2019: The Year In Motorcycles
What was the year 2019 like in terms of new motorcycles for the Indian market?
This year has been quite special for riding enthusiasts in India for three reasons. The first is, as the country shifts to more stringent BS6 emission norms, two-wheeler manufacturers have had to modify their offerings to meet the new norms. This not only meant that we got cleaner engines, but some of the manufacturers even chose to add new features to their motorcycles. Secondly, 2019 saw the emergence of the adventure motorcycle segment in India. And third, we got to see electric motorcycles in the country for the first time, giving us a glimpse of what the future holds for us riding enthusiasts. Here’s a recap of the most important motorcycles of 2019.
TVS Apache RTR160 4V
The Apache name has existed for more than a decade among the Indian riding community. The smallest Apache on offer, that is the Apache RTR 160 4V, is among the most refined bikes in the small-displacement segment. TVS decided to give it a BS6 update and that meant a slight drop in power and torque figures. However, the drop is not big enough for you to notice it in everyday riding. The BS6 update meant that the Apache RTR160 4V also got a revised front-end, which now features an LED headlamp. Overall, the Apache RTR160 4V has grown in its value proposition, despite the small loss in power and torque.
Harley-Davidson Street 750
On the other hand, the big bike manufacturers have been slow in giving us new BS6-compliant motorcycles. However, Harley-Davidson has not been a part of this group. The American motorcycle manufacturer launched a limited edition version of the BS6-compliant Street 750, of which only 300 units were sold. The limited edition model was a celebration of Harley-Davidson’s 10 years in India. The regular bike also uses this BS6 engine. The good thing with the Street 750 is that the BS6 update didn’t result in a loss in power or torque.
Hero Xpulse 200
We all remember the Impulse, a real gem of a motorcycle from Hero. Considering its pricing and it being the only ADV in that price range, it was only let down by its puny engine. Well, Hero decided to step up and give us the Xpulse 200. There had been no adventure tourer in the segment for a long time now and the Xpulse is the perfect recipe for those looking to go off-road on a budget. The spoked wheels, long travel suspension and minimum body work also made it look the part.
KTM 390 Adventure
Ok. So the 390 Adventure hasn’t yet been launched in India but after years of seeing spy shots, KTM finally showed it at the India Bike Week held in Goa. The motorcycle was slightly different from the global-spec model but having waited so long for it, we can probably live with it. After all, the 390 Adventure promises to add an element of power to your weekend off-road ride, that no other motorcycle in the segment can match up to. It will be launched in India sometime in January 2020.
The Revolt 400 is a revolutionary product for India as it not only was the first electric motorcycle for our market, but also a motorcycle that could only be bought on a subscription basis. Then there are the app-based features which allow the rider to order a charged battery (the battery can be swapped out) and set up geo-fencing. The cherry on top is that the Revolt 400 uses premium components like USD forks, a monoshock at the rear, a fully digital instrument cluster and an aluminium swingarm.
This is a fully-faired bike that promises a sporty riding experience. It's been launched but can only be bought in Bangalore for now. And even if you book one now, you will receive delivery sometime in October 2020. However, the Ultraviolette F77 packs in a lot of cool stuff. First, it’s named after a fighter jet. Who wouldn’t want a motorcycle named after a fighter jet? Second, it looks like a million bucks and third, it has the performance to match the first two points and by that we mean that it will go from 0-60kmph in just 2.9 seconds. That might not be superbike category, but it's very good for a motorcycle that will cost somewhere around Rs. 3-Rs 3.5 lakh.