[Year in Review 2019] Here are the top motorcycle launches of this year
The year 2019 may not have been the best one for the Indian two-wheeler industry. The economic slowdown experienced by the market since before the festive season last year is still far from over. However, we saw several significant launches in the motorcycle sector. Not only have these motorcycles added more flavour to their manufacturer’s line-up but have also given significant options to customers.
Here are five of the biggest accessible motorcycle launches of 2019.
Hero XPulse 200
Introduced in May 2019, the Hero XPulse 200 picks up where the Impulse left off. This off-road focussed motorcycle is loads of fun on the dirt but may seem slightly out of breath on the highways. The motorcycle gets a 21-inch front wheel and a high 220 mm ground clearance. Also, the tall-set front fender, knuckle guards, aluminium engine bash plate, and a tall-placed exhaust adds to the function as well as form.
Having a bigger engine than the Impulse has helped the XPulse 200 but it still leaves us wishing for more. Despite that, the motorcycle provides oodles of fun, something previously unseen at this price tag.
The Hero XPulse 200 is priced at Rs 1.05 lakh for the fuel-injected version and Rs 97,000 for the carburetted unit (both prices ex-showroom, Delhi).
Also, the Bluetooth connected instrumentation gets navigation assist.
Standard cycle parts include conventional telescopic fork with long travel, disc brakes at both ends, and knobby tyres. The powertrain is the same 199.6cc air-cooled mill producing 18.4 PS of power and 17.1 Nm of torque. Besides that, the low kerb weight of 153 kg will be a boon while off-roading. However, we would have loved a bigger capacity fuel tank instead of the 13-litre unit available.
Bajaj Pulsar 125 Neon
To beat the ongoing downturn, Bajaj decided to go the affordable route with the iconic Pulsar badge. Not only has the Pune-based manufacturer been able to keep its volumes steady with the Pulsar 125 Neon, but also made the Pulsar brand accessible to newer riders. The motorcycle has the same styling elements as the more premium Pulsar 150. Besides that, it has an attractive sticker price of Rs 66,618 (ex-showroom, Delhi).
The powertrain of the Bajaj Pulsar 125 Neon is a 124.4cc DTS-i mill producing 12 PS of power and 11 Nm of torque. Positioned as a premium commuter, the motorcycle gets the familiar mix of digital and analogue instrumentation. The braking system includes a disc in the front and a drum in the rear. With the engine displacement below the 125cc mark, the company was able to offer the bike with CBS (Combined Braking System) to reduce costs.
Revolt RV 400
While electric vehicles are far from reaching its zenith in the country, several new scooters have been doing brisk business. However, the Revolt RV400 has managed to stand out from the crowd and holds the crown of being India’s first artificial intelligence (AI) enabled motorcycle. Launched in August 2019, the RV400 is available with an easy payment plan of Rs 3,499 or Rs 3,999 per month (for a period of 37 months).
Powering the Revolt RV400 is a 3.24 kWh battery pack, which gives the motorcycle a range of 150 km (in Eco mode). Besides that, the motorcycle also gets two more riding modes – Normal (100 km) and Sports (80 km). Also, the motorcycle has a top speed of 45 kmph, 65 kmph, and 85 kmph in Eco, Normal, and Sports mode respectively.
To juice up the lithium-ion battery of the RV400 fully, it takes a good 4.5 hours while 75 percent of the charging is achieved in three hours. Manufactured in Manesar, the motorcycle has features like LED lighting, upside-down front fork, digital display with real-time bike diagnosis, and Bluetooth connectivity.
A handy smartphone application gives access to battery range, trip information, geofencing, and battery-swapping stations locator. Customers can also select from four artificial sounds (Revolt, Roar, Rage, and Rebel) to mimic exhaust notes of conventional internal combustion engine motorcycles.
The Austrians sure do know how to build affordable sporty motorcycles, and the RC125 is a perfect example of that. Introduced in June 2019, the KTM RC125 is a potent pocket rocket with a long list of premium features. These include an upside-down WP fork upfront, 10-step adjustable rear monoshock, and projector headlamps.
Powering the RC125 is a 124.7cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine churning out 14.5 PS of power and 12 Nm of torque. It is shod with disc brakes at both ends and gets a single-channel ABS. Besides that, the RC125 gets digital instrumentation. However, it would have been amazing to see a fresher console in place of the orange backlit unit.
KTM RC125 has a very sporty seating posture with a low slung clip-on style handlebar and rear-set footpegs. This makes it one of the most affordable motorcycles to practise your craft at Rs 1.47 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
While that may still sound a bit expensive for a 125cc motorcycle, especially when the BS-VI compliant Yamaha R15 v3.0 is priced almost the same. However, the RC125 brings a sportier approach to the table, and a chance to sharpen your nuances of riding.
Suzuki Gixxer 250
This fully-faired Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 is easily one of the best everyday motorcycles in the country. Introduced in July 2019, the quarter-litre motorcycle can also double up as an occasional highway tourer adding to its value for money proposition. Especially, with the Rs 1.70 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) price tag it carries.
While the Gixxer SF 155 has been a segment favourite for critics, it always left with a desire for more performance. The 249cc single-cylinder mill in the Gixxer SF 250 produces 26.5 PS of power and 22.6 Nm of torque. The extra sixth cog in the gearbox also helps in making the motorcycle a great cruiser. Adding to this ability is the LED headlamp, which offers great visibility during the night. Besides that, the motorcycle also has features like reverse backlit instrumentation, clip-on handlebar, and dual-channel ABS.
Brakes include discs at both ends while the suspension system uses right-side down telescopic fork up front. Besides that, the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 uses a unique oil-cooling technology, which is not only more efficient than air-cooling technology but, also lighter than conventional liquid-cooling.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)