Entry-level midsize motorcycles likely to attract many first-time buyers

by Amit Panday 21 Aug 2017

The entry-level midsize motorcycle segment, which constitutes models with engine displacement ranging between 250cc-800cc, is likely to attract many first-time buyers due to the fast-reducing price gap between them and the feature-rich premium 150cc-200cc commuter bikes.

According to Roy Kurian, senior vice-president, sales and marketing, Yamaha Motor India Sales, with incoming mandates such as the BS VI emission norms as well as safety norms, aggressively priced entry-level midsize models such as the FZ 25 and the Fazer 25 will attract many first-time motorcycle buyers.

Speaking to Autocar Professional earlier today on the sidelines of the launch of its Fazer 25 motorcycle, Kurian said, “The midsize segment customer today is upgrading from the typical 125cc-150cc motorcycles. More customers will step into the midsize motorcycle territory in the next three years and after that, thanks to the new emission and safety norms. Further, the disposable incomes among the buyers are on the rise too. Hence, they would like to have motorcycles with bigger powertrains. Although not everyone can afford a big muscular superbike, a motorcycle smaller in size, stylish and performance oriented and offering value for money will see many first-time buyers.”

“I believe that a lot of traction will happen in the 250cc (up to 500cc) segment. I think besides the buyers who are upgrading from smaller models, the majority of the customers coming to the entry-level midsize segment will be first-time buyers. I won’t be able to comment on what percent of the overall buyers would do so but I believe this will happen because of the growing aspiration levels,” he further added.

Notably, the price range of the premium commuter motorcycles has seen a surge over the past few years, thanks to the addition of several premium features. For example, Honda’s CB Hornet 160R (combi brake variant) retails for an ex-showroom (Delhi) price of Rs 86,313. According to Suzuki Motorcyle India’s website, the Gixxer SF (ABS variant) retails for Rs 98,928 (ex-showroom, Delhi).

The advent of BS VI norms (with OBD I and OBD II stages) and mandatory safety features (ABS for all models above 125cc) is jointly expected to impact the price of two-wheelers by a potential hike of more than Rs 10,000 across the spectrum, say industry experts.

Yamaha is known to have aggressively priced its single-cylinder, 249cc FZ 25 for Rs 119,500 (ex-showroom, Delhi). It launched the Fazer 25, which borrows the same engine from FZ 25, for Rs 129,335 (ex-showroom, Delhi).

Both motorcycles, built using lightweight frame, offer nimble handling for city and highway rides. The company, however, has positioned the Fazer 25 as a touring-friendly motorcycle for young riders.

Kurian’s forecast stands true when linked with Royal Enfield’s current dream run of ever-surging monthly volumes. The brand, which manufactures and sells motorcycles above 350cc, not only commands loyal customers but is also attracting many first-time buyers each month. Interestingly, Royal Enfield’s Redditch series, introduced on the Classic 350s – the company’s bestselling model, has given a major boost to its sales growth.

According to Pune-based Royal Enfield dealers, many first-time customers are purchasing the Redditch variants of the Classic 350 model.

KTM’s 200 Duke and 250 Duke models too are believed to be attracting many first-time buyers. KTM had launched the 250 Duke (single-cylinder, 248cc) in February for Rs 173,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi).

Stiffer competition in the 250cc and above segment, which are likely to see a flurry of new models in the near future all targeting the young and aspirational rider in India, will translate into aggressive pricing strategies.