When you see someone thundering past on a Harley-Davidson, do you take your eyes off the road to ogle at the large, hulking bike?
Do you walk past the showroom occasionally and imagine yourself riding one? Renting a bike may be a more affordable option for all the bike enthusiasts out there, including Harley fans.
Three Bangaloreans took their love for the Harley and biking, and turned it into a profitable venture. Vivekananda HR, Anil G and Varun Agni, started ‘Wicked Ride’, the only premium luxury bike rental company in the country, three months back.
“We always dreamt of riding bikes like Harley-Davidson, Triumph and BMW. We would drool over those bikes everytime we glimpsed at one of them. Now we have a variety of seven bikes, which include three Harleys and four Royal Enfields, that are on rent,” says Vivekananda.
“We had the idea of pooling money to buy just one bike but the EMI for these kind of luxury bikes turned out to be pretty high. That’s when we thought of renting the bike to cover the EMI and India’s first and only luxury bike rental company was born. The response to this gave us confidence to expand it to the current fleet,” he says.
“People dream of owning a bike in college but can’t afford it then. Soon they are settled down and working; there is a lot of guilt involved. But with us, it is a ‘no strings attached’ deal,” he adds. The bikes can be rented on an hourly basis or for a whole day.
According to Vivekananda, they did extensive research and surveyed people on their reaction to such a service in India before starting the company.
“We wanted to give our best shot and see if the idea was feasible. So we started with a small fleet which was within our limit. We decided to run a pilot for six months and then decide on an expansion. Fortunately, it turned out to be pretty good. We aren’t scared anymore and are expanding into apparels, biking gears and merchandise. We have also started conducting weekend biking vacations called ‘Bikeations’” he adds.
The cheapest Harley on their shelf is the Street 750, which costs Rs 3,600 per day, while the Iron 883 costs Rs 5,000 for a 24-hour drive. While the Royal Enfield Continental GT Café Racer 533 CC costs Rs 1,800 per day, the Royal Enfield Classic Chrome, Desert Storm and Thunderbird all cost Rs 1,500.
‘Wicked Ride’ currently has a free course to train enthusiastic women riders. “The criteria is that they should at least know how to ride a gearless vehicle and preferably be at least five feet. As of now we had few women riders who are helping the cause. Of late, we have started getting lot of inquiries, so we are planning to make a call for more volunteers. If we get support from volunteers, then it will remain a free-of-cost training, or else we will have to recruit people who can train women in biking,” says Vivekananda.
Why did they choose bikes? “We would love to do rentals of premium cars. However we feel that men are crazier about the bikes. One can feel the wind when riding a bike!” he sums up.