Motorcycles are ubiquitous in India’s cities. Over the past five years, the more niche adventure (ADV) motorcycle market has been in the spotlight with rapid sales growth, a flurry of new model launches, a clutch of new entrants, and rising consumer demand. The market is set to reflect international motorcycling and digitization trends. From top sellers like Hero Xpulse and Royal Enfield Himalayan to Sukuzi V-Strom and Triumph Tiger and offerings from leading motorcycle manufacturers like KTM, BMW, Benelli and Yezdi, the competition is ramping up.

What is Driving the Market

Barring a blip due to pandemic related lockdowns and supply chain issues in 2021, sales in India’s ADV motorcycle market boomed between 2018 to 2022.  The market is set to continue its upward trajectory over the near term. Online social media platforms have heightened customer awareness and interest in ADV motorcycle related products and activities. Leisure riding groups, off-road events, ADV tour packages, and online/offline sessions are encouraging new riders to invest in ADV motorcycles.

Today, such motorcycles are being used both for daily commuting as well as leisure trips, reflective of their multifunctional capabilities that combine the features of cruiser motorcycle with the ability to ride over challenging terrain.

In a cost-sensitive market like India, convenient online retail and flexible credit options are allowing India’s large working class cohort to realize their aspiration of owning an ADV motorcycle. In parallel, offerings in the <500cc segment are geared to promote adoption by introducing a wider range of cost-effective products.

Meanwhile, premium brands are adopting localization strategies to lower production costs, slash prices, and reach a larger customer base. Such top-end brands are also highlighting the lower maintenance costs associated with their motorcycles.

To learn more, please see: Growth Opportunities for Adventure Motorcycles in India, Strategic Analysis of the Recreational Vehicle Market in Europe,  or contact for information on a private briefing.

Affordability is the main draw in the price-sensitive, mass-market <250cc segment.  Offerings in this segment target new riders as well as Gen Y and Gen Z riders, with ease of handling, low initial costs, and inexpensive ownership. It is also geared towards customers who are looking for a solid performing, cost-effective second motorcycle. Notwithstanding increasing competition to Hero MotoCorp’s XPulse, the segment continues to be affected by the absence of market leaders like Bajaj, TVS and Yamaha.

Customers of 251–500cc ADV motorcycles highlight the balance between cost and capability as a major advantage. Key customers include those looking to upgrade from their first commuter two-wheeler, those wanting a second motorcycle to mee their occasional leisure motorcycling needs, and those participating regularly in ADV motorcycling events. Here again, the absence of leading <500cc segment OEMs, such as TVS, Bajaj, and Yamaha has created a competitive vacuum.  Moreover, the focus on specifics to the detriment of all-round capabilities and the dearth of domestic brand products has proved a hindrance. RE Himalayan is the market leader with others like Yezdi Adventure also in the fray.

The high growth potential 501-650CC segment has remained stunted because of poor sales and aftersales services, sparse distribution networks, and limited model availability.  Higher product prices linked to imported spare, completely knocked down (CKD) processes, and labor costs create a window of opportunity for new entrants.

The Journey Ahead

Steady sales and a flurry of launches are underlining the strong growth potential of India’s ADV motorcycle market.  Beyond products, allied opportunities are being created for revenue generation and deeper customer engagement.

OEMs should focus on continuously upgrading services and features – such as Bluetooth, navigation, riding modes, and switchable ABS equipment – to attract customers. This must be backed by enhanced value and ownership propositions, which is of particular importance in a cost-sensitive market like India.

Digitalization is emerging as a powerful tool for OEMs, while enabling customers to learn more about various products and services.  OEMs can leverage online media marketing channels to directly reach customers. Online marketing initiatives can be complemented by offline ADV motorcycle activities such as ADV training and tours. Branded lifestyle products like riding accessories and gear represent another revenue stream.

The introduction of digital services, such as doorstep maintenance and self-service; digitization-enabled, direct-to-customer sales and service business models; the use of augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3D technology to enhance sales and marketing experiences – can all be used to enhance customer experience and boost sales.

And finally, customers are keen on connectivity-enabled safety features. Accordingly, OEMs can incorporate connected features that support improved safety, comfort and convenience. The prospect of subscription-based charges for some of these connected features will represent an additional source of revenue.

With inputs from Amrita Shetty – Senior Manager, Communications & Content, Mobility

About Deepan Chinnaswamy

Chinnaswamy is a Senior Research Analyst with Frost & Sullivan's Mobility Practice. He has 10+ years of experience in automotive marketing, sales, energy & infrastructure industry research, and E-mobility (India) sales strategies, trends, and development tracking.

Deepan Chinnaswamy

Chinnaswamy is a Senior Research Analyst with Frost & Sullivan's Mobility Practice. He has 10+ years of experience in automotive marketing, sales, energy & infrastructure industry research, and E-mobility (India) sales strategies, trends, and development tracking.

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