Bangalore: Anascent but growing market for upscale motorcycles and superbikes has, in turn, spawned demand for expensive riding accessories among a new generation of bikers. Riding jackets, shoes, gloves and knuckle protectors have become part of the biker’s shopping list, besides the all-important helmet.
“With high-speed bikes, you do not get a second chance. It is imperative that you are wearing at least a helmet, a jacket, and gloves and riding shoes,” says Bangalore-based Ramji Govindarajan, who bought a Yamaha R1 superbike six months ago. Govindarajan, 34, who heads an Internet solutions company, not only spent Rs10.5 lakh on his Yamaha bike but also Rs40,000 on his riding gear.
Superbikes are generally sports bikes with engines of more than 600cc. In India, such bikes cost more than Rs10 lakh. According to an India Yamaha Motor Pvt. Ltd official, who declined to be named, around 500 superbikes are sold in the country annually.
Pune-based Dream Sporting Gear (DSG) is one of the country’s few motorcycle protective gear and accessories companies. It sells international brands such as Alpinestars Inc., AXO America Inc., EBC Brakes Group and Daijya, as well as its own in-house DSG brand.
“People are becoming more aware of safety while riding now. Also, they are realizing that it is not only riders of superbikes who need to have protective gear, but anyone who is driving a bike,” says Vijay Chhikara, partner, DSG, which was founded in 2005, and posted sales of about Rs20 crore in 2007.
Riding gear can be pricey. A full set that will protect the body against abrasions and lessen the blow of a fall, can cost between Rs30,000 and Rs1 lakh.
Riding gear vendors are counting on the launch of new superbikes in India to boost their business. Over the next one year, Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt. Ltd will launch its Hayabusa and GSX R1000 models, and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd will launch its CBR 1000RR.