Even with the economic crisis and the rising fuel prices, the Indian motorcycle industry is still unfazed with manufacturers rolling out new leaner and more powerful machines. With the launch of the Duke 200 and the new 390, the entry-level performance bike segment is blown wide open. Yamaha started it all with the dynamically perfect R15, but failed to capitalize on it. Now, with all the manufacturers scrambling to create their own pocket rockets, the Indian budget performance bike segment will be an interesting battle. Here we bring you the upcoming 10 new bike launches in 2014 that will be the ones to watch out for in the coming months:
1) Bajaj Pulsar 375
With the launch of the 200 NS a cheaper version of the Duke 200, everyone is waiting with bated breath for the Pulsar model based on the Duke 390, christened the Pulsar 375. With the 390 launched at a price of just above Rs 2 lakhs, the 375 will be even more cheaper making it one of the best affordable performance machines in the country. It will have a full fairing unlike the 390 and will share some of its technologies like liquid cooling and a close-ratio gearbox. The bike will be powered by a mill close-to 375 cc which it will share with Duke 390. A power figure of 40-42 bhp is a good approximation. In short the Pulsar 375 threatens to redefine biking on Indian streets, as the original Pulsar did a decade ago.
2) CBR 300 R
The 250R was the first bike to take on the Yamaha R15. It wasn’t a track friendly bike, but more of a cruiser with an able torquey engine. Now with coming of the Duke brigand and the new Ninja 300, the 250R is a bit of old news now. Finally Honda is releasing the successor, the CB 300R. The 300R will most probably producedin Honda’s Thailand production facility from where it will be shipped to various markets around the world. While the 250R borrowed it’s styling cues from the touring VFR family, the 300R shares the design philosophy of the iconic Fireblade with twin sharply styled headlights and the other body panels mirroring the latest CB 1000RR. Fingers crossed that it will also perform on the track like its litre class sibling. The new CBR300R will house a 286cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder liquid-cooled fuel-injected engine which generates a maximum power of 30.4bhp at 8500rpm and peak torque of 2.75kgm at 7250rpm. For braking Honda have equipped the CBR300R with a single 296mm disc upfront while a 220mm unit does duty at the rear with ABS as optional. Expect the CBR300R to come to Indian showroom by 2014, taking on it’s arch rival, Kawasaki’s twin-cylinder Ninja 300R.
3) Yamaha R 25
The R 15 ushered in track technology to the streets of India with its MotoGP deltabox frame and liquid cooling. It gave other bikes nightmares with its track-honed handling and astonishing performance. But then instead of capitalizing on the situation, the Japanese giant went to sleep. However in the latest development, Indonesian media informs that Yamaha Indonesia is definitely developing a quarter-litre sportsbike based on the free-revving R 125. There is a great probability of it making to India, especially after the way the R 15 changed the face of performance biking in India. The R 25 is expected to do the same. As of now, there is no clear picture on the exact launch dates or pricing, but it is expected to make way towards the end of this year or early 2014.
4) KTM RC 390
If the naked street bike styling of the Duke 390 didn’t appeal to you then good news, KTM is working on a fully faired version of the 390. It will share the same specifications as of the newly launched Duke 390 as RC models are built on the same underlying platform as the Dukes. The RC 390 will be based on the flagship RC8 superbike. Being a fully faired bike we expect it to provide better comfort at high speeds and ride-ability than the DUKE 390 but priced a bit higher. The Duke 390 might still be faster to the ton due to better power to weight ratio, as the RC 390 will be slightly heavier with the fairing. For making the bike more sportier than the Duke, the front suspension might be tinkered with and the damping made more stiffer for high speed stability. It is expected to be released once the hype for Duke 390 dies down a bit.
5) Suzuki Inazuma GW250S
The Japanese word Inazuma means “appealing to both genders”, and the Suzuki Inazuma GW 250S is just that. The Inazuma is not a hard core racing machine, it is a relaxed bike having a comfortable riding position and good performance. It is made for the Family man who doesn’t what something with in your face styling as the Duke. Suzuki Inazuma was initially expected to launch here in early June.It’s not known whether Suzuki still intends to go ahead with the launch. We should have an answer by early 2014. Expected price will be in the range of Rs 2 – 2.5 lakhs.
6) Royal Enfield Continental GT
The new 535 cc Continental GT is Royal Enfield’s flagship motorcycle. It’s look resembles the sporty British bikes from the ’60s and its top-notch quality levels makes it stand out from the crop of regular Enfield offerings. The dated cafe racer style bike has already been launched in the UK priced at £ 5,200 (about Rs 5.2 lakhs). This motorcycle is the lightest Royal Enfield and boasts of features like clip-on handlebars and a uniquely designed twin cradle frame, developed with Harris Performance, a British based chassis and performance parts manufacturer.
7) Mahindra Mojo
Mahindra forayed into new territory by entering the bike segment and has been getting decent sales with the utilitarian value for money Pantero. Now they decided to push the boundaries by going for an entry level performance bike, the Mahindra Mojo. It has a unique styling which might not appeal to many, and the lack of a premium feel an important factor in this segment. It looks good from the front but lacks panache in the side view, and then the name ‘Mojo’ to top it all. But all things aside the bike is powered by a 300 cc DOHC engine giving out 26 bhp of pulling power making it well endowed in the power segment, no complains there. Now it all depends on the pricing. The bike is expected to be launched early 2014.
8) Hyosung GV 250
The cheapest cruiser in the Indian bike market is the Bajaj Avenger followed by the Royal Enfield, making it a highly lucrative section due to lack of players in the field. With the recent crop of 250 cc bikes but all being in the sports bike territory, Hyosung motors and DSK decide to bring a budget cruiser the Hyosung GV250 into the market. Priced between Rs 2.5-3 lakhs it will crucially fill that space and get the first mover advantage. The quarter liter cruiser will be locally assembled to keep prices low. It’s main rival will be the upcoming Harley Davidson Street 500, made specially for the emerging markets, but there is no finalized release date for it yet. Hyosung is still yet to cut into the segment when the numbers come to play due to the patchy sales of the GT 650 and 250R sports bikes, but with the release of the GV250 they aim to change that. The GV 250 is a purely made for cruising and based on a sudden affection for cruisers all over India we feel that the GV250 will be a fruitful venture.
9) TVS Apache RTR 250
Ever since TVS collaborated with BMW Motorrad to develop performance bikes between 200-500 cc engine capacity, rumours started pouring about the first launch born out of the TVS-BMW alliance, TVS Apache RTR 250. The first bike to come from this collaboration isexpected to arrive in 2014. The 250 cc bike is being developed hand in hand with TVS Racing, the racing division of TVS Motors and end up as the flagship of the Hosur based outfit. The engine could possibly have oil cooling and ABS, fuel injection and all round disc brakes a surety. This could be TVS’s answer to Bajaj’s 200 NS thus regaining lost market share.
10) Aprilia RS4 250
With the success of the Vespa scooter brand in India, Piaggio is all set to bring in it’s Aprilia brand and with it the Aprilia RS4 250. Aprilia has been planning to bring out the entry level spots bike by 2014. And now with the success of the Dukes and the Hondas, it is planning to bring the RS4 250. The 250cc bike will be placed in price range of Duke 390. In order to keep the costs low, Aprilia RS4 250 will feature a fuel injected, single-cylinder, 4 valve engine with liquid-cooling providing power of about 30 bhp. It has also been reported that this bike will make use of front USD forks and fully adjustable rear mono shocks to compete with other bikes like the KTM 200, Pulsar 200 NS and Honda CBR 250 R etc.