Want a fun motorcycle but can’t afford one? Well, you can now! Kartik Ware finds out more.
The festive season is upon us and Indian motorcyclists are in for a year of treats. Although most major motorcycle manufacturers have their flagship superbikes on sale in India, they are all prohibitively expensive. However, in the coming months, both homegrown manufacturers and foreign companies are planning to launch premium motorcycles that won’t burn your wallet. Here’s previewing the most promising firecrackers that are on their way to Indian roads.
The Mojo is a pleasant surprise from Mahindra. Developed in Italy by Engines Engineering, in which Mahindra holds the controlling stake, the Mojo is a radical-looking motorcycle. It has twin exhausts, but the motor is a single-cylinder 292cc unit that develops 26 bhp@8500 rpm and 2.5 kgm@7000 rpm. The motor also gets liquid-cooling, four valves, fuel injection and a six-speed gearbox, making it clear that this is going to be a high-performance motorcycle. The exposed tubular chassis is used as a design element, though the shape of the tank and the mid-section of the bike are already the topics of much debate among enthusiasts.
However, when one considers the inverted forks, the rear monoshock, fat and grippy 17-inch tyres (110/80 front and 150/60 rear), the substantial 320 mm front disc brake and the 160 kg kerb weight, the Mojo promises to be a fun to ride motorcycle. What’s more, at Rs 1.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune), the Mojo is a bargain! And for those who have doubts about the level of quality, the Mojo will come with a four-year/40,000 km warranty. This is one to watch out for.
Hyosung GT650R and ST7
These two motorcycles mark the second coming of Hyosung in India. Last time around, it was the Comet streetbike and the Aquila cruiser and this time, it’s two bigger motorcycles — the GT650R sportsbike and the ST7 cruiser. Having tied up with Garware Motors, Hyosung is looking at establishing a foothold in the Rs 5-7 lakh category and might even consider bringing in less expensive motorcycles in the 400cc category.
The GT650 comes in two versions, one with a full fairing and the other being a naked streetbike. Both offer the same performance, but the naked bike will be cheaper than the sportier version and will feature more street-oriented ergonomics. It features a liquid-cooled, eight-valve, DOHC 647cc V-twin motor that produces 72 bhp@9000 rpm and a six-speed transmission to harness the healthy power output. The motor being a V-twin, the GT will have lots of grunt, rather than a searing top end that’s rather pointless in our conditions. Nonetheless, the GT should easily cross the 200 kph mark, which is enough to keep most new riders thrilled! Add to that full-size styling and international-level kit and you have a very good mid-size sportsbike proposition. And a sub-5 lakh price tag will ensure that more riders than before will be able to get into the sportsbiking culture.
The ST7 is the one for cruiser fans. It features classic Harley Davidson-inspired styling and a 700cc V-twin engine, but with modern technology like fuel injection, liquid-cooling and DOHC. Since this is a cruiser and not a rev-hungry sportsbike, it develops less power than the GT: 61 bhp@8000 rpm and 6 kgm@7000 rpm, which is still on the revvier side for a relaxed cruiser. But with a well-spaced five-speed gearbox, we expect it to allow for effortless cruising on our highways. At under Rs 6.5 lakh, the ST7 is more expensive than the GT650. But the fact that the cheapest Harley is still a few lakh over the Hyosung might mean a lot to potential customers. Also, for those who’re worrying about these bikes going the Comet way, fret not: Hyosung and Garware Motors are looking at a long-term partnership, with dealerships and service stations in over ten cities all over the country.
With this motorcycle, Honda has whetted the appetites of nearly all Indian motorcycle enthusiasts. With its scaled-down-VFR looks, the CBR250R already looks to be a winner! Honda is tight-lipped about power figures, but after riding it first-hand, we reckon the single-cyclinder, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled 250cc motor should make around 25 bhp and around 2.3 kgm of torque. The motor itself has an eager nature thanks to its short-stroke dimensions and, ridden around a track, it displayed sure and stable handling. The CBR250R will come with Continental tyres in India and you even have the option of going for a Combined ABS version! That is a first for any small-capacity motorcycle ever sold in India. Honda has gone on record saying that the CBR250R will sell for less than Rs 1.5 lakh (ex-showroom price) in India, making it brilliant value for money, what with disc brakes at both ends, top-notch suspension, a refined motor and fantastic styling. This low pricing is due to the fact that Honda will manufacture the CBR250R in India and we’re sure that its competition is already worried.
Bajaj KTM 125 Duke
The Duke 125 is one of the most eagerly awaited launches of next year. While the company is tight-lipped about its plans for the Duke, we expect it to arrive in early 2011 in the Rs 1-1.5 lakh bracket. Until then, we will nurture the hope that despite its small capacity, the Duke 125 will be big fun to ride. And why not? It comes with world-class components, scaled down from bigger KTMs! The trademark trellis frame, the inverted front forks and rear monoshock suspension, meaty tyres and the edgy KTM styling combine to give the motorcycle a presence that few small-capacity motorcycles can claim to have.
However, a smaller capacity alone doesn’t mean that the bike is going to be slow. That's because it’s got liquid cooling, a DOHC four-valve head and fuel injection along with a six-speed gearbox. The Duke 125 will make around 15 bhp, although the power is much higher up in the rev band for the European market. In all likelihood, the Indian version will run in a different state of tune in order to bring power lower down in the rev range. Rumours also suggest that the 125 will be followed up with with a larger-capacity version.