With more premium bikes in the market, choice is growing for riders looking for that extra kick in the fast direction.
--BY AASHIYANA ADHIKARI
When it comes to riding a motorcycle, a popular saying goes, "Four-wheels move the body, two-wheels move the soul." A free ride in the open is what separates a motorcyclist from other motorists. While motorcycles have always been a practical and affordable mode of transport they are now also attracting buyers from the higher end of the market with the arrival of premium and luxury section bikes. These new bikes offer a dash of style and attitude along with the luxury and comfort to the deep pocketed customer.
"You can get the best bike in the world at one-third the price of a luxury car, so why not ride the best," says an avid motorbike enthusiast Saurabh Jyoti who is the Director of Jyoti Group and Chairman of Syakar Trading Company, the authorised distributor of Honda two-wheelers in Nepal. Jyoti is also a well-known bike aficionado who has been collecting different categories of two-wheelers over the years.
Many renowned global two-wheeler brands have been selling their motorbikes in Nepal. Among them Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati and Kawasaki have various series of superbikes in the local market at present. Similarly, new entrants such as Aprilia, Benelli and MV Agusta have been offering a high-end ride to affluent Nepali riders. Meanwhile, Royal Enfield and KTM Duke also have high-end bikes to cater the needs of ‘soul movers’ here.
"Before 2010, motorbikes of the premium segment were purchased mostly by businessmen and entrepreneurs, but now we can see changes in consumer patterns," says Prashant Raj Bhandari, Senior Marketing Officer of MAW Enterprises, the authorised dealer of Yamaha in Nepal. “Nowadays, people as young as 25 and as old as 45 purchase premium bikes."
According to Jyoti, premium bikes are equipped with powerful and advanced engines are the buyers of such types of two-wheelers are motorbike enthusiasts who seek thrill and adrenaline rush. “Besides that, premium bikes are attractively designed, come with advanced safety features and offer high levels of stability to the riders,” mentions Jyoti.
Globally established Japanese and Italian brands have a noticeable presence in the premium segment. The Japanese automobile brand Honda, for instance, has been selling Honda CBR 600RR as its most exclusive two-wheeler here. The motorbike carries a price tag of Rs 26,00,000 in the market. As per Syakar Trading Company, 35 units of Honda 600RR have been sold till date. Similarly, the company has also been selling the CB 1100 (Rs 25, 00,000), CB 600F Hornet (Rs 16, 99,000) and CRF250L (Rs 890,000) bikes in the country. Another Japanese brand Yamaha through its official distributor MAW Enterprises been selling the Yamaha R3 (Rs 895,000) as the premium motorbike in Nepal. Earlier, the company also used to deal with the YZF R6 and XJ6. Meanwhile, Kawasaki has the Versys 650 (Rs 1,899,000), Ninja 650 (Rs 1,349,900) and Ninja 300 (Rs 999,900) in the domestic market. Similarly, Ganesh Enterprises, the authorised dealer of Suzuki in Nepal has the Suzuki GSX- 1300 r Hyabusa (Rs 36,00,000), B-King (Rs 31,00,000), GSX-R600 (Rs 21,20,000) and Inazuma 250 (Rs 750,000) in its list of premium motorcycles.
Meanwhile, Turbo Motor Trading has a significant number of premium Ducati two-wheelers in its portfolio. It has the award winning Panigale, Daivel, Multistrada, Streetfighter, Scrambler, Monster, Hyperstrada and Hypermotard range of the Italian motorbike brand to quench the thirst of affluent Nepali customers seeking an adrenaline rush. The Ducati 1299 Panigale R priced at Rs 68, 00,000 and Ducati Diavel Titanium (Rs 58, 50,000) are considered to be the most exclusive motorbikes available in the domestic market. After these pricey two-wheelers come the Multistrada 1200S Pikes Peak (Rs 4,500,000) followed by the Diavel Carbon White (Rs 42,50,000), Monster 1200 Stripe (Rs 36,00,000), Hypermotard SP (Rs 34,50,000), Streetfighter 848 (Rs 29,50,000), Hyperstrada (Rs 29,50,000), Scrambler Classic (21,50,000) and Scrambler Icon (Rs 18,50,000). Likewise, Benelli has been selling the TNT series of bikes in Nepal including the TNT 600 GT (Rs 16,50,000) and TNT 600i (Rs 15,50,000) and TNT 300 (Rs 680,000).
The red hot competition has brought in another Italian two-wheeler brand. Aprilia, for example, has been selling the RSV4 RR (Rs 35,00,000), Dorsoduro 750 ABS (Rs 24,00,000), Shiver Sports 750 ABS (20,00,000) and RS4 125 (Rs 760,000) here since 2015. In this race for the market, another brand from Italy MV Agusta has sped in with its F3 800 [ABS], Brutale 1090, F3 675, Rivale 800 and Brutale 800 motorbikes.
The iconic Royal Enfield has also been maintaining a sizeable presence in Nepal through its authorised dealer Dugar Brothers and Sons. "The Royal Enfield Continental GT and Thunderbird 500 both priced at Rs 721, 000 are in the top of Royal Enfield two-wheelers available here," informs Megraj Poudel, Marketing Manager at Dugar Brothers and Sons. Among the Royal Enfield motorbikes available in the market are the Classic Chrome (Rs 581,000), Thunderbird 350 (Rs 577,000), Bullet 500 (Rs 575,000), Classic Battle Green and Classic Desert Storm (both priced at Rs 561,000) and Classic 500 (Rs 541,000).
"We have entered the Nepali market at a time when leisure riding is at a nascent stage and feel we can shape that," says Amit Raj Chalise, Deputy Marketing Manager at KTM Sportmotorcycle Nepal, the authorised distributor of KTM Duke and Kawasaki motorbikes in Nepal, adding, "I’m quite confident about the premium bike market increasing in Nepal. In 2010, the market for premium bikes stood at 1,000 units a year. My view is that the market could see a five-fold increase over the next five to seven years in Nepal.” KTM Sportmotorcycle Nepal is a part of the Hansraj Hulaschand and Company.
KTM is a motorbike brand from Austria which is jointly owned by Austrian company CROSS Industries AG and Bajaj Auto Limited from India. Currently, the KTM RC 390 with a price tag of Rs 681,900 is the highest priced KTM two-wheeler available in Nepal. Similarly, the KTM Duke 390 comes second in the list in terms of price at Rs 606,000.
The buyers of premium two-wheelers get high-end after sales services. The dealers provide their customers with world class after sales services at their state-of-the-art service points. Unlike the ordinary motorbikes, high quality synthetic engine oils are used in these types of two-wheelers to get optimal performance. Many distributors of premium motorbikes directly import and sell such lubricants.
Despite the availability of premium motorbikes in showrooms across Nepal, owning these powerful and attractively designed two-wheelers are a distant dream for most customers. The hefty taxes that have been levied upon the import of vehicles keeps many of them out of the reach of the average Nepali customer. Dealers say the taxes triple the cost of the bikes in the local market. According to them, while Nepal's broader bike market has seen a double-digit growth over the past few years, the premium segment is still just a niche market. "There has been a 50-60 percent growth of two-wheelers below 250 cc in recent years, whereas the growth of premium motorbikes is just six to seven percent," says Jyoti.
Nevertheless, dealers of luxury end motorbikes remain hopeful. "The future outlook of the ultra-luxury two-wheeler segment in Nepal is very positive and shows a lot of potential," mentions Poudel. “The good thing is that this segment is growing and will continue to do so with increasing aspirations and appetite for luxury," he adds.