Big bikes for 2017
The year 2017 promises to be exciting as we have a slew of launches lined up, ranging from litre-class superbikes to supersport and affordable adventure motorcycles. Our comprehensive list will give you an idea of the bikes headed our way. We would say plan and start saving, now!
The Italian manufacturer showcased the new RSV4 RF, its flagship superbike, and the new Tuono V4 1100 at the Intermot 2016. Both bikes are headed to India, and we can't wait to get our hands on the updated versions of one of our favorites.
2017 Aprilia RSV4 RF
The RSV4 RF is Aprilia's flagship superbike and that means the Italian firm has given it the best in the business. We sampled the current iteration at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore and were very impressed with the level of performance that the bike offers. For 2017, the bike gets an upgraded electronics package as well as new suspension components.
The new APRC electronics system has a repositioned IMU unit which has resulted in a much smoother wheelie control system. The Aprilia Traction Control (ATC) can now be adjusted on the fly, without having to roll off the throttle. Ditto for the Aprilia Wheelie Control (AWC). The new Aprilia Quick Shift (AQS) electronic gearbox allows clutch-less upshifts and downshifts and this without the need to close the throttle.
The bike also gets Bosch's latest 9.1MP cornering ABS system and a quick shifter with auto blip for smoother downshifts. New Brembo M50 Monobloc calipers bite on larger 330mm discs which will give it even better stopping power. The RSV4's Ohlins were known to offer a splendid blend of ride and handling, and Aprilia has gone a step-up by upgrading the suspension. Upfront are new Ohlins NIX forks and at the rear is the Ohlins TTX shock absorber.
Aprilia has also taken out the analogue-digital instrument cluster and has introduced a modern full-TFT unit that shows a plethora of useful information.
The bike gets a new Superpole paint scheme that looks pretty close to Aprilia's Moto GP machine. Now, we wait for the bike to arrive in India so that we can put it through its paces.
999.6cc liquid-cooled, V4. 201PS at 13,000rpm and 115Nm at 10,500rpm
Rs 24.76-25.26 lakh (ex-Mumbai)
2017 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR/Factory
The Tuono is one of the most incredible supernakeds we've ever tested and is one of our favorite motorcycles. Its combination of power and technology offers a riding experience that's simply unparalleled.
The bike is essentially an RSV4 RF, sans a few fairing bits, a significant jump in torque across the rev band and a motor with lower peak power. Since it's a street bike, the single-piece handlebar is placed higher than the clip-ons on the RSV4.
Besides these differences, the new Tuono gets all the juicy upgrades that you see on the 2017 RSV4 RF. Excited? We surely are.
1,077cc liquid-cooled, V4, 175PS at 11,000rpm, 121Nm at 9,000rpm
Rs 21.10-21.60 lakh (ex-Mumbai)
We've been waiting and waiting, but we are close to BMW Motorrad officially announcing its arrival in India. Expect to see three or four dealerships in the big cities to start with and the unreasonable prices that the importer was charging up to this point to be scaled back to a more reasonable place.
We expect to see prices drop by Rs 6-10 lakh depending on the models as BMW Motorrad switches from playing a low-involvement game to becoming a motorcycle maker fully invested in the Indian two-wheeler market. Expect hints of the CKD facility and product plans later in 2017 too!
Any time now
Rs 6-10 lakh less than current prices (model to model)
Ducati India is on a roll, especially after utilising the FTA with Thailand to price its bikes at competitive price points. The 959 Panigale, for instance, has been received quite well, and the Italian manufacturer is hoping to build on the momentum by launching three new motorcycles next year.
The Multistrada 950 is now the entry-level motorcycle in Ducati's Multistrada range. It features quite a lot of body work from the current Multistrada 1200 S and the Enduro, except for the headlights that are conventional halogens instead of the LEDs.
The sub frame, seats and dual-sided swing arm are all from the Enduro, and Ducati chose this type of swing arm to offer easy fitment of a spoke wheel, if required. The motor is borrowed from the 939 Hyperstrada that also powers the Supersport. There are four riding modes - Urban, Sport, Touring and Enduro. There's also eight levels of traction control and three levels of ABS. Given the kind of equipment on offer and Ducati's pricing advantage in India, the 950 should make for an interesting proposition.
937cc liquid-cooled, L-twin, 113Ps at 9,000rpm and 96.2Nm at 7,750rpm
Rs 14.63 (ex-Mumbai)
Unveiled at EICMA 2016, the Scrambler Desert Sled is the off-road focused version of the Scrambler line of bikes by Ducati. It shares the frame (reinforced in the Sled) and 803cc L-twin engine with its siblings but that's where the similarities end. The aluminium handlebar has a cross-strut and the front mudguard is placed higher than usual, almost like one on a dirt bike. The double-sided aluminium swing arm is new and so are the new spoked gold-rimmed wheels. The bike rides on special Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres. There's a mesh type grille to protect the headlamp as well as a neat belly pan to keep stones or road debris from hitting the exhaust. The 46mm front forks and the rear monoshock offer 7.9 inches of travel and are fully adjustable.
803cc air-cooled, L-twin, 75PS at 8,250rpm and 67Nm at 5,750rpm
Rs 8.17 lakh (ex-Mumbai)
Ducati (939) Supersport
The 939 Supersport is for those who find the Panigale too much to handle. That's Ducati's claim, not ours. The idea was to build a bike that's useable on an everyday basis as well as a track day. The friendlier Supersport uses the Hypermotard's engine that sits in between a trellis frame. This set-up is much more cost-effective instead of the Panigale's monocoque construction. There'll be two variants on offer - the standard Supersport and the Supersport S.
Ducati has kitted the bike with a similar set of electronics that you see on the Multistrada 950 and adjustable suspension (Ohlins on the S). It will be positioned below the 959 Panigale, and the Supersport's practical characteristics should make it well suited for India. We will find that out when we road test the bike in India.
937cc, liquid-cooled, L-twin, 113PS
Rs 12-12.5 lakh, (ex-showroom)
Honda has been quite slow to introduce big-capacity motorcycles in India, but the year 2017 will see the Japanese manufacturer come back with two products that hold quite a lot of promises.
The Africa Twin is the second Honda that'll enter the Indian market via the CKD route. The company had announced plans to launch the motorcycle in India at the 2016 Auto Expo, and from what we know, Honda may launch the manual transmission variant of the Africa Twin only. The DCT version could be too expensive for our market which could be one of the reasons why Honda is only offering the manual variant. The adventure motorcycle segment is witnessing strong growth in the country, with the Triumph Tiger and Kawasaki Versys 650 receiving a good response. It'll be interesting to see how the Africa Twin stacks up against the competition.
998cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin, 95PS and 98Nm
Rs 14-16 lakh (ex-Mumbai)
2017 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade/SP/SP2
Honda has been missing in action from the litre-class segment for quite a while, and we only got to know what they were busy doing when they unveiled the new CBR1000RR Fireblade recently. To be launched in 2017, which coincides with the 25th anniversary of the 'Blade, the new Honda flagship will be available in three variants - stock, SP and SP2. While the engine is common between the three models, the SP2 is more track-focused bike with carbon inserts in the bodywork, launch control, five-step power modes and even a pit lane speed limiter. Standard electronics include 9-level Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) traction control, ride-by wire, Engine Brake Control (EBC) and a 5-axis IMU. Should the Yamaha YZF-R1, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and Suzuki GSX-R1000 worry? We'll settle that with a comparison test.
Liquid-cooled, 1,000cc, inline-four, 189PS and 116Nm
Rs 25-35 lakh (base 'Blade to SP2)
Kawasaki is a strong player in India's burgeoning sportsbike segment, and in 2017 it is about to strengthen its portfolio with a slew of launches. The launches are significant because they alter significantly each one of Kawasaki's popular models in price, value or overall proposition.
2017 Kawasaki Z900
The replacement for the popular Z800 was announced recently at Intermot 2016 in October and showcased at the EICMA, the following month. The bike gets an all-new lightweight chassis that brings the bike's weight down to 210kg from the 229kg Z800. Powering the bike is an all-new 948cc, inline-4 cylinder engine that's derived from the Z1000. There's a slipper clutch too, for smoother engine braking, and ABS will be offered as standard. The Z800 is one of Kawasaki India's most successful products, and the Z900 is expected to receive an equally good response.
Liquid-cooled, 948cc, inline-4, 123.6Ps at 6,000rpm
August 2017 TBC
Rs 7.40-7.60 lakh (ex-Mumbai)
2017 Ninja 650
If you thought the current Ninja 650's design is too bland, the new Ninja 650 is sure to set your pulse racing. Borrowing design cues from its elder sibling the ZX-10R, the new Ninja 650 looks quite appealing. The steel trellis frame is brand new, and this Ninja 650 is a significant 19kg lighter than its predecessor. The parallel-twin engine has been tuned for better mid-range and refinement, and it should be interesting to see the results once we test the bike in India. The suspension is all-new, with the rear monoshock now located conventionally rather than in an off-set position. Judging by the handlebar's position that's set fairly high, we expect the new Ninja 650 to be a comfortable sport tourer. The Ninja 650 seems even more like a direct salvo fired at the competent but not very popular Honda CBR650F. But if Kawasaki keeps the pricing edge that they seem to always have in India, the Ninja 650 should be extremely popular.
Liquid-cooled, 649cc, parallel-twin engine, Euro-4 compliant, 68PS and 66Nm
June 2017, TBC
Rs 5.5-5.6 lakh (ex-Mumbai). The price gap between the naked Ninja (Z650) and the Ninja 650 will grow.
2017 Kawasaki Z650
Essentially the naked, street bike version of the new Ninja 650, the Z650 will replace the ageing ER-6n. It gets the same engine and rider aids that're present in the Ninja 650. The absence of the fairing will also mean a slightly lower kerb weight which should bump up the power-to-weight ratio. Kawasaki promises nimble handling which should make it an effective tool for urban riding.
The important thing to note is that Kawasaki did suffer a little bit of internal cannibalisation because the ER-6n, the Ninja 650 and the Versys 650 were priced close to one another. This model year should see Kawasaki clarify both roles and pricing, which should make each of the 650s a more striking buying proposition.
Liquid-cooled, 649cc, parallel-twin engine, Euro 4, 68PS and 66Nm
End 2017, TBC
Rs 4.89-4.95 lakh (ex-Mumbai). If ABS is standard, price may rise to Rs 5.10 lakh (ex-Mumbai).
2017 Kawasaki Versys X-300
The new baby Versys utilises the same 296cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin motor from the Z300. In the X-300 though, it has been re-tuned to offer stronger low and mid-range, in keeping with the role of the bike. Kawasaki claims a tank range of 400km which is good enough to go touring. The spoked wheels, long-travel forks and 19-inch front tyre should give the bike some off-road ability too. The Versys X-300 could spawn a new segment in India, but that is subject to Kawasaki India deciding to put the bike on sale which will only happen once it gets past homologation. The Versys 650's success could encourage the company to do so and we have our fingers crossed. On the flip side, a twin-cylinder 300 means Kawasaki's ability to price the bike well will be hampered.
Liquid-cooled, 296cc, parallel-twin
Early 2018. Our guess. No word.
Rs 4-4.2 lakh, (ex-Mumbai)
While Suzuki will undoubtedly roll out updates to motorcycles like the V-Strom 1000 and the Hayabusa as and when, the big launch for Suzuki is unequivocally going to be the new GSX-R1000.
Suzuki recently unveiled its brand-new litre-class superbike, the sixth-generation GSX-R1000. It is the lightest and most powerful 1,000cc bike the company has built to date. The 999cc engine and the chassis is all-new, and Suzuki claims this is by far its best handling bike. It's spec'd quite well too, getting the latest technology such as ride-by-wire, 10-level traction control, bi-directional quickshifter, rider modes and ABS. The bike looks stunning in the MotoGP colours and expect Suzuki to offer this shade in India too.
Liquid-cooled, 999.8cc, inline-4 engine, Euro-4 compliant, 200PS, 117.6Nm
Rs 20-25 lakh. Suzuki will price its 1000 rather better than the other, we expect.
The British manufacturer has been growing steadily with each passing year and it's set to move the game forward with two new launches that will expand its already large product portfolio in India.
2017 Street Triple
The Street Triple is easily one of the best street nakeds out there, and if you've been reading OVERDRIVE you'll know that Shumi liked it to the extent that he ended up buying one. Its combination of easy handling, useable power and practicality is one of its strong points. For 2017, the big change is rumoured to be a hike in the inline-3 cylinder engine's cubic capacity, by 100cc. That'll also translate to a rise in power, ranging from 110Ps to 120PS, depending on the variant.
Triumph has reworked the design with a few bits resembling the bigger Speed Triple that was updated for 2016. It gets the same rounded headlamps, with a central ram air intake located above them. The little fly-screen above this is a welcome addition, as it'll offer better wind protection than the previous model. The bike also gets a new swing arm, belly pan, side panels and turn indicators, we heard.
Liquid-cooled, 675cc+100cc (765cc), Euro-4 compliant, 110PS to 120PS
Announcement on January 10. India arrival September-November
Bigger engine and range likely to push prices, but the Street Triple is already an expensive motorcycle. Triumph will keep prices at the Rs 10 lakh mark or thereabouts, at least for the lower models.
The Triumph Bobber bears the unmistakable Bobber styling while borrowing a bit of its DNA from the Bonneville T120. The 1200HT engine, also from the T120, is remapped to offer slightly more torque. The torque curve stays flat from 2,750rpm to 5,200rpm thus improving readability too.
The Bobber runs an all-new frame as well as a new monoshock that's hidden in a 'swing cage' giving the Bobber the look of a hardtail. With its unique looks and surprisingly good performance, the Bobber is surely one the most interesting bikes to look forward to in 2017.
Liquid-cooled, parallel-twin, 77PS at 6.100rpm and 106Nm at 4,000rpm
First-quarter of 2017
Rs 10 lakh (ex-Mumbai)
Starts Rs 21,29,000
Starts Rs 12,84,000
Starts Rs 7,89,000
Starts Rs 13,99,000
Starts Rs 6,79,000
Starts Rs 7,99,000
Starts Rs 20,39,233
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