Sri Lanka Motorcycle Usage.

5:46 AM 4/28/2021

Sri Lanka motorcycle usage is expanding rapidly as young people are looking for quick transport mode and for this they use latest bikes. British people had introduced the motorcycles in Sri Lanka when they were ruling this land. They introduced only British brand motorcycles and some of them had side-cars too fitted in them. Those motorcycles were with good quality, look but with great sound that can be heard from far away. British had introduced the Left hand drive system along with the road rules too here. Now most part of the streets is fitted with computerized street signal lamps to control the heavy traffic. The traffic rules too are very tough ones with heavy fines for the violators. Meanwhile nearly all the main junctions are fitted with CCTV cameras to catch the traffic violators. During the heavy traffic period motorcycle users used to ride in the pavements and time to time police stop and catch them and fine them.

Motorcycles and Scooters take a big role in the commuting sector through the narrow roads of Sri Lanka specially in the villages. Nearly all the houses have a motorcycle or scooter for easy transport. In Colombo tens of thousands of motorcycles and scooters used to take people to their work places in the morning. Also parents use these to transport their children to schools. Small vendors used to carry goods full of wooden boxes fitted in the back of Honda C90 motorcycles to market and for selling products house to house. It can be Broom Sticks, Fish, eggs, coconut, vegetables and other items. Lot of motorcycles and scooters are being operated by young men as courier service providers while "UBER" and "PickMe" motorbike riders used to deliver food to customers who had placed orders with nearby restaurant.

So you can find lot of motorcycle mechanic shops, petrol bunks and tyre patch makers at each corner of the towns. Motorbike spare parts shops too are available in large numbers in all the districts while the Motorcycle Dealers have their own Spare Parts departments in Colombo..

Sri Lanka's First Motorcycle.

"The first motorcycle arrived in the island on January 20, 1903. Mr. C. Hahn of Messrs Bohirnger & Co. was the first person to introduce the motor cycle to Ceylon. These early motorcycles were belt-driven from the engine to the rear wheel and had only one speed and pedals were used to start it. The first motorcycle ride to Kandy and back was undertaken by Mr. Fred Nell, the founder of Colonial Motors on a 'Noble' machine. His trip from Colombo to Kandy and back in one day was a great achievement". Source:

English manufactured motorcycles were very popular and were imported by Sri Lanka users in the 1960's too. English makes namely Norton, BSA, Royal Enfield and Triumph motorcycles were very popular here till the 1960's. These English motorcycles had gear shifting lever located in the right side of the engine. They had choke and half compression facility for easy kick start. Some models had gear levers that were operated by hand.

Later Japanese made Honda motorcycles were introduced in Sri Lanka by 1970's. At first the small Honda motorcycles with less sound and gear changing levers on the left side didn't attract much attention against the British models. Later when the Government allowed importing of used motorcycles from Japan, the Honda's 90cc motorcycles (Super Cub and Postman Bikes) became a hit in Sri Lanka. People were looking for less priced motorbikes from Japan with different engine capacities. After this, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki and other companies started to open their marketing expansion here in Sri Lanka.

Anyhow Honda took the lead in the Sri Lanka motorcycle market and all the other companies including the British Brands too lost their market share to Honda Motorcycles. In the recent years the India motorbikes with the Japanese names like Hero Honda, Kawasaki Bajaj, and TVS-Suzuki started to enter in to the Sri Lanka market. Also sudden changes in the used motorcycle import and the rising new Japanese motorcycle prices turned the Sri Lanka youngsters towards the less priced Indian manufactured motorcycles. The Indian motorcycles came as beautiful ones with attractive plastic covers and good sound. Later Sri Lanka's scooter market of Lambretta, Vespa and Piaggio too were lost to the Indian scooter models like Dio, Dash, Wego and to other ones. This is because of their low price, availability of cheap spare parts and the facility to repair them with the trained motorbike technicians.

Still in Sri Lanka, riders prefer to have older Honda Hornet 250, Road Master CD 200, CD 185 and CD 125 motorcycles. Even today you can see lot of them running here with little modification. Most of them are in immaculate condition and with their original exhaust sounds. There are some craftsmen in Jaffna who can make perfect body parts for these motorcycles. In 2019 there is a Honda CD 200 motorcycle with a price tag of Rs 2,800,000/-. You won't believe it is an old motorcycle as it looks perfectly as a brand new motorcycle. Currently Indian made motorcycles such as Bajaj Pulsar, Suzuki Gixxer, Yamaha FZ, Fazer, Honda CB Unicorn, TVS Apache and Royal Enfield are very popular here. It is a surprising thing to note that the world renowned Kawasaki motorcycles are not available in here officially.

In the year 2015 Sri Lanka was having nearly 2.9 million registered motorcycles in usage. Sri Lanka allows up to 250cc motorcycles for the general public to use on public roads. For the racing event purpose LK Government allowed the import of 650cc up to 1,500 cc engine powered motorcycles. They carry the condition as they will not be allowed to run on the public roads. But now KTM Duke 390and Bajaj Dominar 400 is sold in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka police have latest shaft driven 650 cc engine powered BMW motorbikes for traffic control and Highway Patrol. Also they have high powered Suzuki and Yamaha motorcycles in their fleet. These are mostly deployed maintain the law and order on the streets. And to catch the law violating drivers in the country's express ways. Each year you can witness Annual Motorcycle Shows, motor cross racing and hill climbing race events.

In 2014,
Local regulations allowed a motorcycle having an engine capacity of 450 cc or less, and not more than 1001cc, to be registered under the provisions of the Motor Traffic Act, having fulfilled the following requirements: Using new components whether assembled locally or imported to Sri Lanka, for use of only sports activities and training for sports events; Obtaining prior approval of the Secretary to the Ministry in charge of Defense.
Currently as per the Sri Lanka Government rules, more than 250cc motorcycles will not be allowed for Import. Meanwhile those bikes already here with 400cc up to 1000cc will be allowed to register with additional payment of Rs 800,000/-. In this year 2020 Sri Lanka Government had decided not to allow motorcycles with Engine size of 250cc on the roads.

Check popular motorcycles used in Sri Lanka here.
In Sri Lanka 1,000cc motorcycle Rider gets 1 year prisonr and Rs. 356,000 in fine. More.

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