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    Importing a Harley Davidson isn't the only route to motorcycle mecca for Indians anymore.
    Just stroll into the Mumbai showroom and you could cruise out on your own Night Rod in minutes. Or one of the other hogs on display.

    Over 100 years after this Milwaukee-based firm was founded, Mumbai gets its own Harley Davidson dealership. Pesky potholes and tumultuous traffic be damned.

    Christened 'Seven Islands Harley Davidson,' the showroom off Linking Road is one of the five dealerships that have sprung up across the country.

    "Because the city is a cluster of seven islands," explains Arjun Bafna, the dealership head and self-confessed auto junkie.

    Seven Islands is selling 12 models full-throttle, including the Sportster, Street Bob and Fat Boy.

    The price range starts from Rs 683,000 (approx. ex-showroom) and goes up to Rs 3,400,000 for the limited edition 2010 CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide, which was sold within the first week of the launch to a city-based advertising honcho.

    Mumbaiker bikers Riyaaz Amlani and Freddy Pithavala weigh in

    Mocha's Riyaaz Amlani, famous Mumbai bike-head and co-founder of the Mocha Bikers Association, says he looks forward to "welcoming the Harley brothers into our fold." 
    Amlani owns a BMW motorcycle and three Japanese Monsters but not a Harley. He feels the heavyweight may not be an ideal choice for his hometown. "The engine could overheat given our traffic conditions," but adds, "Harley is an aspiration for any biker."

    Freddy Pithavala, one of the earliest customers at the Seven Islands dealership and a beaming owner of the first Night Rod Special in Mumbai says, "Harley Davidson is an icon and inspires a way of living. I had been waiting for this moment for years and it has finally arrived."

    The dealership also sells H-D merchandise, managed by an ex-Gucci merchandiser who happens to also know her Harley from her handbag. Resting above the bike display, on the first floor, are biker jackets, boots, shades and casual wear for both sexes screaming the iconic brand name. A cap costs Rs 831 and a biker's jacket up to Rs 26,000.

    Harley is made affordable, but would you leave your Enfield?

    Most of the Indian biking community (read: indiethumpers) consider the Royal Enfield Thumper to be the nation's true biking icon.

    Animal activist and biking enthusiast NG Jayasimha says, "Growing up, I saw most of my male relatives ride an Enfield. Turns out, my father-in-law rode one too. You can only imagine the topic of discussion at most family get-togethers. It'll be hard for Harley to beat the Thumper's legacy."

    Given its price range, the Harley will be out of reach for many, but it may not be entirely unaffordable. The store, along with ICICI Bank, offers installment loan schemes, including one that comes to Rs 450 a day.

    On the open road, two Harleys of the same model rarely ever look the same. For crazy cruisers, the bike must reflect their individuality.

    Kyron Gomes, sales consultant at Seven Islands says, "According to Indian government rules, we can't change the frame of the body or the engine, like they often do in other countries, but most other customization needs can be met."

    For intricate customization, the bike will have to be sent to the dealer's center at Andheri and the cost varies on the demands of the customer. But smaller modifications, like changing handles and footboards, can be done in store.

    Will there be Harley Days in Mumbai like in Europe?

    Harley Days see riders cruising around the cities like Hamburg and Barcelona, with dragster shows, music acts and biker bars in allegiance.

    Smaller scale promotional events are already coming up, like the Harley Rock Riders Tour with performances by Mumbai indie group Split touring the cities with dealerships, collaborating with other underground rockers like Indus Creed and Thermal and a Quarter.

    The Harley Owners Group (H.O.G), which has over one million members worldwide, will get its own Mumbai Chapter led by the dealership.

    Bafna says, "H.O.G members will meet every month, enjoy rides together and interact with each other." This probably means that most of the H.O.G events will be limited to owners.

    For the rest of u, meanwhile, there's the new showroom to gawk at.

    Seven Islands Harley Davidson, lane opposite Amarsons, 30th Road, off Linking Road, Bandra (W); tel. +91 (0) 22 6155 7777

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