In 1992, motorcycle and adventure-travel enthusiasts, Chris McIntyre and Jeff Brown quit their corporate jobs to start a business that gave people across the world the opportunity to travel in their respective countries via motorcycle rentals – in the company of guided tours. Decades later, the India chapter began when EagleRider India launched in Gurgaon.
EagleRider has a vast network of locations, offering a wide variety of motorcycle travel options and membership programme. They offer tours wherein traveling is done on luxury motorcycles, “You can be a group of four or five friends that can send us a request and say ‘we want to do a 5-day or a 6-day tour of Rajasthan – and customise it for us’”, says Arvind Marwah, COO, EagleRider India, adding, “it’s the elevated experience that EagleRider is all about.”
The travel experience EagleRider offers goes beyond just motorcycling from one place to another, the brand tries to create memorable experiences for the riders. Arvind, fondly called Bob, says, “We sell dreams, it’s the memories that you make on these tours, it’s the bonhomie is created between riders.”
The Delhi-NCR chapter of the motorcycle adventure-travel brand has several two-wheeler options on offer including the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob and Sportster 883; the Triumph Bonneville T100, the Royal Enfield Classic 500 and Himalayan for rent. Along with rental bikes, riders get a free open face helmet to use through the journey. Customers could also opt for a chase van and a spare bike for a more convenient, hassle-free ride. EagleRider also provides the option of arranging for saddle bags, camping gear, tech support, medical and first aid along with other riding gear, cameras and GPS.
Till a few years ago, India may not have registered as a potential market for motorcycle tours. However, the arrival of world-class motorcycle rental companies like EagleRider is an indication of the steady growth of the luxury two-wheeler segment and more specifically the organised motorcycle tours sector in India.
According to the Global Motorcycle Rental Market 2017-2021 report, in 2015, adventure tourism in India comprised about 35% of the domestic tourism industry and wildlife comprised about 40% of the same. Motorcycle rentals are expected to gain even more due to these locations being in places with limited transportation facilities. According to Arvind, the year-on-year sales of luxury motorcycles in India have been on a rise, partly because of the dealerships opening across all parts of the country. This only translates to more opportunities for the brand.
EagleRider India also runs an academy that teaches enthusiasts how to ride including women – which happens to be the only one of its kind for the brand. “We have women who would probably ride in their school or college days and haven’t been on a bike since,” says Trigun Singh Pathania, Chief Instructor for the EagleRider Academy.
Mandeep Kohli Merwah, Training Leader for the Academy, started riding only at the age of forty-five, she says, “There’s no man that wants to give you a motorcycle, especially if you’re a woman – and also to train you. Because of these challenges, when EagleRider came along I decided that this was the perfect opportunity – which is why the training academy was born.”
The Academy provides motorcycles and riding gear to women riders and an opportunity to train in controlled environments to test their potential. It includes outdoor training and classroom knowledge which is followed by a ride on the highway.
Sharing essential tips of riding in a convoy, Arvind says, “As soon as you stop seeing the rider behind you in your rear-view, you slow down.” He believes that the thrill of riding a motorcycle is unmatched. Talking about the plunge he took in letting go of his cushy corporate job to follow his passion and launch the first edition of EagleRider in India and the mantra he follows, Arvind, a.k.a Bob says, “If your service is par excellence, the money always follows.”