The Elusive ‘Normal’
The sales of new two-wheelers are nowhere near the pre-COVID figures. The festive season does help, but not much compared to the pre-COVID festival times. With a lot of people losing their jobs and others struggling to make ends meet, buying a new scooter or motorcycle is being put on the backburner. Most people would rather put by their money for the rainy day given the fact that there is so much financial uncertainty.
The country and the economy are still struggling to recover following the periods of lockdown but the government does not seem to care much. They keep increasing the price of petrol and diesel, which, in turn, pushes up the prices of all the essential commodities and this hurts the ordinary citizen the most. Even the cost of an LPG cylinder has gone up to Rs 1,000. The salaried citizen seems to be bearing the brunt of all the extra taxation.
Last month we rode the all-new KTM RC200 at the Bajaj test-track at Chakan, near Pune. The new bike has come a long way with a noteworthy improvement on the chassis front, a bolt-on subframe, and a lot of weight reduction in its unsprung weight with disc rotors being mounted directly on the wheel as in Moto3 motorcycles. The light wheel enhances the bike’s agility, facilitates a quicker change of direction, and also betters handling.
The first round of the Royal Enfield Continental GT Cup was held last month. The feedback from all the riders and automotive journalists was positive. The motorcycles worked like clockwork. There was no drop in their performance; it remained the same on lap 10 as on lap one. The most telling testimony to Royal Enfield’s manufacturing finesse was that there was not a single mechanical failure throughout the entire two weeks of rider selection involving 105 riders and more than 25 journalists, practice sessions, qualifying rounds, and two 10-lap races.