Everytime I hear someone wants to buy a motorcycle (or anything for that matter), I recall a conversation that happened several years ago while I was at shopping. The crux of the conversation was held on Thamizh & goes like this.
Person 1 : I've an idea to buy a two-wheeler
Person 2 : Buy Splendor
Person 1 : What is the mileage?
Person 2 : Gives 60-65
Person 1 : What price?
I supposed the person 2 is someone regarded to be some sort of expert in motorcycles. While we all agree that most Indian's are concious about FE & the price of a vehicle, most enthusiasts might go one step beyond & talk about maintenance cost & ASC; a few might have a fair understanding on what leads the market. Be it a fully restored 20 years old motorcycle or a latest product launched, all people want to know is - WHAT'S THE PRICE, followed by MILEAGE. They're average commuters & with their hard earned money, they only want to get from point A to B without much fuss & the ride shouldn't burn hole in the pocket. Quite normal.
But what most of us fail to understand is the choices we have today compared to 15-20 years ago where there were only limited choices with respect to FE, power & a balance on both.
So how does one make a choice? Choices are the same when you go to hotel & order for a la carte. Everytime some one asks, what's the bike I should buy, I've 75K in hand I'd always be tempted to say, try going to a hotel & ask, what's the dish I should eat, I've Rs 100 in hand!!! Does that mean one should buy a ride without bringing in the price or stating their budget? Well, no, that's not the point, the point is, bring the price at appopriate step. So how to go about making the choices?
First step on buying any vehicle (be it two, four or multi wheeler) is about stating the requirement; this is the one that draws the boundaries clearly as what to expect & what not to expect. This avoids the disappointment of expecting curd vadai in Velu Military hotel!!!
There's a thin line of difference between requirements, expectation & needs.
Needs is something that cannot be lived without. For some, it could be a great FE as they don't want wallet burns; for some it could be low on maintenance. Now, when talking about low, medium high (like fan buttons!!!), they're ambiguous terms. Many say, low on maintenance, so what's the low? Rs 1? Rs 100? While defining the requirements, it is also equally important to define it quantitatively. Never say good mileage, attach a unit saying 65 Kmpl or 40 Kmpl. Remember that, such ambiguous requirements also leads to disappointment.
Requirements are a little less to needs; they need to be formed more than needs when buying a vehicle. One example of requirement is FI, alloy wheels, comfortable seats. Like I said before, needs & requirements share a thin border line. Even FI & alloy wheels can get into needs or a FE of 65 Kmpl can get into requirements, nothing wrong; but, remember, more the needs, less the choice. So its important to classify few things that cannot be lived without under needs.
Expectation are more of feel good factors & less to requirements; stating that easy availability of spares (not consumables) falls under expectation. Reason being that these are the factors that can be lived upon & play a major role only during long run.
Once the requirements are defined right, then, list out all the vehicles matching that requirements, irrespective of the price (we'll be there, wait for now). List down each & every vehicle matching that requirement from every manufacturer. Some might ask, what if there's no vehicle matching my requirement? Then there's only one reason - the requirement is over ambitious or impractical for the moment. Try changing the requirement.
Once the above two steps are done, then, the choices are narrowed down to a great extent. It is at this stage, where one can choose the vehicle based on price or apply more filters in form of requirements. This will help to fine tune & narrow down the choices available.
Next time someone asks what bike, ask them back, what's the requirement? Unless requirements are defined, choices are made, disappointment is the only factor to expect!!!