A lot of exciting motorcycles were introduced in 2017. We bring you a list of our favourites of the lot.
While I am sitting in a meeting room with the team, I suddenly feel that I have teleported to a war zone. Reason? Our discussion about this story had heated up and I was almost expecting a bullet or a cannonball flying in my direction. You see, 2017 has seen a lot of exciting motorcycle launches – right from the affordable Kawasaki Ninja 650 to the everyday superbike Ducati SuperSport. And then, of course, there was the Harley Davidson Street Rod, Suzuki GSX range, and numerous others. It doesn’t come as a surprise that the argument blew way out of proportion then, does it? Thankfully, our Ed called the United Nations just before shit got real and we managed to come to a consensus about our five favourite motorcycles of 2017. So, before the fervid discussions start all over again and we make amends to the list for the 157th time, here goes.
- KTM 390 Duke: When the KTM 390 was brought into India more than five years back, it made its way into the hearts and the garages of a lot of enthusiasts. It was bred on two simple ideas – light weight and extreme power. The 2017 390 Duke is what happens when you work on an already impressive motorcycle to make it even better. From engine refinement, riding ergonomics to overall ride quality, the 390 Duke has evolved amazingly well. And although it demands more money than its predecessor, it is still the most affordable motorcycle to make that kind of power. Isn’t it obvious then why the 2017 390 Duke made it on this list?
- Triumph Street Triple: We first got our hands on the 2017 Triumph Street Triple in Spain earlier this year, and it would be an understatement to say that it blew our minds. This new iteration is lighter than its predecessor and makes more power too. But despite all of that, it still hasn’t lost the versatility and the friendliness that it has gained the reputation for. In fact, the new Street Triple raises the bar in every way. It is the ease and finesse with which the Street Triple performs that makes it arguably the best performance motorcycle for Indian conditions. In fact, we loved the Street Triple so much that it even topped the charts on our ‘Best of 2017’ awards.
- Honda Africa Twin: A lot of things about this adventure tourer strike the right chord. To start with, the Africa Twin doesn’t look as intimidating as some of its rivals and a lot of it has to do with its lean body. At 245kg it isn’t a light motorcycle by any means, but the way Honda has managed to balance this weight is praiseworthy. And then, of course, there is the DCT to make life rather simple. Riding on the road or off it, the gearbox shifts smoothly and right when you want it to – at least for the most part. It does miss out on a few features like ride-by-wire and an adjustable windscreen, but as an overall package, this adventure tourer wears the Africa Twin badge with pride.
- Triumph Bonneville Bobber: The Triumph Bonneville Bobber may not be the most practical or affordable motorcycle out there but leaving these two aspects aside, it performs well in every other way. Attention to detail from Triumph is laudable – quality all around is top notch and you won’t find any exposed wires too. The Bobber is stiffly sprung, so while it can be a pain to ride on bad roads, it is as much fun around twisties. But most of all, we loved the Bonneville Bobber for the beauty it is. Triumph has managed to capture the retro-modern charm so well that you just can’t help drool over it.
- Kawasaki Z650/Ninja 650: Both of these aren’t perfect motorcycles. You feel a bit of vibration of the engine on the handlebar, the Dunlop tyres it comes fitted could have been stickier and the soft rear suspension sometimes unsettles it when you encounter a mid-corner bump. Now you must be wondering why the motorcycles have made it on this list in the first place. The Z650 and the Ninja 650 are examples of doing small things right to achieve a bigger goal. Both these motorcycles have just the right amount of power to be your daily rides and double up for your touring requirements too. It may not be the nimblest performance motorcycle in the business but it is fun nonetheless. And most importantly, priced at just around Rs 5 lakh, both these motorcycles are well within reach for most enthusiasts unlike a lot of the middle-weight offerings on sale today. Just for the fact that it can be a rather easy step up from an entry-level performance motorcycle to a middle-weight one, it deserves a spot on this list.