May 21, 2011

0 Motorcycle Scene in Guwahati, Assam [2011]

Last month I was on a vacation to my home state of Assam. Posted below is the motorcycle scene in Assam as seen and understood by me over the years..

Foreword: The following is my observation of the changing motorcycle scene of Guwahati and also a few towns of Upper Assam like Jorhat & Dibrugarh.

Hero Honda Splendor/Passion models are passé/history in Assam..!!

For most Indians that I have met, the North Eastern part of India is shrouded with mystery.

The most common stereotype for my home state of Assam is that; "It is on mountains", "The weather is chilly", "The people there wear clothes like the extras which danced behind Kareena in the song “Yeh Ishq hai” from the movie “Jab we met”..!!

The North East is surrounded by hills ok, but Assam is actually a “valley” which is surrounded by hills (the neighboring states). So essentially Assam is not hilly but on Plains. It has got a good Summer + Monsoon (May-July) and a normal Winter (December to Feb).

The motorcycle scene in Assam (over the years)

Assamese people seem to have a penchant for dimensionally big bikes..

I have observed that compared to the rest of India the Assamese people have got a mind of their own. Models that have not been best sellers in most parts of India have sometimes found love and affection here. But one thing that has stood out is that there have been no particular models which continue to be best sellers for 10-25 straight years.

Posted below are the highlights of the Assamese taste in motorcycle as observed by me over the years:

2005-2006: I had not seen as many LML (Lohia Motors Limited) motorcycles (LML Adreno/Energy, LML Freedom, LML Beamer/Graptor) in any other part of India as I had seen here in Assam.

2007: I had noticed that the preference for the (quirky) CBZ Xtreme was visibly more than the Pulsar 150/180 UG III (Upgrade III) models [read about this here]

2008: The 125 cc Hero Honda Super Splendor which hasn’t been the best seller in most parts of India was slowly becoming a very popular model here in Assam.

So how is the current motorcycle scene in Assam in 2011?

1. Surprise – Surprise: Hero Honda Splendor/Passion models are passé/history in Assam..!!

In all places that I have visited in India, the dominance of either the 100 cc, Hero Honda Splendor (World’s largest selling motorcycle model) or the Passion (the 100 cc cousin of the Splendor) is clearly evident. But in Assam these two models doesn’t seem to cut ice anymore..!! The number of Splendor/Passion seen on roads is relatively low. Strange but True..!!

One might again jump the gun saying that "Assam is Hilly, so the people want something with more grunt than a 100 cc, 4 stroke", but I have already clarified that Assam is actually a Valley and definitely not hilly.

2. The Hero Honda Super Splendor and Glamour is the current rage in Assam..!!

In most parts of India, the 125 cc Hero Honda models; the Super Splendor and the Glamour have not replicated the success story of the 100 cc Splendor and Passion. But in Assam these two models are clearly the current favorite of the masses.

The Super Splendor has been popular for sometime in Assam but the trend this time clearly indicates that the Glamour is probably overtaking the imagination of the common people.

3. The Pulsar series is the current favorite among the 150 cc and above segment

The UG IV (Upgrade IV) variants of the Pulsar 150 and 180 seem to have turned the tide for the Pulsar models. The initial interest of the Assamese people for the CBZ Xtreme seems to have waned down. The sight of the new UG IV variants of the Pulsar 150/180 and also the presence of the Pulsar 220 in decent numbers indicate that the Pulsars are the clear favorite in the 150 cc and above category.

4. Assamese people don't shy away from experimenting

Though the above observation of the Super Splendor/Glamour/Pulsars being the current favorites is a common phenomenon, the Assamese spirit of being adventurous in taste is also reflected in the presence of models like the Yamaha R15/FZ/Fazer, TVS Apache RTR 160/180, Honda CB Unicorn Dazzler/CB Twister, Hero Honda ZMR and Royal Enfield models like the Classic 350/500..!!

Though not the darling of the masses, they above mentioned models are also seen in decent numbers.. with the exception of the Suzuki models the GS150R and Slingshot, which were rarely seen on roads. Maybe it’s because of the lack of Suzuki dealerships.

My take on the Assamese taste for motorcycles

From whatever I have observed over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the Assamese probably like their motorcycles to be visually and physically a bit bigger in size.

This probably explains the popularity of models like the 110 cc LML Energy/Adreno (2005-06), Super Splendor/Glamour, CBZ Xtreme and the Pulsar UGIV models. Even the (currently discontinued) TVS Victor GLX (125 cc), which was dimensionally generous in size for its category, can still be seen plying on the roads, indicating that once upon a time that model must have been an Assamese favorite too.

So motorcycle makers, make your bikes a bit bigger for the Assamese people..!!

Photos of Bikes/Motorcycles in Guwahati Assam:

Motorcycle Scene in Guwahati, Assam 2011Motorcycle Scene in Guwahati, Assam 2011Motorcycle Scene in Guwahati, Assam 2011
Motorcycle Scene in Guwahati, Assam 2011Motorcycle Scene in Guwahati, Assam 2011Motorcycle Scene in Guwahati, Assam 2011

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This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.


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