Motorcycling is catching on in India and slowly, very slowly but surely, we’re seeing changes that will surely make their mark in Indian motorcycle history. One such change was the Kawasaki Ninja 250R, which after the Hero-BMW F650 Funduro, was the first affordable sportsbike that a middle class Indian motorcycle enthusiast could afford, albeit with some struggle and sweat. More than affordability, the everyday usability of the Kawasaki Ninja 250R was the clincher which saw the motorcycle fly out of showrooms prompting Bajaj and Kawasaki to consider bringing in some more motorcycles that could change the Indian motorcycle scene radically in the coming times.
The Ninja 250R’s success spurred Kawasaki to re-enter India and set shop inside Bajaj Auto’s motorcycle manufacturing unit at Chakan, off Pune. The first product that India Kawasaki Motor could launch, as early as the coming Diwali, could be the Kawasaki Ninja 650R, as per the usually credible reports on the May 2010 issue of the BikeIndia magazine. The first 600cc plus motorcycle, the single pot BMW 650F Funduro sold for about INR 4-5 Lakhs in the noughties and bombed. This time around too, the Kawasaki Ninja 650R will sell at a price close to INR 5 Lakhs, but this time, the great Indian buying power is set to come to the fore and lap up the 650cc parallel twin which will deliver about 70 thoroughbred Japanese horses and a top speed in excess of 200 Kph.
While these figures won’t thrill people who have grown up on the Busas and R1s of the world, ask the average Indian motorcyclist whose options of F-A-S-T begin and end with the Ninja 250R, the Ninja 650R appears like a godsend, especially considering the affordable price that is just about how much a B segment hatchback would cost in India. With the Kawasaki Ninja 650R, touring on the vast open highways without the big SUVs pushing you off the road is possible; riding on without worrying about high octane petrol every 200 kms: possible; Not having to worry about spares costing a bomb: Possible; Motorcycle Touring, riding to work and on the track:Possible. The Kawasaki Ninja 650R will open a world of possibilities for the Indian motorcyclist as well as Indian motorcycling as a whole. Will the Kawasaki Ninja 650R maintain it’s tryst with Indian motorcycling history this Diwali?