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 introduced the Left hand drive system and the road rules too in Sri Lanka.
"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: sundaytimes.lk
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 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 CB250, 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 thes 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 Fazer, Honda CB Unicorn 160R, TVS Appache and Royal Enfield are very popular here in Sri Lanka.
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. For the racing event purpose LK Government allowed the import of 650 CC up to 1,500 cc engines. They carry the condition as they will not be allowed to run on the public roads.
Sri Lanka police have latest shaft driven 650 CC engine powered BMW motorbikes. 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. In Sri Lanka you can witness Annual Motorcycle Shows, motor cross racing and hill climbing races.
You can read about the motorcycles that are called as popular, super, top 10 and dream motorcycles in the riders' world. It can be a cross country machine, cruise, speed star, highway rider or GP model. Read More
Here you can find the local and International motorcycle show and motorcycle related events information. These shows make links between Motorcycle enthusiasts, manufactures, dealers and media people. Read More
Top Selling Motorcycles in Asia region are here. This list didn't count on the Indian made machines although India got many special bikes. We will look at them in another sector.