You’ve probably read and heard the word ‘unprecedented’ a million times by now, but there isn’t a more accurate way to describe these times. April 2020 is likely to be the first month in the history of the Indian auto industry where practically no sales occurred. Rewind a bit further to mid-March, and every manufacturer was gearing up for the transition from BS4 to BS6. When the lockdown was imposed - just a week before the final BS6 deadline - most companies had already launched their BS6 models, but there were a few exceptions - those models are a part of this list. However, there are also a number of new two-wheeler launches that should have already happened by now, or were planned for around this time of the year.
The vehicles here range from the accessible to the exotic, and if you’ve been planning to buy a new motorcycle once the lockdown lifts, this is a list worth going through. When exactly (and how) the lockdown is lifted is a complete unknown at the moment, but you can expect these launches to begin as soon as the manufacturers have a realistic opportunity to do so.
BMW F 900 R
BMW revealed its new 900cc parallel-twin models at EICMA 2019 and both bikes are coming to India soon. The F 900 R is an aggressively-styled street-naked with muscular bodywork and an 895cc engine - this unit is essentially a bored-out version of the 853cc parallel-twin from the F 750 GS and F 850 GS adventure bikes. This BS6/Euro 5-compliant engine now makes 105hp and 92Nm and it packs a mean mid-range punch. The F 900 R will get some segment-first features like an electronically adjustable rear shock and keyless ignition. BMW plans to launch this model in India soon after the lockdown lifts, alongside its sport touring sibling, the F 900 XR. Here’s our review of both the India-bound 900cc BMW bikes.
BMW F 900 XR
The F 900 XR uses the same engine and chassis as the F 900 R, but this bike is styled more along the lines of the sport touring S 1000 XR, which is also a part of this list. The new F 900 XR features longer travel suspension over the F 900 R - around 170mm of travel at both ends - which is at par with the likes of the KTM 390 Adventure. The bike also has a more comfortable, upright riding position, making it a comfortable, yet capable motorcycle. Like the R, the XR also features full-LED lighting with a cornering function, as well as the other features mentioned above.
BMW S 1000 XR
Along with the new 900 twins, BMW also showed off the second-generation version of its S 1000 XR at EICMA 2019. This bike gets a brand new chassis as well as a new 999cc engine, both similar to what we’ve seen in the new S 1000 RR litre-class superbike. BMW chose not to give this engine its ShiftCam variable valve control technology, and the now Euro 5-compliant engine manages to make the same 165hp of power as before. The company also claims weight-savings over the previous model and has added more kit like electronic suspension, which is now standard. The wait for the S 1000 XR may be longer as we expect BMW to announce prices for it a month or two after the 900 twins. This will be the most expensive motorcycle on this list, with an expected price of Rs 20-21 lakh (ex-showroom).
Ducati Panigale V2
The Panigale V2 is Ducati's newest twin-cylinder sport bike. Based on the 959 Panigale - essentially the V2’s predecessor - the new Ducati is draped in stunning Panigale V4-inspired bodywork. Underneath, it uses the 959's frame, albeit with a revised sub-frame to accommodate the higher tail section. It is powered by a Euro 5/BS6-compliant 955cc engine that develops 155hp and 104Nm. Power is sent to the rear wheel through a 6-speed transmission, with an up/down quickshifter fitted as standard. The electronics suite, assisted by a six-axis IMU, is pretty comprehensive as well. Ducati India recently released a teaser image on its social media handle indicating that the V2 will be launched sometime soon, depending largely on the COVID-19 situation. We also rode the Panigale V2 in Spain and you can read our detailed review here.
Hero Xtreme 160R
The Xtreme 160R is Hero's stab at the 150cc-160cc segment and comes across as an interesting choice, at least on paper. It is powered by a BS6-compliant 160cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine that produces 15hp at 8,000rpm and 14Nm at 6,500rpm. But the biggest highlight is its power-to weight-ratio, which at 109hp/tonne is likely to be the best in the segment. With a claimed 0-60kph time of 4.7 seconds, the Xtreme 160R should have the go to match the show. Speaking of which, the Xtreme 160R's catchy styling shows Hero's new design direction and it surely looks interesting. The company is expected to launch the Xtreme 160R post the national lockdown and we expect competitive pricing - below rivals like the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V.
Hero XPulse 200 BS6
While the Hero Xpulse 200 and Xpulse 200T have been upgraded to BS6-spec - which brought a minor drop in power and torque figures - prices have yet to be revealed. The new 199.6cc engine develops 17.8hp and 16.4Nm but the other major development is that it's now oil- and air-cooled. There's a new header pipe that now runs below the engine (not next to it as in the BS4 version) and back up to the muffler, to liberate more space for the extra catcon. The Xpulse 200 has also gained 3kg in the process and we are keen to ride the bikes to find out if these changes have made a dent in overall performance. Hero has listed the bikes on its website.
Royal Enfield Meteor 350
As is usually the case with new Royal Enfields, the internet has been showered with leaks of the new Royal Enfield Meteor 350. In fact, the latest one suggests that the bike is production-ready and it even includes a price tag. The Meteor 350 serves as a replacement for the Thunderbird 350. It comes with a brand new chassis and engine and both are expected to be a huge leap forward from the current platform. This new platform is also expected to underpin the next-generation Classic and Bullet models. Royal Enfield even appears to have some exciting new models lined up that will use the same foundation. The launch of the Meteor 350 cannot be too far away, but how soon after the lockdown lifts is still a question mark - like everything else, this will depend on COVID-19 situation.
Suzuki Gixxer 250, SF 250 BS6
With the addition of a new exhaust and ECU, Suzuki has updated it’s Gixxer 250 and Gixxer SF 250 to comply with the more stringent emission norms. Suzuki has also managed to keep its power and torque figures similar to what the outgoing BS4 bike was capable of, with the new Gixxer SF 250 making 26.5hp at 9,300rpm and 22.2Nm at 7,300rpm. In comparison to the BS6 bike, peak power is identical but comes in 300rpm later, while peak torque has seen a 0.4Nm drop but is produced 200rpm earlier in the rev range. Prices for the BS6 Gixxer 250 and Gixxer SF 250 are expected to be revealed soon.
Triumph Street Triple R
Triumph recently launched the 2020 Street Triple RS in India, but the company plans to bring in one more bike from the Street Triple family soon. This is a model that India has never had before – the Street Triple R. For 2020, the Street Triple R has been updated to meet Euro 5 (BS6) norms, but it also loses a couple of features like the TFT dashboard. However, it still gets features like an up-down quickshifter, fully-adjustable suspension from Showa, Brembo M4.32 brake callipers up front and Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres. The 2020 Triumph Street Triple R has a whole lot more kit than the rather bare-bones Street Triple S that it replaces in India. However, the top-spec RS differentiates itself with even better suspension, brakes and tyres, as well as two more riding modes and some styling differences.
Triumph is expected to price the Street Triple R competitively and is even targeting a Rs 9.5 lakh price tag, if not a bit lower. This isn’t much more than the BS4 Street Triple S, which retailed at Rs 9.2 lakh (ex-showroom), and it will make the R quite a tempting proposition. Triumph hopes to launch the bike in June, but naturally, this will depend on the COVID-19 situation at the time.
Triumph Bonneville T 100 and T120
Triumph is planning to launch two editions of the Bonneville family in India - the T 100 Black and T 120 Black. These are both contemporary-looking versions of the T 100 and T 120. As the name suggests, black replaces almost all the chrome on both bikes. The blacked-out components include the wheels, engine, mirrors, indicators, and dual pea-shooter exhausts.
Mechanically, both the Black Editions remain identical to the standard bikes - the T 100 gets a 900cc parallel-twin engine, while the T 120 is powered by a 1,200cc parallel-twin. Triumph lists the T 100 and T 120 as Euro 4 models on its international website and has specially homologated these models to BS6-spec for India. We don’t have access to the latest BS6 specifications yet, but sources tell us that performance will be largely the same.
Despite their analogue looks, the bikes get dual-channel ABS, a simple switchable traction control system and ride-by-wire, with the bigger T 120 getting two riding modes. Triumph India plans to launch the Black Edition models in June..
Triumph Tiger 900
The Tiger 900 is a brand new motorcycle that replaces the extremely popular Tiger 800 worldwide. Triumph will bring the Tiger 900 into India via the CKD route and the company hopes that it will be able to launch the bike this month. This is a slight delay over the original launch plan of April, due to the global pandemic. Things are still slightly uncertain at the moment, and Triumph is now targeting a May launch, barring any further delays.
Triumph aims to bring a total of three variants of the new Tiger 900 to India, including the two top-spec models: the off-road biased Rally line and the road-focused GT line. The top-spec Rally Pro is likely to launch first, followed by the GT Pro and eventually, the lower-spec Rally. This order too will depend on which of the CKD kits reach our market first. With the Tiger 800, the company found that demand for the base XR model was quite limited, so there are no plans to bring in the base Tiger 900 model as of now. However, the company says that if demand does eventually rise, the entry-level Tiger 900 will also be launched.
Yamaha FZ 25, FZS 25
A couple of months ago, Yamaha revealed the BS6 FZ 25 and a new model variant, the FZS 25. Recently, it updated its website with an image revealing that the launch of the bike is imminent. In its initial release, the manufacturer revealed that the bike would go on sale in April 2020, but that could not happen due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
We know all there is to know about the new bike apart from the price. The motorcycle will now be fuel-injected and it will continue to feature a dual-channel ABS. Peak output figures for the updated BS6 engine are 20.8hp at 8,000rpm and 20.1Nm of torque at 6,000rpm.
The rest of the bike remains largely unchanged, but Yamaha is offering a few new colour options, a new side-stand-down engine inhibitor, redesigned instrument cluster and belly pan, and a new headlight. Additionally, the FZS 25 gets knuckle guards too.
Considering that the Yamaha website was updated just a couple weeks ago, this could be one of the first few motorcycles to launch following the lift of the lockdown.