UM Motorcycles created a splash with the launch of its cruiser family, Renegade, at the 2016 Auto Expo. The three strong lineup included the Commando, a Harley Fat Boy look alike, the sleek Sport S, and the more retro-styled Classic. Since the Expo, over 3,000 bookings have been made but eight months on, deliveries are yet to begin. While deliveries were supposed to commence in the first week of August, these have been delayed because of quality issues as evidenced on our first ride of the Sport S and Commando. Now, UM is working with suppliers and refining processes to ironing out build and quality issues. UM director and CEO at UM Lohia Two Wheelers, Rajeev Mishra has assured us that the bike deliveries will commence by October this year. These hiccups are not stopping the company from looking ahead. The bike maker has big plans for the Indian bike market and is already near ready for its next launch this year.
Classic – FI & ABS
The Classic which was also displayed at Auto Expo is based on the same Renegade series bikes but with a more traditional cruiser style with bits like a front windscreen, ornament topped front mud guard and chrome finishes. However with an eye on the upcoming emission and safety norms, the Classic will debut with a fuel injected version of the 280cc engine and will have ABS equipped brakes. Mishra told us that that these will also find their way onto the Sport and Commando later next year but with a price increase too. The variants of the Renegade bikes will ensure that UM can compete with Royal Enfield who also has similar variants on offer.
Next year will see the manufacturer broaden its offering, but in the cruiser segment only. In an obvious attempt to take on Bajaj’s popular Avenger, UM motorcycles will launch a 220cc single-cylinder cruiser and is aiming to price it below the Rs 1 lakh mark. Internationally, UM has a 223cc engine outputting 20hp that is used on the Sport S and Commando. This offering would have to go up against the Bajaj Avenger 220 which makes 18.7hp and is priced around Rs 83,000.
While the 220cc variant bike will form the bottom end for the company, another model due in 2017 will form the top end. This one will be a 400 plus cc twin-cylinder motorbike and Rajeev Mishra tells us that the bike will be aggressively priced and below Rs two lakh. This will put it in a unique spot as currently, the Hyosung Aquila GV250 is the most affordable multi-cylinder cruiser but is powered by a 250cc motor and priced at just under Rs three lakh.
The next two years will see UM concentrate on the cruiser segment and build its retail service network. By 2018, UM intends to diversify out of cruisers and plans to launch a dual-purpose motorcycle from its international portfolio. Its DSR range looks promising as it packs spoke wheels, upside-down forks and proper adventure read variants with 21” front wheels too. This will ensure that it widens its offerings but is still competing in spaces under serviced by the current bike players.
Speaking to our sister publication Autocar Professional, UM stated that the company will look at the possibility of entering the scooter segment only in 2019. Its international range includes 125 and 150cc offerings for the scooter market.
UM motorcycles is present in India via a JV with Lohia Auto and has a production plant in Uttarakhand with a capacity to build 50,000 units per year. It estimates that in about five years, the Indian market could be their single largest market worldwide. And if the company is able to get the quality right and build a well-functioning retail network, this could well happen and make UM an important player in the Indian bike market.