India’s Two-Wheeler Industry: Reality Check

Aspi Bathena, Editor, Bike India

With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) coming into force, all the two-wheelers will now carry the same ex-showroom price tag across the country, although the on-road price will differ from state to state since the RTO in each state has its own rate of taxation. It is high time we had a uniform registration fee with the road tax being charged on fuel. When will we see the day when one can ride a bike registered in one state in another without the fear of being caught and harassed by the local police?

This is the second time that I have seen that when an Indian manufacturer parts ways with an international collaborator, the quality of their products go down. Perhaps, the local manufacturers are not as stringent in their quality control. The main reason for this is that when you have your own relatives as your suppliers, it becomes very difficult to reject sub-standard components. This was the reason why the great Soichiro Honda did not allow any of his family members to join the company.

The big difference between a two-wheeler designed and built in India and an international one, whether a motorcycle or a scooter, is the number of fasteners used: it is more than three times that used in the international products. Similarly, the service time for local two-wheelers is twice as much as that for international ones. Ironically, even with so many fasteners the former start to rattle after a little while. It is bad design and poor engineering or a combination of both. It is high time the service engineers were involved in a project right from the beginning.

The deportment of two-wheeler riders on the road is frightening. On the one hand, you have senior citizens who, having no confidence in their balance, ride with their feet dangling instead of resting them on the footboard/foot-rests. They tend to be a hazard not only to other road-users but to themselves too. On the other, you have those kamikazes who pay no heed to traffic rules: they think going down the wrong way and breaking traffic rules is their birthright. Such people are a menace to other road-users. Mostly they get away scot-free while the law-abiding people end up being the victims. They also give bikers a bad name. When will the police begin enforcing the law and stop triple-seat riding?

In the late 1960s and 70s if one were caught riding double-seat on a bicycle or riding at night without lights on the cycle, the police would deflate the tyres by way of punishment and then one would have to walk back home trundling the bicycle.

We must show consideration for other road-users and have respect for them and their property.

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  • When will tvs motor company provide remappable TCI Unit to their customers. I think it’s available in Colombia ?

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