India’s love for 2 wheelers


The worlds largest 2 wheeler market

A look at any Indian street will tell you that the love for two-wheeler vehicles certainly trumps the affection for cars. Nearly every household owns a two-wheeler, regardless of whether they have a car or not. A rather speedy way to get from point to point, highly fuel efficient and cheaper to maintain, especially for those on limited salaries or shoestring monthly budgets, two-wheelers are a clever way to navigate the roads as well.

In the process, India’s heavily congested roadways and traffic signals have best been navigated on the humble two-wheeler vehicle, and it is, therefore, no wonder that it is a hot favourite. Consequently, there is a rising trend for manufacturers and bike brands to make a beeline to India to market their wares. There is a rising dominance of motorcycles up to 150cc in the Indian market, while the 500cc and above category of motorcycles in India has also surged considerably.

Whether rural India or urban India, the two-wheeler has gained prominence and inclusion in most homes. The reason for this is the need to navigate rough roads that have potholes, or are not proper roads, sometimes dust tracks, even. The affordability of fuel is also a huge factor in augmenting an incremental tendency to rely on two-wheelers to get around town. As opposed to a car, managing a two-wheeler saves about 50-60% of the monthly income. With the rising global crude oil prices, and the Governmental decision to deregulate fuel prices, there is a need to rely on two-wheelers rather than cars to get around town.

Two-wheeler production in India has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. It grew by 7% in 2013-14 with 16.9 million units, as compared to 15.7 million units in the previous year. 12.5 million Motorcycles, 3.7 million scooters and 0.7 million mopeds were produced in this financial year. Domestic sales have also seen a 7% growth and companies sold 14.8 million units (as against 13.8 million units) during 2013-14. This, in effect, translates into an equivalent of a $14 billion industry (USD) without even considering other paraphernalia like suppliers, accessories, dealers and the like.

Gearless scooters are especially among the more preferred and highly sought after two-wheeler vehicles. Motorcycles generally command a major share in the market. The rise in the number of gearless scooters on the road comes from the need to chart appropriate traffic movements, especially since there is high traffic on the roads that commuters must beat to get from place to place. This segment of two-wheelers enjoyed a 25% growth from 2011-12 to now.

The most significant amount of two-wheelers come from the rural sector, especially because of the extent of utility it offers. The preference in the urban sector tends towards lighter vehicles and gearless vehicles, particularly among office goers and school students, so that they can chart a comfortable path without being beaten down by traffic, or fixing their commutes in a way that they have to leave earlier than necessary.

Overall, the trend appears to be in favour of bigger engines. Consequently, the Average Motorcycle Engine Displacement Index, or AMEDI, has been steadily increasing. It was 111.64 cc in 2012, but increased to 113.36 cc recently. In sum, the Indian two-wheeler market has grown eighteen fold in the last 3 decades. A plethora of factors come together to create this trend – everything from utility to price, low maintenance to fuel efficiency and the condition of Indian roads along with rising fuel prices.

When Should You Upgrade From 2 Wheeler to 4 Wheeler

Bike to Car

“Never” says the two wheeler aficionado; “upgrade?” he roars “it is actually cage up!”

“As soon as you can afford it” opines the convenience champion

“When the family size grows beyond two” suggests the pragmatic

Thus, the decision to move from two wheels to four is largely individualistic. Some safe tips, specific to 2015 context:-

  1. When the cost of ownership of the additional wheels (not just fuel .. but also service, insurance and capital !) is affordable
  2. Provided there is safe parking available – at work and at home
  3. If your spouse announces that he/she needs to keep up with the Joneses, oops Iyers, Raos, Jains or Agarwals – 🙂
  4. When your commute distances are long and constant – generally speaking two wheels are short haul, around-the-corner usage variety. A four wheeler is handy for long rides.

With the advent of taxi-hailing apps and the business opportunity it has spawned amongst drivers’n’owners, it is now one more decision point! Read on for some other views

The Author, Kalyanaraman M, is the Consultant – New Products with TVS Credit Services

How to keep your credit rating at a favourable level

A credit rating report is a summary of an individual’s past borrowing and repayment track record(s). In India, these have been popular post 2010, although many bureaus started operations post 2005 itself. Of late credit reports have enriched information such as KYC particulars, address history and declared income levels. Using the same data to derive a score is another very recent development. The country’s largest bureau has also commenced ( selling individual’s credit reports to the subject directly. A wealth of information can be found in the other bureaus also –, and

The safest way to maintain a good standing is to meet all lender-obligations in a timely manner. (To achieve the same, the individual must maintain his/her credit obligations – both short and long term, meaning all credit card minimum dues and longer tenure loans as for example, purchase of a car or home). Naturally, good behavior builds viz., an individual who has had a string of positive loan track records is likely to be sanctioned a higher amount during the next request.

The opposite is equally true!!

Patchy repayment records bring down the rating report and also pull down the individual’s credit score. Sure, this can happen – after all, life is a combination of both downs and ups. There are times when one needs to keep basic ends met – leave alone repayment of contracted obligations. Hence delays and defaults could happen despite the best of intentions. Some tips to tackle the same:-

  1. Keep the lender informed about the scenario and seek temporary relief in terms of a holiday period with lower contracted interest rate
  2. Do not drop the repayment to zero – can a small (e.g., minimum due) be met so that lender is comforted that person’s intention and effort are behind the repayment
  3. Go for credit counselling in case there are many transactions
    1. Bank of India’s
    2. ICICI’s are two examples
  4. Rebuild your credit history (resurrection!) after settling with the lenders
    1. Recently companies such as Credit Vidya, Credir Sudhaar and Credit Mantri have established frame works to accelerate the process

The Author, Kalyanaraman M, is the Consultant – New Products with TVS Credit Services

Bikes Vs. Cars – Which One’s For You?

Bike Vs Car

Ready to get your own wheels, but caught between picking a bike and indulging in a scooter? That’s a fully valid dilemma – well, what if you want to impress the ladies and wind up picking up a sputtering old contraption from a scientist’s outhouse? Or what if your wife wanted something durable that would help sustain the family’s transport needs, but you suddenly thought you had an inner need-for-speed-biker man that you had to channel? Before you make a decision without all that you should know, hang on: we have something for you to keep in mind!

  • Think about the weight of the vehicle. If you want something light, invest in a scooter rather than a motorcycle. Motorcycles are more suited to those with the appropriate physique to handle its demands. You don’t want to look like a snail, now, do you? Scooters are totally for you if you’re not up to doing weight training while getting from end to end.
  • And now, think about the weight of the load on your pocket. Do you have a good budget to blow money on? If that’s the case, indulge in a motorcycle. A scooter is the middle class family’s dream – and you’ll do best to go for it if you’re on a tight budget.
  • If you’re looking for an easy drive, buy a scooter rather than a motorcycle – a scooter doesn’t have a gear and clutch system, which makes the process of driving it quite simple – almost as easy as riding a cycle! You won’t need to focus on the gear position and all those extra things that will take attention of the road.
  • If you want to get around from point to point with a lot to carry, a scooter is a better option. But if you’re a light traveller and don’t exactly transport all your family wealth day in and day out, fly around in a motorcycle already!
  • If fuel efficiency is your core concern, then ditch the scooter. The motorcycle is far more fuel efficient in comparison with the scooter. A very good Motorcycle can give you 70 Km/litre in terms of mileage, but a scooter – even a very good model, can give you a maximum of 55-60 Km/litre – which still makes it a fraction in comparison.
  • If you’re looking for a good amount of speed to be maintained since you’re travelling fairly long distances, buy a motorcycle than a scooter. With a scooter, there are slight chances of having to leave yesterday to reach tomorrow.
  • What kind of terrain are you looking to loop around? If you have rough and tough terrains that need to be charted out with a fairly rugged vehicle, a motorcycle makes more sense, especially for badly conditioned roads and hilly terrains. But a scooter may not do so well in such a setting – and works better for smoother and easier terrains.


Best Road Trips To Take With Your Besties This Long Weekend!

So you’re planning to cruise the road and travel across the length and breadth of India! Well, good for you! India has a great range of diversity in its geography, quite as much as its diversity in its people: what with everything from mountains and valleys to rivers and waterfalls, from lakes and streams to deserts and snow! Before you hit the highway, here are a bunch of places you should be keeping in mind as potential destinations.

  1. Cruise across from Leh to Manali: The Leh Manali highway is considered to be one of India’s most dangerous roads, and is easily among the world’s most deadliest roads. Perfect if you are a daredevil with a reckless spirit – or if you have it in your head that you belong to the cast of Fast and Furious, this is where you belong. Stretching across the beautiful Lahaul and Spiti valleys, the 490 kilometres long highway is about 13,000 feet high, and houses the highest spot in the stretch, at Tanglang La mountain pass offering a stunning view of mountain ranges.6461838547_f11c8fb4b6_o-Copy
  2. Enjoy the Delhi to Jaipur highway: National Highway 8 is a hot favourite among most people who love road trips – and it works if you have an appetite that is as big as this driving stretch. With 238 kilometres that stretch through two of India’s most colourful states in India, you’ll find yourself in the heart of India’s Golden Triangle – connecting Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.delhi-jaipur
  3. Deserting the urban side, head from Barmer to Jaisalmer through the Great Thar Desert, and indulge yourself in the splendid magic of the mountain ranges and the salty marshlands of the Great Rann of Katch. A modest 159 kilometres, this two hour journey will make you the Prince of Persia in India – with all those sand dunes and camels and Sting playing in the backdrop, what more could you ask for?Jaisalmer-to-Barmer
  4. If you’d rather wear your bell bottoms, swing on a pair of shades that will cover a good 90% of your face, and a smile that will cover the remaining 10 percent, hop onto a vehicle of your choice and head from Bombay to Goa. A perfect throwback to yesteryear Bollywood magic, this would be a good trip to make when you haven’t much interest to spare to the countryside.bombay-goa
  5. If you’re the kind that would get in touch with the Schumacher who lives within – or simply didn’t exist, but it feels all awesome to say he does – the MumbaiPune highway is yours to cruise through. All of 93 kilometres, this is India’s first six-lane concrete high-speed, access controlled tolled expressway in India. You’ll get to see the majesty of Lonavala and Khandala in the backdrop.lonavla1
  6. Chennai to Pondicherry remains a hot favourite for anyone travelling about in the South! Across the length of the delightful Coromandel Coast, this road trip will leave you with spell-binding views of the Bay of Bengal, dotted with temples and reliefs from South India’s marvellous past.Chennai-to-pondicherry
  7. The unchartered terrains of the North East are a magical sight to behold. Stretching from Darjeeling to Gangtok, the frozen road that snakes through the lower Himalayan region, all the way from Darjeeling to Gangtok. Think tea gardens, picturesque locales and mountain ranges: and the beautiful assemblage of all things peaceful.Darjeeling-to-Gangtok


Petrol Or Diesel – Which Is Better For You?

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Petrol and diesel, to the untrained mind, might seem like the same thing, anyway. What’s the big deal, it’s all oil, anyway, you might ask. But there’s a whole ocean of science behind it – what with the kind of impact their usage has on the world around them. What would work more practically for you, as a vehicle user? Here’s a comparison of Petrol and Diesel usage!

  • Petrol is expensive, while diesel is more pocket friendly. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you if you’ve known and seen enough people whose eyebrows disappear into their hairlines when they read about petrol price hikes. The key is to identify what works for you in terms of your budget.
  • A second factor is to understand how much your usage itself will be. Are you likely to use your vehicle to travel about 70 kilometres and above in a day? Then diesel makes more sense, while for all other kinds of minimised travel, petrol is your buddy.
  • If you have a vehicle for personal needs, you should be best off with a petrol variant, but a commercial vehicle gains more from a diesel fuel engine. According to a research study by the folks at CRISIL, buying a diesel car makes economic sense only if justified by usage.
  • If your concern is with mileage, diesel makes sense if it is for a bigger car. Typically, a car with a couple of litres petrol engine will give an average mileage of eight to nine kms a litre, while a diesel variant will give an average of 20 percent better mileage!
  • Your manufacturer preference can also alter your choice of fuel – a car that is European in make works great with diesel engines, because European vehicles are more diesel centric. But Japanese and American vehicles are petrol centred.
  • A petrol engine doesn’t last as long as a diesel engine, so if your concern is about the engines you will be working with, your best bet is to indulge in diesel.
  • Another concern would be the depreciation cost, or the value that a car loses over a certain time period, expressed in monetary terms. Petrol cars tend to be better performers when compared to diesel cars, but even in such situations, the demand for second-hand diesel cars in the domestic auto market is far more. That is why the depreciation cost of petrol cars are more compared to the diesel ones.
  • The crown jewel in your decision making, though, would be performance. In general, petrol engines are considered to be far more efficient, as they can operate at high revs (RPM), due to lightweight parts. Moreover, petrol engines use spark ignition while diesel engines use compression ignition. So, they have smaller compression ratios and have better performance capacities.


Motorcycle Diaries


For any biking enthusiast, riding a bike is more than just getting from point to point. It is all about the experience, the feeling of the wind in your face and of liberation that comes with speed. But this experience isn’t complete without the perfect motorcycle gear to go with the process of riding a bike. Here is a bunch of must-haves when it comes to motorcycle gear. We take you through the most important motorcycle accessories for all biking enthusiasts in this list.

  • A good rain suit: Unlike the rain coat that can make you look like Plastic-Man, the rain suit is a thin layer that goes over what you are already wearing. Thin and light, they are easy to store and wear, and do not interfere with your riding. A rain suit is versatile enough to be stored in your saddle bag, and also lets you see in rainy weather, so effortlessly that your manoeuvres are not in the least bit affected. It’s all very well to look like those awesome men in Fast and Furious and Hrithik Roshan in Dhoom 2, but seriously, the expectation-versus-reality deal will make you see sense in buying a rain soot.
  • A pair of rain over-boots: In principle, the same as rain suits, the rain boots protect your feet from rain. Soggy feet can be a pain to deal with, and these boots help you walk with dry and happy feet. Boots are also exceptionally important beyond the rainy season. They protect your feet from crashes and bad weather, while also cushioning them sufficiently to give you comfort. Unless you are very particular about walking like there are slugs wedged between your feet and your shoes, you really should be buying some over-boots.
  • A photo chromic visor, or a clear visor can be exceptionally useful if you are riding in the bright sun or at night. An extra visor that automatically adjusts works very well in terms of clarity and visibility, while also protecting your eyes. Of course you probably think you can see through rain and sun because, well, you shower and are not bothered by the tubelight at home. But no. Not on the road.
  • A windshield is a clever hack to help you cruise at high speeds without much difficulty. It also cuts down on rider fatigue, and keeps you protected from excessive dust and rain.
  • A backpack: A motorcycle bag is a great find, particularly when you are carrying a lot of things along while you commute from point to point. The backpacks that are light, easy to detach and storage oriented make a comfortable companion for your every need.
  • A mask or a balaclava, which keeps your face and neck warm if you are riding against the wind or in cold weather, and keeps you cooled and helps you wipe off your sweat if you are riding in heat. It is also a good way to protect your neck from sand, rocks and bugs, while also keeping your helmet liner clean.
  • Hand guards are vital when you know that your grip on the handlebars can get disrupted by sweat, or the cold. It helps keep your hands dextrous and capable of manoeuvring the bike comfortably. How exactly you manoeuvre your bike remains your skill, but if you can’t get a hold on it…
  • Side mirrors: Side mirrors are exceptionally useful in that it helps make navigation in traffic and on the highway very easy. Not to forget admiring your own delightful face every now and then.
  • Bungee Cords and Lashing Straps help create extra cargo room on your bike, allowing you to carry all that you need, securely and without any impinging on your space. Before you think we are encouraging you to get all stunts-man-on-the-bike-yo, send that thought packing and buy yourself this stuff to stay safe on the bike!


Woman behind the Wheel


Driving alone as a woman comes with its own set of challenges. Of course, driving is liberating, and is fully capable of helping you channel your independence, it is also true that the roads out there are not exactly safe, and that women are vulnerable to impediments to their safety. Everything from car crashes to car-jacking, from impersonation and rough drivers on the road, there are plenty of things one should be safe about. Here are a few things women drivers should keep track of.

  • Park appropriately: Whether you are at a public place or a private neighbourhood, always park your vehicle in a place where there is sufficient lighting, and where you cannot be ambushed by anyone simply because the space is opportune. Lock your car and remember exactly where you parked, and make sure that when you come back to the place, no matter the time of day, you do have enough lighting to take the vehicle out without any difficulty.
  • Always keep your keys accessible in your purse, so that you don’t stand outside your car door and fumble for them. The more you fumble for the keys, the more it tends to appear like you are vulnerable and susceptible. It is a perfect opportunity for a criminal to pull off a mugging or a carjacking, or even to grab your purse and run.
  • Make note of the vehicles parked around and near your own. It is a useful way to remember your own vehicle’s spot, while also getting a good idea of what your vehicle was surrounded by.
  • Don’t jump at every opportunity to help – especially if you are being stopped or waved at by a lone man in a remote location. Always be sure to keep your phone handy, so that in any unwieldy situation, you have access to help at the earliest. The same goes for suspicious police officers, or police officers who don’t appear to be founded in their claims of stopping your car.
  • Always keep a map handy, so that you have a full idea as to where you are going, and what your route will comprise. Indulge in a GPS device in the car, rather than to use a map if you are driving by yourself.
  • Make sure that your vehicle is in good condition – having been serviced at the right time, especially if you know that you are making a longer trip. This will help you avoid the eventuality of your vehicle breaking down midway, and avoid having to approach strangers to help fix it if you can’t do it yourself.
  • Keep someone fully aware of your whereabouts, so that the moment you are lost, or you find yourself deviating from the path, or even find yourself in trouble of any kind, help is at hand.


Miles to go before you hit the road – Your Road trip Checklist!


Going on a road trip? You’re probably pumped about all the things you’re going to be seeing and doing, and perhaps all the music you’ve stocked up on to listen while you’re cruising on the highway. But before you do that, make sure to check in on all your essentials, so that you have a smooth, happy ride!

Here are a bunch of things you should be absolutely careful about, before hitting the road:

  • The last thing you need when you’re on the road is to be stuck with an angry, overheated car that just doesn’t want to cooperate. If you were Fred Flintstone, I’d say you’d make a dash for it and run with your feet on the floor of the car, but you’re not. So, make sure that all your fluids are in order. From engine oil to coolants, transmission fluid to brake fluids, power steering fluids and windshield washers, always make sure that you have enough of them all. Remember, lacking any of these fluids can throw your driving plans into disarray.
  • You are going on a road trip, not a suicide mission. So even if you think you’re a boss on the highway and speeding is awesome, you need to be safe while you do it. Check all the belts, hoses and wipers to ensure that they work well. The v-belts, serpentine belts, coolant hoses, windshield water hoses, vacuum hoses and even the timing belt if you know that your car is due. Your wipers should be able to work appropriately at all the speeds that the car provides for. Check on the pulleys and all the hoses to see that there are no leaks whatsoever. Your windshield wipers shouldn’t have any cracks, and should make proper contact with the window.
  • So you’ve worked out like crazy to look awesome in your road trip pictures – great, you’re in shape. But wait! Your tires need to be in shape! It’s not enough if you look at your tires and conclude that there are no flats – make sure that your tires have the recommended amount of pressure, and there is plenty of tread left. There shouldn’t be any unusual wear on the tire. Make sure that the spark plugs are in order, too. The best way to test the thickness of the tread is to use a one-rupee coin. Place the coin upside down, and if the tread surpasses the top of the three lions, you are good to go!
  • Check all your electrical stuff in the car. Bright lights, day time lights, horns, night lights, indicator lights, reverse lights and brake lights are all vital. Make sure that your interior lightings are also in order. Look to see if your low beams, high beams and hazard lights are in order.
  • Check the batteries in the car, as also the air filter. The battery terminals should be free of all corrosion, the cables should be tight and snug to the battery, and the air filter should be best suited for appropriate gas mileage. Be sure to check that the terminals of the battery are both free and clear from each other, and check the terminals for corrosion, and the wires for rub-through.
  • Air cleaners should also be in order. Make sure that you check the filter and clean it up of all possible dust and dirt. If it is black and sooty, you should be replacing your filter, or at the very least, ensure that the filter is fixed.
  • Always keep your spares in hand. A spare tire, some spare parts, some tools and an emergency kit are all necessary. The spare tire should be full of air, the emergency kit should have all the components, the tolls should be in order – particularly the jumper cables and a jack.
  • Finally, come to what you want to take with you for the road trip: a GPS navigator (so you don’t get lost, or if you do, you get lost in style), a map (ditto), a cell phone (you need a reason?), a phone charger (because you have a cell phone in hand!) that can also double up as car compatible (yes, because where else will you use it?), an insurance and registration document set, a flashlight (because), a first aid kit, water and car freshener (well…)!


The Most Iconic Indian Cars Of All Time!

Think of automobiles on the road, and your mind goes to some of the iconic vehicles that have held public attention and awe for the longest time. International legends may come and go, but our own desi automobile market has been filled with some of the best four wheelers that have held people’s awe. Here are 6 of the most iconic cars of all time on Indian roads:

  • The Good old Ambassador:


Hindustan Motors rolled out the Ambassador in the 1950s. Undoubtedly fully deserving of the epithet of The King of Indian Roads, the car holds many childhood memories within even till date. It was, for the longest time, the official car of the governments, the official vehicle that ferried VIPs back and forth, and the ubiquitous taxi.

It wound down in numbers by 2000, with the turn of the new millennium, and its production has now been temporarily suspended.

  • The Premier Padmini, or the Fiat 110 Delight


(PC: Wheelmela)

This was another biggie back in the day. Manufactured in India from 1964 to 2000 by Premier Automobiles Limited, the car was named Premier Padmini after a 14th Century Rajput Princess. It was based on the Fiat 1200 GranLuce Berlina, and debuted in India in 1964 with a 1089 cc four cylinder Petrol Engine.

  • The Maruti Suzuki 800:


A product of India’s collaboration with Japan, the Maruti Suzuki was a compact family car that revolutionised travel on four wheelers. It transformed the Indian automobile industry by creating a whole new economical transport system. With 31 years of operation, the Maruti 800 had the second largest production run, and sold close to 3,000,0000.

  • The Hindustan Contessa:


Hindustan Motors crafted the Contessa after the iconic GM Vauxhall Victor FE and rolled it out for the masses in 1984, in a bid to offer an upmarket product that would stand tall with its predecessor, the Ambassador. The luxury vehicle, as it was seen as, had a 49bhp 1.5 L BMC B-Series engine under the hood – which was the same as the engine that powered the Ambassador. It was discontinued in 2002.

  • Hyundai’s Santro:


Taking over from the Maruti Suzuki 800, the Santro was something of an elevated and a squarer version of the 8000. It was introduced worldwide as Hyundai Atos in 1997, but in India, entered as Santro, as the first offering to India’s automobile market from Hyundai. It was an instant hit, and offered full value for money. By 1999, it became the second largest automobile manufacturer, and crossed the 1mn mark in sales by the end of 2006.

  • The Honda City:


(PC: Motorbeam)

The first generation of the Honda City in Indian markets was the world’s third generation from Honda’s factories. It was a charmer right away, winning hearts in the mid-size sedan segment. However, the petrol-only engine without versions for diesel made it difficult to sustain itself until 2014, when the diesel market became a new avenue for its exploration.

  • The Toyota Qualis:


(PC: Elbuses)

Although it is accepted and known that the Innova is the new Qualis, considering that Toyota decided to replace its line of Qualis cars with Innovas, the Qualis is still something most people enjoyed – what with its comfort, quality engine and stellar multi-purpose value.