The year 2018 saw quite a few interesting bikes and scooters coming our way. Royal Enfield, with the Interceptor, showed us that a 650cc twin-cylinder bike can be had for less than Rs 3 lakh and the Ather 450 showed us that electric scooters could be premium and fun to ride. Here’s our list of the best bikes and scooters that were launched this year.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650:
Price (ex-showroom Delhi): Rs 2.5 lakh
The Interceptor impressed us in many ways. It looks properly authentic with fantastic level of fit and finish. The 650cc parallel-twin motor is refined and with its 270-degree crank offers good low to mid-range performance and a lovely soundtrack. It offers a good balance between ride and handling. In fact, if it were not for the RE badge, you would mistake it for a Honda. The sub-Rs 3 lakh on-road pricing is the icing on the cake.
Price (ex-showroom Delhi): Rs 1.64 lakh
The revival of Jawa motorcycles has an interesting twist. Unlike the Royal Enfield Classic 350 which carries retro underpinnings and powertrain with a neo-retro design, the Jawa looks properly old-school but hides modern underpinnings and motor underneath. Attention to detail is exquisite and can be seen on the 300cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder motor that has been designed to look like an air-cooled motor. It even gets twin exhaust pipes like the Jawa’s of yore.
Yamaha R15 v3.0:
Price (ex-showroom Delhi): Rs 1.27 lakh
In many ways, the new Yamaha R15 v3.0 is a substantial leap from its predecessor, the R15 v2.0. The new bodywork draws inspiration from the larger R1 and R6 superbikes and looks larger than the version 2.0. It gets modern features like LED headlamp and tail lamps and a full digital instrument cluster. Underneath the deltabox frame, it gets a new and larger 155cc liquid-cooled single. It gets variable valve timing for better performance throughout the rev range and makes 19.3PS, almost as much as the larger 200cc bikes out there. All in all, the track tool for beginners has gotten even better.
TVS Apache RTR 160 4V:
Price (ex-showroom Delhi): Rs 82,810
The new TVS Apache RTR 160 4V set a new benchmark in the 160cc category. It carries the new Apache design and looks more like the RTR 200 than its predecessor. You have a highly refined 160cc air- and oil-cooled motor that can be had in carburetted or fuel-injected guises. This motor is the most powerful in the segment and impresses with its performance and tractability. The Showa-tuned suspension setup offers fantastic ride and handles well. TVS also offers the RTR 160 with a rear disc brake setup. The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is a well-rounded package that currently rules the 160cc roost.
Price (ex-showroom Delhi): Rs 59,712
Sporty 125cc scooters are trending now and TVS sits at the top of that wave with its NTorq. It gets sharp design elements with a front apron mounted headlamp and rear faux air extractors. Features include LED tail lamp and turn indicators and a full-digital instrument console with Bluetooth connectivity. The motor is a powerful unit and propels the scooter to 60kmph in double quick time. It gets 12-inch wheels on both ends with conventional forks up front and a gas charged monoshock at the back. Ride is quite composed while handling is on the sporty side. Braking is quite good too, thanks to a front disc, rear drum brake setup. The NTorq 125 is a sporty scooter but does not compromise on comfort.
Price (ex-showroom Delhi): Rs 7.46 lakh
Suzuki launched the GSX-S750 naked sports bike in India this year. The bike comes with a sweet sounding inline-four motor that offers good low-end grunt and tractability. Rider aids include a 3-level traction control and ABS. It handles quite well for its portly size and the brakes offer fantastic bite. In fact, the GSX-S750 offers a user friendly ride experience that is fun as well as forgiving.
Suzuki V-Strom 650XT:
Price (ex-showroom Delhi): Rs 7.46 lakh
The GSX-S750 wasn't the only big bike launched by Suzuki this year. They also launched the V-Strom 650 to rival the Kawasaki Versys 650. While Suzuki sells two models of the V-Strom 650 abroad, we get the off-road oriented and higher-spec 650XT variant that comes with larger spoke wheels and off-road oriented tubeless tyres. The 650cc V-twin motor offers usable power from low revs onwards which helps a lot while riding off the road. Overall, the V-Strorm 650 is a pretty capable package that should entice ADV riders looking for a capable bike under the Rs 10 lakh bracket.
Triumph Tiger 800:
Price (ex-showroom Delhi): Rs 11.76 lakh
The new Tiger 800 offers even better long distance riding comfort, thanks to its more upright riding stance. Its updated 800cc in-line triple motor also offers more low-speed grunt for everyday riding around town. It now sounds throatier as well. There is now a larger and more rigidly mounted windshield that does not shake even at speeds close to 200kmph. The party trick though is the full colour TFT instrument console borrowed from the Street Triple RS that is quite comprehensive and easy to navigate via the new joystick on the left side handlebar controls.
Price (ex-showroom Delhi): Rs 1.25 lakh
Before riding the Ather 450, we had this notion that electric bikes are slow and built to a cost. Now, the Ather 450 won’t set any speed records but its power delivery and performance are eerily similar to the conventional 125cc scooters we are used to riding. The quality of materials, fit and finish and features on the Ather 450 set a new benchmark for scooters in India. Ather also offers a unique after sales in the form of a yearly package that not just covers service and connectivity costs, but also the electricity required to run the bike. Yes, not only can you use their charging stations set across the country for free, they will also reimburse you for the power used by your home charging station.
Kawasaki Ninja 400:
Price (ex-showroom Delhi): Rs 4.69 lakh
Kawasaki has worked really hard to get the Ninja 400 to the top of the sub-500cc sportbike segment and it shows. The new 400cc parallel-twin motor makes more power than the KTM RC 390 and is a proper performer. To harness this, the frame is an all-new trellis unit with a sharper rake and longer swingarm, similar to the Kawasaki ZX-10R. It also gets stickier Dunlop Sportmax tyres. The new Ninja 400 performs well, has sharp handling traits and should be a way superior track weapon than the Ninja 300 it replaces overseas. The only thing going against it is the obnoxiously high asking price.