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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Motorcycle - Always a tough choice

Having no options and a lot of options are equally painful, where in the first case, you hardly have anything to decide from, in the second case, deciding what exactly would suit you becomes daunting task.

In today's Indian motorcycle market, any new perspective motorcycle buyer would easily start getting head aches trying to decide which motorcycle he or she should go for. Things have changed a great deal in the past five/six years. During this time, not only the market has opened for the foreign players with their flag-ship bikes, but also the competition domestic motorcycle market has also gone from strategic to fierce, it has literally became a war zone. In all this glitter and glamor of the two-wheeler industry where some companies are trying to sell out just anything anyhow, and at the same time there are others, who are trying to reach out more sane minds and trying to offer some serious motorcycling. So, the question what should one look out for while choosing the new steed.

There are quite a lot factors in deciding your first motorcycle or your next motorcycle, if we start to think of it. So, let's see what can be the most prominent factors one should keep in mind before cranking up the engine.

Genre of Bike
Well, before you do anything else, you need to decide as to what genre of bike you want to go for. By genre of bike, I mean, what type of bike, you want a commuter friendly bike, a sporty one, a cruiser class, a two-stoker or a chopper class.

You don't have much Indian options available for last three classes and therefore choosing your dream bike would be pretty straight forward. But if you decide to go for the imported ones, there are quite some options to choose from. The widest range and probably the most confusing range of motorcycles available in this country, which is mad about average, belong to the first two genres of bikes - the commuter class and the sporty ones.

The Indian motorcycle market is predominantly a commuters market, were 100-125cc motorcycles are primarily used as beasts of burden, from carrying the burden of yourself, your entire family genome and that also along with the added burden of the groceries on both sides of the handle bar (you know.. that happy family picture!!). So, every motorcycle manufacturer tries to exploit this sentiment and most focus is given to this segment of 100-125cc motorcycles as this segment is the bread and butter of every motorcycle manufacturer, trying to survive in India.

Starting from Hero Honda (currently Hero?) to the new player Mahindra, there's a host of motorcycles available if you want to go for something commuterish. At the same time, a couple of manufacturers like Bajaj and Honda have come up with some exciting products in this same monochrome to add a bit of color to this segment. The Bajaj Pulsar 135LS and the Honda CB Twister and Honda CB Twister PGM-Fi are some motorcycles which even though belong to the 100-125cc segment, but have enough zing in them to keep a young blood interested.

But again, if you are really trying to push the envelope, then there are Apaches, Karizmas (ZMRs), Pulsars, R15s et al. If you want an old school cafe racer, you can also get a refurbished Yamaha Rx100, Yamaha 135 or the GOD Yamaha RD 350.

So, before you decide anything else, first what genre of bike you would like to have, because that's the first step towards narrowing down your search from this immense and confusing barrage of options.

Personal Choice
After deciding the genre of bikes, this is probably the single most important point towards deciding your next bike. People are Hero ? fan, people are Bajaj fan, people are Yammy guys. No matter how less option a manufacturer provides, if you are say, a Hero ? guy, then there's a 90% chance that your next bike would be a Hero ? only. But in my opinion, while going a new or next motorcycle, we should consider what type of motorcycle we wanna go for and then try to zero down, which manufacturer gives you the most value for money for that genre of bike.

Still confused? Let's put things into perspective more in terms of types of bikes and their engine capacities. Say, you want a bike in the range  of 100-125(135)cc, then Hero ? gives you the widest range to choose from. You can actually sit down and think what looks and budget suits you the most. The bikes are both economic and dependable. Right from CD Dawn to Glamor PGM-Fi, there's a wide spectrum of motorcycles you can choose from.

But if you were previously owning a Hero ? in this class and want something more exciting, then you can also check out the Bajaj Pulsar 135 LS, the Honda CB Twister 110, Honda CB Shine or even the Mahindra Stallio for that matter. It's just that you need to look a little beyond your hard core fan following.

On capacities above the 135cc limit, the competition increases as increases the speeds. There's the range of Apaches, Pulsars and the Unicorns and to make life worse, there's the Karizmas and the revamped ZMR. As if that was not enough, there are the FZs, Fazers, R15s and the invincible Ninja 250R. So, when you decide to for higher capacities, the thought process brings us to the next deciding factor - the Price.

Your Pocket
That's a very important and finally the deciding factor, which might rule your choice of steed. I know that for sure personally. Plan your budget accordingly as that would help you to choose your next motorcycle in a more justified way.

While choosing a motorcycle, always keep one thing in mind - buying a motorcycle is the easiest part of the bargain, it's the ownership that you need to consider. As a reader of ThrottleQuest, I would consider my reader to be very passionate about ones bike, and would assume that the reader would enjoy every bit of it's ownership. Nothing comes in this world for free and so is the ownership.

I can buy somehow a spanking new Yamaha YZF-R1, any day I like, but I need to ask my self, am I capable enough to maintain the bike in a manner that would do justice to it, when a properly maintained Bajaj Pulsar 200 sometimes gives me jitters in my monthly budget? The day I get the answer as "YES", that day it would be the spanking new Yamaha YZF-R1 for me, I would look no further.

So, don't just look how big a dent a new motorcycle would make to your pocket when you buy the bike, always consider, how deep that dent would go during you years of ownership, because it's YOU who would pay for the bike, would ride the bike, would enjoy the bike and above all would have the responsibility to maintain the bike. EMIs paid for your steed also needs to be considered as that's a recurring cost of ownership, just like the amount you pay for it's fuel.

Making the final choice
Based on my experience I can say that these are the three most important factor to decide what's your next or new motorcycle would be. Get your thought process right and zero down to two-three options of your choice based on your genre of like, your personal likeness and above all how much you want to shell out as initial cost and how much you want to spend on maintenance and recurring costs.

Always test ride the options you have in mind, because how the motorcycle feels and how much confidence it evokes is equally important while making the final choice. You might end up bringing home a slightly expensive option than the rest, just because you felt good on it. Feeling good is very necessary, as there's no point in riding a motorcycle which came in cheap but you are not comfortable and confident on it.

Hope this helps and as always.... Happy Riding :)
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Item Reviewed: New Motorcycle - Always a tough choice Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal Chakraborty
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