In 2012 we chose the best in all of eight different two wheeler categories where Bajaj walked away with double honours. Honda and Royal Enfield also tasted success in their individual motorcycle segments, Yamaha for its first scooter offering, while it was an Italian heartthrob that even with little competition in its alley was deserving enough to win the Import Superbike of the year this time around
Scooter of the Year
Venturing into the scooter space with the Ray, Yamaha has managed to shake up the segment in a promising manner. Despite being marketed and targeted at women scooter buyers in India, the Ray has amassed sizable popularity across both genders. One of the key reasons for it drawing attention is because it’s a solidly built and well-made product much like all Yamaha offerings. Powered by a peppy 113cc engine, the Ray is engineered for refinement and smoothness while being fashionably packaged to appeal to its target customers. The ergonomics, ride and comfort provided by the Yamaha Ray supersedes any of the scooters plying on Indian roads today. (Also read: Yamaha Ray: First Ride)
So when one takes into consideration the entire experience astride the Ray and factors in the lively and energetic motor delivering respectable fuel efficiency coupled with a competitive pricing it is difficult to find a flaw with the new Ray. And our jury too shared the same opinion after having put the ray through its paces amidst a line-up of rather competent and strong rivals like the gorgeously styled new Honda Dio, the iconic Vespa, the fast and fun Suzuki Swish 125 or even the Maestro, from the trusted Hero brand. The general consensus amongst the jury was that the Ray comes across as a fresh design and model from a reputed brand like Yamaha boasting excellent built quality and a sophisticated design in the burgeoning scooter segment in the country.
Motorcycle upto 110cc
Honda Dream Yuga
Honda’s weapon to foray into the clogged mass market segment, the Dream Yuga certainly left a lasting impression upon all the jury members and they all voiced a common opinion calling the Yuga a worthy successor to the iconic Hero Splendor. A frugal 109cc mated to a slick 4-speed gearbox tuned for efficient city commuting, the Dream Yuga possesses the ideal setup suited to the average Indian commuter.
Conservative and minimal in its form but serving each and every function expected of a 100cc commuter with perfection, the Honda Dream Yuga has struck all the right notes and it only guarantees that Honda will be singing a glorious tune in years to come thanks to this small wonder from the Japanese giant.
110cc - 125cc Motorcycle
Bajaj Discover 125ST
Launched without much fanfare, the Discover 125ST from Bajaj Auto made a rather subtle entry into the 125cc segment but it packed in quite a few goodies that have never been witnessed in this class of motorcycles. For starters the new Discover 125ST gets a 4-valve head with Bajaj Auto patented twin sparkplug technology while on the outside, there are corrugated fins for better heat transfer on the air-cooled engine. But then it is not simply the technology inside the new Discover that impressed our jury but the overall package of the Discover 125ST bringing class-leading tech and excellent performance matched with killer pricing which helped it bag top honours. (Also read: Bajaj Discover 125 ST: First Ride)
Enthusiast Motorcycle upto 180cc
The Honda CBR150R might not have raised a storm in the 150cc class, but it sure left its mark on our jury with its over-energetic motor eager to be revved hard and its neutral handling making it perfect machine for beginner enthusiasts as well as seasoned riders. Its lightweight physique and extremely well-drawn ergonomics gave the CBR150R added brownie points handing it the award. (Also read: Honda CBR150R: Road Test)
Enthusiast Motorcycle 250cc –500cc
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500
The Thunderbird 500 is quite a massive leap ahead in motorcycling terms for Royal Enfield than we’ve ever seen compared to its current model line-up. The bike cruises close to three-digit speeds without breaking a sweat and with the bigger 20-litre fuel tank and the kind of efficiency it returned, it will cover longer distances without having to stop for fuel. Add to that the excess of mounting options to load up your entire luggage and you get an all-rounded touring machine. And borrowing the new motor from its Classic sibling has done a world of good to the overall reliability and performance of the new Thunderbird, which makes it a very good option for those looking for an affordable cruiser in India. (Also read: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500: Road Test)
Ducati Monster 795
Undoubtedly the most head-turning motorcycle launched in the country this year, the Ducati Monster 795 drew eyeballs from everyone amongst our jury as well as all bystanders wherever it went. Employing a powerful 803cc Vee-twin motor from the elite 796 Monster but running underpinnings from the low-spec 696 sibling, the Monster 795 brings the revered rich flavour associated with Ducati at an affordable price point in the Indian market. It is fast and fashionable while being comfortable and easy to ride on our Indian roads. Impressing one and all by a large margin, the Monster had no strong contenders to fight with in its class and it took clean win in the category of Import Superbikes. (Also read: Ducati Monster 795: First Ride)
Bajaj Pulsar 200NS
Enthusiast Motorcycles 180cc – 250cc
True to its streetfighter genes, the Pulsar 200NS had to battle some really strong rivals in its category of Enthusiast Motorcycles 180cc – 250cc. Most of the challenge came from the KTM 200 Duke, which to a large extent successfully wooed the jury with its hyper-energetic power delivery and lightweight character matched by equally radical design. But then once the money factor was looked upon, the rather large gap between the pricing of the two motorcycles set things right as the Pulsar, like its long legacy, once again brings power to the people, offering excellent bang for the buck. No wonder then that it also bagged the coveted ZigWheels Bike of the Year honours for 2012. (Also read: 2012 Bajaj Pulsar 200NS: World Exclusive First Ride)