While for some, bikes are the best thing to commute on for a weekend escape, while for some it is a passionate love affair. And the year 2016 brought something for all of them.
It started with the launch of some much needed products in the market. The year ended with a blast as well, bringing the most affordable power cruiser till date. Moreover, the Indian market saw the first official launch of track-spec dirt bikes, a track-only race machine and its most expensive chopper. However, here we will talk about the best from the mass market, so let's start the countdown.
5. Hero Splendor iSmart 110:
Present for more than two decades in the market, this bike still leads the sales chart. The Hero Splendor has a special spot in the Indian two-wheeler market and its latest iteration is the iSmart 110. Launched after the success of the 100cc Splendor iSmart, the latest model gets the advantage of a slightly more powerful engine. Moreover, it is the first bike in the commuter segment to get a BS-IV compliant motor. Coming with a price tag of Rs 53,300 (ex-showroom Delhi) and the benefit of India's largest dealer and service network, the Hero Splendor iSmart 110 receives interesting features like pinstriped wheels, split grab rail, digital-analog instrument cluster and catchy graphics. The bike also gets the revolutionary i3S (Idle Stop-Start System) technology that claims to provide it with a real world fuel efficiency of over 65kmpl which is quite impressive.
4. Bajaj V15:
With some patriotic values added, Bajaj introduced the first bike of its new commuter family -- the "V15". The metal of its fuel tank is blended with the metal of the INS Vikrant which was the first aircraft carrier ship of the country. Promoted as a "war hero", it is the first bike in its segment to get a café racer-like design that actually makes it a head turner. However, the seating posture of the bike has been designed upright for daily use and it feels quite ergonomic with a wide handlebar and centre-set foot pegs. Bajaj also developed a new 150cc torquey motor for this machine that also gets a throaty exhaust pipe. It also became the first bike in the commuter segment to get dual-sport tyres and a removable rear seat cowl. And all this with a very affordable price tag of Just Rs 62,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi) which is comparable to that of a 125cc motorcycle.
3. TVS Apache RTR 200 4V:
This is the bike RTR fans were eagerly waiting for and we can say that the TVS Apache RTR 200 was worth the wait. With an aggressive styling that looks inspired by the Ducati Streetfighter, the bike retains the same racing DNA from the RTR series; in fact, slightly better. Apart from that, the bike also gets a powerful 200cc, air/oil-cooled, 4V motor, delivering a phenomenal performance with respect to the price bracket the bike comes under. Starting at Rs 89,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Apache RTR 200 gets features like KYB suspension setup and disc brakes on both the ends. Also, it is the first TVS bike to get a monoshock. Moreover, the company offers premium Pirelli tyres, fuel injection (Bosch closed loop type) and ABS as optional extras for their respective additional costs.
2. Royal Enfield Himalayan:
Royal Enfields are the most used motorcycles for touring in India. But, actually, the company was never offering a touring bike till the launch of the Himalayan. With this new machine, the company opened the account of a new segment in the market, called entry-level adventure tourer that is now going to be followed by other manufacturers soon. With an ex-showroom price tag of just Rs 1.56 lakh (Delhi), the Himalayan gets all the features to making you capable of going both on and off the road. With an all-new air-cooled, 411cc, single-cylinder LS4 engine, it became the first RE to get an OHC engine, also a rear monoshock. Along with a robust design to handle any kind of terrain, the Himalayan gets large spoke wheels with dual-sport tyres, a highly informative instrument cluster, luggage panniers, long-travel suspension setup and much more.
1. Bajaj Dominar 400:
As we mentioned above, the year ended with a bang and that was because of the Bajaj Dominar 400. Based on the Pulsar CS400 concept, the bike gets aggressive styling like a wild naked sport motorcycle. However, it is a sport cruiser with relaxed ergonomics and a powerful 400cc, liquid-cooled engine. The new motor is inspired from that of the high-revving KTM 390 Duke, while having much different performance characteristics. The mill offers a better low and mid-range performance as compared to its KTM sibling to match the cruiser requirements and its 6-speed gearbox is also different. The shocker is its unbelievably affordable price of Rs 1.36 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). It is also available with a dual-channel ABS option for an additional cost of Rs 14,000. Other interesting features of the bike include split instrument cluster, wide radial tyres, full-LED headlamp, large disc brakes, slipper clutch and much more.