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Sunday, February 9, 2014

2014 Auto Expo - Motorcycles

This years Auto Expo has been pretty exciting as far as motorcycles go. Unlike the last two events, there was a definite flair from most of the manufacturers to showcase better and more diverse portfolios. On one hand the two top Indian players - Hero Moto Crop and Bajaj Auto literally locked horns and came up with some market shattering products, on the other hand, the international players like Harley Davidson, Suzuki and Honda showcased their future offerings.

Sadly enough, Mahindra and Yamaha India played a very sedated participation, wherein Yamaha India stuck to it's mass approach strategy with scooters and Mahindra tried to re-showcase the Mojo in a hope that it would still catch the fancy of the enthusiasts.

This year's Auto Expo re-affirms the fact that the Indian Motorcycle market has come of the age, when the average Indian janta was very highly concerned about the norms and tradition and going for anything in the performance segment was considered to be a blasphemy. This also has to do with the increase in the buying capacity of the average Indian. Now a motorcycle in the price bracket of 2-4 lacs seems like pretty much achievable, and then there's the super premium class - the life style class so to speak. I won't be wrong in saying that now we Indians are getting spoiled for choices in Motorcycles.

TVS Motors India
Apart from the regular iterations of the Apache and some concepts, what TVS Motors India did manage this time is to show us the concept 250cc machine, code named Draken. 

An edgy design (glimpses of what seems to be BMW template bits), the Draken does look intriguing and you cannot escape without noticing it. The motorcycle has some interesting features like the design of head lamp, the rear seat, the side mounted rear suspension and the way the exhaust has been conceptualized. I've been visiting the Auto Expo since 2008 and every year TVS motor displays an interesting concept but unfortunately I'm yet to see any one of those concepts out in production, and I really hope the Draken sees the light of the day this time, because TVS Motors India has immense potential and I'm saddened to see that it's loosing out on it's share on performance motorcycles apart from the Apaches.

Harley Davidson India
True to it's nature, the Harley Davidson stand was flamboyant and had that debonairish aura to it. Live hard rock, over dose of chrome and Harleys all around.

We got the Harley Davidson Street 750 and many customizations of it, but what's important is that, the Harley Davidson Street 750 is the first Harley in years, and is the first Harley that has been built keeping in mind markets like India. Read more about it in our exclusive Harley coverage.

Suzuki India
As far as motorcycles go, Suzuki India gave us three motorcycles - Suzuki Inazuma 250, Suzuki GSXR 150 and Suzuki V Storm 1000. Most of the touring enthusiasts were waiting for the V Storm with bated breath and now it's here finally. Suzuki's flaghsips GSXR 1000 and Hayabusa are already very popular in India, and with the addition of V Storm, Suzuki should enjoy further success.

For the Inazuma, well the story can be slightly difficult in proportions considering, it's a very late entry in the quarter liter market, and at a point when the market has already started it's transition to the 300cc and 390cc engine capacities. Further more, the Inazuma enters the market with a price tag of 3 lacs plus (well a twin pot engine configuration does has it's cost), but not with the performance numbers to match, and this might come as a disappointment to many (myself included)

Honda Motors India Limited
As far as motorcycles go, Hnonda Motors India Limited showcased two very important offerings - The Honda CX-01 concept and the 2014 Honda CBR 650F.

The Honda CX-01 has been designed and conceptualized ground up at Honda's Manesar, Haryana facility. Being developed as an urban tool, the CX-01 concept is slated to be the next generation all rounder, a take it to anywhere and have fun kinda motorcycle.

On the other hand there was the 2014 Honda CBR 650R, and in-line four 80 horse power sports touring tool which is slated to for a 2015 CKD entry into the Indian market. Compared to the other multi-cylinder 650s we have in the Indian market (read the Kawasaki Ninja 650 and the Hyosung GT 650R), the 2014 Honda CBR 650R is the most powerful and promises to provide the most fun for the buck. Well did I say buck?? Well, it's being said that the CKD unit might set you back by 7 lacs ex-showroom Delhi.

But above all the most intriguing display was Cassy Stoner's MotoGP RC213V Honda. The Honda representative was kind enough to give us great insight on some of the innovations that are there on this master piece machinery.

Yamaha India
Well, for Yamaha India, the prime focus was still on mass scooter, but then what we did get to see is the concept M1 derived Yamaha R25 - the concept Yamaha 250cc machine. Enthusiasts in India were almost dead bleeding while waiting for this motorcycle and just in time last year, at the ECMIA, we got the first glimpse of the Yamaha R25. 

As always, the speculations and expectations are stratospheric in proportions and there are already talks that when the R25 finally makes it on the production line, it might well be a R3 (a 300cc machine to give a tough challenge to Kawasaki Ninja 300, Honda CBR 300R and KTM RC 390). Yamaha has the habit of making it's believers wait till they are just about to fall off, so let's see, wait and watch.

Triumph motorcycle first became a national sensation two years back when everyone of us thought that they would start operations in India in just a matter of months. But then two years since, we are still waiting for the first Triumphs to hit the road officially. Triumph motorcycle were here at the 12th Auto Expo with all their arsenal and they re-showcased their stable and announcing some very premium price tags. 

Well, Triumph have their plans and targets so, all I can say is that, there's no doubt that they have some very amazing motorcycles up their sleeves, it's now a matter of coming up with some equally amazing marketing strategies.
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  1. Yamaha, Suzuki needs major shake-up in their management hierarchy. Can't understand their take on Indian market! TVS always promises much but delivers little. Bajaj, Hero and Honda are the ones to look out for. HD seems to be in a league of it's own and is pretty much having strong hold on their turf and seems like considering taking another Indian legend head on!! Best of luck to HD.

    Throttle quest has done a good work. Good job Sajal and Ken da!! Have been keeping a close tab on both of your updates. Sadly, didn't make to the AE14. First time after the motorcycling passion bit me

  2. Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this Cylinder Sleeve


Item Reviewed: 2014 Auto Expo - Motorcycles Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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