Cleve­land Cy­cleWerks plans to make In­dia-spe­cific bikes

Auto components India - - COVER STORY - Story by: Sricha­ran R

Cleve­land Cy­cleWerks (CCW), the US-based two-wheeler com­pany, has ven­tured into the In­dian mar­ket with its retroin­spired mo­tor­cy­cles Ace Deluxe and Mis­fit. The com­pany has set up an assem­bly plant in Pune with an an­nual ca­pac­ity of 35,000 units. It has plans for lo­cal­i­sa­tion and to make In­dia-spe­cific mo­tor­cy­cles.

Started in 2009 in Cleve­land Ohio, the two-wheeler com­pany was founded by Scott Colosimo, Jar­rod Streng, and Cur­tis Ray with the vi­sion to cre­ate a mo­tor­cy­cle with the cus­tom feel and easy to cus­tomise. CCW has branches in 23 coun­tries.

“We look at lo­cal­i­sa­tion in ev­ery coun­try we sell our prod­ucts. One of the hard­est as­pects of sell­ing in the In­dian mar­ket is the tar­iff. This gives us a big strain and we have to push our mar­gin down. This also leads us to in­vest less in R&D and other ar­eas. There­fore, lo­cal­i­sa­tion will play a ma­jor role. It may not hap­pen im­me­di­ately, maybe af­ter 6 months. The ab­sence of mo­tor/en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers here is an­other big chal­lenge. We have to source them from the US, Thai­land or Italy. In In­dia, it is go­ing to be im­por­tant for us to look at what we can do within our space and not push out­side our com­fort zone,” Scott Colosimo, Founder and CEO of Cleve­land Cy­cleWerks, told Auto Com­po­nentsIn­dia.

He said the Pune fa­cil­ity might not make the en­gines. For man­u­fac­tur­ing a mo­tor there should be a clean en­vi­ron­ment and a com­pletely dif­fer­ent set-up. The cur­rent en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers of CCW have their own space and they do not mix it with chas­sis and other com­po­nents. Scott said his fo­cus was on In­dia, as “the mar­ket is ev­ery­thing that the com­pany is look­ing for.”

“At present, it is mostly Chi­nese com­po­nents and a few Ja­panese com­po­nents like bear­ings. This has been great for us as our man­u­fac­tur­ers are the great­est in the world and the qual­ity has been con­sis­tent for the last 10 years. If we can fig­ure out the right way to do, we may do it here too. There is no need for us to im­port if we can do it lo­cally, es­pe­cially in such a big mar­ket.

Here, all the man­u­fac­tur­ers make their own en­gines. When we need to come in, we need to bring in ex­pe­ri­enced part­ners. That is quite dif­fi­cult now,” he said.

CCW has plans to source com­po­nents out of the coun­try. Scott said the gov­ern­ment poli­cies help in mak­ing favourable trade deals. Man­u­fac­tur­ing in In­dia is very con­ve­nient and it is ideal for ex­ports also, he said. The pre­mium mo­tor­cy­cle maker plans to sell about 25,000 units a year in 2 or 3 years and open about 30 show­rooms in met­ro­pol­i­tan cities and other ma­jor towns.

The two-wheeler man­u­fac­turer has 2 di­vi­sions: Cleve­land Cy­cleWerks, the work­shop brand where it is highly cus­tomis­able and more clas­sic; and Cleve­land prod­ucts like FXx and Hooli­gan R. The com­pany fo­cuses on both the her­itage and the fu­ture prod­ucts. With the cus­tomer de­mand for clas­sic bikes the com­pany has in­vested in it and is de­vel­op­ing new prod­ucts.

About the lifes­pan of a ve­hi­cle, which has come down dras­ti­cally, Scott said, 10 years ago peo­ple used to keep a bike for a longer pe­riod. It has changed now. “As a de­signer, once a mo­tor­cy­cle is de­signed, it will be moved to the team and they will take care of it. I will move on to the next one. What is new and next keeps push­ing me. We are al­ways look­ing at trends that are hap­pen­ing in the mar­ket. There are prod­ucts in de­vel­op­ment be­cause we have seen the trend of flip­ping the bikes in a short­term. This is some­thing we are fo­cused on. In the same time, we also think there are prod­ucts that cus­tomers will keep for a bit longer, es­pe­cially the clas­sic bikes. But, the prob­lem in old bikes and cars is the tech­nol­ogy. We, there­fore, fo­cus on to keep the tech­nol­ogy stable with qual­ity prod­uct along with the vin­tage look.”

He said the In­dian cus­tomers are more ed­u­cated. With the cus­tomer’s feed­back, the com­pany has found that the peo­ple here are much less both­ered about fuel econ­omy but care for the fun of rid­ing. Based on this un­der­stand­ing, CCW will bring to In­dia its en­tire prod­uct range and also de­sign In­di­aspe­cific prod­ucts.

“We came to the In­dian mar­ket with the push rod mo­tor which is an older tech­nol­ogy. The rea­son we went with less pow­er­ful mo­tor is, these mo­tors de­liver ac­cel­er­a­tion; the other en­gines take time to wind up. In In­dia, where con­ges­tion is more, we have this. On papers it will be com­pletely dif­fer­ent but, if you look at the rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence this will be bet­ter,” Scott said.

“Light­weight is the fo­cus of Ace. A rider does not want heavy bikes to ride past the traf­fic in In­dia. We have fo­cused on fea­tures where the weight of the ve­hi­cle can be re­duced. For ex­am­ple, the wheel hubs are alu­minium with 17-inch front and rear. These are smaller be­cause they spin quicker. In the same way, the chain is also lighter and spins the wheels quicker. The bike uses tube­less tires with in­ner tubes. This is done to en­sure bet­ter rid­ing qual­ity with spoke wheels. Even an av­er­age me­chanic can tune the en­gine for bet­ter re­sults. We will bring over­head cam en­gines and bet­ter tech­nolo­gies to In­dia. But, to start with we want to keep it sim­ple and beau­ti­ful,” he added.

The com­pany has an R&D cen­tre in In­dia. Its de­sign cen­tre is in the US. Scott said, there is no plan to set up a de­sign cen­tre here, but would con­tinue to build the R&D. CCW also has plans to bring out an elec­tric ve­hi­cle. “In In­dia, in­fras­truc­ture will be a prob­lem. Now, it is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to have a plug and to charge your ve­hi­cle in the open space. I see there is a push from the gov­ern­ment and very less pull from the cus­tomers. When this push turns to pull there might be de­mand and we can en­ter that seg­ment. As we are a small com­pany, we can­not in­vest a lot in that now,” Scott said.

Scott Colosimo, Founder and CEO of Cleve­land Cy­cleWerks

ACE Deluxe has a en­gine ca­pac­ity of 229cc

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