Upcoming new bikes for 2017

Ducati Multistrada 950

The premium adventure touring bike market in India has been picking up quite a bit over the last couple of years. One just needs to look at the popularity of a certain 800cc, three-cylinder adventure tourer from a famous British marque to see that paradigm shift in the hearts and minds of “big bike” buyers. Ducati’s offering of this nature, the Multistrada 1200, though an extremely capable motorcycle, has been a bit out of reach for a lot of riders thanks to not only its price, but also because all but the most experienced riders found the size and power of the 1200 a bit intimidating. Ducati’s latest Multistrada that premiered at EICMA 2016, the 950, is supposed to provide that easier-to-ride, yet premium experience. And, according to sources, this bike is slated to come to India by July to September 2017.

Powering this new bike is the 937cc version of Ducati's Testastretta 11-degree V-twin motor that's good for 113hp of power and a peak torque of 96Nm. However, in order to aid riding, over 80 percent of this engine's torque is available between 3,500 and 9,500rpm. This should really make it easy when riding the bike off the road standing on the pegs, where continuously shifting gears isn't easily possible. The Multistrada 950 is equipped with fully adjustable suspension at both ends, with 170mm of travel at both front and rear. While the bike comes with alloy wheels (19-inch at the front, 17-inch at the rear) as standard, in order to make it easier to switch to wire-spoke wheels, the single-sided swingarm from the 1200 has been swapped for a new double-sided one. And to ensure solid braking, the front is equipped with twin 320mm discs with Brembo M4.32 monobloc calipers.

In terms of ergonomics, the seat has been borrowed from the larger Multistrada Enduro and has a height of 840mm by default, but it can be swapped for optional seats with heights varying from 820 to 860mm. There's also a Multistrada-style grab handle that allows for the mounting of both plastic or aluminium panniers. The cockpit gets new switchgear along with a full-LCD dashboard that's compatible with the Ducati Multimedia system. The Multistrada 950 gets a fairly large 20-litre fuel tank to help in long-distance riding, and Ducati claims a wet weight (no fuel) of 214kg.

Expected launch date: Q3 2017
Expected launch price: Rs 13.5 lakh (ex-showroom)

Ducati Scramblers (Desert Sled/Cafe Racer)

When Ducati introduced the Scrambler in India back in 2015, it formed the perfect stepping stone for riders to graduate from smaller bikes on to bigger ones. The Scrambler has enjoyed a fair amount of success in India since its launch and the latest two versions of the bike introduced at EICMA 2016, the Café Racer and the Desert Sled, should make their way to India mid-2017.

The Scrambler Cafe Racer doesn't deviate mechanically from the base bike and maintains the same frame, engine and even the fuel tank. What have changed are the handlebars, with this bike featuring low-slung clip-ons, along with bar-end mounted mirrors. To add to the leaned-over posture, there's also a new cafe racer seat with a passenger cover. Minimalism is the mantra with this cafe racer as it gets a tiny fairing behind its single instrument pod as well as a short front mudguard. Both wheels are now the same size -- 17" -- and sport Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres (a far cry from the on-off road tyres from the standard Scrambler), which is another big change. Keeping in line with the whole "racer" part of its new moniker, the bike gets a radial front brake pump to increase braking performance. Some new details include a new logo on the tank, a black engine with brushed fins and a black anodised aluminium cover over the Termignoni exhaust.

While the Scrambler has always hinted at a bit of off-road pedigree, none of the models so far have really delivered on the promise of mixing it up in the dirt, until now that is. This new Scrambler Desert Sled packs a whole lot of changes to make it extremely capable on the rough stuff. This includes a completely reinforced chassis along with fully-adjustable long-stroke suspension at both ends, offering 200mm of wheel travel at front and rear. The wheels are now 19"-17" (front-rear) rugged wire-spoke units and are shod with specially designed Scorpion Rally STR on-off road tyres. There's also a new tougher aluminium swingarm to handle riding on loose surfaces. To help with better control when mixing it up in the dirt, this Scrambler gets a flatter seat which now sports a height of 860mm. These apart, the Desert Sled gets a raised front fender, a new stronger handlebar with a crossbar, as well as a safety grille on the headlight.

Expected launch date: Q2 2017
Expected launch price: Rs 8-9 lakh (ex-showroom)

Ducati Monster 797

While the Ducati Monster 821 is a brilliant motorcycle, having a Monster at a more affordable price should work to the company’s favour. Originally the Monster 696 formed the entry point for many riders into the world of Ducati motorcycles, internationally at least. But getting that bike to India was a difficult prospect thanks to import laws prohibiting companies from bringing in bikes under 800cc. With the 696 discontinued, and promptly replaced by the new Monster 797 with its 803cc V-twin engine at EICMA 2016, we believe that Ducati will be able to bring this new bike to India some time in 2017. And even though it was designed as a "first Ducati" for younger riders, it is unmistakably a Monster in every regard, offering a properly sporty riding experience.

Under the bike's distinct red steel-tubular trellis frame rests an air-cooled 803cc V-twin motor from the Scrambler that makes 75hp of peak power and 68.6Nm of peak torque. The motor sends drive to the rear wheel through a six-speed gearbox with an APTC slipper-style clutch. Ducati claims a wet weight (without fuel) of 182kg, which combined with a wheelbase measuring 1,435mm, should make this baby Monster a nifty handler. Even the 805mm seat height should be fairly comfortable for riders of various sizes. Ducati's aim with this bike was to make a Monster that wasn't too aggressive or intimidating to ride. To assist the bike's handling, it gets 43mm upside down forks upfront as well as a preload and rebound adjustable monoshock at the back. The 17-inch alloy wheels are shod with Pirelli Rosso Diablo II tyres at both ends – 120/70 at the front and 180/55 at the rear. Braking duties are handled by twin 320mm discs with Brembo M4.32 monobloc calipers on the front wheel while the rear gets a single 245mm disc.

On the design front, this bike gets the same headlight and 16.5-litre fuel tank as its larger sibling. The headlight gets LED position lights and the tail-light is also equipped with LEDs. The instrument cluster is a full-LCD unit, but doesn't get the full-colour TFT treatment like the Monster 1200. However, it is compatible with the Ducati Multimedia System (DMS). For convenience sake, there is also a USB charger located under the seat. Ducati is also going to offer the Monster 797 in a "Plus" version that will get a micro windshield and a rear seat cowl.

Expected launch date: Q2 2017
Expected launch price: Rs 8-9 lakh (ex-showroom)

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Autocar Magazine

Issue: 209 | Autocar India: January 2017

We bring you drives of the Maruti Ignis, the Skoda Kodiaq, the new 5-series and take you on a trip from India to Paris in a Renault Kwid. All that and lots more inside!
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