Shocked at the pathetic experience I faced when buying a new bike

People give you funny looks if you tell them you want a test drive for a common city bike.

BHPian 2000rpm recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I was recently wondering about getting a new bike for a city / suburban commute in Mumbai and I was shocked to see the state of affairs at most bike showrooms in Mumbai.

In general, I experienced the below:

  • No quality staff to attend to customers
  • No test drives are available for most models. People give you funny looks if you tell them you want a test drive for a common bike like FZ-S
  • Dealers pushing mandatory useless accessories for about 5K.

My ranking from best experiences to worst experiences is as below:

  1. Rank 1 - Royal Enfield (Got TDs for all bikes)
  2. Rank 2 - Suzuki (even got the TD for VSTROM)
  3. Rank 3 - Hero
  4. Rank 4 - Honda
  5. Rank 5 - Yamaha

Special Mention to Yamaha (Surya Motors Kalyan) for such a poor experience that I literally witnessed people walking out of the showroom shaking their heads.

Have 2-wheelers become commodities? What am I missing?

Here's what BHPian sunilch had to say on the matter:

The suburban area that you are referring to suffers from this attitude where two-wheelers are simply commodities and hence the owner treats it as a business. TDs are seen as unnecessary expenses. Many don't even keep a TD unit at all.

However, I have had a mixed (good to ok) experience with different brands in the Thane area for TDs.

  1. Yamaha 1 - The owner was sitting next to the sales manager and when I reached the showroom for TD of FZ25 (newly launched then), the owner whispered to the sales manager - "I don't understand what they get in TD. What benefit does it have?". The sales guy still gave me a TD for 200 meters only.
  2. Benelli (when they were operating) - TD was easily available but for only 200-300 meters with staff as pillion.
  3. Yamaha 2 - "No TD. We don't give TD. You can book and then do all TDs that you want."
  4. Honda BigWings - All bikes ready for TD on your own for whatever time you want.
  5. Suzuki - Same as Honda BigWings.
  6. Kawasaki - All bikes ready for TD but with staff as pillion.
  7. Triumph - Any bike, any place, any duration. They were even ready to bring the bike to my place at any time. I never opted for one in the end as I had a change in priorities so actual TD never happened.

Now the real pain point: After Sale Service. Honda has simply gone down the gutter. It was good (not great due to volumes and AMC push every time) but now it is downright pathetic and a waste of time. I recently gave them my Activa for service with a genuine problem to solve. They attributed it to the low battery charge and did only normal service. Not even spark plugs were changed which I actually had asked them to do so. One week later I took the scooter to a local mechanic and he solved the problem in the gearbox for Rs 100 in one shot. He knew the resolution from my first description.

Bajaj ASS was similar. They do regular work and for actual issues, you are better off with a local garage that will attend to you properly. I had to take my bike to Bajaj twice after full service for a problem that they solved later on the third visit.

So yes, two-wheelers are a pure commodity now (more so the lower displacements - anything lower than 200cc). Simply because the dealership and service centre owners look at it as a business only. They don't care about your hard-earned money or emotions.

Here's what BHPian raycers_honda had to say on the matter:

I can just imagine the state mentioned. I have seen I drop in the service of Honda scooters and bike service centres too. Absolutely horrible attitude from the staff right up to the main managers. It’s as if they are there to do a favour for us. On many occasions, I’ve given my scooter for repair and have had it returned with a screw missing or the foot mat not fitted properly or even simple things like the washing of the bike. They just don’t bother. Forget showrooms, they know for a fact the product will get sold, if not from you, then a million others. Hence they don’t give a damn.

Here's what BHPian WhiskeyTangoFox had to say on the matter:

Quite sad honestly. If anyone is purchasing an RE in BLR, do not go to the following showrooms:

  1. RE Koramangala Motors (Dairy Circle)
  2. RE Electronic City Motors (Kudlu Gate/Singasandra)
  3. RE Electronic City Motors (Bommasandra)
  4. RE Bommasandra Motors

The First Showroom (RE Koramangala Motors) is where my friend purchased his Himmy wherein they delayed the delivery of the bike which led him to escalate the matter to higher-ups at RE, post which they delayed the registration and procurement of the number plate. Almost 30 days post-delivery to register it and another 20 days over that for procure the plate. All this after a 4-month wait time for the bike.

I took delivery of my bike from Electronic City Motors at Kudlu Gate/Singasandra and my oh my what a crap show. They didn't delay the delivery of the bike, in fact, I got it earlier than promised, but their attitude was absolute trash. No one cares when a customer walks in, you could sit there for half an hour and no one would bother. In addition, on the day of the delivery, they asked us to come at 5:30 pm, and we were there on the dot. They made us wait till 6:30 pm and brought out the wrong bike (cross-verified the VIN) with all my accessories fitted. They took it back, removed and refitted the accessories onto my bike, cleaned it and finally delivered it at 7:30 pm.

Another horror story that happened there was with regard to them delivering the wrong bike, a friend of mine riding it for 500kms without realising it and then them calling him back informing him of the same, and swapping the odometer as if nothing happened.

A third and more recent incident from this showroom is when a friend of mine purchased his GT 650 and they took the cash from him for his personalised number, didn't deliver the bike for almost a month after the promised time, then didn't apply for registration for another month after that. They later informed him that the number that he wanted wasn't available after paying the cash in full. They still haven't procured his actual number plate. My friend just had one made that resembles an HSRP from a local shop using the RC that he got on Digi locker. Speaking of RC, they haven't given me my physical RC copy yet and I have to go to the RTO to collect it.

Their service station is also subpar. Avoid this showroom at all costs.

I haven't been to the Bommasandra Motors showrooms personally, but a couple of my friends who bought their bikes from there told me about the absolutely crappy customer service they offer, similar to that of the Koramangala Motors Showroom.

The only showroom and service centre worth going to IMO is the Company Store (at least towards south BLR). They do a pretty good job for the most part. Not sure about the showrooms and SVCs near HSR and Lalbagh, maybe the other members who have had better experiences can update the same here.

Here's what BHPian the.dogfather had to say on the matter:

I have had a similar experience while buying two-wheelers, more so when it comes to scooters in Bangalore.

When we were looking to buy a scooter in 2016, my wife wanted to blindly buy the TVS Scooty Zest as she used to have a Scooty Streak earlier and it was lightweight. In order to convince her that weight is not that much of an issue when it comes to scooters, I asked her to try the other options available.

In most showrooms, they would directly show you the price list and models and not even offer a test ride. The only exception here was Vespa, who offered a test ride first, maybe as they knew the pricing was on the higher side, and a test ride would be needed to justify the price.

On asking, Honda, TVS, Suzuki and Mahindra 2 wheeler's showroom guys did not waste much time arranging the test drives. In fact, all had a different section for test drives and helped us test drive all models (Honda and TVS have a lot of options). Mahindra Gusto's experience was the best in that regard, where the salesman encouraged us for a longer test ride and also helped us with the seat height adjustment option, asking me to try with a higher seat height, to highlight the feature.

The worst experience had been with Yamaha, which even though nearest to my house, failed to provide a test ride after 3 visits, each time claiming that the test ride vehicle has gone for display at the mall or at a corporate event. However, all these test rides were rather short, hardly a few hundred meters, with Mahindra being an exception, who encouraged us to take it longer.

I am glad that Honda has Big wing dealerships now, as in 2015 when I was looking for test drives for Honda CBR 250 ABS, it was not available in most showrooms. After visiting many Honda dealerships, finally, one told me that he has the bike available, and when we went there, they only had the CBR 150. The salesman said you can test ride the 150, 250 is the same just more power and less mileage. He also told me spending more for ABS is a waste of money, and I can save some money with the non-ABS version which they have in their warehouse stock.

When I insisted on a test ride of the 250, they asked me to come after 2 days in the afternoon, for a test drive, as evening the bike will be delivered to customers. They were planning to give me a customer's brand new bike for a test ride, even before the customer could ride it. That was the final nail in the coffin, and I am yet to ever ride a CBR 250.

The experience at the KTM showroom at BTM also was quite bad, where they were allowing test rides in a service road adjacent to the showroom, which lead to a dead end in 300-400mts. RE and Benelli were quite good and we could easily get test rides for the bikes we were interested in. I finally ended up renting the bikes I was interested in for a day before finalizing.

This is in stark contrast with the experience in car showrooms, where test drives are the norm, and the price and discussions start after that.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

A helmet will save your life