Bicycles are catching on in India, so much so that now we have more premium brands present and retailing here than ever before. The pandemic acted as a catalyst in pushing the pedals for the segment in the country and as we’ve been told, the mass-premium and premium bike segment has grown more than the mass category. To know more about what the future holds for two-wheeled mobility without engines in India, we got in touch with Sachin Chopra, Co-Founder & CEO, AlphaVector India Pvt Ltd, on the occasion of the company launching KTM Bikes in the country.
Sachin Chopra begins by telling us about what scale of design research goes into the premium bikes. With only a seat six inches long and five inches wide, a bike must be able to adjust to the rider in terms of frame design and geometry, and these are the areas AlphaVector has been focussing on for its products. The company has been present in the Indian market for five years now, retailing mass-premium bikes. Currently, the bicycle industry in India is dominated by the mass-premium bikes at 65 percent, the mass segment takes 30 percent and the premium bike segment takes 5 percent.
AlphaVector offers an omnichannel retail model which includes an online marketplace and dealerships as well for handling after-sales assembly and maintenance. The company offers what it calls 91Cares programme under which it sends a prefessional to the customer’s home for customisation, assembly, and maintenance.
About the growth of the bicycle market, Chopra explains that the overall market stood at $3 billion, including bicycles and spares, in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. The market has now swollen to $4 billion (bicycles and spares), of this $500 million make up the mass bicycles, $2.4 billion are mass-premium, and $100 million are premium bikes (Rs 30,000 and above).
Moving on to how strong the trend on cycling will continue in India, Chopra explains that it takes about six months for a habit to change. We are now in the ninth month of the pandemic and a lot of people have already adopted a healthier lifestyle with the addition of a bicycle to their daily regime. Habits like these are not something people will easily retract from and the bicycle trend will continue in the post-pandemic era as well, especially since bikes are now not just being used for workout or leisure but also for commutes.
Hybrid bikes are catching on more since people are using their bicycles for mobility as well, combining fitness and commutes. Keeping this in mind, AplhaVector recently also launched an electric bicycle under the brand name Meraki, which Chopra says has been very popular with buyers in India and has been attracting attention from international markets as well.
AlphaVector will offer the entire range of KTM Bikes in India of which some will be based on orders received from customers and some will have a stock maintained here. The KTM range of bicycles will be available starting from Rs 30,000 to Rs 10 lakh, which would include lightweight bikes with full carbon-fibre frames fit even for Tour de France tournament.
The company will retail its newly-launched KTM bikes through 100 select dealerships out of the 750+ strong network that it already has. AlphaVector had also been organising events to promote the cycling culture and will return to holding them again once the situation with the pandemic improves.
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