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30.4.12


You can now have a bicycle built exactly the way you want it. It's expensive , but you get what you want easily and quickly. From selecting what material to build your bike with, to customizing its height, weight, number of gears, tyres, pedals, handlebars - that's what major Indian bicycle makers are beginning to offer.  Hero Cycles, which has launched the super premium brand Urban Trail, and TI Cycles, which has brought in super premium international cycle brands like Schwinn, Mongoose, Cannondale and Bianchi, are putting up the infrastructure necessary to offer customized bikes.

 For bicycle enthusiasts, many of who cycle 500 to 1,000 km a month, the difference between an off-the-shelf bike and a customized one can be like night and day. But till now, if they wanted a customized bike, they had to get components from overseas and put them together themselves. "It's a huge challenge to get all the required components to build a cycle of your liking in India," said Hari Menon, a regular cyclist and amateur racer.
 
 "Many others like me shop online from international websites and either import the parts bearing all the customs duties and taxes or get friends and relatives to bring them for us," he said.  Hero Cycles, part of the Hero Group, is opening experience centres, each of about 4,000 sqft, wherein cycling enthusiasts can custom-build cycles. "We plan to open three such centres by the end of this financial year in Delhi, Bangalore, and Pune," said Pravin V Patil, president (strategic initiatives), Hero Cycles. He said the three cities have the biggest concentration of cycling clubs, groups, and enthusiasts.

 The experience centres are being designed by global designers who have designed showrooms for luxury brands like Audi and BMW.  Rajesh Mani, GM (marketing) in TI Cycles, said the company was in the process of getting into the custom-made cycle market with its own premium brand Montra. "However, this will take some time," he said. The industry estimates that in the next two years, the value of the super premium bicycle segment will touch Rs 400 crore, from Rs 150 crore now. The growth is being spurred by the rising health consciousness amongst a growing section of people. 
 
Wheel Power  Super-premium bicycle segment constitutes just 1% of the Indian bicycle marketBut is surging at a growth rate of over 60% year-on-year The segment comprises cycles priced between Rs 20,000 and Rs 4 lakh

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