2017 could well change the face of the Indian motorcycling industry with a complete line-up of performance bike launches in the offing. And it’s not only the superbike and premium motorcycle space which will see action, but quite a few entry-level performance bikes as well, like the much-awaited BMW G 310 R to the updated and new KTM 390 Duke and TVS Motor Company’s first full-faired sportbike, the Apache RTR 300. There are a few larger performance bikes in the offing too, with Ducati launching an entry-level Monster 797 and Benelli launching perhaps the most-affordable premium ADV bike in the TRK 502 and the highly-anticipated Honda Africa Twin. In all, 2017 promises to be an exciting year for motorcycling in India.
2017 KTM 390 Duke
For 2017, KTM’s pocket rocket gets a facelift with new styling and bodywork inspired by the KTM 1290 Super Duke. Although the engine is the same – 373cc, single-cylinder liquid-cooled mill that makes 43bhp and 37Nm – the new KTM 390 Duke will get a ride-by-wire system with possibly a choice of riding modes, standard dual-channel ABS and a new side-mounted exhaust. In terms of design, the 2017 KTM 390 Duke gets redesigned body panels, with an all-LED headlight with daytime running lights and a full-colour TFT screen instrument cluster. The changes to the catalytic converter and the side mounted exhaust have added some weight to the bike, which now tips the scales at 149kg. Also new is a larger fuel tank with 13.4 litres capacity. The 2017 KTM 390 Duke is expected to be priced around Rs 2.15-2.2 lakh.
BMW G 310 R
One of the most-awaited naked-street motorcycles of 2017 is the long-awaited BMW G 310 R. Built jointly with TVS Motor Company, the BMW G 310 R is expected to heat things up in the entry-level performance bike segment, and will be BMW’s first sub-500cc motorcycle. The G 310 R will be built in India at TVS’s Hosur-based manufacturing unit and also exported to BMW’s markets abroad. The BMW G 310 R will be powered by a 313cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine tuned to produce 34bhp of power and 28Nm of torque, with a six-speed transmission. The peculiarity of the engine is that it follows a back-to-front architecture with the cylinder tilting backwards instead of a conventional single-cylinder motorcycle engine where the cylinder tilts forwards. The bike is expected to have a top speed of around 144kmph and will come with standard dual-channel ABS for effective stopping power. The BMW G 310 R is expected to be priced just under the two-lakh mark, between Rs 1.8-2 lakh.
BMW G 310 GS
Along with the BMW G 310 R, BMW Motorrad will also follow it up with a sport-tourer version of its small-displacement streetfighter. Unveiled at the 2016 EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan, the BMW G 310 GS will be the second BMW motorcycle to be built at the TVS Motor Company factory in Hosur, Tamil Nadu. Styling is typical GS, inspired from BMW’s larger ADV bikes and even has the distinctive front ‘beak’ and GS decals on the fuel tank. The engine is the same as the street-based G 310 R – a 313cc engine but the tuning and power curves may be slightly different for a stronger low- and mid-range. There’s long-travel suspension and a larger 19-inch alloy wheel at the front, but the baby GS is more suited for road use rather than pure off-road use. Of course, a tyre upgrade and additional underbody protection will lend the G 310 GS effective off-road ability. The BMW G 310 GS will be priced at a premium than its naked street version, around Rs 2.5-2.8 lakh.
TVS Apache RTR 300
TVS Motor Company is gearing to launch its flagship sportbike, the TVS Apache RTR 300. Essentially, the production model of the TVS Akula Concept unveiled at the 2016 Auto Expo, the RTR 300 is based on the BMW G 310 R naked-street that has been jointly developed by TVS and BMW. The Apache RTR 300 will be TVS Motor Company’s first full-faired motorcycle on offer, and will be priced competitively, being locally manufactured. The RTR 300 is expected to be a track-focussed motorcycle, like the KTM RC series bikes and although the production version isn’t expected to get hi-end bits like carbon fibre bodywork as seen on the Akula concept, most design elements are expected to be retained. Power from the 313cc engine is expected to be in the range of 34-36bhp with around 28Nm of torque. Expect attractive sticker price, at around Rs 1.75-1.9 lakh.
DSK Benelli BN 302R
DSK Benelli’s first motorcycle launch of 2017 will be the Benelli BN 302R – a full-faired sportbike based on the Benelli TNT 300. What’s new is also an all-new chassis and of course, the design with the full fairing and split headlamp. The rear of the bike is identical to its naked sibling, the TNT 300. Powered by the same 300cc liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine, the BN 302 is expected to have the same characteristics as the TNT 300 with a warm and throaty exhaust note, but expected to be a better handler, thanks to the new and lighter chassis. Power output is rated at 35bhp and a peak torque of 27Nm is achieved at 9,000rpm. Pricing is expected to be around Rs 3.5 lakh.
DSK Benelli TRK 502
One of the most-awaited bikes from the DSK Benelli stable is the Benelli TRK 502, the middleweight adventure bike from Benelli. First unveiled at the 2015 EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan and even at the 2016 Auto Expo in New Delhi, the TRK 502 will now be launched in the second half of 2017. The Benelli TRK 502 fits the ADV look to the ‘t’ with a large ‘beaky’ front fairing, high windshield, flat and wide handlebars with hand guards and spoked wheels shod with dual sport rubber. The 500cc, parallel-twin engine with a double overhead cam with four valves per cylinder promises refined performance, and makes 47bhp of power and 45Nm of torque. Expected to be priced between Rs 6-6.5 lakh, the TRK 502 promises to be one of the most affordable adventure tourers on sale in India.
Triumph Bonneville Bobber
Triumph’s first launch of 2017 will be the Bonneville Bobber, the factory custom from Triumph with the unique Bobber-type styling from the ’40s motorcycling scene in America. Based on the Triumph Bonneville T120, the Bonneville Bobber gets a new chassis, new suspension and Bobber design cues with a host of factory accessories to customise the bike to personal taste. The engine is retuned to make marginally more power and torque than the stock T120 and it also gets all the technical wizardry like riding modes, traction control, ABS and torque-assist clutch available on the T120. Expected to be launched sometime around February or March 2017, the Triumph Bonneville Bobber promises to make a bold new statement in Triumph’s modern classic range, with pricing around Rs 10-11 lakh.
Triumph Street Triple 800
Triumph’s popular roadster, the Street Triple is due for an upgrade with all-new engine and components, and will be launched in India sometime in mid-2017. The bike will be first launched in the UK and US in January 2017. The new engine is expected to get a displacement bump to 765cc from the 675cc triple of the current Street Triple. The new Street Triple is expected to get ride-by-wire, updated electronics, slipper clutch and a full-colour TFT instrument screen. Expect the new 2017 Triumph Street Triple to be priced just below the Rs 10 lakh mark.
Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin
One of the most-awaited ADV bikes, the Honda Africa Twin, also known as the Honda CRF1000L, is expected to take the ADV bike market by storm, a segment largely dominated by Triumph in India. Showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo, the CRF 1000L Africa Twin will be assembled in India with a launch expected around March or April, 2017. The latest iteration of Honda’s legendary Africa Twin name is powered by a 998cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine which makes 94bhp power and 98Nm of torque. Globally the bike is available in two transmission options – a six-speed manual and a six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. Price is expected to be around Rs 15 lakh.
Ducati Monster 797
The Ducati Monster 797 will be one of the entry-level Ducatis in India. The Monster 797 borrows design and styling cues from the Monster 821, with a similar looking trellis frame, muscular fuel tank and beefy headlight design. The powerplant is the same as the Ducati Scrambler – the 803cc L-twin making 75bhp and 68Nm of torque, with a six-speed gearbox. No quickshifter is offered, but you do get a slipper clutch. The Ducati Monster 797 will attempt to bring in a wide range of riders under the Ducatisti fold, and particularly important for Ducati in markets like India and South East Asia. India launch is expected in the first half of 2017 with a price tag of around Rs 8 lakh.
Ducati Multistrada 950
Ducati seems to be progressively focussing on the lower side of price and displacement game. The next Ducati Multistrada will be the all-new Ducati Multistrada 950, Ducati’s entry-level popular sport tourer. Looks wise, the Multistrada 950 looks more or less similar to its larger sibling, the Multistrada 1200 but it has a smaller engine and misses out on some of the hi-end equipment its larger sibling has. The 937cc Testastretta engine makes 113bhp at 9,000rpm and just over 96Nm of torque at 7750rpm. It of course gets ride-by-wire with four riding modes – Urban, Touring, Sport and Enduro and also gets the Ducati Safety Pack including the latest Bosch ABS with 3-level adjustment and 8-level Ducati Traction Control. Expect the Multistrada 950 to be launched in mid-2017 at a price of around Rs 13-14 lakh.