June 21 is celebrated globally as World Motorcycle Day, day for celebrating motorcycles, motorcycling and everything related to motorcycles. June 21 is also the longest day of the year, called the Summer Solstice, and what better day to spend outdoors, riding your motorcycle? This year though, going out on a ride may not be as easy or even safe, given the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic. But that probably won't stop motorcyclists from heading out for sometime to do what they love best, spend some time with their rides, on the road, off-road or just for a wee feel of being out, doing what brings a lot of joy to us motorcycles.
If you can't resist the temptation of heading out for a ride, please take adequate care, carry drinking water, and avoid riding in large groups, however tempting that may seem like. For us, picking a list of favourite bikes is actually one of the most difficult thing to do, and it's even more difficult than choosing a winner in a comparison review. There are so many motorcycles, of different types, sizes, and engine displacement that make the cut to being memorable motorcycles that a list of top 10 bikes just doesn't seem to be enough. Nevertheless, here's a list of 10 memorable bikes that we've narrowed down to, from 160 cc commuter bikes, naked sport bikes, adventure bikes and to a full-blown 211 bhp superbike!
1. Ducati Panigale V4
Let's start right at the pinnacle of performance! The Ducati Panigale V4 is the first production Ducati with a four-cylinder engine, and it's not just any engine! The 1,103 cc V4 is derived from the Ducati MotoGP Desmosedici engine, and it puts out 211 bhp of maximum power at 13,000 rpm and 124 Nm of peak torque at 10,000 rpm. When it was launched, in 2018, it was the most powerful road-legal superbike on sale. But what is also comes with is a comprehensive set of electronic nannies to hold your hand and steady you on a racetrack. So, it may be manic fast, but it's got a near foolproof safety net of electronic rider aids. It's the first superbike that I've had the pleasure of scraping the knee pucks on both sides, and needless to day, the Panigale V4 will remain a very very special bike!
Also Read: Ducati Panigale V4S First Ride Review
2. BMW R 1250 GS
The world's most popular adventure motorcycle got a bigger engine with more power last year, and more technology. A heavyweight, full-size adventure bike weighing 250 kg may seen like a daunting prospect, particularly for riders looking for some off-road action. But, the big GS comes with superb weight distribution, low centre of gravity, and a torque-y boxer twin engine with 1,254 cc displacement and a whole range of hi-tech electronic rider aids which make it sliding around in the dirt as easy as it looks. And it's a superb touring machine, with plush suspension and an engine which is tailor-made for covering hundreds of kilometres in a day. With 134 bhp of power, 143 Nm of torque, a long list of riding modes, dynamic traction control, quickshifter and more, it's not easy to understand why the BMW R 1250 GS is so popular. With no budget constraints, it's easily one of the best-equipped and off-road capable full-sized adventure bikes available on sale.
Also Read: BMW R 1250 GS Review
3. Triumph Street Triple RS
The Triumph Street Triple RS may be a middleweight naked, but it's definitely one of the most entertaining naked sport bikes available in the market right now. A superb 765 cc in-line triple engine which has been updated and tuned by Triumph's Moto2 engineering team (Triumph also supplies the Moto2 class 765 cc engine), a taut chassis that complements the triple's high-revving performance of the Street Triple RS . The closest competitor, in terms of performance and entertainment will be the KTM 790 Duke, but sadly we didn't get enough time with the 790 Duke, and that's the only reason it doesn't make it to this list. A back to back comparison is something we'll be looking forward to, but for now, our favourite in the middleweight naked class is this!
4. Suzuki GSX-S750
You won't get to see too many of these on the road, and may not have heard about many discussions about the Suzuki GSX-S750. But to us, it's one of the most underrated middleweight naked bikes available on sale. To some of us, the religion of motorcycling that we follow, does feel somewhat incomplete without the aural experience of a nice sounding motor, with both an intake roar and a complementing exhaust note. That, with superb handling, and more than enough performance, both for the road, and a very entertaining outing on the racetrack is what makes the GSX-S750 such a special bike. Yes, it's a very good bike, and sadly quite underrated!
Also Read: Suzuki GSX-S750 Review
5. Triumph Tiger 900
There's a reason behind the popularity of the middleweight Triumph Tiger range. It's a very well-rounded, almost perfect, do-it-all motorcycle, with all-round capability and a superb in-line triple engine which has a sporty character, and the performance and kit to make it a superb touring and off-road capable ADV. The new Tiger 900 takes those qualities several notches higher, with better weight distribution, better power delivery, and a long list of features to make it a completely modern adventure touring motorcycle! And needless to say, it makes the cut as one of the favourite bikes that we have reviewed in the recent past.
Also Read: 2020 Triumph Tiger 900 First Ride Review
6. Honda Africa Twin
The Honda Africa Twin completely changed the middleweight adventure motorcycle segment in India. For one, it's the only motorcycle available in India with an automatic transmission, and it has superb off-road capability, despite being not as popular as its competition. For purists, there's an accessory gear shift lever available, but there's no clutch lever, so you can shift up and down with the press of a button, or with the lever. And of course, there's full auto mode as well, where the dual-clutch transmission will choose the gears for you. But more than the automatic transmission, it's the sum of the bike's performance, touring comfort and off-road ability that makes the Honda Africa Twin such a special bike. It may not be as popular as its closest rival, the Triumph Tiger, but the Africa Twin certainly has its own qualities to make it to this coveted list.
Also Read: Honda Africa Twin Review
7. Royal Enfield 650 Twins
The Royal Enfield 650 Twins, the RE Interceptor 650 and the RE Continental GT 650, are based on the new 650 cc parallel-twin engine platform unveiled in 2018. With a level of engineering and performance never before seen on any Royal Enfield motorcycle, the 650 Twins certainly have established a new direction in performance, quality and reliability for one of India's most popular and iconic motorcycle brands. When we first got a taste of the Royal Enfield 650s in California, we were blown away by the refinement, performance and quality of the latest Royal Enfield bikes. Needless to say, these two motorcycles will remain in memory as a historic and very important milestone in the history of Royal Enfield. Yes, they are that good! Go take a test ride, if you haven't already!
8. KTM 390 Duke
There's a reason why the KTM 390 Duke holds a position as one of the most well-known entry-level performance motorcycles in India. It's immediately identified with iconic motorcycles like the Yamaha RD 350, and the made-in-India KTM 390 Duke can easily hold its own as one of the best bang for buck motorcycles, with a superb combination of performance, handling and affordability. The KTM 390 Duke will remain one of the most iconic motorcycles to be launched in the last two decades, and it just has to be mentioned in any motorcycle discussion. Period!
Also Read: 2020 KTM 390 Duke Review
9. Hero XPulse 200
Till the Hero XPulse 200 was introduced, off-road riding was a limited experience to the Indian motorcycling community, with no accessibility to an affordable and do-it-all versatile package. That is the gap the Hero XPulse 200 tries to address, and it does so with impressive capability. The XPulse can be used for the daily commute, and it's a superb bike to begin off-road riding with. It's relatively cheap, easy to maintain, and even if anything breaks or needs repairs, it's a lot affordable than any other adventure bike. It's lightweight too, and is the perfect platform to learn some off-road riding tricks. The XPulse does have all the qualities to make Indian motorcyclists take to off-road riding, and we've had a blast reviewing it and riding it for sometime!
Also Read: Hero XPulse 200 Review
10. TVS Apache RTR 160 4V
In a country like India, motorcycling isn't always about passion, performance and capability. Fact is that the vast majority of motorcyclists in our country use their bikes for the daily commute, and look for a practical and stylish option, at the same time, with some decent performance. Now, the 150-160 cc premium commuter motorcycle segment has several contenders to be in the top spot, but the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V offers a wholesome all-round package. It looks good, built well, with very good fit and finish, and has a very likeable four-valve engine and slick-shifting gearbox. It's quite good on the fuel consumption department as well, and is easily one of the very best in its segment, if not the best, and it comes to mind as such when we think of a commuter motorcycle.
Also Read: TVS Apache RTR 160 4V BS6 Review