• Wednesday, Dec 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 03:34 pm

Inside the Bangladesh motorcycle market

  • Published at 06:32 pm October 17th, 2021
motorcycle
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People often ride motorcycles for the love of riding and safety gear plays a big role in the community

Motorcycling used to be strictly a medium of commute in the past. But now, it has become a premium hobby in Bangladesh. 

People often ride motorcycles for the love of riding and safety gear plays a big role in the community. Meanwhile, the market for this gear is opening up with advanced products coming from abroad.

Some gear is worth a fortune nowadays. However, the market is saturated with low-end products with a good credibility to meet the market demands. 

Motorcycle riders are putting much more thought into gears and spare parts. People want the best, and the market can provide. 

The prospect

According to a 2015 market share analysis, 53% of the entire local market share of motorcycles was occupied by Bajaj, which is an Indian country. 

The entire market size was Tk4,000 crore, according to the analysis, with over a thousand motorcycle sales daily. The good thing is that 60% of the total number of motorcycles sold are locally manufactured. 

It helps the industry flourish by circulating the money within the economy, providing employment opportunities for thousands, and bumping up the GDP. 

Even though manufacturers are currently sourcing 30% raw materials from Bangladesh and importing the rest, selling the bikes within the country keeps our currencies inside the border. 

Ride-sharing services have also brought up the sales of 110-125 cc segment bikes. 

According to a study based on surveys done with 368 Dhaka residents, 46% said they would start riding motorcycles to commute. 31% wanted to buy motorcycles for better convenience with only 23% said that they wouldn’t be using motorcycles in any way. 

This portrays that people are more and more interested in either buying or just commuting on a motorcycle. The medium is cheaper and faster, and available in the capital. People are more and more inclined towards riding motorbikes. 

Pathao and Uber have influenced non-bikers to buy motorcycles. People who have never given motorcycles a shot started using ride sharing apps. As a result, getting on a bike gave them a new perspective. 

The market for motorcycle gear

Safety is a significant concern for any. And with the rise in awareness for safety measures that every rider needs to bear in mind, the demand for safety gears increased. 

There are over 2.9 million motor vehicles registered under the BRTA and 65% of them are motorcycles. 

This is a clear reflection of our roads and the cheap market that is motorcycles. However, the rise in motorcycles on roads has increased the number of accidents taking place. 

As much of a matter of concern as it is, studies have shown that 74% of fatalities take place in rural areas. 45% fatalities take place on highways, and 22% of the victims of those accidents were within the age of 26 to 30. 

According to a report from the ARI of BUET, 88% of the people in these accidents did not wear a helmet. To get a better picture of the accidents, 49% were head-on collisions, 29% were rear-ended and 12% were sideswiped.  

All of these numbers raise the question of whether protection is really that important. And therefore, it further emphasizes the importance of riding gears. 

The community is more aware now. People want to buy certified helmets and gloves, especially the ones with graphics. 

Motorcycle jackets cost somewhere between Tk8,000-25,000, whereas helmets can range from Tk5000-45,000. 

A rider needs a good helmet, a certified jacket, boots, and gloves. In the current market, a full set of gears would cost a minimum of Tk20,000 and a maximum of Tk80,000. That is approximately 40% of the cost of a mid-range bike. 

However, riders need gears. Gear is for protection, and Motorcycle riders of Dhaka need protection because of the horrendous traffic conditions, unpredictable drivers on roads, and horrific road conditions. 

The importance of having gear on outweighs any bizarre cost one may have to bear to get them.

The basic gear a rider needs is a pair of gloves, an all-weather jacket, and a good, preferably DOT or ECE certified helmet. 

Now, as mentioned earlier, helmets range from somewhere between Tk5,000-45,000 depending on brand and model. Helmets such as MT Stinger only cost Tk5,500 and Axor Apex Venom Tk6,000. 

However, a good carbon version of a helmet may cost more than Tk20,000. Caberg’s Drift Evo Carbon Pro is a fan favourite, but Nexx, KYT, and other brands are also introducing carbon made helmets at reasonable prices. 

When it comes to jackets, Venom Asphalt with level 2 protection is available at a price of Tk8,990. Other jackets such as Venom Wheelie are cheaper. 

The market for gears is starving from a lot of popular brands such as Taichi, Alpinestar, Dainese, AGV, and these products, if imported, come at a wicked price. 

So, are gear prices going up?

Yes, popular products are now coming with a higher price tag. But new products are being introduced every month. 

The market for high-end Thailand or Malaysia based products is high because these products are cheaper but well-built. When MT and Bilmola hit the market, they stole a major portion of it. These brands are still flying off the shelves, and importers are bringing in full container loads of them.

Is cheaper gear unsafe?

No, low-end gear is not unsafe if it is certified by a prominent company, such as DOT, ECE, Snell. 

These products are made with low-cost materials. But that doesn’t deteriorate the performance since the certification companies test them rigorously in their labs. 

Runner’s firm grip on the market

Runner, being the first-ever company to export locally-made motorcycles, has tackled the Chinese and Indian market with quality. 

They categorically test their motorcycles for flaws and halt shipment if the end product doesn’t meet company standards. 

Runner has been doing BTL and ATV activities to promote their brand. The tagline, for obvious reasons, has been kept “Made in Bangladesh,” which they proudly claim. 

The company owners claim that 100cc bikes at reasonable costs are in more demand. Especially after the introduction of ride-sharing apps, these bikes are leaving showrooms more often. 

Runner sells bikes that cost between Tk60,000 to Tk260,000. They cater to the market demand for racing and commuter segment bikes. 

Yamaha and Suzuki are taking the lead in the sports and racing segments. Whereas Bajaj and Hero occupy the commuter segment. 

Runner, on the other hand, has diversity in its catalogue. This helps them spread out and cater to all types of riders. 

The CC upgrade dilemma

Bangladesh is not getting higher cc bikes any time soon. This news will bring heartbreak for many, as rumours rose regarding a cc upgrade from the government. 

350cc bikes were supposed to be legalized, which had put companies on the verge of exploding as the community desperately wanted higher cc bikes. 

Importers are rest assured that customers will come once the cc limitations are lifted. 

However, it never did. After months of persuasion, the government did decide to increase the cc limit to 165cc, which had brought the circulation of Lifan, Honda, and Yamaha’s 165cc bikes to the community. But current riders are desperate for an upgrade.

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