Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin:
Expected Price: Rs 14 – 15 lakh
This is a bike that has its focus clear, off-road, as its name suggests and dictates what it should be. The Africa Twin has been one of the most iconic bikes from Honda and the name makes a comeback after 12 years. The road-going version of the original Africa Twin shared its soul with the purpose-built NXR 750 which won the Paris-Dakar rally four times in a row in the ‘80s. The bike became an immediate icon, resulting in instant success for the road-going version. The all-new Africa Twin broke cover at the 2014 EICMA first, and has been on sale internationally for over a year. Honda India showcased the bike at the 2016 Auto Expo and will be launching the motorcycle here this year, taking the more affordable CKD route.
Taking inspiration from Honda’s CRF motocross range, the Africa Twin maintains a tall and slim stance thanks to the compact parallel-twin engine. The 998cc parallel-twin motor makes 95PS of power and 98Nm of peak torque. Yes, they definitely aren’t impressive figures when compared to other big adventure bikes in the market, but as per Honda, the powertrain has been designed to offer usable performance everywhere. So expect the Africa Twin to have a rather linear torque curve. This should also allow the bike to transmit power and torque more effectively when off-roading. Mated to the engine is an updated version of the 6-speed DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) unit that comes with a ‘D’ and three ‘S’ modes.
The dual-purpose bike features flat, wide bars with hand guards and ample space to mount a navigation unit. The bike has a kerb weight of 232kgs (standard) and 242kg (DCT), which is a shade lighter than BMW’s R1200GS, that weighs 256 kg. Seat height is adjustable and varies from 850mm to 870mm, but the seat height could still be a concern for shorter riders.
The CRF1000L gets fully adjustable 45mm USDs upfront with 230mm of travel, while a fully adjustable monoshock with 220mm of travel performs duty at the rear. Braking duties are handled by two 310mm discs with radially mounted four-piston callipers at the front and a 256mm single wave disc at the rear. With the launch expected by mid-2017, the Africa Twin’s closest competitors are the BMW R1200GS, Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro, Triumph Tiger 800 XCA, Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and the Kawasaki Versys 1000. That’s quite a list of competition, and it will be interesting to see how the Honda fares against these rather well-established names.
MV Agusta Brutale 800:
Expected Price: Around Rs 15 lakh
One of the most loved motorcycles from MV Agusta, the Brutale has always been a poster bike for enthusiasts. The all-new Brutale 800 was unveiled at the 2015 EICMA with changes all-around to make it even more attractive and sharper to ride, including an updated version of MV’s 798cc triple engine. The new bike gets a revised headlamp design with a full-LED setup. The aluminium alloy trellis frame is now lighter as well, to reduce overall weight and aid handling.
The revised 798cc, three-cylinder liquid-cooled engine with counter-rotating crankshaft produces 117PS of power and 83Nm of peak torque. The bike also gets Ride by Wire now, while the electronics suite includes eight levels of traction control, three riding modes and switchable ABS. The motor is mated to a 6-speed gearbox assisted by EAS (Electronically Assisted Shift), along with a hydraulically controlled slipper clutch for smoother downshifts.
The bike gets fully adjustable 43mm Marzocchi inverted forks at the front, while the rear features a Sachs monoshock linked to a single-sided swingarm. Braking is taken care of by Brembo units consisting of 320mm twin floating discs with radial-type 4-piston callipers at the front and a 220mm single disc with a 2-piston calliper at the rear. The Bosch 9 Plus ABS system with RLM (Rear wheel Lift-up Mitigation) contributes to better safety while new Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres promise better road grip.
The Brutale 800 is being homologated in India and will be sold via the SKD route. It is likely to hit showrooms by the first quarter of 2017. The new Brutale 800 will take on the likes of the Yamaha MT-09, Ducati Monster 821, Kawasaki Z800 and upcoming Triumph Street Triple.
Ducati Multistrada 950:
Expected Price: Rs 13 -14 lakh
The Multistrada 950 aims to make adventure touring more accessible and friendly. The bike is based on the highly acclaimed Multistrada 1200 and looks just like its elder sibling and even uses the same frame. Unlike the 1200, it makes do with a dual-sided swingarm, lesser rider aids and features to make it more affordable. Seat height however, is on the higher side at 840mm and is not adjustable.
Powering the Multistrada 950 is the 937cc liquid-cooled Testastretta L-twin from the Hypermotard 939. The engine offers 115PS of power and 96Nm of torque and comes mated to a 6-speed gearbox, which is a lot lesser than the bigger Multistrada 1200’s 160PS and 136Nm. The good news for aspiring buyers is that Ducati has retained all the crucial electronic aids and four riding modes. The Ducati Safety Pack which includes the latest Bosch 9.1 MP ABS with 3-levels of adjustment, and 8-levels for the DTC (Ducati Traction Control).
The bike uses 48mm adjustable USD front forks upfront and an adjustable Sachs monoshock at the rear. Stopping power is courtesy Brembo’s M4.32 Monobloc radial callipers that grip the dual 320 mm discs up front, and a 265mm disc and floating Brembo calliper at the rear. The configuration should not only make the 950 a more affordable adventure tourer, but a friendlier one to ride too. When launched, the new Multistrada 950 will lock horns with the Triumph Tiger 800, Honda Africa Twin, the Kawasaki Versys 1000 and the Suzuki V-Strom 1000.
2017 Honda CBR1000RR:
Expected Price: Rs 20 – 21 lakh
The Fireblade, as the CBR1000RR is also known, is an icon. Honda didn’t really update the motorcycle in the last few years, but now the Japanese bike maker is back with an all-new version of its flagship superbike. At first glance, the new bike’s design looks like an evolution of the previous generation model’s, though interestingly Honda claims the new CBR1000RR is 90 percent different from its predecessor. Honda has managed to shave off 15 kg off the older ‘blade and up the power output by 11PS, which is some serious improvement.
For 2017, the biggest highlight has to be the electronic aids on offer. Honda has left no stone unturned this time around, and the new CBR1000RR comes equipped with a 5-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that manages the ABS system, a 9-level Honda Selectable Torque Control traction control (HSTC), Throttle By Wire (TBW), Rear Lift Control (RLC) and Wheelie Control. The bike also gets three ride modes along with five levels of power delivery and three levels of engine braking control.
The bike continues to use the same 998cc 4-cylinder liquid-cooled engine, but obviously with a host of comprehensive changes that have helped up the output to 191PS of power and 116Nm of peak torque. The 2017 Honda CBR1000RR will have to compete with superbikes like the Yamaha YZF-R1, Suzuki GSX-R1000 and Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.
2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000:
Expected Price: Rs 17-18.5 lakh
Yes, this is the 2018 version of Suzuki’s V-Strom 1000 for the 2017 lineup. Go figure. Suzuki has given its V-Storm 1000 a few nips and tucks to give it more commanding road presence. The bike is known to be a big adventure tourer that can multi-task as a commuter too, which makes it an interesting proposition.
Suzuki has revised the design and positioning of the windscreen as well, to offer better wind protection to the rider when munching miles on it and thus improve its touring quotient. The height and angle of the screen can be adjusted as well. Other updates include handguards with larger handlebar vibration dampers and protection for the engine as standard fitment.
One of the biggest highlights is the addition of ABS as standard fitment. The new bike also features Suzuki’s new Motion Track and Combination Brake System which aids control during heavy braking. The new V-Strom also features cornering ABS with the linked-brake feature, wherein the rear brake is automatically applied when a pre-determined amount of brake pressure at the front brakes is reached. The system will also adjust the brake pressure depending upon the lean angle to provide maximum traction.
The bike is powered by an updated version of the same 1037cc V-twin engine, and the motor now complies with Euro 4 norms. Power figures continue to remain the same at 101PS of power and 103Nm of peak torque, though, but we expect better refinement, and the performance should be more usable too.
The current version of the V-Strom 1000 on sale in India is expected to be replaced with this new motorcycle towards the end of the calendar year.
2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000:
Expected Price: Rs 18 - 21 lakh
Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 has enjoyed a cult status in the litre-class superbike segment for a long time, and fans of the legendary motorcycle can now rejoice. The all-new 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 was showcased at the EICMA last year and is an all-new motorcycle in every sense. The design is all-new, obviously, while the engine has undergone a sea change and there’s a long list of rider aids on offer as well.
For the first time in the history of the model, Suzuki will be offering two variants of the motorcycle, one being the standard version, the other being the more premium GSX-R1000R which packs in more goodies. The goodies include a higher rev limiter, ride by wire throttle and, most importantly, a mechanical variable valve timing system, tried and tested by Suzuki on its MotoGP bikes over the past decade.
The bike also gets a brand new electronics package including three ride modes, a six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), 10 traction level control settings and banking-sensitive ABS for the standard variant. The ‘R’ variant gets some serious equipment including launch control and a bi-directional quick shifter.
Suzuki is yet to launch the new GSX-R1000 in the international market, but the wait should not be too long for buyers internationally. We expect Suzuki India to launch the motorcycle here this year, and while it isn’t confirmed yet, Suzuki India could also look at assembling the GSX-R1000 in India itself, just like the Hayabusa, which should definitely help in pricing the bike better, possibly even lower than the existing model. When launched, the new GSX-R1000 will compete with the Kawasaki ZX-10R, Honda CBR1000RR, Yamaha YZF-R1, Ducati 1299 Panigale and MV Agusta F4.
2017 Ducati Monster 1200:
Expected Price: Rs 24 - 26 lakh
The Italian manufacturer has updated its Monsters for the new year with better performance and refinement than before, and the 1200 being the top of the line Monster packs in a bigger punch now. There are subtle design changes as well, but you may not notice them at first glance. For instance, the fuel tank is slightly bulkier looking now, to resemble the original Monster’s, while the tail section has been revised and the instrument cluster is now a full colour display.
Other updates include a smaller swingarm for better handling and new die-cast aluminium footpegs for both rider and passenger.
The updated Monster uses the same Testastretta 11° DS motor with an improved throttle response and of course higher outputs. The standard Monster 1200 now develops 152PS of power and 126Nm of peak torque which is a 15PS gain over the previous motorcycle. The S variant, on the other hand, offers 5PS more than the previous.
The S gets updated cycle parts as well. It has ditched the 43mm Kayaba forks for fully adjustable 48mm Ohlins USDs. At the rear, the Sachs monoshock has been replaced with an Ohlins unit as well. Brakes have been beefed up too, and the S version gets bigger 330mm dual discs at the front with Brembo M50 callipers instead of the dual 320mm discs and Brembo M4.32 callipers.
BMW Motorrad S1000XR:
Expected Price: Rs 28 lakh
The Germans have fine-tuned the much-appreciated S1000XR with upgrades, addressing riders’ concerns in the previous version. The adventure tourer now gets what BMW Motorrad calls ‘Vibration free handlebars’ to tackle the vibration issue the previous bike had, which as per reports would become unbearable at high revs. The S1000XR is part of the new breed of adventure tourers that are more road biased and are sportier to ride. Expected to go on sale in India once BMW Motorrad formally launches its motorcycles in India this year, the XR will compete with Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 primarily.
As is the case with most of Motorrad’s bikes, the S1000XR’s styling is a bit quirky, and might not be appreciated by everyone, but BMW has not revised the design as part of the updates. The adventure tourer also continues to use the same engine as before, which is the inline-four cylinder motor borrowed from the S1000RR and S1000R. The 999cc motor has been updated to comply with Euro 4 norms and now develops 165PS as compared to160PS earlier. The bike comes loaded with one of the most advanced electronics packages -- ride-by-wire throttle system, slipper clutch and BMW Motorrad Race ABS that can be switched off as well.
The S1000XR uses adjustable 46mm USDs up front and an adjustable monoshock at the back. Braking duties are handled by twin 320mm dual floating discs with 4-piston fixed callipers in front and a 265mm single disc with dual-piston floating calliper at the rear. And with a kerb weight of 228kg, the S1000XR is one of the lightest in its segment.
Expected Price: Rs 12.5 lakh
A superbike from Ducati for the everyday rider. The company felt the 959 Panigale and 1299 Panigale are a little too extreme for everyday usage. Hence the SuperSport, which aims to offer the best of two worlds - everyday comfort and practicality, and the fiery performance and razor sharp handling of a sportsbike. Unsurprisingly, design is similar to the Panigale’s, and the SuperSport also gets LED daytime running lamps. The riding position, expectedly, is more upright than the Panigale’s, and the SuperSport gets a set of raised clip-ons for a relaxed riding position. It also gets a full-colour TFT instrument console and a windscreen that is adjustable up to 50mm. The bike is on offer in two variants: SuperSport and SuperSport S.
Under the skin, the SuperSport borrows the 937cc Testastretta twin-cylinder mill from the Hypermotard 939. Keeping in mind the character of the motorcycle, the engine has been tuned to deliver 114PS of power. Ducati has made almost 80 per cent of the torque (96Nm) available at a mere 3000rpm. The bike comes with three riding modes, Ducati Safety pack including 3 ABS levels, and Ducati traction control with 8 levels to choose from.
The standard SuperSport gets fully adjustable 41 mm Marzocchi forks and a Sachs adjustable monoshock, while the SuperSport S get fully adjustable 48 mm USD Ohlins forks and a fully adjustable Ohlins monoshock. It also gets a quickshifter and a colour co-ordinated rear seat cowl.
Ducati should launch the SuperSport internationally by April this year, and the India launch should happen a few months later.
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