The Good Life

Taming the trail

Be it a mountain trail, race track or city lane, these dirt bikes make it worth your money

What comes to mind when you hear the words ‘luxury ride’? A premium four-wheeler beast from the stable of a global automaker of repute? While that might be the general perception, there is a whole legion of consumers who associate the words with a two-wheeler that costs between Rs.500,000 to Rs.1 million. And this isn’t just any regular road bike. Be it a steep climb on a trek trail or a dangerous descent down a mountain or a resilient ride  on city gravel, there’s one six-figure worth frame for every kind of cycling enthusiast.

As the bicycle gets a perception makeover from being a humble ride to a fitness aide and now a preferred lifestyle choice, global bike manufacturers have followed suit and set up shop in India. One such company is Taiwan-based Giant Bicycles that’s partnered with Pune-based Starkenn Sports. A popular choice among professional cycling squads globally, the Southeast Asian bike manufacturer has launched models in India that range from Rs.25,000 to Rs.1.1 million.

The higher-end price tag doesn’t seem to discourage cyclists in the country from choosing the best model available. In fact, Starkenn’s CEO Pravin Patil asserts that its highest priced bike, the Giant Propel Advanced SL 0 Disc is the one in demand. Designed especially to suit the needs of German professional cycling squad Team Sunweb, the Propel Advanced rides like a dream. “It’s a professional road bike that comes with a superlight composite frame that’s got an adjustable seat post, hydraulic disc brakes and flat-mount calipers. And also, thru-axles that deliver superior braking control along with wheel stiffness,” Patil describes. 

Another global bike maker that makes it to the top of most ‘best race bike’ lists is Switzerland-based Scott. Having featured in several European and world championships, the Swiss bike brand enjoys a growing patronage among those taking up speed biking to compete professionally. Among its expansive range of cycles available in the country currently, three models stand out. Priced at Rs.958,000 is the Plasma Premium — the aerodynamic beauty fitted with Shimano Di2 shifters and brake levers.

Scott’s country manager, Jaymin Shah, says, “The Plasma series was designed to take into consideration the interaction between a rider and the bike. It features an ergonomically and purpose-driven handlebar that offers a wide range of adjustability or the practical implementation of nutrition storage.” Another bike from this brand whose sole intention is to keep you going at top speed is the Foil Premium Disc that will set you back by Rs.929,000. And if you’re not looking to compete professionally but still want to experience the adrenaline rush that comes from riding a speed bike, then you could hop on to the Scale RC 900 SL that costs Rs.677,900.

And finally, another international brand that’s popular among professional bikers on Indian streets is Wisconsin, US-based Trek. Right from mountain rides, to cross country to adventure bikes, you’ll find everything you need here. “The super-premium bicycle segment in India has seen an impressive growth. Our focus is to further grow this segment by providing a great buying and ownership experience while promoting the sport of leisure and competitive cycling in India,” says Navneet Banka, head, Trek India. Its most premium offering in India is Domane SLR 8 Disc that comes with a price tag of Rs.465,000. Fitted with an adjustable rear ISO Speed, you can adjust your model for the terrain you venture out on. The higher head tube is designed to give your machine endurance while ensuring your comfort.

So no matter what your intention or terrain, you’ve got a wide range of premium bikes right here in India to pick from.