- Are you one of those who stops chatting with friends just to hear a superbike going from far away?
- Have you grown up hearing those amazing sounding superbikes going around and always dreamt of owning at least one superbike in your lifetime?
- Would you rather sell your body parts to own one of those beauties?
If you answered yes, then you have to read this.
Superbikes or SBKs or Dhoom bike…. Call them by whatever name you like but the aura of a superbike cannot be missed. And no, we are not talking about the small capacity sportsbike namesake; we are talking about multi-cylinder, 600cc and above motorcycles – The Real Deal.
Typically a superbike is a motorcycle having 750+ cc engine with multiple cylinders but looking at large number of middle weight motorcycles available in India, we have also considered 600+ cc models in above examples
Points to be considered before purchasing a superbike in India :
- What types of superbike
- Cost of Superbikes
- Maintenance & Servicing of superbikes in India
- Cost of ownership
What types of Superbikes are available in India?
Superbike isn’t one single class of motorcycles. All of those motorcycles are different and are made to serve different market segments. First let us look at what is on offer in this segment. A generic segmentation will be –
- Supersport : Kawasaki ZX6R, Triumph Daytona 675.
- Superbike : Ducati 959/1299 Panigale, BMW S1000RR, Yamaha R1, Honda CBR1000RR.
- Hyperbike : Kawasaki ZX14R, Suzuki Hayabusa, Kawasaki H2.
- Streetfighter : Kawasaki Z650/Z900/Z1000, Ducati Monster, Yamaha MT09
- Sports Tourer : Suzuki GSX-1000SF, Kawasaki Ninja 650/1000.
- Adventure Tourer : Honda Africa Twin, BMW R1250GS, Ducati Multistrada, Triumph Tiger, etc.
- Heavy weight Sports tourer : Honda Goldwing, BMW K1600GT, Triumph Rocket III.
You need to identify which type of motorcycle suits your needs / wants better. Have a look at our detailed article How to Choose a Bike.
Yes, we know we have left out a lot of motorcycles and segments. But that is not important here. For Indians grown up watching Dhoom style bikes, only the fully faired RR and Hyperbike class is what classifies as a superbike (With the sole exception of Hayabusa).
Superbikes and their owners are a growing breed in India. The growing economy, increasing buying capacity and ease of getting superbike loan is only helping the cause further. Even with the increasing numbers, these motorcycles are treated like gods and the owners are looked upon in awe.
Now that you have dreamt about buying a superbike for years and have decided to go ahead with your purchase… you have got to get the down payment amount together. You dream about it day and night. You can’t stop watching enough videos on YouTube of your dream machine. Perhaps a change of DP is also in the pipeline.
BUT WAIT !
This is the right time for you to read further before putting down your money. A knowledgeable decision goes a long way in a happy ownership. In this article, we are going to discuss about what it actually means to be a superbike owner in India. There are some hidden costs that you might not be aware of or forgot to consider before taking the plunge.
Cost of Superbikes:
Superbikes typically cost from 6.5 lakh (for Z650) onwards. If you have the cash to buy your motorcycle right away, skip forward to the next point.
If you are stretching to pay the down payment or paying whole amount of on-road cost of motorcycle, you should consider potential EMI on your loan.
A typical EMI (from a nationalized bank) would be about Rs.2,200 – 2,400 per 1 lakh of loan amount (5 year loan duration). So for a loan of say Rs.6 lakh, you would be shelling out Rs.13-16,000 per month as EMI. Read detailed note about bank loans for two wheelers
If you wish to buy a second hand superbike, you need to follow a certain checklist to understand how the motorcycle has been treated by previous owner. That is topic for another article – What to check while buying a used superbike.
You are ok with this payout? Time to read on ...
Maintenance / Service centres:
This is the most persistent problem among the world of superbikes. Either the service centers are not enough or their technical knowledge leaves a lot to be desired.
Superbikes can be serviced only in select service centres. There are a few (eg. Triumph has only about 16, Yamaha has 11) service facilities across India. So you need to answer these questions honestly-
- Do you stay in those cities? If not, are you willing to travel long distance to get the motorcycle serviced?
- How do you intend to get your motorcycle repaired from a service centre that is 300km away? Do you have time / energy / money to spend on that?
Secondly, though the company / dealership do boast about the trained mechanics & specialists only a handful guys have expertise that they can demonstrate beyond class room training.
More often than not, we see our fellow SBK owners going to more experienced, private mechanics to get their steeds serviced. But how do you ensure quality service at those places?
We also find that most owners are becoming more & more knowledgeable about motorcycle internals with the help of online resources, almost equivalent to be a part-time mechanic! So if you are trying to buy one SBK soon, be ready to invest some in reading / understanding about at least the basics about your motorcycles.
Cost of Superbike Ownership in India:
Once you buy a motorcycle, you need to fill fuel, renew insurance and maintain it. If we tell you that you need Rs.75000+ per year just to keep your superbike operational. Would you believe us? Guess Not. Let’s see how this figure is worked out –
- Cost of Service:
First and most important part is getting good quality service. A typical sbk servicing in authorized service centre will cost about 6 – 8,000 per service. Out of this, about 3 – 4,000 is just the labour charge. (Just for oil and filter change 4k? outrageous…isn’t it?.. but that’s what it is) so even if you don’t ride your motorcycle much, be ready to shell out at least Rs.15,000 per year for servicing (one service every 6 months)
Our suggestion for aspiring / existing SBK owner who don’t have an authorized service centre in their town – Find a really good SBK mechanic near your locality and keep him handy, you never know when you’ll need one!
Typically comprehensive insurance will cost about Rs.2,000 per 1 lakh value of your motorcycle. So for a motorcycle costing10 lakh, the insurance would be about Rs.20,000/- per year.
Most new big motorcycles specify 91 Octane petrol as required. Do you have 91 Octane routinely available in your city? Also a litre class motorcycle will deliver between 8-15 km/ltr in city riding. On highway riding, it would go up to 18-25 km/ltr. Given the current fuel prices, fuel cost /km would be about Rs.5-6/km.
Typical SBK tyres last about 8-10,000 km and a pair of tyres would cost about Rs.20,000/pair. This works out to about Rs.2/km.
Answer honestly: Can you afford spending 75-80k a year to keep your pride and joy in good condition?
If you aren’t happy spending this, walk away right now. You can always rent a superbike for a weekend and enjoy. Now a days we have several companies offering a variety of models at decent pricing.
Usability of superbikes in India:
While cost is one part, usability is second most important part of superbike ownership. Let’s look at some points :
- Weight / seat height / seating position :
SBKs are typically heavier than your average motorcycles. Usually all would be 200kg plus. Only the top end RR class may come below 200 kg bar. Are you comfortable riding around on a 200+ kg motorcycle?
Can you plant both your feet on ground while sitting on your dream machine? Is the riding position comfortable (or at least something that you can endure)? Cycle-Ergo has data about almost all motorcycle models available and you can check about both – seat height and riding position.
- Manoeuvrability :
Due to heavier weight, wider body (to accommodate bigger engine) and aggressive seating position (in case of RR class), SBKs are extremely difficult to manoeuvre at low speeds. At any speed below 50-60 kmph, a Honda Activa is a better option than a SBK.
- Heating :
SBKs have multiple cylinders and so naturally get hot if ridden at low speeds. Their engines and fairing (if any) is designed to direct airflow to the radiator above certain speed, let’s say 50-60 kmph. If these bikes are ridden at speeds below that, you would get superhot (literally) motorcycle and you would need to wear riding pants all the time. Even while wearing jeans, it isn’t uncommon to see the legs being slowly roasted till they are red.
Street fighter / cruiser class motorcycles are better in this regard than fully faired ones but not by a large margin. Triumphs and Harleys are epitome of excessive heating. So riding a superbike in city traffic is a bad idea. Better keep your old commuter ride handy.
- Parking / Safety / Security :
Are you comfortable parking your pride and joy in your office parking…on road…in malls / multiplex? If not, what will you be taking to these places? Superbikes are like magnets. They attract people as they are meant to do.
Problem arises when people want to sit on your dream machine and then take selfies, scratch tanks or generally tamper with it. If you aren’t comfortable parking your superbikes in all those places where you won’t get secured safe parking, think again. You would need your old commuter ride for going to these places.
So here we are. Let’s have a recap of things that you should consider before buying a superbike in India.
- Decide on what types of superbike
- Know what are the Costs involved in Superbike ownership
- Find out about maintenance &servicing availability
- Understand Cost of ownership and whether you are comfortable with it.
- Know real life Usability of superbikes
Now only one thing to do more.
So choose wisely and ride happily.
This article about buying and living with a superbike in India is one part of 3 part series of articles. You should read the other two articles to get complete idea about the buying used superbike process. Here are the links -
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