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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

India: 2 Wheeler ABS, expect new laws

CHENNAI: India's two-wheeler industry is getting ready to install ABS as a safety feature on motorcycles expecting a legislation which will make it mandatory for higher displacement bikes.

According to top auto industry sources, ABS fitted locally-made motorcycles may soon become much more common than it is now as volume prompts ABS manufacturers like Bosch to manufacture two-wheeler ABS locally rather than sourcing it from Japan as they do now.

Already a handful of products offer ABS as an option and the customer reaction to this safety feature has been very positive.

Bajaj Auto has just rolled out its RS200 with ABS while TVS Apache RTR 180 also has an ABS option. Top ABS maker Bosch is in talks with a "number of OEMs" that are looking at kitting out higher-end bikes with ABS.

Said Kartikeya Joshi, marketing & sales head, Bosch Chassis Systems India: "We make four-wheeler ABS locally but in two wheelers, we are currently supporting demand through our manufacturing facility in Japan. Later on, if the market improves and the volumes pick up speed, we will take a call on manufacturing in India."

Currently the TVS Apache is the cheapest ABS-fitted bike in India at under Rs 1 lakh and the options for an ABS-fitted bike for less than Rs 3 lakh are just a handful.

The ABS option is more common among the super luxury cruiser bikes that are in Rs 10-30 lakh price range. Sources say big volume bike makers like TVS will consider offering the ABS option on other models in its range as "the market and regulations move forward".

Others like Royal Enfield are reportedly "in talks" for ABS technology too. Said a company spokesperson: "Royal Enfield is working on two new platforms and will be coming out with new products 2016 onwards that will have global appeal. As part of our R&D process, we keep exploring and working with various partners on design and technology. We can share more details as and when we are ready to announce our new products."

The good news is that a clutch of Indian bike makers are now thinking of the ABS option. "Apart from TVS Apache and the Bajaj RS200, KTM models also have ABS as do Harley Davidsons," said Joshi.

"Bosch is in advance talks with other OEMs and will announce it as and when it is realized. There is a slow growth in the acceptance of this technology driven by market forces. For instance, we are told that there is a high demand for the ABS variant of the Bajaj RS200 bike," he added.

Right now the only ABS-fitted bikes under Rs 10 lakh price range are, apart from TVS Apache RTR 180 (Rs 86,000) and Bajaj RS200 (Rs 1.35 lakh), KTM Duke 390 and RC390 (Rs 1.87 lakh and Rs 2.10 lakh), Aprilia PRO at Rs 5.63 lakh, Harley Iron 883 and Ducati Monster at just under Rs 7 lakh, Kawasaki Z800 at over Rs 8 lakh and Harley 48 at over Rs 9 lakh. The rest of the superbikes kitted with ABS are priced between Rs 10-33 lakh.

Source: Economic Times
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