Has the Indian Two Wheeler Industry had any "Revolutionary Products"..?? Well I think I can name Three..!!
Recently I came across a very interesting post on First Synn's blog which was also posted on XBhp.Com (by Synn himself). It was about whether the Indian two-wheeler industry is right now in an Evolutionary or Revolutionary Phase.
Quite a few interesting comments were exchanged on this topic. I felt that the discussion had become more of a debate on what should be considered "Revolutionary" and what as "Evolutionary".
"I don't consider the emergence of Big Capacity and Powerful Bikes a sign of "Revolution" for the Indian Two Wheeler Industry..!!"
Most comments in the discussion were of the opinion that inclusion of Hi-Tech and latest features on the bikes should be considered as Revolutionary. Another interesting comment was that during the 1980's there were 350 C.C bikes available and now we have actually come down to 100/150 C.C's. Even anonymous blogger Rearset has similar opinions on his blog where he wrote about the same topic.
So what is my take on this topic?
A revolutionay product can only be identified looking back and not by looking forward..
Be ready to be shocked guys but I don't consider inclusion of Hi-Tech features on Indian Bikes or for that matter the emergence of Big Capacity and Powerful Bikes a sign of "Revolution"..!!
Want to know why..?? Just read this post further...
Before I start commenting on the Indian Two-Wheeler Industry let us first see what is the definition given in the dictionary for these two words.
- ev·o·lu·tion: Pronunciation [ev-uh-loo-shuh n]
a process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change or development.
- rev·o·lu·tion Pronunciation [rev-uh-loo-shuh n]
a sudden, complete or marked change in something.
Let me jot down a few words, which I would associate with "revolution"
- American/French/Russian Revolution
- Industrial Revolution (during 19'th century Europe)
- Indian IT Revolution
If we observe the definition of "revolution" carefully along with the above mentioned associations we can easily see how these events brought about a "sudden, complete or marked change" in America/France/Russia, Europe and in India. So therefore we can conclude that whenever an event brings about "radical" changes in our life we can label that event as a "revolution"
Let me now recollect a few products, which I would associate as products which have created a revolution by bringing about "radical and marked" changes in our lives..
- "Walkman" from Sony
- "iPod" from Apple
- Ford Model T
- Maruti 800
- Honda Cub
Why are these products classified as "Revolutionary"..??
A Revolution is an event or product which would..
>>make dramatic/radical or marked change in our lives
>>should have mass involvement
It is because both the "walkman" and "iPod" changed the way we listen to our music. As for the Ford Model-T, it made possible for the common American to own a car during the early 1900's. The Ford Model-T was voted as the car of the century. The Maruti 800 was responsible in a similar way in putting the middle class Indian and his family on a 4 wheeler.
The Honda Cub, which was just a 50 C.C stepthru was chosen as the "Greatest Motorcycle of the Century" by none other than the Discovery Channel. The Honda Cub is considered the greatmest motorcycle ever for the impact it created in the 1950-1960's when it was launched (it is still in production in some countries..!!). The Honda Cub changed the way people rode their two wheelers in the U.S at a time when 1000 C.C plus big bikes were the order of the day.
All the above products were affordable, mass produced and devoid of any "Hi-Tech" features. But each product was able to create a sudden and radical change in people's lives. A common factor between the American/Russian Revolutions and the above-mentioned revolutionary products was the sheer "Mass" involvement.
So now it becomes clear that a revolution is an event or product which would
- make dramatic/radical or marked change in our lives
- should have mass involvement
Based on the above conclusion let us now discuss about the Indian Two Wheeler Industry..?? Has there ever been any two wheeler product which has been responsible for creating a revolution in India..?? My answer is.. "Yes, I can name three".
- The Bajaj Scooter
- The Hero Honda Splendor
- The Bajaj Pulsar
Before 1998-1999 the Bajaj Scooter was the prefered mode of transport for virtually every Indian. It was popular not because the fairer sex could ride it too but because it was the vehicle which was affordable, could carry the Sunday Groceries and also your wife along with a child or two on it. It was the time which Bajaj ruled. Remeber the memorable "Hamara Bajaj" campaign.
After 1998-1999 there was a sudden shift in the mindset of the two wheeler buying customer. The rising fuel prices made the two stroke Bajaj Scooter expensive to run. The scooter was also becoming out of fashion for younger bike customers. As a result Hero Honda had the perfect product in its arsenal, the Hero Honda Splendor. It was reasonably priced, extremely fuel efficient, had an extremely reliable engine and also looked good during those days. As a result the Splendor went on to become the "Best Selling" two wheeler in the world.
After 2000 - till today, every Indian city has been flooded with an overdose of the 100 cc fuel efficient but underpowered Hero Honda Splendors and it clones (CT 100, Platina, Star City etc). There was an unattended need for a "fuel-efficient", stylish, macho two wheeler which also had to be "reasonably priced". Enter "Bajaj Pulsar"…!!, Similar to the Bajaj Scooter and the Hero Honda Splendor, the Pulsar has changed the way the Indian biker rode his two wheeler. Now there was more emphasis on "Style", "Power", "Hi-Tech Features" and also "Reasonable Fuel Efficiency". Moreover the 100 cc segment which has dominated the sales have slowly started to see a decline.
- The Bajaj Scooter was responsible for putting the middle class Indian and his family on two wheelers.
- The Hero Honda Splendor made it possible for the Indian customer to shift from Scooters to Motorcycles (and that too in a big way).
- Finally the Bajaj Pulsar has been successful in providing the Young Indian Biker and his Girlfriend a "Stylish", reasonably "Powerful" and resonably "Fuel Efficient" motorcycle.
Q: What about "Evolution" for the Indian Two Wheeler Industry..??
Ans: Well... all the other two wheelers have all helped in the evolution of the Indian Two Wheeler Industry.
Q: What about the next Revolutionary Indian Two Wheeler..??
Ans: A revolutionay product can only be identified looking back and not by looking forward. We can at best predict and speculate. Also... Relax Boss… the Indian Two Wheeler Story has just kick started.. "The Bike Chronicles of India" will be always there to document it.
[If anypone has his/her views on this post, your comments are always welcome]
- The Greatest Ever Motorcycle
- Hero Honda, the "First Hero" among Indian bike manufacturers
- Bajaj Pulsar, an excercise in "Trial & Error"..??
- Is This Blog Biased towards "Bajaj Bikes"..??
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.