For the bikers, by the bikers

Ahmed Shatil Alam speaks to the founder of bikebd.com, the country’s first motorcycle blog that tries to answer all questions on motorcycles available in the local market

Team BikeBD At SIAM Indo Bangla Automotive Show 2017

Being an avid fan of Valentino Rossi,considered to be the greatest and one of the most successful motorcycle racers of all time with nine Grand Prix World Championships to his name, this New Age Xtra correspondent always dreamt of owning a motorcycle and ride it through the streets of Dhaka city uninterruptedly by beating its traffic.

Afterbuying one two years back, I was forced to sell the bike this February as its performance had waned. I often ask myself why I bought my first motorcycle without consulting any of my biker friends.

To alleviate such dilemmas of new and amateur bikers, a website is currently being deemed as the ‘Motorcycle-pedia of Bangladesh’ by thousands of Bangladeshi bikers. The bilingual website is known as bikebd.com and was launched in 2012 by Suvro Sen, a businessman by profession and a biker by passion.

The idea of making bikebd.com, claimed to be the largest and first motorcycle blog in the country, had come to him when he faced difficulties while buying his first bike. ‘I was a bike lover since childhood.But my parents did not want me to ride one.But after my HSC, I managed to convince them,’ he recalls.

But he did not know which bike would be right for him. ‘I had a choice, but I wanted to have a proper review of the brand…as I did not have anyone closest who rode the bike, I had to rely on online sites,’ shares Sen. Unfortunately, he could not find any single platform from Bangladesh, where he would get review and answers of other queries from his country’s fellow bikers. Finally, he bought his desired bike after relying on an Indian motorcycle blogging platform.

This incident drove him to establish the first-ever Bangladeshi website that would serve the bikers and bike enthusiasts by giving proper information on bikes. Till date, the website has been providing information on new bikes, arranged discussion on road safety issues and technical factors of motorcycle starting from tiny to major engine problems.

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One of the major features of the website is that it has reviewed almost all bikes available in local market. ‘We review in two ways.One comes from the users and another from the bikebd team- consisting of three other members besides me,’ says Sen.

He also shared that after the launch, Wasif Anowar, Asad Iqbal and Saleh Md Hasan joined his team. Together these four bike enthusiasts ride bikes on highway and city roads for 2,500 km to test the bike’s performance in all categories from oil consumption to suspension, brake control to speed etc. They also post video of the reviews on YouTube. ‘Often we ride the bikes on hilly roads to test their conditions,’ says Sen.

Apart from posting reviews,bikebd also helps new bikers at finding the motorcycle shops that sell bikes, along with information about the model and specifications of bikes being sold at these stores and their prices. The website also provides information on accessories and necessary equipment, how to apply for driving licenses and registration of motorcycles and post opinions from the experience riders. ‘Actually, bikebd.com is a reliable option for any biker in Bangladesh as the website tries to answer all questions related to motorcycles,’ says Sen.

Bikebd also has a facebook community under its own name. The community has connected more than 3.5 lakh bikers from all districts of the country, where bikers discuss their issues and help each other. Their YouTube channel, launched under the same name, features video reviews and other videos on bikes.

When asked whether, bikebd is a voluntary organisation or a digital marketing company, Sen says that the organisation is a voluntary initiative. ‘Whenever a bike company asks us to do a review, we ask them for necessary expenses require for the ride test review …we post only what we found, we do not post in favour of any company so as to market their products,’ says Sen.

In the near future, they hope to launch an app that will be usable on and offline. ‘We also hope to work on ways through which anyone can receive real time information from bikebd,’ says Sen.