A new year is born, and as is the norm every year, a slew of exciting new bike launches awaits the Indian 2-wheeler consumer in 2013. Here is a list of bikes that are expected to launch this year
1) Mahindra - Panthero and Centero
After a brief-but-unsuccessful foray into the highly competitive entry-level commuter bike segment, Mahindra 2Wheelers is all set to usher in the new year with not one, but two bikes slated for launch early this year, which include a re-engineered and refreshed version of the Stallio, dubbed the Panthero, and the Centero, a premium offering in the 100cc commuter segment. Following the failure of the Stallio, Mahindra invested a great deal in its R&D department, so it is safe to say that they are willing to leave no stone unturned to ensure that their products can compete aggressively for a slice of the market share, against better-established competitors.
2) Bajaj - Premium 100cc Commuter & Pulsar 375
Bajaj has confirmed that it will launch a premium 100cc commuter bike, which it touts to be the most technologically advanced and most expensive 100cc bike on sale in India. This is a good step forward for Bajaj, as it could spice up the competition in the otherwise dull 100cc commuter segment.
A higher-capacity version of the Pulsar, equipped with a retuned version of the Duke 390's powerplant, is also expected to be launched later this year. This version is could be the first bike in the Pulsar family to sport a full body fairing. Expect college-going boys to throng Bajaj showrooms when the bike is officially announced.
3) KTM - Duke 390
KTM had a great 2012, with the Duke 200 proving to be both a critical and commercial success for the Austrian off-road experts. The 200cc streetbike rode away with the top honours when it was awarded the prestigious Indian Bike of the Year title. For 2013, KTM looks to carry forward the momentum with the new Duke 390. The new bike is identical to the 200cc version, except for the engine, which displaces 373cc and produces 45 bhp. The bike weighs in at 139 kgs, a mere 10kg heavier than the Duke, which gives it a power-to-weight ratio of over 300bhp/ton. Going by a few reports, the Duke 390 will also spawn a fully-faired sportsbike and an enduro tourer version.
4) Kawasaki - Ninja 300
For 2013, Kawasaki's Ninja 250R will be succeeded by the Ninja 300R. Powered by a 299cc parallel-twin cylinder, the 300R is positioned as a sport bike that bridges the gap between sub-200cc bikes and litre-class superbikes. The Ninja 300R will come with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) as an optional extra, and will be priced at an estimated Rs 4 lakh.
5) Honda - new Maxi Scooter & 500cc family of bikes
Word is floating around that Honda might be developing a new maxi-scooter for our market. Maxi-scooters are not new to India, with Kinetic Motors bucking the trend back in 2006 and launching the 165cc Blaze. Although the Blaze failed to set the sales charts on fire, now might be a good time to introduce some variety in the scooter segment, as the market is more mature than earlier.
Also on the cards for Honda are the recently-launched family of 500cc twins, the CBR 500R sports bike, CB 500F streetfighter and the CB500X all-terrain enduro. The sub-Rs5 Lakh segment has witnessed increased action over the past two years, and with Bajaj all set to launch the KTM Duke 390 and Kawasaki Ninja 300R, Honda would require an ace up its sleeve to put up a fight in this category. This is where the 500 family slots in perfectly, considering that the bikes are expected to be very competitively at a point lesser than the Kawasaki Ninja 300R.
6) Yamaha - New scooter
Thanks to a growing female customer base and people who prefer a stress-free option to commute, the automatic scooter segment has seen a considerable jump in sales over the last two years. This has attracted the attention of manufacturers like Yamaha, who haven't had a scooter in their portfolio until recently. After solidly positioning its presence in the sub-150cc performance bike segment, Yamaha has its sights set on the steadily growing automatic scooter market for the next two years. 2012 saw the launch of its first entrant, the Ray, a 115cc scooter targeted exclusively at women. This year, Yamaha will follow up with a scooter for the male consumer, which is expected to be based on the Ray, but bigger and a little maore powerful.
7) Royal Enfield - Café Racer
One of the most anticipated launches this year is the much-awaited Café Racer. Showcased at the 2012 Auto Expo, the Café Racer is expected to be launched in the latter half of 2013. Powered by a bored-out version of the Classic 500's engine, the Café Racer is expected to be the most powerful, sportiest, and fastest Royal Enfield ever to be launched in India. Expect this retro machine to be priced anywhere above Rs 2.5 Lakhs.
After a year since their unveiling at the 2012 Auto Expo, the iconic British bike manufacturer is finally expected to set up shop in India in 2013. Models on offer include the classic Bonneville, Street Triple, Speed Triple, Daytona 675, Rocket III, and the Tiger 1050. Most of the bikes will be locally assembled from Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kits, so expect the pricing for the line-up to start at Rs 5.5 lakh, going all the way up to in excess of Rs 20 lakhs for the fully-built imports.
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