2017 KTM 390 Duke
With the existing 390 Duke a runaway success in India, it’s only logical that we get the updated version for 2017. Nicknamed "The Corner Rocket" by KTM, the bike looks a whole lot better than what was anticipated. The design has been revised to be sharper than before, with a taller tank (now made of steel with increased capacity of 13.4 litres), and the new, pointy LED headlight along with LED running lights.
The instrument cluster is an all-colour TFT unit with an optional "KTM MY RIDE" system that allows riders to hook up their smartphones via Bluetooth for a hands-free kit and audio player. The split seats have been revised as well -- we really hope this redesign makes the rear seat more comfortable for pillions -- but at first glance, it doesn't appear so. Another improvement in rider interface is the inclusion of adjustable clutch and brake levers.
On the chassis front, the bike gets a new lightweight trellis frame with a bolt-on sub-frame. The extremely lightweight die cast aluminium swing-arm looks like the older one, but this too is new for 2017. The front suspension is composed of 43mm open cartridge, separate function forks designed by WP Suspension. The 390 gets a Brembo-developed larger 320mm front brake disc (compared to 300mm from the previous bike), but the radially-mounted four-piston caliper looks like it's carried over.
On the engine front, the 373.2cc single-cylinder mill is more or less the same, barring a few updates that include a slipper clutch, ride-by-wire as well as a new balancer shaft to reduce vibrations. The underbelly exhaust has been scrapped in favour of a side-mounted unit that's Euro IV compliant, much like what the European RC390 got last year. There's no difference in power figures, with the engine making a maximum of 43.5hp. We, however, expect this new bike to be considerably smoother than before.
Expected launch date: Q1 2017
Expected launch price: Rs 2.1 lakh (ex-showroom)
Husqvarna Vitpilen 401
At the Milan motorcycle show (EICMA) in 2016, Husqvarna showed off the production versions of the KTM 390-based Vitpilen and Svartpilen 401. We reported that the production of these bikes had started at the Bajaj plant a little while back, and we expect the road-oriented Vitpilen to be launched in India later in 2017.
The Vitpilen is the cafe racer version of the 401 and shares its mechanical components with the KTM 390 Duke. It is powered by the same 43.5hp 373cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder motor, which is mated to a 6-speed gearbox. It also gets the new trellis frame (with its bolt-on sub frame) from the 2017 KTM Duke 390. The front gets a 43mm WP upside down fork and the rear, a WP monoshock --the same fare as the KTM. And even the Bybre brakes are carried over with the front getting a 320mm disc with 4-piston radial caliper, while the rear makes due with a 230mm disc and a single piston caliper. Bosch's 9.11MB dual channel ABS is standard as well.
Visually, however, this bike deviates quite dramatically from the Duke, sporting a chunky fuel tank with a short seat. The short seat design is achieved by using a much shorter sub-frame compared to the KTMs. Other Husqvarna design touches include a distinctive round headlight and round instrument cluster. True to its cafe racer styling, the Vitpilen gets low-slung clip-on handlebars, and its 17" wire spoke wheels are shod with road-going tyres.
Expected launch date: Q3 2017
Expected launch price: Rs 2.5 lakh (ex-showroom)
BMW G310 R
The successful mid-displacement street-naked segment is sure to heat up with the arrival of BMW Motorrad’s G310 R. BMW has played it safe with the styling of the G310 R and strayed away from the general quirkiness that can be seen on its bigger displacement models. The KTM Duke 390 will finally have some competition in this segment. BMW also plans to follow KTM’s 'Make in India' policy and manufacture the G310 R here in collaboration with TVS and then export it to other countries.
The G310 R will come armed with a 313cc, single-cylinder engine with twin overhead camshafts that puts down 33.6hp of power, and weighs just 158kg. Of course, figure-wise, this doesn’t seem to stray into the 390 Duke territory except for the price point of Rs 2.2 lakh. But the fresh engine layout should make things quite interesting; the G310 R will come with a reversed-cylinder design that slopes towards the rear wheel, instead of the conventional engine layout. This would allow for a more compact motorcycle with more evenly distributed weight and a lower centre of gravity. The upside of this layout creates space for a longer rear swing-arm, while keeping the wheelbase relatively short to make it a more manoeuvrable motorcycle.
If BMW manages to replicate the same levels of refinement and finish found on the larger displacement motorcycles, we can expect the G310 R to be a great all-round. It is set to get 41mm USD forks up front, a mono-shock at the rear, and a 300mm disc with a four-piston caliper at the front. That’s plenty of motorcycle for the price.
Expected launch date: Q1 2017
Expected price: Rs 2.2 lakh (ex-showroom)
Send a message to Sherman Hale Nazareth
Issue: 210 | Autocar India: February 2017
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