Motorcycles have become the best option for many city-dwellers who are looking for ways to beat the ever-long traffic congestion. Though it is not the only solution and desire, Bangladesh has seen a massive hike in motorcycle imports and it is the only vehicle to have crossed the two million benchmark with a total of 2,929,404 registered bikes in Bangladesh till February of this year.
With a huge demand to fulfil, motorcycle manufacturing companies and dealerships keep introducing new varieties of brands and bikes in the market. If you are planning to buy a two-wheeler, you will find at least four different types of motorcycles that suit your budget. And if it is going to be your first bike, you will have to consider certain factors that will lead you to purchasing the right bike.
Now, let us look at some of the factors that you can assess and bring the perfect riding companion home.
Should your first bike be new or second-hand?
The first and most important point is to decide whether you want to buy a mint bike from a showroom or purchase the same model, already in use, at a lower price.
This decision depends entirely on your riding skills.
If you have never ridden a motorcycle before, it is better to go for a second-hand bike; preferably an old one. Why? The first few days of learning bike riding might include a few slips, cuts, and scratches and you would not want your new bike to bear the battle scars. You can use a second-hand bike until you stabilise your riding skills and then go for a new one.
A second-hand bike can look good on the outside and at the same time, be almost dead from the inside. New riders often end up making a bad purchase and if you do not want to be a victim of mischief, ask a trusted mechanic or an experienced rider to tag along to examine the bike's condition on your behalf.
There are as many options for second-hand bikes as there are for new one. And if you are wondering what type of motorcycle to go for, I would say, go for classic bikes like - Honda CG 125, Honda CDI 100, Yamaha RX 100, Yamaha Deluxe, and Honda CD80.
Why? These are the most affordable and reliable second-hand motorbikes; you can purchase the above-mentioned classics within the price range of Tk20,000 to Tk40,000 and learn a great deal from such bikes as well.
If you buy second-hand classics, you might want to spend some extra money on modifying the bike according to your taste but I would suggest you to spend the least amount possible as such bikes do not have a good resale value. No matter how much money you spend on it, you will have to put a price tag lower than your buying price while selling it.
If you know how to ride a bike and have covered a few hundred kilometers on highways, it is better to go for a brand-new bike than a second hand one. Even if used bikes cost less than new ones, you never know what the bike has been through while serving its first owner.
Hence, it is better to invest your money into something new rather than regretting it later. The decision, however, is entirely yours to make.
Fix your overall budget
After you overcome the dilemma of choosing between an old and new bike, you have to fix your budget. Keep it in mind that your budget should not only consist of the retail price of your desired bike. It should also include the cost of registration and accessories for your safety.
In terms of registration, it is better to get the bike registered for 10 years if you plan on using it for the long run. A 10 years registration will cost Tk24,000. On the other hand, if you plan on purchasing a newer model in the coming year, it is better to get the bike registered for two years. It will cost you around Tk16,000.
In the case of safety gears, you can purchase a certified helmet at the least price of Tk4,000, arm and knee guard will cost a minimum of Tk2,500, proper gloves sell for a minimum of Tk400, riding shoes can be bought for a minimum of Tk6,000, and disk locks cost an average of Tk1,000.
Now, if you consider buying all the above-mentioned accessories along with your bike, you will have to set aside at least Tk29,900 (including registration for two years) from your budget.
Know what you want
As I mentioned in the beginning, you will find many options to choose from that suit your budget. After you have fixed your budget, you have to decide why you want to purchase the bike. The type of bike you want should depend on its purpose; for commuting within the city, fulfilling your adrenaline rush, touring across cities, and so on.
For office use and commuting within the city, you should go for a bike that delivers good mileage. You can go for a sports fairing bike if you want to test your limits while ensuring the utmost safety. And if you want to purchase a bike for travelling, go for one that comes with all the necessary features – carrier for your bag, USB port for your devices, proper crash guard, etc.
Compare the available options
Now that you have decided what type of bike you want; you will have to carefully go through all the options at hand. There is a wide range of motorcycles available for you to choose from. Over the years, Chinese brands have fully replaced Japanese builds. Indian and Korean brands have also been able to establish a strong brand presence in Bangladesh.
Brands like Honda, Yamaha, TVS, Bajaj, and Suzuki offer bikes of the same segment at different prices. Within the same segment, there are some features that vary from bike to bike. For example, the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V and Honda CB Hornet 160R fall under the same category, however, the Apache's speedometer comes with a gear indicator whereas, Hornet's digital meter does not have the gear indicator function.
Certain features and factors like these can reflect your decision of purchasing a motorcycle. Therefore, it would be wise to compare all the features before deciding.
"China beshi din jay na" (Chinese products do not last long)
There is a particular taboo that keeps circulating within bikers and communities every now and then. Most bikers tend to believe that Chinese or Korean motorbikes do not last long. By Chinese or Korean, they mean to portray companies like Lifan or Benelli. If you have been infected with the same ideology, I can assure you that it is nothing but a superstitious belief.
Technically, most motorcycles that we see on the roads are made up of parts that were manufactured in China. If the taboo were to be real, none of the motorcycle companies or dealerships would have been able to survive in the automotive market. If a two-wheeler has promising features and you like it, do not worry about its brand image, just go ahead, and give it a try.
Remember, a motorcycle's longevity does not depend on the company, it depends on the rider. However, uprising brands that often are victims of such taboo tend to have a lower customer base than established brands and this can result in lesser availability of spare parts at service centres.
But in this era of digitalisation, you can just place the order for your desired spare parts online and get it delivered at your doorstep.
Last but not the least
Finally, when you buy your first bike home, please do not ride it without proper documentation and safety gear. After purchasing a motorcycle, it usually takes around two to four weeks for the owner to receive all the documents (i.e. registration card, road permit, tax token, and insurance). If you ride the bike on the roads without the necessary papers, you will face a hefty fine.
It is apparent that you wear proper safety gear while riding the two-wheeler. Your safety is entirely in your hands and accidents cannot be prevented, so it is better to protect yourself as much as you can and ride responsibly.