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Old 10th February 2017, 21:16   #1
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Default Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

Hello BHPians, a question I have asked myself many a time: The venerable RE Bullet in its many incarnations is selling like hot cakes nowadays. It seems to me that within a couple of years, it will lose its exclusivity and cult status and will attain the status of other common machines.

The question is - why other manufacturers are not attempting to create a rival (retro streetbike) to the Bullet in the same price band?

I considered the following retro naked bikes:

1. Harley - not a rival since it is many segments above to the topmost RE offering (at present).

2. Triumph Bonneville - same reason as the above.

3. Kawasaki W800- same reason as the above.

4. Upcoming UM motorcycles - retro cruiser clones, no pedigree, no cubic capacity, no remarkable power, no brand value in India.

5. Bajaj V15 - a basic 150 which will not come into the league of the "big single".

6. Hero Splendour Classic- a miserable apology from Hero for not offering a cafe racer (don't know if it needs a mention here).

The leading players here i.e. Honda, Yamaha, Bajaj, TVS and Hero seem not at all interested in this segment even though the 1st and 2nd have models in other markets which, if offered in India, would give a tough fight to the Bullet. For example, CBX Twister or VTR 250 (may be a bit too much to wish) or SR400, if launched with a reasonable price will be a treat to retro naked streetbike lovers.

OK, Honda is busy producing the NAVI OFFROAD (shame on them) and Yamaha's obsolete 250s compete before a fearsome 400 available at a dirtcheap price. But why Bajaj, which knows the pulse of the Indian market, is not venturing into this unexplored segment? Comments of fellow BHPIans solicited please.

Last edited by GTO : 13th February 2017 at 12:06. Reason: Language
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Old 10th February 2017, 22:13   #2
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Default re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

First of all Bullet & its clans are super outdated models & surprisingly (still) selling like hot cakes. Secondly RE & its cousins like Harley, Indian are still relying upon push rods while 99% of the vehicle manufacturers have switched to smooth cam operated engines. It's only the high price band of other manufacturers that are still responsible for such high sales for RE. Had Harley or T-Bone sold in the price band of 3L, RE would be seriously considering to close down an unit or price cuts or both.

Now, if you look at the market segment, a product, especially Japs, is made for the masses, then masses that needs a little premium, then a segment that needs a certain lifestyle & then something a class apart. This is how a product portfolio is made. Example, CB Shine, CB Hornet, CBR 250R, CBR 1000RR & Goldwing; Kawasaki, Triumph & Harley are already into lifestyle products in India & they're not aiming the masses here. Bajaj has tied up with KTM for their premium & lifestyle offerings. TVS, less said better & Yamaha as company is not as fast as their motorcycles.

Now coming to the rivals, you're right there're no retro street bikes matching the price of RE. Let's see the category of folks buying RE.
Youngsters - Most of them are attracted to RE as macho
Middle Aged - Here these guys buy it because they don't have alternatives + these folks are either get back to motorcycling or associate RE to macho styling
Old - These are purist, most have the old CI engine, knows inside out of their machine

Now the rivals, whom do they target? Youngsters? It's going to get harder in the very near future as most of them are switching to KTM, Honda, Kawi & sort esp with more disposable income. Middle aged guys? Well...may be; with lesser reflex & taking out time to ride, yes, possible for rivalries to target this segment. Old age, say above 50s, kind of difficult to convince them even to move away from CI engine. Or these guys settle with T-Bone kind of machines.

So for a super niche segment of middle aged guys who're getting back to motorcycling with lesser reflexes with nearly the same price tag & providing a little or more features that too with an already established player for more than half a century...is it going to be any worth?
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Old 10th February 2017, 22:42   #3
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Default re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

Quote:
Youngsters - Most of them are attracted to RE as macho
Middle Aged - Here these guys buy it because they don't have alternatives + these folks are either get back to motorcycling or associate RE to macho styling
Old - These are purist, most have the old CI engine, knows inside out of their machine
Sir, I totally agree with most of your points. But the youngsters preferring the Bullet , i think , can be divided further into:

Type 1- They buy the Bullet knowing ONLY the superficial things - ie macho looks, "350CC",thump etc - they simply imitate others and do not know nor care to know about the deeper aspects like power and torque, Worldwar legacy, longstroke pushrod engine etc.In other words, they buy the RE just for showing off and will as willingly let it go after a period of time.

Type 2-They are the most "sane", easygoing sort of people who have necessary knowledge of bikes, but are no experts. They know that the UCE is more fuel efficient, troublefree and comparatively better performing Bullets. They love the Bullet for its comfort and classic looks and will settle down for a UCE but will never buy an old CI nor will even dream of restoring one.

Type 3- Diehard fans and real enthusiasts. They know the bike almost inside out -the CI, UCE, AVL, Classic, T Bird, GT and what not. They rebuild, restore, modify, dream and love the bike more than anything and possibly will be spending each and every penny for its upkeep.

I belong to the 3rd group, though not a youngster and the love is not limited to Bullet.

Last edited by GTO : 13th February 2017 at 12:09. Reason: Language
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Old 10th February 2017, 22:59   #4
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Default re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

If yamaha makes an xsr 300 and maybe a 150 somewhere down the line as a homage to the rd 350 and rx 100, I'm sure these bikes will have enough takers, especially if they do a proper brand and price positioning. These bikes were even more famous than the bullet. I'm sure they would murder the likes of the continental gt

Another good candidate for revival is the shogun. Tvs seems like a more responsive co too. But not sure if shogun is as big a brand as the rx /rd
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Old 11th February 2017, 06:19   #5
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Default re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

I might be hated for this, but a huge chunk of the population is ignorant as hell. No one cares if the suspension wont work, no one cares if the engine is as efficient as a bonfire, no one cares if the inside of the fuel tank is painted with paint prone to chipping, the only thing that matters is that the bullet one ups every other motorcycle in sheer size and presence. The added thump is just cherry on the cake.

Our women are also a significant part of the problem. To most of them, splendor=passion=pulsar=unicorn=(any sub 150cc) and then there is the bullet. Ask any average WAG, who says she likes motorcycles, what bike they like and 99% of the times the answer will be: Bullet. Simple, if the significant other finds it attractive, the macho male is bound to please his lady by getting the macho bike.

Its a vicious cycle, and I really do not see it ending anytime soon.

This is the sole reason the retro themed bullet sells. Any other company which brings in a retro themed bike to compete with the bull will inevitably end up being the Yamaha Bullet or Bajaj Bullet or Kawasaki Bullet. And being accused of being a rip off of the original bullet.

Last edited by GTO : 13th February 2017 at 12:11. Reason: Typos
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Old 11th February 2017, 21:28   #6
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Default re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

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Any other company which brings in a retro themed bike to compete with the bull will inevitably end up being the Yamaha Bullet or Bajaj Bullet or Kawasaki Bullet. And being accused of being a rip off of the oroginal bullet.
I beg to disagree. On the other hand, any other reliable retro naked bike launched in the pricerange of RE is sure to sell as the entire bike market in the world is leaning towards naked bikes
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Old 12th February 2017, 12:36   #7
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Default re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

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Originally Posted by Ashley Nair View Post
I beg to disagree. On the other hand, any other reliable retro naked bike launched in the pricerange of RE is sure to sell as the entire bike market in the world is leaning towards naked bikes
It will sell for sure. But it wont pull the RE crowd. New retro themed bikes will only be for enthusiasts, and even if we are plenty these days, we are still a very small minority of the entire customer base. Thus, making these retro bikes as niche products, and very few companies are willing to risk bringing in something which will appeal to only a select few, while bringing in something loud and flashy, or boring and economical is far less easy and bound to give you more money in the bank.
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Old 12th February 2017, 19:45   #8
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Default re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

I just wish to know, as to how much profit would the RE be getting in selling one Motorcycle vis a vis, with something like, say a Dominar 400.
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Old 12th February 2017, 19:52   #9
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Default re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

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New retro themed bikes will only be for enthusiasts, and even if we are plenty these days, we are still a very small minority of the entire customer base.
True to the core.

Quote:
I just wish to know, as to how much profit would the RE be getting in selling one Motorcycle vis a vis, with something like, say a Dominar 400.
Surely they will not be running in a loss as long as they are able to maintain the "macho" bike image. The question is , how long?
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Old 12th February 2017, 23:37   #10
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Default re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

Retro bikes are largely defined not just by their styling but their heart as well. IF a Japanese manufacturer or any other manufacturer decided to make a retro bike with pushrods or even an SOHC, the application for that motor will be limited to one segment. They will not be able to use the motor for sportbikes, tourers, streetfighters, commuters etc. Secondly, the Royal Enfield enjoys success only here in India.

Now if the manufacturer were to charge a premium for their product due to the money spent on R&D on an all new motor whose application will be limited, they would have to set the product apart in the premium segment competing against Harleys, Indians and Triumph Bonnevilles, and that is not going to be easy since all of them come with heritage.

Point is, this is a diminishing market which will belong only to those manufacturers that have been there and done that. There is a very good reason why Hyundai doesn't suddenly start making jeeps. The success would only be limited and enjoyed by the old-school manufacturers as they have a hardcore fan base. Let the retro guys make retro bikes

Last edited by IshaanIan : 12th February 2017 at 23:41.
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Old 13th February 2017, 04:09   #11
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Default re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

As many of you may know, Mahindra is rumored to have paid 3.4 million ($4.1 million) for the rights to the BSA name.

It is possible that they may bring a recreation of the legendary BSA motorcycles with the styling of 1960's and '70's "naked" look to the general public.

Now, that would be interesting.

http://www.classic-british-motorcycl...ycle-news.html
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Old 13th February 2017, 09:50   #12
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Default re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

A simple analogy for this could be, our mythological hero Hanuman versus other modern days Heroic characters.
Hanuman is well known hero since the time of Ramayan and almost all Indians have grown listening to the story of Hanuman (Like, he flew over the sea, he killed thousands of Demons etc) and dreaming to become another Hanuman

Modern days Heroes like Phantom, Heman, etc, are also of equal capabilities and have demonstrated several such heroisms and have a similar space in our hearts.

But, even today, every one wants to be "Hanuman". Reason being, he is the first hero who has created space in our hearts.

So, Bullets have a space in our hearts even though multiple other Modern day bikes have the capability to replace this old inefficient bike (No offense please)
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Old 13th February 2017, 12:18   #13
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Default Re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

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Originally Posted by ArizonaJim View Post
It is possible that they may bring a recreation of the legendary BSA motorcycles with the styling of 1960's and '70's "naked" look to the general public.
100% agreed. A great discussion (Mahindra acquires BSA Motorcycles for 28 crores).

Mahindra can certainly bring a well-priced retro-naked bike to India, carrying the BSA brand no less. The only limitation will be Mahindra's poor understanding of the two-wheeler space, and their lack of experience within.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gkveda View Post
So, Bullets have a space in our hearts even though multiple other Modern day bikes have the capability to replace this old inefficient bike (No offense please)
So true. Another analogy is the Jeep. There might be a lot of 4x4s around, some equally / more competent, but a Jeep is a Jeep.

A similarly priced alternative might take some sales away, yet Royal Enfield will remain dominant for years to come. They have an enviable image, brand strength, fans & communities built around the bike.

Am sure Harley-Davidson could go lower than the Street 750 which is currently priced at 4.9 lakhs. Maybe a smaller engined, cheaper bike for 3.xx lakhs? That could lure some Enfield aspirants away.
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Old 13th February 2017, 12:43   #14
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Default Re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Am sure Harley-Davidson could go lower than the Street 750 which is currently priced at 4.9 lakhs. Maybe a smaller engined, cheaper bike for 3.xx lakhs?
There is a cheaper Street 500 internationally, but Harley ruled out any plans for it's introduction in India with a press statement that made no sense to me!

Perhaps they don't want people to start comparing Harleys against Bullet 500s!

http://m.carandbike.com/news/harley-...-india-1282329
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Old 13th February 2017, 13:33   #15
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Default Re: Except the Bullet, why is there no other retro-naked affordable bike in India?

The Bullet has lost its charm it once had. Not because of the UCE engines but because of a certain clan of buyers. Nowadays any tom dick and harry buys an RE fit it with one of those dalda dabbas/pune/punjabi/Indori/red rooster silencers and ride it in a rash manner. Because of this, the police are more eager to flag down a Bullet rider. I do own a Dessert storm, but always wanted to buy a Machismo 500.
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