The Auto Expo 2018 is setting out to be an exciting event for two-wheeler aficionados in the country, with the promise of many new launches and unveils. The 125cc scooter segment is heating up and will see many new entrants from big marques and will also see the launch and unveils of new adventure motorcycles from a variety of manufacturers, which isn’t a surprise considering the increasing demand for such bikes in India.
Even with several absentees of note, there will be a slew of two-wheelers at the Auto Expo 2018, which will be held at the India Expo Mart in Greater Noida from February 9-14.
BMW F 750 GS, F 850 GS
The BMW F 750 GS and the F 850 GS were unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show last year in Italy. These new models feature sharper styling, new technology, a monocoque frame and a bigger 853cc engine – an upgrade to their 798cc predecessors, the F 700 GS and F 800 GS. The new 853cc parallel-twin engine is tuned to make different power figures in both bikes – 77hp and 83Nm of torque in the F750, and 85hp and 92Nm of torque in the F850. The F 750 GS and F 850 GS get a new fork (an upside-down 43mm one in the case of the F 850 and a 41mm telescopic unit for the F 750). Rear suspension duties are handled by an aluminium double-sided swingarm and a monoshock. Both bikes will come to India via the CBU route but they will be the most affordable bikes in the German manufacturer’s current line-up for India and should be priced competitively against the Triumph Tiger 800 range.
BMW G 310 R
BMW has played it safe with the styling of the G 310 R and stayed away from the slight quirkiness that can be seen on its bigger displacement models. The G 310 R weighs 158kg and comes with a 313cc, single-cylinder engine with twin-overhead camshafts that puts down 33.6hp and 28Nm of torque. Like the TVS Apache RR 310, the G 310 R will come with a reversed-cylinder design that slopes towards the rear wheel, instead of the conventional engine layout. The upside of this layout is that it creates space for a longer rear swingarm, while keeping the wheelbase relatively short to make it a more manoeuvrable motorcycle. The G 310 R is expected to hit the market sometime in the fourth quarter of this year and is expected to be priced between Rs 2.25-2.4 lakh (ex-showroom).
BMW G 310 GS
BMW took the wraps off the adventure-touring version of the naked G 310 R at EICMA 2016. Like its naked sibling, the G 310 GS has been developed by BMW Motorrad in Germany and built at TVS' plant in Hosur, India. The baby GS inherits its family styling with the stubby front beak, radiator shrouds, headlamp cowl and tank design. It gets a tubular steel frame, and five-spoke alloy wheels. It is powered by a 313cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine, with four valves and a reversed DOHC cylinder head. It gets a six-speed manual transmission that will be tweaked to suit its adventure-touring nature. The engine will churn out 34hp of power and 28Nm of torque. It gets an upside-down 41mm fork, which has 49mm more travel than the G 310 R’s. However, it is non-adjustable, while the rear monoshock does boast an adjustable preload. The G 310 GS, like the G 310 R, is also expected to hit the Indian market in the fourth quarter of this year and will be expected to be priced from Rs 2.6-2.8 lakh (ex-showroom).
BMW K 1600 B, R nine T Racer and more
BMW Motorrad’s most recent launches in India, the K 1600 B and R nineT Racer, are expected to be present at the company’s stand. Along with these two bikes, we can expect the German marque to display most of its Indian offerings, which includes the S 1000 RR, S 1000 R, S 1000 XR, R 1200 R, R 1200 RS, R nineT, R nineT Scrambler, R 1200 GS, R 1200 GS Adventure, R 1200 RT and the K 1600 GTL.
New 125cc scooter
The 125cc scooter market in India has seen a fair bit of growth in the recent years. Scooters like the Suzuki Access 125 and the Honda Activa have recorded decent sales figures, setting up this nascent segment to grow even further. So it’s no wonder that even Hero MotoCorp wants to get a piece of that action. Word has it that the company is working on its own version of a 125cc scooter which should arrive sometime this year. This, of course, is not the first time that Hero has discussed a 125cc scooter. At the 2014 Auto Expo, the company had displayed a 125cc concept scooter called the Dare. At this point, however, there is no information on the new scooter, apart from the fact that the boffins at Hero’s Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) in Jaipur are hard at work getting it ready, and the Dare concept should be a good indication of what it will be like.
Hero MotoCorp recently took the wraps off the much-awaited Impulse replacement – the XPulse concept. Taking the legacy of the Impulse forward, the concept presented a sharper focus on off-road performance, thanks to its ground clearance, off-road tyres, wind protection and an accessible seat height. The fuel tank has pronounced knee recesses and features a flush-fitting fuel tank cap. As seen in the teaser, the bike features an upright and commanding stance, with a one-piece seat that extends onto the fuel tank – an expected element on an enduro motorcycle. The engine in the concept is shrouded with ample protection, which comes in the form of a compact, functional-looking crash guard (in white) and a drilled underbelly bash plate. While the XPulse is only a concept, Hero has indicated the possibility of it being production-ready by the end of 2018. The X-Pulse is expected to hit the market in the fourth quarter of this year and be priced around Rs 1 lakh.
Hero is expected to display a few concepts at its stand, including one with a capacity of over 200cc. This high-capacity concept should draw interest and may even take centre stage at the stand. Along with it, the manufacturer is expected to display other concepts which will make it to production. Hero is also set to launch the Xtreme 200S by end-January and will have it on display at the Auto Expo.
A number of EV start-ups have emerged, over the years; the more famous ones being Tork Electric and Ather Energy. Emflux is another such company based in Bengaluru and formed by three individuals – Varun Mittal, Ankit Khatry and Vinay Raj Somashekhar. Its first concept the company showed off in early 2017 suggests an electric sports bike with some big claims, in terms of performance. Emflux claims its sports bike (presently called the Concept One) will accelerate from 0-100kph in 3sec flat and hit a top speed of 200kph. Emflux claims to achieve this performance with the use of a liquid-cooled AC Induction motor that quotes peak power and torque figures of 68hp and 84Nm, respectively. The claimed range for the Concept One is a lofty 200km on a single charge. The battery pack itself is air-cooled and features battery cells developed by Samsung. Quick charging is available with a 0-80 percent charge completing in 36 minutes while a standard wall charger can do the job in three hours – not much slower than the time some smartphones take to fully charge, today. Emflux suggests that this bike will be priced between Rs 5-6 lakh. The bike maker plans to sell a limited run of 199 units, for now.
Kawasaki Ninja 400
The 400 in the Ninja’s name indicates the motorcycle’s all-new 399cc parallel-twin engine that makes a claimed 45hp and 38Nm of torque. The Ninja 400 has a new steel trellis frame that uses the engine as a stressed member and helps deliver a 6kg weight saving over the Ninja 300, putting it at 168kg. The clutch pull is lighter thanks to the addition of the assist and slipper clutch. The motorcycle also comes with a larger 310mm disc up front with Nissin ABS. There is no clarity at the moment on whether Kawasaki will bring the Ninja 400 to India, as the Ninja 300 was recently introduced in BS-IV trim, but we believe it is possible as this bike offers ABS, which will be mandatory soon. If the 400 does make it here, expect it to be priced higher than the Ninja 300’s price of Rs 3.6 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
The Z900RS is a retro-themed motorcycle that clearly pays homage to the renowned Kawasaki Z1. Powering the bike is the same liquid-cooled, 948cc, in-line four-cylinder engine which is seen on the Z900. On the Z900RS, peak power is down from 125hp to 111hp while peak torque is now 98.5Nm. However, the Japanese manufacturer has tuned the engine for more mid-range grunt, as well as to help it pull faster below 7,000rpm. The four-into-one exhaust setup features an in-built catalytic convertor, resulting in a classic one-piece stainless steel unit that further adds to its character. At present, this is Kawasaki’s only retro-modern motorcycle. The parallel-twin W800 that was introduced in 2011 was discontinued, last year. Interestingly, Kawasaki has added a traction control system to the Z900RS and 300mm front discs gripped by radial-mount calipers which aren’t seen on the Z900. The motorcycle also features analogue-style speedometer and tachometer dials with a digital screen hidden between the two. The Z900RS will be present at the Expo and will also be launched in India – perhaps at the Expo, perhaps later. We expect it to be priced somewhere around the Triumph Street Triple range.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE
The Kawasaki ZX-10R now has an SE variant that features electronic semi-active suspension derived from the company’s Superbike World Championship race bike. The SE comes equipped with Showa suspension at the front and rear (Balance Free Front Fork and BFRC-lite shock, featuring the same construction as the suspension on Kawasaki’s WSB Ninja ZX-10RR race machines). It is also the company’s first motorcycle to feature Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension (KECS) – a technology that has stroke sensors and adjustment solenoids built into the suspension. Power figures, however, are identical to the 10R – 207hp at 13,000rpm (with ram air) and peak torque of 113.5Nm at 11,500rpm. Being a more track-focused 10R, the SE gets lighter new, seven-spoke Marchesini forged wheels, an up-down quickshifter and a new colour scheme.
Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX
The Japanese bike maker recently launched the supercharged H2 SX sports tourer internationally, which features a lot of changes over the standard H2 – including an improved fuel economy – that make it more of a tourer. The bike is available in two trims – the SX and the high-spec SX SE – and Kawasaki states that the engine has received revisions to provide more mid-range power, as opposed to the top-end power seen on the H2 and H2R. Kawasaki has not stopped there, the H2 SX also gets a new trellis frame that has been built with a strengthened rear sub-frame to handle increased load. The SX weighs only 18kg more than the standard H2, even after its additional fairing and touring add-ons. It also comes with an up-down quickshifter, Kawasaki Launch Control Mode (KLCM), a large windscreen and heated grips. The Ninja H2 SX may be on display but an India launch will depend on supply constraints; as the bike – which is much more affordably priced compared to the Ninja H2 – is seeing strong demand overseas.
Kawasaki has so far launched several non-road-legal, dirt-biased motorcycles. First came the small KLX 110 in late 2015, followed by the motocross-style KX100 and KX250F in December 2016. In January 2017, Kawasaki introduced the off-road, trail-style KLX 140G. After which, Kawasaki brought the new KX250F, KX450F and KLX450R to India. We can expect all of these dirt bikes and more to be on display at Kawasaki’s stand at the Auto Expo 2018. In addition to this, it is possible that Kawasaki may also launch something along the lines of its 2018 KLX 250 in India. This would make it first road-legal dirt/enduro bike offering in the country and would make them the first manufacture in the segment to offer a product like it.
Details on this new scooter are sparse, but it is believed that it could be a 150cc unit. Given that Suzuki’s line-up already has the 110cc Let’s scooter and the well-established 125cc Access, which is currently the brand’s top seller, a 150cc scooter would fit well in the brand’s portfolio. Our sources tell us that the new product will be exciting and quite different from what we’ve seen so far. The current 150cc scooter segment in India is slim, with the only players coming from the Piaggio group in the form of the 150cc scooters from from Vespa and the Aprilia SR150.
New CKD motorcycle
Suzuki will also be launching a new CKD motorcycle at the 2018 Auto Expo. It is likely that this bike will be Suzuki’s first sub-1,000cc offering in India, and it could be either the V-Strom 650 adventure bike or the GSX-S750 naked sports bike. The V-Strom 650 uses a 645cc V-twin motor that produces 71hp while the GSX-S750 gets a powerful 749cc inline-four-cylinder engine that produces 114hp. In terms of pricing, the V-Strom may be priced slightly higher than the Kawasaki Versys 650. But if it’s the Suzuki GSX-S750 that’s launching, it could be priced on-par or may even undercut Kawasaki’s well-priced Z900, while offering similar performance. The Suzuki also offers traction control, which the Kawasaki Z900 misses out on.
In typical TVS fashion, the company will not be launching any new motorcycle at the Auto Expo 2018. However, the company is expected to display a concept that will become a future production model. TVS has done this before, first with the Draken concept that went on to be become the Apache RTR 200, and second with its next big concept, the Akula, that became the recently-launched Apache RR 310. Considering how immersed TVS is in racing, this concept will likely be along the lines of a sporty motorcycle. Naturally, the company is very tight-lipped on what this concept could be, but expect it to draw considerable excitement.
Yamaha has managed to keep information regarding its its upcoming 125cc scooter under wraps. But we believe the scooter could be based on the Nozza Grande that was seen testing here. The Nozza Grande is sold in Vietnam and packs a 125cc, fuel-injected, air-cooled motor that puts out 8.2hp of peak power at 6,500rpm and a peak torque of 9.7Nm at 5,000rpm. The Indian version could feature a simpler, carburetted version of this motor to keep costs down. With wet weight at just 99kg, performance ought to be rather sprightly as well. Thanks to the tank being in the front, underseat storage capacity is at a spacious 27 litres. At 790mm though, the seat position is a bit high, when compared to other Indian scooters. As on the Vietnam-spec bike, it features 12-inch cast alloy wheels at both ends, as well as a front disc brake.
Yamaha had unveiled its R15 v3.0 in Indonesia, back in January 2017. At the time, we had stated that the motorcycle had some first-in-segment features. However, a test bike of the R15 v3.0 has now been spotted in India and it appears to come with different specifications. The new R15 v3.0 featured a conventional front fork instead of the more premium upside-down one seen on the international-spec bike. The bike spied was also using MRF tyres and not the IRC ones seen on the Indonesian-spec bike. Interestingly, the new bike’s engine appears to be different from that of the outgoing R15 in India; this means we could get the new 155cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected engine from the international spec bike. However, this motor features Yamaha's Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) system which helps it make 19.3hp and 14.7Nm of torque. These figures might vary slightly if Yamaha has tuned the bike for our fuel. Graphics along the side read 'VVA Variable Valve Actuation', which puts to rest the previous speculation of whether Yamaha would launch the engine as is, or with a simpler (read lower cost) version without the VVA system. Pricing is expected to be around the Rs 1.3 lakh (ex-showroom) mark.
YZF-R3 (BS-IV model)
Yamaha has updated its YZF-R3 for the US market with three new colour schemes – Team Yamaha Blue, Raven and Vivid White. Other than the changes to make it compliant with Euro-IV (BS-IV) emissions standards, the 2018 R3 remains identical to the R3 that was launched in India back in 2015. On the performance front, the Yamaha YZF-R3 will continue to use the 321cc, parallel-twin, four-valve engine that makes 41.9hp at 10,750rpm, and 29.6Nm of torque at 9,000rpm. This engine is mated to a six-speed gearbox. The Yamaha R3 is available in both ABS and non-ABS versions in the US. We’re keen to see whether Yamaha sees it fit to offer Indian customers ABS (at least as a choice) this time around. Suspension duties are handled by the same 41mm Kayaba fork up front and preload-adjustable shock at the rear. The motorcycle still misses out on a USD fork, which is offered by its significantly cheaper competitors. We expect the new R3 to be priced around Rs 3.5 lakh (ex-showroom) in India.