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This bike costs as much as a Merc

April 16, 2007 09:56 IST

It is a motorcycle to buy which one might have to fork out as much as for a C class Mercedez Benz. The famed Harley Davidson's upper-end model will come for over Rs 20 lakh (Rs 2 million) in India, powered by a 1584 cc engine that will give around 16 km to a litre.

The government has just allowed the import of bikes of over 800 cc engine capacity, which means clearing the road for super-bikes from Harley, BMW, Suzuki and Yamaha, among others.

For those with a smaller pocket, there is a cheaper Harley that is likely to cost over Rs 700,000 in Delhi after payment of regular duties (113 per cent for import of two-wheelers) and local expenses. The landed (ex-port) prices for the XL 883L model is expected to be around Rs 670,000 a little more than the price of Honda City Exi.

These high-capacity bikes are usually referred to as "Doubles" and "Triples" depending on their two or three-cylinder engines, which displace 800-2000 cubic capacity. At present, the most powerful bike in India is the Royal Enfield with a 500 cc engine, costing around Rs 85,000.

Besides Harley, Japanese two-wheeler makers like Suzuki, Yahama, Honda and Kawasaki also command a good market share in the super bike category. The 1300cc Suzuki Hayabusa would have a landed price of Rs 10.68 lakh and the Yamaha V-Max would cost Rs 13.63 lakh in India.

The Hero Group had imported BMW bikes seven years ago but failed to catch the imagination of customers owing to the heavy price tag of around Rs 450,000. However, a lot has changed in India since then and these roadsters may very well carve a place for themselves on Indian roads.

All these bikes would skip the mandatory homologation process, which every vehicles sold and imported in India has to undergo at the Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India centre.

The only exception has been luxury passenger cars over $ 40,000 (excluding duties) under the Tarrif Rate Quota provisions of the World Trade Organisation.

"These bikes need a tyre approval certificate from the different accredited agencies from the country of origin (local authority). For instance, all vehicles manufactured in the UK carry a Vehicle Certificate Agency authorisation while German-made vehicles carry a Kraftahrt Bundesamt certification, which has already approved by the government," said a senior functionary of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers'. According to SIAM, 2340 vehicles were imported in fiscal 2007.

The company had sold about 20 unit of these bikes brought as completely built units in a single consignment. However the market is expected to be different now. With over 100 super luxury cars like Bentley, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz and Maybach being sold India every year, these cruisers and roadsters are expected to find a permanent place in the Indian market.
Chanchal Pal Chauhan in New Delhi