir!
Worth the Wait
IT HAS BEEN NEARLY ONE YEAR SINCE ROYAL ENFIELD UNVEILED THE INTERCEPTOR 650 AND the Continental GT 650 at the Milan Motor Show and, finally, last month I got an opportunity to ride both the bikes in Santa Cruz, California. I was wondering why I had travelled half way round the world to ride motorcycles manufactured in Chennai, India. I got my answer after the ride; because these were among the best roads I had ridden on and probably the best in the world.
The reason for the delay was that Royal Enfield did not want to take a chance with these bikes, being intent on ironing out all possible issues before the actual launch of the two twins. I was really impressed by these two motorcycles that Royal Enfield have come up with. The second surprise for me was the riding capability of Siddhartha Lal. A number of CEOs and MDs say that they can ride a motorcycle, but Siddhartha can genuinely ride well. We were riding hard and he kept up with us. His passion for riding also shows in the products he has launched. This time Royal Enfield have really nailed it.
The cost of fuel is on a northward trend on a daily basis and, needless to say, this hurts the ordinary man, especially the lower middle class who rely mainly on two-wheelers. The government knows that one needs to buy fuel for one’s daily commuting; it is a necessity and not a luxury. This rising fuel cost will also have an adverse impact on the sale of new motorcycles and scooters. They claim that it costs more to build new roads than the road tax paid by the citizenry, which, by the way, is among the highest in the world. Furthermore, if the road happens to be half
decent, one has to pay toll for that “luxury”.