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Bearing the rural burden

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READY FOR ROAD.

Easy load: Mahendra Patel with his farm's heavy load on the TVS Max 4R.
Easy load: Mahendra Patel with his farm's heavy load on the TVS Max 4R.

Murali Gopalan

Recently in Indore

For 30-year-old Mahendra Patel, the TVS Max 4R is the best thing to have happened in his life.

For over a month now, he has been using the bike to cart nearly 150 kg of vegetables from his farm to the Indore city market, some 40 km away. The huge load sits comfortably on the Max, and Mahendra is delighted that there are no issues on the speed and pick-up as a result. “The best part is that it is so easy to use the stand with such a heavy load,” he says.

Mahendra's neighbour in the village, Govind Patel, is equally euphoric. He proudly says that he has had the older Max for years and that it is still in good shape. However, the 4R is special because it helps him carry heavy loads from his farm to the Indore market with the least amount of fuss. “All my friends are keen to own one too and are just waiting for deliveries to happen,” he says.

Mahendra and Govind, along with Subhash Patidar and Bahadur Singh (who deliver milk in Indore) and Kailash (a flower trader) are among a select group of users who have been asked to use the Max 4R for over a month now. The idea was to check if it made a difference to their lives, especially in the context of the bikes they have used so far.

The response has been music to TVS Motor's ears because when it started on the Max 4R project 18 months ago, the objective was not to make just another bike. The company realised that farmers, traders, milkmen and other similar user categories in States such as Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan were in need of a specific, durable motorcycle.

These people carry heavy loads across long distances everyday on rough roads. The bikes they currently use are not customised and the likes of Mahendra and Govind would have had to add a support in the form of a stick placed at the rear or side to balance the load.

TVS Motor's objective with the Max 4R was to fill this void and offer a bike that met their no-nonsense requirements. In came four shock absorbers to take heavy loads, a detachable rear seat to accommodate goods, big brakes, wheel and indicator guards to protect the bike and goods, an easy centre stand, long wheelbase and wider tyres.

Mr B.V. Sreedhar, Vice-President (Business on Wheels), says one of the key objectives of the exercise was social responsibility and a safer mode of travel for this category of riders who are India's lifeline.

The Max 4R was tested and certified for 200 kg of payload capacity. Scheduled to be launched in the coming days, it has been targeted at markets in North and Central India.

Related Stories:
TVS hopes 2-wheeler sales to touch 14.5 lakh
TVS to ride on new bikes towards double-digit growth

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 9, 2010)
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