Riding the ‘Motor-biking’ Lifestyle in India

The art of evangelizing motorbike lifestyle is expressed through inspiring experiential design
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Posted June 25, 2018

The Indian two-wheeler industry is the largest in the world, boasting a whopping 20.1 million units sold last year, of which 12.6 million are motorcycles clocking a compounded annual growth rate of 13.69 percent, according to Financial Express’ report, “Outlook for two-wheeler industry in FY 2018-2019”. Though the premium motorbikes segment is only 4 percent, it is growing steadily at a compounded annual growth rate of 30 percent, according to  TechSi Research, in a report entitled “Premium Motorcycles Market Forecast and Opportunities, 2019.” The growth in “adventure travel” has increased disposable incomes and the availability of global superbikes (above 500 cc) from brands like Harley Davidson, Ducati, Triumph, Hyosung and Royal Enfield, has helped in popularizing leisure motorbiking culture in India.

The emergence of hundreds of men and women biker clubs testify its growing popularity, which has inspired brands to create experiential community watering holes that do way more than just sell motorbikes. Motor bike experience centers focus on experiential selling, while motor biking lifestyle centers add food, entertainment and a biking lifestyle advisory, in order to offer the complete experience of the biking lifestyle. Let’s cruise through three iconic brands that have inspired many Indians to saddle up and ride. 

Royal Enfield, a debutant from 1901 under the colonial British, is the oldest motorcycle brand in the world still in production. Retailing through 613 showrooms across 381 Indian cities, it is celebrated in over 50 Enfield biker clubs. Today, Royal Enfield is one of the most profitable automobile brands in the world with a compounded annual growth rate of over 50 percent and selling over 660,000 motorbikes across the world in 2016-2017(www. auto.ndtv.com). Deep design thinking in product and brand experience has played a key role in the phenomenal success of this Indian brand.

Recently, Royal Enfield launched a Garage Cafe in Goa offering a 120-seater café, a heritage museum, a gear store, and a motorcycle customisation and service zone. The Motor Biking Lifestyle Center, inspired by Portuguese colonial influence of Goa, articulates the brand’s ethos of timeless craftsmanship and love for motorcycling into a retro interior palette rendered in an artful lifestyle garage concept. Hand-crafted installation of Azulejos tiles on the façade, Goan road trip illustrations by Monde Art at the bar and the presentation of the inspiring heritage of Royal Enfield at the museum, makes a distinct statement of the brand’s rich tradition. A state-of- the-art service and customization zone presents famous custom-built models of Royal Enfield to compete the brand experience.

Harley Davidson rolled onto Indian roads in 2010 and has since captured the hearts of premium bike enthusiasts across 27 showrooms in 21 Indian cities. A serious dip in their market share, from 92.35 percent in 2013 to 46 percent  in 2017 (Economic Times), had the brand successfully revving up its store experience and community connect. Today the very prestigious Harley Owners Group (H.O.G) has over 250 bikers participating in each of the rides it organizes!

Recently, the store opened an experience center at Mayapuri in Delhi by repurposing an old warehouse in an inspiring and aspirational vintage workshop café concept, in which its iconic “bar and shield” logo was a natural fit on the façade. A palette of industrial materials and finishes were used to craft a visually inspiring personalization of the mean machine. Three freight containers were integrated into the main warehouse to create interesting spatial sections. A watering hole on the mezzanine is curated specially for H.O.G. riders to chill out and plan bike expeditions while their bikes are being serviced. The central stylized stage flaunts the hero models complemented with wall art featuring Harley Davidson’s iconic story and creating an immersive place for its die-hard loyalists.

Motoziel, founded by motorcycle enthusiasts Kalyan Muzumder and Biswaroop Banerjee, is India’s leading motorcycle touring company with a mission to provide a complete motor biking lifestyle by offering high-end bikes on hire, road trip planning advice, motorcycle accessories, tattoos, gear, a robotic bike spa and an eclectic bar. The unique lifestyle center was curated to offer a multi-sensorial experience to sharply differentiate from online biking needs by offering a second home ambience, sumptuous menu, fresh beer and live music for the biking addict. Spread over 1100 square meters (roughly 11840.3 square feet) on two levels, the center presents an industrial material palette of heavy metal, thick wood, brick and raw finishes that unifies all the zones of the space. The cafe provides a warm social space to sit, relax and enjoy the motorbiking lifestyle.

 

I’m sure that the benchmarks set by these iconic leaders for the entire motorbiking lifestyle community will not only drive motorbiking businesses, but also positively impact the well-being of communities, peace and brotherhood in India.

 

Surender has more than two decades of experience in the Indian retail industry in retail strategy, store design, planning and development, retail marketing, visual merchandising, writing and academia. He’s held senior positions at leading retailers like Shoppers Stop, Reliance Retail, Mahindra Retail and as a senior retail consultant working with leading retailers and brands in India. Reach him at surenderg.retail@gmail.com.