Here's a look at what we believe are the top 5 two-wheeler launches of 2018.
2018 is over – well, nearly. And there’s no denying that it’s been a great year for two-wheeler enthusiasts. From the very beginning of the year, there was a barrage of new bikes that entered our market, and the trend continued throughout 2018. It was a very good year.
Now, while there were a lot of exotic machines that were launched in the year that'll be soon gone by, most of us were excited about the ones that were more attainable. In other words, mainstream motorcycles that a majority of us can afford. So, let's take a look back at the top 5 motorcycle launches of 2018,
- TVS NTorq 125: Okay…this may not be a motorcycle, but the NTorq 125 isn’t short on thrills. Launched in February, the NTorq marked TVS’ entry into the 125cc automatic scooter segment. And it was a huge success right away. As we’ve said this time and again, the NTorq gets everything right on the money. It’s playful, comfortable, practical, and trendy and comes packed with a raft of segment-first connectivity features like Bluetooth smartphone pairing and Navigation. More importantly, it’s priced very well, and the quality is top-notch. In fact, it’s because of these virtues that it’s one of our ‘Best of 2018’ two-wheelers.
- Yamaha R15 V3: When we rode the third iteration of the Yamaha R15 back in March, we concluded that it’s a ‘proof that you don’t need big horsepower or deep pockets to have fun around a racetrack – or on your favourite twisting mountain roads.’ It’s self-explanatory, really. The R15 V3 builds on the legacy of its predecessors and moves the game forward in every aspect. It looks sharper than ever, handles like a dream, and the new engine with VVA (variable valve actuation) technology is a masterpiece. If you want a true sports bike at the budget end of the spectrum, there’s nothing that comes close to the R15 V3, period!
- BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS: After making us beg and wait for nearly two years, BMW Motorrad finally launched the BMW G 310 twins in India in 2018. The G 310 R and G 310 GS are the most affordable BMW motorcycles in the world, but they carry a little more significance in our market, for these two are the first made-in-India BMW products. So, of course, expectations were high. But did these two deliver the goods? Well, from the very day of their launch, the BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS were, mostly, criticised for their high price tags. Let’s take the G 310 R first. You see, not only does it cost a lot more than the TVS Apache RR 310 – a motorcycle which’s virtually identical underneath, but it also commands quite a premium over the KTM 390 Duke, which has more equipment and is more powerful. Then there is the G 310 GS. Sure, it doesn’t have a direct competition and is the only adventure bike in the segment, but at nearly Rs 4.30 lakh on-road price, it’s quite expensive. The thing is, despite their exorbitant price-tags, we found the G 310 R and G 310 GS to be superb products after we tested them. They score high in terms of quality and comfort and are definitely more refined than the TVS. Plus, don’t forget that these motorcycles, at the end of the day, give you the novelty of owning a BMW product.
- Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 & Continental GT 650: Unarguably the biggest two-wheeler launch of 2018. The Interceptor and Continental are brilliant in every aspect and there’s hardly anything to complain about. The quality and fit-and-finish of these bikes are spectacular, the parallel-twin motor is super refined and the riding experience is absolutely phenomenal. Not to mention, they look beautiful and the design screams modern classic from every angle. And then there’s the icing on the cake – their pricing. The Royal Enfield 650 twins are priced between Rs 2.50 lakh and Rs 2.85 lakh (ex-showroom). Having ridden both these bikes extensively, we can tell you that at those prices, these two are quite a bargain. No wonder, the Interceptor 650 has already been named the 2019 Indian Motorcycle of the Year.
- Jawa & Jawa Forty Two: Last but not least, 2018 marked the return of the iconic Jawa nameplate. Jawa, the Czech motorcycle brand, which is now owned by Mahindra’s Classic Legends, started its second innings in India after a gap of 22 years. Upon its return, the company announced not one but three new products for the Indian market, namely, the Jawa, Forty Two and Perak. The Jawa harks back to the original with its classic lines, while the Forty Two is the modern interpretation of what a contemporary Jawa motorcycle would look like. Then there’s the Perak, which is a bobber. At the moment, only the Jawa and Forty Two are on sale, while the Perak will be launched later in 2019. We recently got our hands on the Jawa and Forty Two, and what we loved about these two is how they club the essence of the original motorcycle with modern engineering. The styling is still classic, but everything else – the engine, frame, brakes, wheels, instrumentation, etc. – is up-to-date and new age. We loved them, and we know we aren’t alone since all the units of these two new Jawas are already booked/sold out till September 2019!