In my previous post I talked about the riding conditions in India. These conditions among other factors seem to have had a role in how roadsters have evolved in India vs. China. Let's take a look.
1. One of the first things I noticed was that none of the bikes I saw had a chain case. Although some of the manufacturers websites show a chain case, I did not see one on the road, all the bikes either have a hockey stick chain guard or an extended "super chain guard", but this does not encompass the chain, it is only one sided. I suspect that in the monsoon rains a chain case would probably make a significant water-catch and soon rot away. Almost all Chinese roadsters, by comparison, have a chain case.
2. Of course the normal hockey stick chain guard creates a great opportunity to advertise the name of the brand. All the bikes I saw had some type of elaborate chainring displaying the name of the make.
3. No step-through frames. 99.9% of the bikes I saw were diamond frame. I saw only a handful of step-throughs. There maybe a number of reasons for this. A step-through frame is somewhat less durable than a diamond frame. I am sure that is part of it, however I think the main reason is that women don't ride. During my two weeks there I saw two ...only two... ladies pedaling a bike. Perhaps fashion plays a part. After-all, who wants to get their elegant and expensive saree all into a sweaty tangle? I speculate of course, maybe a reader knows better? The one below is certainly a rarity.
4. No baskets. Almost every bike in China has a powder-coated wire basket in front of the handlebars to carry groceries, etc. Not so in India. Instead riders seem to prefer using the "rat trap" package rack, or just hanging a bag over the handlebars.
5. No small frames. Almost all bikes had 28" wheels to boot. Perhaps, Indians tend are a bit taller than Chinese, so this may have something to do with it, but even children were riding bikes with 28" wheels. So again, I think durability may be the key.
6. Durability is number one. With names like "Atlas" and "Hercules" you get the impression that strength and durability are paramount to Indian buyers. As a result many of the bikes we saw were double-bars, like this delivery bike. And check out the number of spokes: By my count it is a 64 spoke wheel! Talk about strength!
But the Indian manufacturers have taken the double top bar concept even further. How about a Four-bar?
Of course these bikes must far outweigh my Flying Pigeon's puny 40lb frame. At some point something is going to give and apparently some manufacturers have realized that there is more than one way to add strength. For example, take a look at the large diameter tube roadster. I saw these with both lugged and welded frames.
Or maybe something even more advanced like this welded frame, oval tube roadster.
More about Indian Roadsters, next time!