India loves street naked motorcycles. Yes, sportsbike posters have been glorifying many a wall, but the practicality of street naked motorcycles makes them rule our buying decisions. With over 21 million units retailed last year, India is the largest two-wheeler market in the world. Every company is trying to cash in on this with new models. Here’s our pick of top 5 upcoming street naked motorcycles this year.
KTM Duke 790 - the scalpel from Mattighofen
Seen as the next step for KTM in India, the KTM Duke 790 is expected to be launched in India in September 2019. The street naked motorcycle will be manufactured in a new advanced assembly line at Bajaj’s Pune assembly plant. The bike gets a fully coloured TFT display with smartphone integration, LED headlamp, wheelie control and slipper clutch.
Powering the KTM 790 Duke is a 799cc parallel twin mill with two counterbalancers. A 270-degree firing order helps in producing a V-Twin like order. Coupled to a 6-speed gearbox, the engine produces 105 PS of power and 86 Nm of torque. KTM 790 Duke will be brought to India via the CKD (Completely Knocked Down) route.
Electronic riding aides include cornering ABS, traction control, motorcycle slip regulation and ride by wire. The 790 Duke gets 4 riding modes (sport, street, rain and track). The bike competes against the likes of Suzuki GSX-S750 and Street Triple range. The street naked 790 Duke will carry a price tag of around INR 7.5 lakhs to INR 8 lakhs.
Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 - Austrian genes redefined
The KTM supremo Stefan Prier owned Husqvarna brand will be making its debut in India with the Husqvarna Vitpilen 401. Based on the KTM Duke 390, the motorcycle is set to be launched between September to November 2019. The Vitpilen is a road-centric model, and an off-road focused Svartpilen 401 will also be launched simultaneously.
At the heart of the street naked Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 will be the same 373.2cc mill which is capable of producing 43.5 PS of power and 37 Nm of torque. The bike carries a clean design sans all the gimmicks seen in the equivalent KTM. The suspension system remains a WP sourced unit at both ends, and the front wheel gets a large 320 mm disc.
Expect the Husqvarna to be placed above the KTM Duke 390. I believe that the sticker price will hover below the INR 3 lakh mark. KTM India however, will use several cost-cutting measures including the possible use of MRF tyres. IT must be noted that the European edition gets premium Metzelers as stock fitment.
CF Moto 300NK - the Chinese onslaught
With the global market graduating to 300cc and up from quarter litres, CF Moto followed suit. Unveiled at EICMA 2018, the CF Moto 300NK uses the existing 250NK platform. The power unit is a rebored unit seen in the quarter-litre. When launched the street naked bike from China will be competing against the likes of Honda CB 300R, BMW G310R.
The CF Moto 300NK is powered by a 292.4 cc single cylinder fuel injected engine. Coupled to a 6-speed gearbox the engine produces 27.5 PS of maximum power and 25 Nm of peak torque. Features include coloured TFT instrumentation, upside down forks and a steel lattice frame. The bike is expected to be launched in India in June-July 2019.
CF Moto 300NK will be brought to India via the CKD route. They have collaborated with AMW Motorcycles and have a manufacturing facility in Hyderabad. The AMW-CF Moto group is at present also running a contest on their Facebook page. They are asking their readers to guess the correct price of the 300NK to win a CF Moto T-shirt.
Kawasaki Z400 – power packed street naked
Another EICMA 2018 product heading to India later this year is the Kawasaki Z400. After the dismal failure of Z250, the Kawasaki Z400 aims to differ from the past with more power, additional premiumness and possibly an attractive price tag. The new street naked bike remains as compact as the Z250 as the engine is almost of the same size as that of the quarter-litre mill.
At the heart of the Kawasaki Z400 is a 399cc liquid-cooled, parallel twin mill sourced from the Ninja 400. The engine in A2 compliance produces 45 PS of power and 38 Nm of torque. The Indian market has no such output restrictions so it would be wise to expect the full blast of 49 PS from the mill seen in its faired sibling. As compared to the engine in Z300/Ninja 300, this 399cc mill new downdraft intake. This is accompanied by a larger airbox offering increased intake efficiency.
The instrumentation gets a major upgrade with a similar all-digital layout seen in the Z650. The ball game though will depend on the pricing. After the disastrous pricing seen with the Ninja 400 and Versys X300, Kawasaki played a masterstroke with the updated pricing of Ninja 300. If they manage to pull off something similar with the Z400, it can be a new breadwinner in India. Expect an announcement near the festive season.
Benelli Leoncino – retro styled street naked
With the world going retro, it was only a matter of time for Benelli to create something to woo us on the same lines. The Benelli Leoncino is a scrambler at heart and has been confirmed to IAB for the Indian market. India will get the standard as well as the Trail variant but will miss out on the Sport.
At the heart of the Benelli Leoncino is a 499.6cc inline 4-cylinder, liquid-cooled mill. With a 6-speed gearbox, the engine is capable of squeezing out 47.6 PS of power and 45 Nm of torque. The bike is suspended over 50 mm upside-down fork in the front and a monoshock in the rear. Braking is administered by twin 320 mm discs up front and a 260 mm unit in the rear.
The standard Leoncino is shod with 17-inch wheels at both ends. The Leoncino Trail though got a larger 19-inch front wheel, off-road biased tyres and spoke wheels. While a timeline has not been specified by the company yet, we expect the bike to hit Indian shores by September-October 2019.