The year 2020 has been challenging and unusual, with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the Indian automotive industry hard. Despite the lockdown, and unprecedented challenges to the automobile industry, there have been several important motorcycles which made their debut in the Indian two-wheeler market during 2020. From premium commuter motorcycles, right up to adventure bikes, high-performance sports bikes and heavyweight cruisers, 2020 has had its share of important motorcycle launches. We take a look at the top 10 bike launches of the year.
Also Read: Top 5 Scooter Launches Of 2020
1. Hero Xtreme 160R
The Hero Xtreme 160R is Hero MotoCorp's new 160 cc premium commuter motorcycle, and is an all-new product, with a new engine, new chassis and new design. With all-LED lighting, sharp streetfighter design, and with a very likeable performance and dynamics combination, the Hero Xtreme 160R is easily one of the best motorcycles in its segment. The Xtreme 160R is powered by a 163 cc, single-cylinder, two-valve engine which makes 15 bhp at 8,500 rpm and 14 Nm at 6,500 rpm. Prices for the Hero Xtreme 160R begin at ₹ 1,02,000 (Ex-showroom) for the single-disc brake variant, while the double-disc variant is piced at ₹ 1,05,050 (Ex-showroom).
Also Read: Hero Xtreme 160R Review
2. Honda Hornet 2.0
While Hero may be just warming up to the 160 cc segment with the new Xtreme 160R, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India has had a problem of plenty, with several models in the segment. In 2020, HMSI replaced the Honda CB Hornet 160R with the all-new Honda Hornet 2.0 with a 184 cc engine which makes 17 bhp at 8,500 rpm and 16.1 Nm at 6,000 rpm. The Hornet 2.0 has a smooth engine, and quite likeable dynamics. But with a price tag of ₹ 1.27 lakh (Ex-showroom), the Hornet 2.0 will go up against established rivals in the 200 cc motorcycle segment.
Also Read: Honda Hornet 2.0 Review
3. Husqvarna Svartpilen 250, Vitpilen 250
Swedish motorcycle brand Husqvarna, owned by KTM (Bajaj Auto owns 48 per cent of KTM), made its India debut with the Husqvarna 250s in 2020. The Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 and the Husqvarna Vitpilen 250 are the first models from the new brand, based on the KTM 250 Duke. Both motorcycles are powered by the same the 250 cc single-cylinder engine which makes 30 bhp at 9,000 rpm and 24 Nm of peak torque at 7,500 rpm. Both bikes offer an avant garge alternative to the KTMs with radical new design, and are priced at ₹ 1.85 lakh (Ex-showroom).
Also Read: Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 Review
4. Bajaj Dominar 250
The Bajaj Dominar 250 is the more affordable and lighter model in the Bajaj Dominar sport touring family, and it's positioned as a do-it-all motorcycle, even for first time buyers. Like the Husqvarna 250s, the Dominar 250 also shares the same basic 250 cc engine of the KTM 250 Duke, but with a slightly different state of tune, offering a meatier low and mid-range, rather than outright performance. In terms of numbers, the 250 cc, DOHC engine makes 26.6 bhp at 8,500 rpm and 23.5 Nm at 6,500 rpm. Currently, the Bajaj Dominar 250 is priced at ₹ 1.65 lakh (Ex-showroom).
Also Read: Bajaj Dominar 250 Review
5. Royal Enfield Meteor 350
The Meteor 350 is Royal Enfield's all-new 350 cc motorcycle, built on an all-new 350 cc platform with a new engine and new chassis. The new 350 cc, single-cylinder engine ditches the pushrod design and uses a single overhead camshaft, with a gear primary drive, instead of chain. In numbers, the new engine makes 20.2 bhp at 6,100 rpm and 27 Nm at 4,000 rpm, with a wide torque band, starting at around 2,400 rpm, going all the way up to 4,500 rpm. The engine also uses a primary balancer shaft to reduce vibrations. The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 is priced at ₹ 1.75 lakh (Ex-showroom), and is likely to be the first model in the new 350 cc platform.
Also Read: Royal Enfield Meteor 350 Review
6. Honda H'Ness CB 350
Meanwhile, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) launched its own 350 cc retro roadster, to take a shot at the segment dominated by Royal Enfield. With a name, that sounds more tacky than cool, the H'Ness CB 350 has been made in India, and targeted primarily at the Indian market, before it's exported to other markets. The 348 cc, single-cylinder overhead cam engine makes 20.8 bhp at 5,500 rpm and 30 Nm of peak torque at 3,000 rpm. With a slip and assist clutch, a counterbalance, and unique features like Honda Smartphone Voice Control System, the H'Ness CB 350 sounds like a well-rounded product, with the Honda name and network backing it, although the H'Ness name clearly is taking a shot at something 'Royal'. Priced at ₹ 1.85 lakh (Ex-showroom), the Honda H'Ness CB 350 has its limitations, more specifically since it will be retailed only through the limited Honda Big Wing network. Although it's been a while since the H'Ness CB 350 was launched, we have yet to get our hands on the new neo-retro roadster from Honda.
7. KTM 390 Adventure
The KTM 390 Adventure is the first adventure motorcycle launched by KTM India. The 390 ADV is based on the KTM 390 Duke, but is designed primarily for touring, and taking on rough terrain. With the same 373 cc single-cylinder engine which puts out 43 bhp at 9,000 rpm and 37 Nm at 7,000 rpm, the 390 Adventure gets adventure-spec hardware, including long travel suspension, a 19-inch front, 17-inch rear wheel combination, a standard engine bash plate, and a 14.5-litre fuel tank for touring. Priced at ₹ 3.04 lakh (Ex-showroom), the KTM 390 Duke offers a superb blend of performance and comfort, and also comes with decent off-road and touring capability.
Also Read: KTM 390 Adventure First Ride Review
8. Ducati Panigale V2
The all-new Ducati Panigale V2 replaces the Ducati 959 Panigale and is powered by a 955 cc, L-twin, super-quadro motor which makes 155 bhp at 10,750 rpm with peak torque of 104 Nm at 9,000 rpm. With a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) which powers the new electronics suite, the Panigale V2 is loaded with rider aids, including the updated Ducati EVO 2 traction control system, cornering ABS, standard ABS, wheelie control and engine braking control, along with an up/down quickshifter. Prices for the Ducati Panigale V2 begin at ₹ 16.99 lakh (Ex-showroom).
Also Read: Ducati Panigale V2 Launched At ₹ 16.99 Lakh
9. BMW R 18
The BMW R 18 is BMW Motorrad's retro-styled heavyweight cruiser, which is absolutely gorgeous, chrome laden, with the 1,802 cc, Big Boxer engine which makes 90 bhp at 4,750 rpm, and a whopping 158 Nm of torque at 3,000 rpm. The R 18 is available in two variants, with the standard variant priced at ₹ 18.90 lakh (Ex-showroom), and the top-spec First Edition variant with more chrome and period pinstriping on the bodywork, priced at ₹ 21.90 lakh (Ex-showroom).
Also Read: BMW R 18 Review
10. Triumph Tiger 900
The new Triumph Tiger 900 is a massive improvement over the Triumph Tiger 800 range. It's lighter, has a more elaborate electronics suite and has punchier performance, with better weight balance. The new engine gets a displacement bump to 888 cc, with a new firing order from the triple cylinder engine, and offers more torque. Peak power is still 94 bhp at 8,750 rpm, but torque has increased to 87 Nm at 7,250 rpm, with a 12 per cent boost in mid-range torque. Prices for the new Triumph Tiger 900 begin at ₹ 13.7 lakh (Ex-showroom).
Also Read: Triumph Tiger 900 First Ride Review