A recent survey by National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 revealed that two-wheelers are the most preferred mode of transport in India, with a whopping 54% of the population owning one. After all, it’s easier to manoeuvre, takes less parking space, can be a more economical option than a car and has good speed. If you’re zeroing in on a bike because it’s a more practical option, you ought to consider a few things that are practically non-negotiable — such mileage and two wheeler insurance — when buying one.
What Do You Need the Bike for?
First things first, determine what you need the two wheeler for — daily commute, long rides or even bike races? If it’s for getting around within the city, choose a motorcycle that will be fuel-efficient and low-maintenance. But, if it’s long rides you’re after, then focus on powerful engines and slick looks. The type of bike will differ according to your needs. For instance, riding a cruiser bike to work during peak-hour traffic makes as little sense as riding a scooter to higher climes.
Mileage or Fuel-efficiency
If the bike is your primary mode of transport, then you need to choose a model that will give you maximum mileage or the distance it can travel in one litre of fuel. It would also help you to know the difference between mileage in-city and on the highway. Since the motorcycle’s engine will stop and start or change speed a number of times in the city, it will use up more fuel and give less mileage.
That being said, if there’s only a slight difference in the mileage and how much you will end up spending on fuel every month, then opt for the two-wheeler that you will feel more comfortable on, has more power and looks more stylish.
Budget and Fringe Expenses
Consider how much you can spend on the new bike after your taxes, monthly expenses and regular savings are taken care of. Do keep in mind expenses on vehicle’s maintenance and safety measure accessories — helmet, jacket and gloves among others. Since you won’t go bike shopping every day, it would make sense to buy a good brand and model that will last longer and save you from making frequent trips to the garage. You will also get good after-sales service, premium accessories and resale value.
Service Centres and Availability of Spare Parts
In case of an unfortunate event such as an accident or if the bike stops working, the convenience of having a service centre nearby will make things easier for you. So, before you buy the bike, find out where the manufacturer’s service centre or at least an authorised one is located. Repairs will also be quicker if the spare parts are easily available. Bear in mind that parts of high-end bikes, international brands or newly-launched models may not be easily available.
A bike insurance policy is a must-have in the list as it will protect you and your two wheeler from a number of undesirable events — accidents, theft or loss, damages caused by man-made or natural calamities, third-party liability cost and so on. Do take into account that you’d need to buy two-wheeler insurance as the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 makes it mandatory for all owners to at least possess third-party bike insurance. You’d also need to renew the policy before it expires. An expired policy won’t let you enjoy the unlimited coverage and other perks.
Here’s a quick recap of all that you need to bear in mind when buying a bike in India:
- Be clear about the purpose of the two-wheeler and choose from: geared and gearless entry-level bikes or a cruiser, dirt bike, sports bike, racing bike, and so on.
- For daily commute and long rides, getting a fuel-efficient bike would make most sense for you as you can travel longer distances within the budget.
- Allot a part of your monthly expenses for fuel and other expenses.
- Manufacturer’s service centres, or authorised ones, should be accessible for your convenience when the bike needs repairs. Spare parts should be easily available to minimise the hassle while getting the bike fixed.
- It’s mandatory to have at least a 3rd party bike insurance, so do some research and buy the best one.
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