India is a very difficult country for automobile enthusiasts. There are very high taxes on the imported vehicles that make them out of the reach of most of the people. To overcome the hefty taxes, many people illegally import the products, which later get seized and rot in the police stations. Here are a few superbikes that have faced the same fate and have been left to die by the owners.
Sidhartha M has put up a few pictures from Andheri Police Station, Mumbai showing various superbikes with several layers of dust rotting in the station. The bikes include the Honda CBR 1000RR Fireblade, Honda CBR 600RR and a Yamaha FZ-1. There are as many as four Honda CBR 600RR bikes parked at the station and one of them is the rare Repsol replica bike.
The Repsol replica is inspired by the MotoGP livery and is extremely popular among the enthusiasts. There is another Konica Minolta edition Honda CBR 600RR, which again is a rare product. There is also a Yamaha FZ-1, which looks like an accidental case and the headlamp set-up has melted away in a possible fire.
Most of the bikes seen abandoned here belong to the mid-capacity 600cc class. While most of the international manufacturers sell their litre-class products legally in India, government rules earlier banned the import and sale of 600cc segment motorcycles in India. The law was made to provide enough room for Indian manufacturers to grow in the market. However, with time, the law has been amended to allow 800cc and above bikes. Since then, a lot of manufacturers have set-up assembly plants in the Indian market to assemble the CKD bikes from the 600cc segment and sell them legally in the market. However, no racing-class 600cc, in-line, four-cylinder bikes like the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R or the Honda CBR 600RR are still available in the market.
The law, however, allowed any NRI returning to India to bring in their vehicles to the country. This backdoor entry provided a channel for the enthusiasts who really wanted to buy such bikes. Many 600cc in-line four-cylinder engine powered bikes were imported to the Indian market through the same channel and were sold without proper documentation. Over the years, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) gathered information of such bikes and raided the garages or caught them on the roads. The illegally imported bikes are often seized and the owners are asked to pay hefty fines and pay taxes, which can run into lakhs of rupees. With such a high amount of money involved, owners often prefer to disown the bikes and leave them to die.
To import a CBU 600cc bike in India is still a big challenge and one has to go through various government departments to get permissions and other clearances. Most of the enthusiasts go for the litre-class bikes even though they cannot be utilised fully on the crowded roads. We do hope that rules change in the future and we do get to see some great iconic models in the Indian market.