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Riding is the latest corporate retreat

Indians on a corporate retreat

We’ve heard of corporate retreats at beachside golf resorts, but it seems going for a ride with fellow business people or attending motorcycle events is the latest business trend, at least in India.

The subcontinent is currently experiencing an explosion in middle-class wages and most motorcycle manufacturers are now either directly importing to India or opening up showrooms and even manufacturing or assembling plants.

Ducati has opened its largest store in India, hi-tech bikes such as the Suzuki Hayabusa are assembled in India and Harley even builds its Street models there.

Hayabusa assembled in India corporate
Hayabusa assembled in India

According to latest reports, about 40% of Harley-Davidson owners in India are from senior corporate positions such as chief marketing officers and chief financial officers, while more than 80% of Triumph owners are CEOs.

It is no wonder these big bikes – or superbikes as they are called in India – are being bought by corporate leaders as they can be quite expensive, thanks to exorbitantly high import duties.

However, manufacturers are getting around that by importing bikes as “complete knock-downs” which are assembled in India and attract a much lower duty.

That is putting more and more of these “superbikes” in the hands of middle-class middle-management people.

In the 12 months to the end of March, Triumph sold 1139 bikes and Harley sold 4700 bikes in India and analysts expect those numbers to double in four years.

There are now 22 HOG groups across the sub-continent.

Harley indian market
Indian-made Harley Street 750 and 500

We can’t blame the new middle class of India for getting into motorcycles as a de-stressing pastime.

Studies show that the mental and physical precision required to ride a motorcycle is a great way to de-stress. In fact, riding a motorcycle not only relieves stress and anxiety, but makes riders, smarter, happier and more attractive to the opposite sex.

So when your boss next suggests a corporate golf retreat, why not suggest a ride through the country instead!