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Old 29th September 2022, 22:15   #1
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Default Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

There is an exact ditto same thread on cars, so I thought why not start one for two wheelers as well.

Link to the other thread:https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/india...urnaround.html (Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?)


Some examples that I can think of:

Royal Enfield Himalayan: This was a bike which was full of niggles when launched initially. Think of this bike as a 2019 Tata Harrier. Search for Royal Enfield Himalayan BS3 and you will find posts and threads about numerous issues. Post BS6, the bike started doing decent numbers, and you can spot this bike on a regular basis on the roads. It has also gained a decent fan following for being a good entry level adventure motorcycle.Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on-photocollage_1664469687289.jpg

TVS Apache RR310: The Apache RR310 was launched in 2017 IIRC. It was plagued by a vibey engine taglien, and that was the reason it was never a sales success. Also,RC390 was not far away but the prime reason for poor sales was the vibey engine. Come 2020, TVS launched the updated BS6 RR310 with a TFT screen and bragging rights worthy Michellin Road 5 tyres. The engine refinement levels were also much improved but the engine still had vibes. Sales numbers started to take off slowly, and the bike gained a good reputation of being an all rounder machine. Even now it is not a huge success as such, but you can spot bikes regularly and it is getting the praise it deserves.Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on-photocollage_1664469739555.jpg

Bajaj Dominar 400: Launched at the end of 2016 IIRC, the Dominar was the 390 Duke in Bajaj touring clothes. It was launched at a VFM price tag back then, 1.36 lacs for the Non ABS version( I seriously doubt if even a single unit of this bike has been produced or sold) and 1.5 lacs for the ABS version. It was a kinda cost cut version of the 390 Duke, with regular front suspension(vs USD forks), 35 ps of power(vs 43 on the 390) and a box section swing arm if I am not wrong as opposed to an aluminium swingarm(please correct me if I am wrong). The Dominar was also considerably heavier than the light and agile 390 Duke. Sales did'nt take off because of the marketing that Bajaj did. They advertised the bike with the infamous "hathi mat paalo" ,squarely aimed at Royal Enfield. Come 2019, Bajaj updated the Dominar with USD forks, 40ps of power(+5ps gain) and some other small updates. The bike had gained a reputation of a good entry level touring machine. Sales improved, but this was no blockbuster motorcycle that was ringing the sales charts on fire every month. Come end 2021, Bajaj gave the Dominar some much required touring accesories, based on customer feedback, making it the best entry level touring machine that one can buy. Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on-photocollage_1664469724981.jpg

BMW G310R and BMWG310GS: These bikes were Bmw's take on capturing the entry level performance motorcycle segment in India. I don't remember when these bikes were launched, but they had an atrocious 2.99 lac &3.49 lac price tag for G310R and the G310GS. The bikes didn't find many takers, which was obvious as the bikes had nothing much to offer apart from the snob value of the BMW badge. Come 2020, BMW launched the BS6 versions of the bikes. When every other bike maker was increasing prices in lieu of BS6, BMW dropped the price and launched the bike with updated emissions and a few feature additions. The bikes now started at 2.45 lac and 2.85 lac. This grabbed eyeballs, and in turn improved sales. You can spot these baby BMW's on a regular basis. Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on-photocollage_1664469755775.jpg

Hero Glamour: This is the only commuter I can think of, and I don't really have a lot to type about this bike. All I can recall is this was a dud initially, but after the facelift in 2013-2014, it started to sell really well. Now it regularly features on Hero's top sellers. Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on-photocollage_1664469769900.jpg

These were the examples I could think of. Would like to know views from other members as well.

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Old 29th September 2022, 23:08   #2
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Default re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

Can we include bikes that are no more in production?

Yamaha RXZ 5 speed : When the 5 speed version was launched, people were upset that the torque is gone. It didn't do well. People still search for a 5 speed and are ready to pay handsome money for even an abused one. There are people converting their 4 speed to a 5 speed one! I was also coaxed into it, but better sense prevailed.
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Old 30th September 2022, 03:50   #3
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Default re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

For me only two bikes come straight to mind:

The Glamour because I think fuel injection was too expensive for the market to digest at launch or something like that can't remember but soon enough it became popular as the years went by perhaps having proven its mettle as a reliable workhorse.

The Impulse150 unfortunately for Hero I don't think this bike was a success ever during the time it was on sale however after it was pulled and the used automotive market went up, people really seem to value their Impulse150s a lot. And I mean a LOT. I guess that and the success of the Himalayan was what inspired Hero to take another stab at it by kind of blending the two and launching the XPulse200.
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Old 30th September 2022, 05:52   #4
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Default re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

Yamaha RD350- A bike that barely sold in India when new, now has its demand shooting through the roof!
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Old 1st October 2022, 16:20   #5
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Default Re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

The Honda Dio. When I bought it way back in 2013 when it was doing horrible sales numbers.
Then suddenly they launched the refreshed model with a better suspension and all of a sudden it started doing 5 digit sales numbers. It was almost perfect before except for the suspension, all they had to do was provide telescopic suspension since the start they could have really hit the charts.
Coming back to 2022 Dio is now doing 36000 plus units compared to 15000 of feb 2022.
I sold my Dio 2 years ago and now have the Grazia which again has a similar sales number trait of the Dio.
Honda scooter segment is slowly dying in India. My next scooter will definitely not be a Honda. For sure.
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Old 1st October 2022, 16:30   #6
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Default Re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

IIRC, the Hero Honda Splendor, when launched, received lukewarm response and was declared a sales dud.

Honda Unicorn wasn't flying off the shelves when it was initially launched. These two bikes come to my mind.
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Old 1st October 2022, 17:32   #7
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Default Re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

Rewinding and going back some four plus decades, I would like to refer to a new launch, the Lambretta Mac 175 (175 cc two stroke scooter) by Automobile Products of India Ltd, Bombay in 1975. Those who had booked the Lambretta Li150 Series II were given an option to choose the Mac 175 when their priority number matured. My Dad had booked one in 1967. While at the showroom in August 1975, the dealer showed us a few new Mac's (looks like a fighter plane's name) and said we had the option to choose one in lieu of the Li 150. Mac in all probability was named after Mr M.A. Chidarbaram, who was the founder and CEO of API.

Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on-lamby-mac-175-brochure.jpg

Mac's were not selling that well in those days and also did not sell in satisfactory numbers, even a few years after its launch. The fuel prices had just risen in the winter of 1973 (Middle East oil shock) and this consumed more fuel as compared to the 150 cc Lambretta. Our main concern was though that it was not a proven engine and hence it was ruled out.

The Mac 175 flopped and was withdrawn within a few years thereafter. A few examples survive today. But I was told that these cost about Rs 100,000 today, about 20 to 30 K higher than a well maintained used Lambretta Li 150 Series II.

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Old 2nd October 2022, 10:01   #8
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Default Re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

One bike that comes to my mind which was a flop initially but gained success thereafter but in different guise is Bajaj Eliminator. It was a collaboration between Bajaj and Kawasaki.

During the time of launch, it was one of the expensive bike to buy. People looked other ways as they would have preferred a car at that price point.

Bajaj thereafter tweaked few things and launched Avenger series; and they never looked back after that.
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Old 2nd October 2022, 13:51   #9
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Default Re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

Great thread; I was thinking of it when we had a similar one for cars. And fantastic responses, BHPians! My examples were not exactly runaway successes later, but did far better than the original bikes / scooters upon which they were based:
  • Products from the Mahindra - Kinetic marriage:
    The Kinetic Nova was rebadged as the Mahindra Duro, and the Kinetic-SYM Flyte as the Mahindra Rodeo. Both brought in slightly better numbers than their predecessors.
    Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on-untitled-collage-1.jpg
    Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on-untitled-collage-2.jpg

    Bajaj Safire / Wave:
    When Bajaj replaced the unreliable and anemic engine in the Safire with the nice 110cc DTSi engine, the Wave became a fairly successful product.
    Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on-untitled-collage-4.jpg

    First-gen Yamaha Libero / G5 and Fazer:
    Yamaha was obsessed with ugly and controversial front-end designs back in the day, and the original Libero and Fazer were shining(!) examples of that. The Libero received a simpler round headlight later, and then a nicer looking G5 version, both of which sold better. The Fazer was a similar alien bug when launched, but they resurrected it with the handsome faired design which is very popular to this day.
    Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on-untitled-collage.jpg
    Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on-untitled-collage-3.jpg
There have been many, many more flop bikes and scooters in India, some of them rather brilliant, but none of them got a second chance at life. Maybe we can have a separate thread for that (if not, already).
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Old 2nd October 2022, 14:58   #10
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Default Re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

Well I could remember about few failed products that were perhaps ahead of their times:

1. Bajaj SX Enduro - Launched in 90's the concept was way ahead of Indian markets maturity. Hero took another two decades to launch similar concept bike (Impulse 150).

2. Honda Street - The comfort of clutch less drive, big wheels and a bikes suspension. This was my personal favourite in its days. But having an RX100, I was not in a position to ask for another bike (dependent on parents). Lately, Scooters have captured Indian market but I still find Street like bike an ultimate solution for uneven roads and countryside rides.

3. Yamaha Eliminator - This cruiser had unique footrest. I am still not sure whether I liked them for their comfort or disliked them for impracticality in city riding conditions. The market later accepted economy cruisers from Bajaj Avenger series though.
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Old 2nd October 2022, 17:08   #11
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Default Re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

I think you mean the Yamaha Enticer. That was one sexy design equipped with one of the worst 125 cc engines ever.
I wish they had that design with a 300cc engine.
Truly ahead of its time.
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Old 3rd October 2022, 00:02   #12
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Default Re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

The erstwhile Hero impulse. Given to hero by Honda as a parting gift. The first true blue dirt/trail bike in our country. Was way ahead of it's time when launched in 2011 but soon after they stopped production, word spread about it's off-road/bad-road prowess and soon the left over stock sold out pretty quickly although, quite ironically. People complained that it was too tall and that they couldn't ride it with chappals or that the front tyre was splashing water and dirt on their pants . But proper enthusiasts slowly realised the potential of this bike and it has now become a legend of sorts. Hero later realised the demand for such a bike which then spawned the xpulse. But the impulse really kick started the small capacity adventure category in India and the rest is now history.

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Old 3rd October 2022, 06:37   #13
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Default Re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

Hero Impulse, Yamaha Libero and Faser, Honda Dio, Suzuki GXR and Zeus, TVS Fiero. One bike that is not a runaway hit and not a flop either. That crown goes to Mahindra Mojo. The bike is put in ICU since launch by its parent for no ailment infact.
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Old 3rd October 2022, 07:48   #14
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Default Re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ton Ami View Post

3. Yamaha Eliminator - This cruiser had unique footrest. I am still not sure whether I liked them for their comfort or disliked them for impracticality in city riding conditions. The market later accepted economy cruisers from Bajaj Avenger series though.
That would be the Kawasaki Bajaj Eliminator (not Yamaha). Yamaha got the Enticer with similar looks.

The Eliminator was too expensive and at that point was not right for the market. So Bajaj fixed it with more localised parts and brought out the Avenger - and the rest is history. It created a segment for itself and still holds on to that without much competition even today.
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Old 3rd October 2022, 09:38   #15
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Default Re: Bikes/Scooters that flopped at launch, but became a success later on

Quote:
Originally Posted by deep_bang View Post
That would be the Kawasaki Bajaj Eliminator (not Yamaha). Yamaha got the Enticer with similar looks.

The Eliminator was too expensive and at that point was not right for the market. So Bajaj fixed it with more localised parts and brought out the Avenger - and the rest is history. It created a segment for itself and still holds on to that without much competition even today.
Sorry that was a mistake, thanks for correcting me.
I got confused between the two names - Enticer and Eliminator. I meant Yamaha Enticer which had big footrest.
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