In totality, the year 2012 was not at all a bad year if we look at the Indian market from the motorcycling aspect. Some most awaited ones like the KTM Duke 200 and Bajaj Pulsar 200NS made waves from the very moment they were launched. Fast forward to 2013, and we have another year ahead of us. And it is a pleasure to say that if 2012 was good, 2013 is going to be much, much better. Although the Indian automotive industry overall is pegged to grow at a meagre of 1 to 2% this fiscal, that will not stop at least the motorcycle manufacturers to land their new products and iterations on the Indian soil. Here is a quick peek at the most expected and awaited ones for this year:
KTM Duke 390
Another KTM this year too. And this time is up in the displacement ladder. Yes, it is the KTM Duke 390. Ever since KTM has announced of such a motorcycle in the making, it has made us more anxious and restless. After all, the KTM 390 will be producing close to 45 PS of peak power. Combine that with a kerb weight of just 136kgs and you start getting the mad picture here! Moreover, unlike typical KTM, it is rumoured that this bike will be fully faired. The KTM 390 Duke will be sharing the same chassis as the Duke 200. Bookings are expected to start sometime in May June at a price of about Rs. 2.5 lakhs (ex-showroom).
Bajaj Auto might follow suit with its Pulsar 390 edition, plonking the same engine from the KTM 390 with perhaps the touch of triple spark (or will it be quad-sparked this time?) technology for smoother power delivery, more uniform burning of fuel and better fuel economy. Bajaj Auto has confirmed that a higher displacement Pulsar is in the works and is to be expected this year. It will surely be a tad cheaper than the Duke 390. Expect it to hit the market in the bracket of Rs. 1.7 to 2 lakhs (ex-showroom).
Kawasaki Ninja 300
This is the replacement for the current Ninja 250. Kawasaki will be discontinuing the sale of Ninja 250 and replace it with something much better- the Ninja 300. This bike has already been launched in some international markets and it has received rave reviews from all over. For the Ninja 300, it is a completely new improved package. The engine is bigger with new pistons, new cylinder head, lower compression, stiffer chassis, re-tuned ECU and what not. Not to mention the improved edgy styling. It will also come with ABS, a feature that was missing in the current Ninja 250. Expect it to hit the market sometime in mid-2013. We also anticipate that being a totally new package, Bajaj Auto will be retailing the bike at a slightly higher premium, but as long as it stays reasonable, it will be well worth it!
Honda Motorcycles is going all aggressive in the Indian market off late. One of the recent to come out of their stable is the CBR500. The CBR500 comprises of a fully faired model, a naked one and a cross-tourer. The cross-tourer might not make it to the Indian shores as of now to due to lack of existence of such a market. The engine underneath will be a 471cc mill making 47 PS of power.
However, what can be expected are the faired and naked versions. What is more is that Honda is planning to heavily localize this model to take advantage of the cost conscious Indian market. Engine components will probably be imported from Thailand. We expect Honda to bring in the model around in September in a price bracket of Rs. 4 lakhs.