Top 10 Motorcycle Launches Of 2018
Modified On Dec 31, 2018 By Mallikarjun Pillai
2018 saw the launch of some brilliant motorcycles and here is our list of the top 10 additions to the Indian market
2018 has been a good year for motorcycle buyers as well as enthusiasts. There were several exciting launches and hardly any disappointments. But if someone were to ask us to list the top 10 motorcycle launches of 2018, this is what the procession would look like.
TVS Apache RTR 160 4V – Rs 82,810 (ex-showroom Delhi)
TVS has mastered the art of keeping its trump cards close to its chest and revealing them just when the opponents think they’ve got a leg up. And a trump card is exactly what the Apache RTR 160 4V is. The bike gets a highly-refined 160cc air- and oil-cooled motor with fuel-injection and carburettor options, mated to a slick 5-speed gearbox. And as we found out on our first ride review, the tractable motor and Showa-tuned suspension make the RTR 160 a delight to ride both within the city and on the highway. In fact, the RTR 160 4V was so good we had no second thoughts about crowning it the new 160cc motorcycle benchmark.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 – Rs 2.5 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)
Without a doubt, the award for pulling a rabbit out of the hat goes to Royal Enfield. What the company has done with the Interceptor 650 is remarkable. Its 650cc parallel-twin engine offers the sort of refinement that even the Japanese would be proud of. And the bike’s no slouch when it comes to performance either, as evidenced by our road test. The near-faultless package is housed in a style that has just the right mix of retro and modern. As if all this wasn’t enough, Royal Enfield made our jaws drop with the Interceptor’s under-Rs 3 lakh on-road price tag!
Jawa – Rs 1.64 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)
The resurrection of the Jawa brand in India was definitely one of the highlights of 2018. And unlike the offerings from its chief rival, the new Jawa is built around a thoroughly modern engine and underpinnings. Although powered by a 300cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed transmission, the highlight of the new Jawa is its evocative design and styling. In fact, the company went the extra mile to retain the classic twin exhaust setup of yesteryear Jawas and even tried to make it sound similar. Did it succeed? Listen for yourself.
Yamaha YZF-R15 V3 – Rs 1.27 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)
Even though it was the FZ that raked in the numbers, the R15 was responsible for rebooting Yamaha’s image in India. After launching the V2.0 in 2011, the company at last introduced the R15 V3.0 in India this year. And we have no hesitation in saying that this is the most capable iteration yet of the entry-level sportbike from the Japanese manufacturer. It gets a powerful 155cc liquid-cooled engine and is the only bike in the segment to get VVA (Variable Valve Actuation) technology. On the features front, the bike sports a fully-digital instrument console, all-LED lights and an optional USB charger. The brilliant engine is complimented by the super agile Deltabox chassis that gives it excellent handling characteristics. And as our R15 V3 road test revealed, it’s still peerless as an entry-level supersport motorcycle.
Hero Xtreme 200R – Rs 89,900 (ex-showroom Delhi)
The Xtreme 200R is Hero’s first attempt in making a comeback into the entry-level performance segment. It is powered by a 199.6cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine that produces 18.4PS of power and 17.1Nm of torque. The 200R handles well and offers excellent rider ergonomics too. And though it isn’t the best-looking, best-handling, best-performing or even the best-equipped bike in its segment, where it steals a march over its rivals is pricing. With the Xtreme 200R, Hero is effectively offering a 200cc bike at near-160cc pricing, that too with single-channel ABS as standard. Now that is a proposition you just cannot ignore!
TVS Radeon 110 – Rs 48,990 (ex-showroom Delhi)
TVS seems to be on a mission of setting new benchmarks in every category it competes in and has succeeded in doing so with the RTR 160 4V, the NTorq 125 and the Radeon 110. With the latter, TVS also managed to spring a surprise as there were no spy pics or details about the Radeon 110 before its launch. The bike is powered by a 110cc engine that produces 8.4PS of power and 8.7Nm of torque, mated to a 4-speed gearbox. The engine scores high when it comes to refinement, fuel efficiency, tractability and even the exhaust note. In our TVS Radeon 110 road test, we came away impressed with the premium yet rugged package it offered.
KTM 125 Duke – Rs 1.18 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)
The KTM 125 Duke was a surprise in more ways than one. For starters, it came when nobody expected it to. Second, it was head and shoulders above any 125cc bike in India and third, it was priced close to most 200cc bikes in India. But as our 125 Duke first ride review showed, this bike is KTM’s way of making the Duke range more accessible to a larger pool of buyers and it has done a great job of it. The 125 Duke might not be outrageously fast but boasts of a dynamic ability that serves as the perfect stepping stone to the larger Dukes.
Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS – Rs 2.98 lakh (ex-showroom India)
The Ninja 300 has been replaced with the Ninja 400 in most markets around the world. However, the bike saw a radical change of fortunes in the Indian market. Not only was it offered with a dual-channel ABS setup, it also got massive price drop. Kawasaki heavily localised major components like the wheels, body panels, brakes and tyres, which brought down the Ninja 300’s price by a whopping Rs 62,000. In fact, the Ninja 300 ABS was the most affordable twin-cylinder bike in the country until the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 came along. With the price drop and inclusion of ABS, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 has once again positioned itself as a worthy entry-level sportbike.
BMW G 310 R – Rs 2.99 lakh & G 310 GS – Rs 3.49 lakh (both, ex-showroom India)
The G 310 R and G 310 GS are the first products to come out of the BMW-TVS collaboration. Manufactured in India and exported around the world, the bikes also marked BMW’s entry into the sub-500cc segment. And while TVS’ product from the collaboration, the RR 310, was launched in early 2018, it took a fair while for BMW’s twins to be officially launched in India. Although the twins impressed us with their fit, finish and overall package, the asking price was a bummer. On the whole however, the bikes have been a success for BMW with over 50,000 produced till now.
Kawasaki Ninja 400 – Rs 4.69 lakh (ex-showroom India)
The latest addition to the Ninja family, the Ninja 400 is a delightful motorcycle. Its gets H2-inspired styling that accentuates its big bike feel. The 399cc twin-cylinder engine offers class-leading performance and is yet highly tractable. The bike’s underpinnings give it a desirable balance between sharp handling and a comfortable ride quality. In fact, we were so smitten with the Ninja 400 that we hailed it as the best small Ninja yet. But there were disappointments too; Kawasaki's asking price for the bike being the biggest. That apart, as a potent track tool that can also take on commuting duties without breaking a sweat, the Kawasaki Ninja 400 has few rivals.