Bikes are a primary mode of transport for millions of Indian. Most two-wheelers sold here are small capacity commuters that cost less than Rs 75,000. These bikes offer more than sufficient poke to pootle around city streets, are easy to maintain, and most importantly, deliver a million kilometres for every litre of precious fuel.
While commuters make up the start of the two-wheeler spectrum, on the far-end lie the ultra-focussed superbikes. These bikes offer the ultimate performance that one can experience on two-wheels, be it in terms of acceleration or dynamic ability. These bikes use massive multi-cylinder engines nestled within a lightweight chassis, which helps them hurtle to illegal speeds in a fleeting few seconds, and allows them to be as agile as a gazelle. The only downside to superbikes is that, more often than not, they don’t come cheap. This makes them quite an uncommon sight on Indian roads.
Even in the rarefied world of superbikes, there are an elite set of manufacturers who make bikes that are a cut above the rest in terms of design, performance and desirability. Aprilia and Moto Guzzi are two of those brands that classify into the aforementioned set. These Italian manufacturers are well-known for creating art on two-wheels, rolling masterpieces that are built using the most exotic materials crafted to perfection. While Aprilia builds two-wheelers that are performance-oriented, Moto Guzzi produces road bikes that incorporate retro design with modern technology.
Thanks to Piaggio, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi bikes are now available for sale in India. We visited Tuono Motors, their dealers in Bangalore, to sample their showroom experience, and to learn more about their strategy for Indian consumers.
Exotic superbikes like the Aprilia RSV4R (left), and the Moto Guzzi Griso 1200, are now available off the shelf in India.
Tuono Motors is located in Residency Road, a bustling arterial road that lies in the middle of the Bangalore. The showroom is quite visible from the main road, grabbing eyes and turning heads of the people passing by, thanks to the striking yellow Tuono V4R, the white Caponord, and the Moto Guzzi Sport 1200 placed behind the glass façade.
Enter the showroom, and the first thing that’ll strike you is its simplicity. It looks quite spartan, with only a few red accents and wall posters breaking the monotony of the black flooring. The lack of any visual distraction makes the exotic bikes on display stand out more against the simple layout. A total of seven vehicles were on display, four Aprilia – the naked Tuono V4R, the Caponord tourer, the SRV 850 scooter, and the Dorsoduro 1200 supermoto- and three Moto Guzzi – the Griso 1200 street bike, Sport 1200 sport tourer, and the mammoth California 1400 cruiser. On the right lay the Aprilias, all haphazardly parked, and on the left were the Moto Guzzis, arranged neatly in a row. Apart from the bikes on display, Aprilia has two more on offer. the RSV4R superbike, and the auto-transmission Mana 850 GT. Also on display were a host of rider accessories, like the Scala Rider Bluetooth headsets, and general motorcycle maintenance kits from Muc-Off.
Aprilia bikes on the right..
... Moto Guzzi bikes on the left
More Aprilia bikes!
Aprilia and Moto Guzzi may not be as popular as Yamaha or Suzuki amongst the general population, but they are very well-known to bike enthusiasts. The showroom sees quite a few walk-ins, most of whom are enthusiast who happen to pass by. “Walks-ins are a kind of advertisement for us’ says Mr.Amit Rajendra, the General Manager - Sales at Tuono Motors, “We don’t restrict entrance into the showroom. This is important, as it improves brand awareness, and also increases the chances of people recommending them to their friends.” The showroom participates in weekend rides, in association with the numerous superbike owner clubs in the city, as this elicits quite a bit of response from the target audience.
Enthusiasts checking out the Moto Guzzi California 1400 (left) and the Aprilia Caponord.
When asked about the average profile of his consumers, Mr.Rajendra commented, “All our customers are proper bike enthusiasts, who are not first-time superbike owners. Most of them would have had a Suzuki Hayabusa, or a Yamaha R1 as their first superbike, before they upgraded to an Aprilia.” If you are interested in an Aprilia or Moto Guzzi, the showroom also provides bikes for test rides, but only to serious customers. Fair enough, considering not everyone can handle these high-performance machines, each of which cost as much as a sub-urban house in India
Until recently, if you owned an exotic like an Aprilia or a Moto Guzzi, servicing would have been a nightmare. It was not uncommon for the influential owners to fly in experienced mechanics and import spare parts from abroad, but it all came at a hefty cost. Thankfully, Tuono Motors has a service centre that is attached to the showroom, where all types of maintenance work are done by qualified service personnel. While they do have a stock of all the regular consumable parts, major components still need to be imported, but the showroom will take care of that for you. After all, it is the quality of service that makes good or ruins an ownership experience. If you reside anywhere other than Bangalore, fret not, for the showroom will send a technician over along with the required parts to carry the service at your place.
Service area inside the showroom
In India, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi are in a league of their own. They don’t need to compete with any other brand, as their bikes are as unique as they get. With prices starting from Rs 15 lakhs, extending all the way to over Rs 25 lakhs, they are indeed pricey, but you get what you pay for - high-quality materials, top-notch workmanship, and of course, race-bred performance and handling. They aren’t just mere bikes; they are the stuff of dreams.
Check out more images from the showroom below:
The Tuono V4R is more a stripped down World Superbike Championship winning machine than an innocuous street bike.
The Moto Guzzi Sport 1200, a sport-touring bike with beauty and class.
The mean Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 supermoto
The showroom also had quite a few accessories on display. Standing to the right is the Moto Guzzi Griso 1200.
The Aprilia SRV 850 is an automatic two-wheeled rocketship. Holds the record for being the fastest production scooter in the world.
The Moto Guzzi California 1400 looks stunning to say the least, designed and built with a lot of attention to detail