The grass is greener on the other side, however, when it comes to motorcycles, that’s absolutely true. Here are five motorcycles we want to be on sale in India.
Four wheels move the body and two wheels move the soul – every motorcycle enthusiast knows this. With the number of performance motorcycles being sold in India ranging from Japanese manufacturers to the elusive European ones, money can buy some of the best liter class motorcycles and above in India. Nothing beats the feeling of wind in your face from riding a powerful motorcycle.
However, experienced motorcyclists know that the sweet spot for enjoying a motorcycle on the road is a mid-range motorcycle, with usable power. This is one of the reasons why motorcycles between 500 and 900 cc are popular around the world.
India has not seen many in this segment over the years due to a law banning motorcycles of this displacement to help Indian manufacturers grow. Individual imports were allowed and companies could import them via a CKD route and assemble them here. Either way, the taxes added up and the final price fell within reach of larger liter-class bikes, and sometimes, above them.
This is the reason why many 600cc sport bikes in India such as CBR600R, YZF-R6 and GSX-R600 are rarely spotted in India, and most of them are gray market bikes. However, enthusiasts will be happy if the following 5 motorcycles come to India and at a reasonable price.
The Yamaha YZF-R6 or simply the R6 needs no introduction. Introduced in 1999 and in production until 2020, the R6 has won numerous races around the world in different formats. Since 2021, the Yamaha R6 has been limited to a race-only specification in most global markets, allowing other brands to make a name for themselves in motorcycle racing.
When introduced in 1999, the R6 was the first production 600cc motorcycle to produce 100 horsepower in stock form. Over the years the R6 has evolved with technologies such as fuel injection, and the 2007-2008 model saw the R6 produce a whopping 127 hp from stock. The other reason the R6 is famous is not how it revs, but how much it revs down to -14,000 rpm!
Coming back to something with usable power, enthusiasts will be happy if Kawasaki releases the ZX-25R in India. Don’t be fooled by the “25” as the Kawasaki ZX-25R is the only four-cylinder motorcycle in the quarter-litre class and the engine puts out 43 bhp.
The Kawasaki ZX-25R is identical to its liter-class counterpart, the ZX-10R, and features traction control, adjustable Showa USD forks, two power modes, underbelly exhaust, a WSBK derived chassis and a standard quick shifter. The sad news is that Kawasaki may never bring the ZX-25R to India as it will be impossible to price it competitively in the segment.
KTM Adventure R-Series
The adventure motorcycle segment is getting popular and brands like BMW, Honda and Triumph already have their adventure models on sale in India. The biggest name missing from this range is KTM, known for their Adventure models, more specifically the Adventure R models such as the 890, 1090 and 1290.
KTM gave India a taste of the stunning KTM 790 Duke which was all picked up, but that was it. The 790 Adventure never made it here and it looks like Kike KTM has no plans with the 890 either. The larger displacement bikes will rival the Honda Africa Twin, BMW GS 1250 and Triumph Tiger 1200 recently launched, but if KTM brings the 890 here, it will be a usable motorcycle.
Honda CRF 300 Rally
When it comes to adventure bikes, the Honda CRF 300 Rally strikes the perfect balance for an everyday usable adventure bike. The CRF 300 Rally draws its design from the proven Dakar Rally motorcycles with a large fairing to deflect the wind.
The motorcycle is powered by a liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that develops 28hp and 26Nm of torque using a 6-speed gearbox. The CRF 300 Rally is a good dual-sport bike with a small-capacity engine and long-travel suspension that won’t intimidate riders, but with the ability to go anywhere. It would be a great bike if Honda could fix it properly.
Talk to any experienced Suzuki SV650 rider and they will have nothing but praise for the bike. The SV650 is sold in select global markets and has the right aspects to make it an everyday bike and a weekend getaway bike.
It is built on a thin and light chassis, receives a 645 cc 72 hp V-twin engine, a 6-speed gearbox, ABS, and that’s it! It’s a return to basics with the SV650 which makes it an excellent motorcycle. Oh, and reliability – it’s like the Toyota Corolla in the motorcycle world, it runs smoothly.
Honorable Mention: Yamaha Tenere 700
The Yamaha Tenere 700 when it was first shown as a concept a few years ago in 2017 left adventure riders wanting Yamaha to put it into production immediately. Finally, Yamaha did just that and the result was a bigger, more powerful Dakar rally bike that could be used on the road and anywhere in between.
The Yamaha Tenere 700 or T7 takes riders back to basics with a usable 71hp twin and no computer to assist riders making it a favorite.