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Omo Bikes: Interview with Founder Bhishma Choudhary

It wasn’t long ago, we got an email from the founder of Omo Bikes. A warm and friendly email from the founder Bhishma, assured us that the bikes are here to stay and people are already loving them. Besides, the Omo bikes are also launching a completely customisable bike platform on their website soon.

This will allow customers to customise the bicycle as per their requirements. Read our interview with him to know more about the founder, the inception of Omo bikes and what the brand has in store for cyclist.

1. What’s the story behind the name Omo?

While registering the firm name, I had no name in mind but had to write in something. Some elderly family member suggested to start things with OM, so I put there just for the heck of it, and thought I will rebrand it later. But all I could do later was to put another ‘O’ to it. I liked the sound of it.

People around me also seemed to appreciate the ring it had. And that they were able to remember it. Also, letter looks like 2 wheels and a diamond frame. So I went ahead with it.

2. Tell us something more about the brand. How it all started and what led to manufacturing these lovely bikes?

I have been passionate about the bike since always. I cycled to school from 5th to 12th. After college, when everyone got busy with their jobs, I used to dream of making my own bicycles. But it seemed such an impossible task & dreams remained dreams.

Then during my first job in Mumbai, I bought a Bianchi. I used to ride 200km on a weekly basis. I just loved it. I also made my friends buy bikes. It was there when I felt that for a regular person, who wishes to commute to office in cities, there was a need of good bicycles between the Heros, BSAs on one side, and the Bianchis, Meridas, Scotts on other bikes.

Fast forward 2-3 years – I left my job and went for touring India with my close friend & now my partner, Deepak on a Royal Enfield. We did that for almost 2 years. We saw a lot of part of our country & I decided to start working on a solar bike project, while Deepak pursued his passion for travel. It was while working on that solar bike project, I realised that it was possible for me to make my own bikes. They could be just 10 in numbers. But they would be the bikes that I would want to ride to the office. And that’s how it all began.

Gradually we kept on refining our product and started posting their details & pictures online. We were surprised by the kind of interest people showed in them. And since then it has been a great ride.

3. How do you think Omo bikes are changing today’s problems?

Our mission is to make more people fall in love with bicycling again. We are not about pushing the performance barrier in terms of seconds & grams but in terms of comfort & ease. We are not focussed on reducing the time taken by riders from A to B by microseconds, but to ensure they ride or commute on bikes daily instead of just weekends.

Keeping this in mind, we took a lot of feedback from people who started bicycling in their early professional years but gave up within a couple of months, because of no particular reason. We tried to understand that their problem is not upgrading their gear sets, but to have a bike that is low maintenance in the long run.

To have all the basic accessories from the manufacturer itself, instead of searching them online & offline separately. We simple make bicycles that we love to ride to our factory every day. Our objective is to provide value worth 15k in under 10k by identifying problems that really matter to a regular commuter & erasing them with efficient solutions.

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4. How are Omo bikes different from any other bicycle in the market?

We try to pack in the best overall value for a commuter in an economical budget. That is, in terms of build & components quality, all basic accessories included, a 24×7 customer support, a lifetime warranty on frame fork & a pan India delivery, we keep on pushing what is possible for a customer to have in a limited budget to start cycling again and enjoy this beautiful sport.

5. Any more products in the pipeline?

We will soon be launching a smooth website interface wherein customers could customize their bikes as per their requirement and style. We take customer feedback very seriously & the most pronounced feedback that we have received is that every customer has a different need.

6.  According to you, what is the market outlook when it comes to bicycles in India?

The market is changing quickly in favour of bicycling. There was a time when everybody wanted a car. Now, that most of the middle class has a car, they have realised its not that great to have a car for every transport related issue. So now, more & more adults are getting back to cycling as a great health & commute option.

07. Omo bikes in the next 10 years? Where do you see yourself?

As I said earlier, we make bicycles that we love to ride. We want to bring this joy of riding good bicycles to more people & make them fall in love with them. In the next 10 years, our biggest success would be that all our customers are still riding bikes. If its an OMO Bike, great, if its some other one, still great. We just want them to be riding.

08. Will your bikes be having a specific colour scheme?  If so, what’s the reason behind the colour?

We have minimalist styling in our bikes. The reason is we just love minimalist design and are not a great fan of heavy graphics. Also, this ensures higher efficiency in our production & hence giving better value products to our customers. However, we don’t look to limit our bikes to black colour only, and we would, in fact, soon be launching new colour schemes on the same minimalistic design themes soon.

13. How many cities are you looking to enter? How can people buy it?

As of now, we deliver to more than 25,000 pin codes in India. Although we have no plans of entering the offline market as of now, we are working on an experience centre model where in customers can test ride & try our bicycles.

14. What excites you most about your industry?

The amount of work that can be done to give a better experience to customers. Big brands have seen the market as a product focussed market. However, we want to make it product + service focussed to ensure our customers have a great time riding these bicycles.

15. As of now, how many bikes have you sold and what is the response?

We started listing our bicycles in September 2018 and soon were overwhelmed by the response. Later by Oct end 2019 we quickly stocked up. We took this opportunity to take feedback from our early customer & with improvements in product & production planning, we started again in March 2019. Since then we have sold around 5000 bikes till now.

Written By

Abhishek Tarfe is a Certified Bike Mechanic from Park Tool School. He enjoys teaching people how to cycle and loves going on multi-day tours. Besides, he loves dogs and coffee. Follow his madness on Instagram

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