India is one of the largest manufacturers of cycles in the world. The cycle industry in India has a long and rich history, dating back to the early 20th century. With a huge domestic demand and strong export potential, cycle manufacturing in India offers lucrative business opportunities.
Brief History of Cycle Industry in India
The cycle manufacturing industry in India took off in the 1940s, when the country started importing bicycles from Britain. Domestic production began in 1949, when Sen Raleigh Industries set up the first bicycle plant in India in Ludhiana, Punjab.
Some key developments in the evolution of the cycle industry in India:
- 1950s – Imports stopped, domestic production flourished. Major players like BSA and Hercules entered the market.
- 1960s – Production technology improved. Indian bicycle manufacturers started exporting to Africa and Middle East.
- 1970s – Boom in the domestic market due to rising incomes and focus on rural areas. Hero Cycles became market leader.
- 1980s – Indigenization of technology. Industry able to meet almost 95% of domestic demand through local manufacturing.
- 1990s – Liberalization led to influx of foreign brands like Trek, Giant, Merida. Competition increased.
- 2000s – India became one of the largest bicycle producers. Exports increased steadily.
- 2010s – High-end bikes gained popularity. Electronic and internet-connected bikes were introduced.
See also: Chinese Bicycle Brands in India
Currently, India is the second largest manufacturer of bicycles after China. The major cycling hubs in India are Ludhiana in Punjab, Ambala and Rohtak in Haryana, Mumbai in Maharashtra and Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu.
Current Market Scenario of Cycle Industry in India
The cycle industry in India has grown steadily over the years, despite stiff competition from automobiles. Here are some key facts about the current market scenario:
- Annual production is around 22 million cycles, with domestic sales accounting for 19 million.
- Exports are increasing rapidly, already accounting for 15% of production.
- The industry has around 500 big players and over 10,000 SMEs. Around 50% market share is controlled by the unorganized sector.
- Presence across all price segments – from ₹500 basic models to ₹2 lakh advanced performance bikes. However, mass segment of ₹3000-6000 accounts for bulk of domestic sales.
- Mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, road bikes and kids’ cycles are gaining popularity in metro cities, resulting in 10% YoY growth in premium segment.
- India exports cycles to various countries in Africa, Latin America and Middle East. Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh are major buyers in the neighborhood.
- The global cycle market is likely to be around 120 million units by 2025. This presents a massive export opportunity for Indian players.
- Electric cycles are an emerging product segment, with domestic sales crossing 200,000 units in 2018.
The cycle industry is dominated by established domestic players like Hero, TI Cycles, Avon Cycles on one hand, and foreign brands like Trek, Giant, Firefox and Schwinn on the other. There are also several regional players who tend to dominate local markets.
Major Cycle Manufacturers in India
Here are some of the leading cycle brands and manufacturers in India:
The market leader, Hero Cycles, is part of the Hero Motors Company. It has around 50% share in domestic bicycle sales. The company produces over 6 million cycles per year across multiple factories in Punjab, Uttaranchal and Bihar. Popular models include Hero Ranger, Miss Manchester, Sprint and Urban Trail.
TI Cycles of India, part of the Murugappa Group, is the second largest player with about 15% market share. It manufactures around 1.5 million cycles annually across factories in Chennai and Punjab under brands like Hercules, BSA, Track and Loop.
The iconic Atlas brand, part of the Atlas group, is one of the oldest cycle manufacturers in India, dating back to 1950. It has an annual output of around 1.2 million cycles from its plants in Maharashtra, Haryana and Punjab. Popular models include Roadster and All Terrain cycles.
Avon Cycles, based in Ludhiana, produces ~1.5 million cycles annually including models like Avon Challenger, Boss and Elation. It is a regular supplier to the Indian armed forces and police.
Bicycle Corporation of India
A joint venture between Hero Cycles and the Accell Group of Netherlands, BCI manufactures premium bikes in India under famous global brands like Bianchi, Ducati, Hercules and Sachs. It caters to the high-end racing and mountain bikes segment.
Owned by Infinity Motors, Firefox manufactures lightweight alloy and carbon fibre bikes for enthusiasts and professionals. Popular models include Firefox Pro, Target and TransAm. Its factory is located in Sri Lanka.
The Indian subsidiary of Kross from Poland, Kross India produces premium cycles including mountain, hybrid, road and kids’ bikes at its factory in Rohtak, Haryana. Some models include Zanita, Trans, and Hurricane.
The Indian arm of the iconic American brand Schwinn manufactures cycles in technical collaboration with BSK Networks. Models like Schwinn Searcher, Ranger, High Plains are assembled at its Pune factory.
Trek, one of the leading global bike brands, set up its wholly owned subsidiary Trek India in 2019. It locally assembles high-end road, MTB and electric bikes at its Solan, Himachal Pradesh facility.
Part of the Decathlon Group of France, these economy cycles are manufactured in India under the brand names B’Twin, Triban and Riverside. The bikes are retailed through Decathlon stores.
In addition to these major players, there are several regional and domestic brands like Ladybird, Kenstone, Montra, Cosmic Cycles that have a strong foothold in the entry level cycle segment across India. International premium brands like Giant, Merida, Scott, GT also have a presence in India.
Growth Drivers for Cycle Industry in India
Multiple factors are contributing to the steady growth of bicycle sales and manufacturing in India:
With a large young population and growing middle class, India has a massive customer base for mass market and premium bicycles.
Make in India Initiative
Government’s initiatives like “Make in India” are promoting local manufacturing. This is catalyzing domestic production and exports.
Health & Fitness Awareness
Growing health consciousness is encouraging cycling as a lifestyle and fitness choice among urban consumers. This is driving demand for fitness, road and hybrid bikes.
“Smart Cities” and state bicycle sharing programs are promoting cycling for first and last mile connectivity. Some Indian cities have extensive cycling infrastructure.
Bicycles are eco-friendly commuting options. As a form of sustainable mobility, cycling appeals to environmentally conscious buyers.
Rural Market Potential
In rural and semi-urban centers, bicycle is still the most accessible personal transport option. This mass segment will continue to drive sales.
Emergence of Custom Build Market
Young enthusiasts are taking to custom-building bespoke bikes for racing, touring or leisure, creating a niche for specialty parts.
Growth in Adventure Sports
Riding cycling for adventure sports like touring, mountain biking, off-road riding is gaining popularity among new age consumers.
Recent Trends in Cycle Industry in India
Some interesting trends shaping consumer preferences and manufacturing strategies in the bicycle industry:
- Premiumization – High-end road bikes, MTBs and other specialty cycles are the fastest growing segment, driven by rising disposable incomes.
- Smart Bikes – Digital features and internet connectivity through IoT integration is the new buzzword. Bikes are getting smarter.
- Alternate Materials – Carbons frames, composite materials are gaining share from traditional steel. Makes cycles lighter.
- Customization – Enthusiasts seek fully customized cycles with personalized geo-fits and component matching.
- Women’s Cycling – Women’s specific design cycles with ergonomic geometry are entering mainstream.
- Electric Cycles – Battery-powered electric cycles are the new growth engine, with booming sales in Europe and parts of Asia.
- Kids Cycles – Kids bikes is a major segment, with innovative designs to suit growing children.
- Accessories & Gear – Demand for helmets, gloves, apparel and cycle related gear is rising rapidly.
- Omni-channel Retail – Online sales now complement traditional cycle outlets. Opened industry to direct-to-consumer brands.
Opportunities in Cycle Business in India
India offers bright prospects across the bicycle value chain, right from manufacturing and sales to service and accessories.
- Cost Competitiveness – Abundant skilled labor and established supply chains make India a globally competitive manufacturing hub
- Increasing Exports – With its large production base India can leverage export demand in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
- Electric Cycles – India has potential to become major hub for manufacturing electric cycles and kits for global markets.
- Technology Upgrades – Integrating smart features and premium materials can enhance competitiveness, including in high-end segments.
Distribution & Retail
- Deeper Rural Reach – Increasing sales network penetration in rural areas can expand consumer base.
- Women & Kids – These are under-tapped segments where targeted models can drive business.
- Online Sale – Tie-ups with e-retailers gives access to digitally savvy buyers in metro & urban centers.
- Experiential Retail – Premium bike buyers demand well-informed sales staff and test ride options even at retail outlets.
Service & Accessories
- Servicing Networks – Buildingnetworks of expert mechanics for maintenance and repair in major centers.
- Certified Spare Parts – Good quality spare parts sourced from certified vendors will bolster service ecosystem.
- Custom Builds – Tapping the bespoke bike trend by providing components and build expertise.
- Accessories Market – Expanding portfolio to include helmets, lights, apparel etc boosts revenue streams.
New Business Models
- Bike Sharing – Entry into the public bike sharing space through own fleets or PPP models.
- Rental Services – Bike rentals for touring, adventures sports leverages asset-light model.
- Custom Build Studios – Offering premium custom-build services and unique cycling experiences.
- Direct to Consumer – Selling own brands directly online taps early adopters among youth.
Challenges Faced by the Cycle Industry
While the prospects look bright, some hurdles need to be addressed by cycle manufacturers in India:
Competition from Imports
Cheaper cycles from China and Taiwan continue to flood the mass market, especially online, competing directly with Indian brands.
Lack of Innovation
Dependence on outdated designs and limited R&D investments hampers development of innovative products.
High interest rates and low access to formal credit squeezes the working capital cycle for manufacturers, especially SMEs.
Low Export Competitiveness
Indian manufacturers lag behind rivals in SE Asia & China in technology, scale and costs, limiting export success.
Unorganized Sector Dominance
Unregulated, small manufacturers distort prices and quality in mass segment. Tough for organized players to compete.
Absence of dedicated cycling lanes in most cities deters many potential customers. Theft risk is also high.
Cycling is still not seen as an aspirational lifestyle/ fitness product by majority of youth and affluent classes.
Supply Chain Issues
Complex supply chains, excessive reliance on imports for components like advanced gears and availability issues impacts production schedules.
The Road Ahead
To fully tap the future potential of this industry, concerted efforts will be needed from manufacturers, government and consumers.
- New product development through design innovation and smart engineering is the need of the hour. R&D investments are vital.
- Adoption of efficient manufacturing like IoT, automation, lean processes can enhance productivity and competitiveness.
- Manufacturers need to have clear differentiation for their products and brands to thrive amid intense competition.
- Investing in after-sales service infrastructure is important to retain customers for the long run.
- Government incentives to exporters in terms of taxes, credit, subsidies can boost exports.
- Policies to support domestic manufacturing like “Make in India” should continue.
- Stringent quality regulation of the unorganized sector will encourage development of the organized bicycle industry.
- Urban infrastructure supporting cycling like dedicated lanes, parking etc needs to expand.
To conclude, the bicycle manufacturing industry in India stands at an interesting junction. With its strong manufacturing base, abundant skills and growing domestic market, India can emerge as a global hub for bicycles in the 21st century. The future belongs to brands that can ride the waves of change by innovating ahead of evolving consumer demand and market conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common queries about cycle manufacturers in India answered:
Who is the largest manufacturer of cycles in India?
Hero Cycles is the largest manufacturer of bicycles in India. The company, established in 1956, has grown to become a key player in the Indian bicycle market, known for its wide range of products catering to different age groups and customer needs.
Which cycle brand is best in India?
Determining the “best” cycle brand in India can vary based on personal preferences, needs, and budget. Popular brands include Hero Cycles, Atlas, and BSA, each known for their quality, durability, and range of options. For high-end bicycles, brands like Cannondale, Trek, and Scott are well-regarded.
How many cycle brands are there in India?
There are numerous cycle brands in India, with the number constantly changing as new companies emerge and others merge or cease operations. Major players include Hero Cycles, Atlas, BSA, Hercules, Avon, and Raleigh, among others. There are also several international brands available in the Indian market.
Which city is famous for the bicycle industry in India?
Ludhiana in Punjab is renowned for its bicycle industry. The city is home to a significant number of bicycle manufacturers, component suppliers, and related businesses, making it an important hub for the bicycle manufacturing industry in India.
Which is the No 1 bike company in India?
In the context of motorcycles, Hero MotoCorp is often considered the No. 1 bike company in India, leading in terms of sales volume and market share. They offer a wide range of motorcycles and scooters catering to various segments of the market.
Which is the no 2 cycle company in India?
The position of the second-largest cycle company in India can vary based on current market data and sales figures. Traditionally, companies like Atlas or Avon Cycles have been major players and contenders for this position, known for their extensive range and market presence across the country.
The cycle Industry is an important manufacturing sector providing affordable personal transport option to millions while creating lakhs of livelihoods. With strong production ecosystems and extensive reach, India is poised to further grow its dominance as a global bicycle manufacturing hub if challenges can be addressed through progressive policies, investments and innovation. The future is bright for companies ready to ride the winds of change.