Apart from two new scooters and the Africa Twin, Honda promises a 'fun' bike in the 150-200cc range
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The Honda CRF 1000L Africa Twin is one bike we have been wishing Honda got to India and it seems our prayers will be answered pretty soon. The icing on the cake is Honda's decision to assemble it in India. Honda officials state that they have already begun trial assembly of the bike at their Manesar plant. By assembling the Africa Twin here, instead of importing it as a Completely Built Unit (CBU), Honda will be able to reduce the price by close to a lakh and might sell it for around Rs 13 lakh.
The original Africa Twin had had quite a cult following for its breathtaking range of abilities and go-anywhere capability. The new CRF 1000L aka Africa Twin, however, has grown bigger and sports a 998cc parallel twin motor that is good for 95PS at 7500rpm and 98Nm of torque at 6000rpm.
Internationally, the Africa Twin comes with two transmission options - a six-speed manual and a six-speed Dual Clutch automatic (DCT) transmission. Surprisingly, Honda will not be getting the manual version to India. Instead, the DCT automatic variant will be the only one coming here. This seems to have been concluded from the consumer survey Honda had conducted for the Africa Twin in India where a lot of them preferred the automatic, which has received rave reviews from motoring scribes abroad. Also, Honda wants to showcase their new technology to Indian customers. When launched, the Africa Twin will be the only DCT-equipped motorcycle sold in India.
Another big news will be the arrival of a 150-200cc bike which Honda officials term as a 'fun' motorcycle. The bike will mostly be a faired version of the Hornet 160. If launched, this will compete against the Suzuki Gixxer SF which has been doing quite well and currently has no competition in that space. Honda has found a good niche in India when it comes to scooters.
Barring the Navi, Honda currently has five scooters in India in the 110-125cc space which they plan to expand to seven by the end of the year. While the officials did not release any more information, they pointed out the possibility of the Honda Dio in a more powerful 125cc trim. It was always the plan to expand the Navi family tree and apart from new customisation options and kits, Honda is looking to introduce new models based off the mini bike. In fact, at the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo, with the Navi, were a scooter and a step-thru concept. It is highly likely that one of these two concepts will be launched in production trim this year, especially the scooter variant as it will be a more practical alternative with a lot of cubby holes and storage spaces. On the other hand, the red bike shown at the expo came with a pillion cowl which might get ditched for a flat one-piece seat. It also had a lockable section in the centre of the floorboard which could have either been a storage space or a fuel tank. This would make for an interesting entry level mini-scooter that could go up against the TVS Scooty Zest.