A decade ago, motorbikes were not as popular as they are now. Back then, the Hero Honda Karizma gained much popularity but it could not fulfil the needs of bikers as much as a Pulsar could.
If we go back in time, before the 2000s, classics like the Honda CG 125, Yamaha RX 100, Honda CDI 100, and Yamaha Deluxe 100 revved the hearts of riders with its engine's precision and shiny aesthetics. Anyone who own these classics or similar sort of two-wheelers knows that nothing beats a Japanese-built engine.
If you own a Japanese-engine bike, you can stash it in your garage for years and it will still deliver the same performance when it is back on the road. Whereas, the mainstream motorcycles that have overflooded the streets now might need a doctor's check-up if not used for a month or so.
Speaking of mainstream motorbikes, it is quite shocking to know that from 2010 till February 2020, the number of registered motorcycles in Bangladesh increased from 759,257 to a total of 2,929,404, according to a report published by Bangladesh Road Transportation Authority (BRTA).
Since its establishment in 1987, BRTA witnessed its massive hike of 350 percent in the number of motorbike registrations within a time span of 9 years (2011-2019). Even though the numbers, together, might seem like a great deal, the trend for owning a motorcycle did not hit Bangladesh in 2011.
The total number of registered motorcycles in Bangladesh stood at 114,616 in 2011 which decreased to 101,588 in 2012. The following year witnessed a downfall from million to thousands - 85,808. Although the number grew in 2014 but still stood within thousands – 90,685 registered two-wheelers.
The year 2015 was a gamechanger - the number of motorbike registrations increased rapidly by 265 percent; from 90,685 to 240,358. That is when hordes of two-wheelers began appearing on the streets of Bangladesh and more and more people started purchasing motorcycles.
Since then, the number of registered motorcycles in Bangladesh has kept increasing gradually and the highest number of motorbikes were registered in 2019 which amounted to 406,897. This year's numbers would have surpassed last year's but the motorcycle sales were heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the first two months of 2020, a total of 75,985 motorcycles were registered all over Bangladesh. Since the motorbiking trend started gaining recognition in Bangladesh, motorcycle manufacturers and importers have been introducing varieties of models and brands to satisfy the demands of bikers.
Why is the motorcycling trend rising?
As mentioned above, the number of motorbike registration started increasing rapidly in 2015; the same year when Pathao started its operations in Bangladesh. After Pathao, Uber made its way into Bangladesh's market in 2016 and following through, many other ride-sharing platforms flooded the streets of the capital in no time.
The inception of ride-sharing services was supposed to aid in reducing transport costs for vehicle owners, but many people saw a good income opportunity and took to the streets of Dhaka offering rides to commuters. Ride-sharing platforms have swayed many people to purchase motorcycles and it has had much influence behind the rising trend of motorcycling.
Regarding the rising trend, The Business Standard spoke to members of a motorcycling community – Moto Lab BD. The Founder, Yaseen S Islam, said, "Compared to any other vehicle, motorcycles are faster, and the cost effectiveness is very high as well. The craze among people of all ages illustrates how the community is growing at such a high pace."
"The biking trend is rising because the market is favourable to its consumers; one can easily fulfil his/her dream of owning a motor vehicle," added Miteb Reza Chowdhury, president of Moto Lab BD.
So far, motorcycle is the only type of vehicle that has crossed the 2 million benchmark with a total of 2,929,404 registered bikes in Bangladesh.