Mar 3, 2007

500cc Cud, Chewed

Was thinking about this blog post. 500cc hi-tech twin, eh? Let us analyse that in a bit of detail. I picked up a handy copy of bike magazine (my favourite magazine in all of the world. Not the Indian edition, the UK one) and looked it up. These are the bikes that sprang forth (whoa!).

Aprilia SXV
This is a brand new bike from Aprilia. It's V-twin 450 that comes in the form of a supermotard and as a dirt bike. The chances of Aprilia coming to India with this would be slim from whatever I know. Unless they find a worthy partner. Yes, I've heard of the Hero Group association with them, but I'll believe the pudding exists and functions after I taste some.

Honda CBF500
If there was ever a solid commuter that was worth its weight in gold, this would be it. The CBF has been around since the dinosaurs left for the party upstairs. Still regarded as a good egg, this would make an interesting choice for Honda India to make. But I'd say it would not be a good pick for us. It's too basic and too close to our naked commuter format. It does make 55 bhp, and look more or less modern though. If I were Honda, would I pick a CBF500? Maybe.

Hyosung Comet 650
If the Comet 250 was anything to go by, I'd want Kinetic-Hyosung to do something with this. The Comet (and the strange but attractive Aquila 650) make a strong launch case for themselves. Question is, will Kinetic stick its neck out and pull it off? I hope they do. I were Kinetic, I would. And while I was at it, I'd make the Comet a regular feature on the line up. There is a faired version, but it's unspeakably ugly, so I'll stick with the naked one.

Kawasaki ER-6N
I picked the 6N despite the fact that it doesn't really fit the 500cc criteria. But it makes sense. The 64 bhp parallel twin is new enough for India. What I mean is that if Honda launched the CBF500, we'd turn out and say, 'They're dumping old bikes on us!' That won't happen with this one. The reviews also suggest a fast-enough, cool-enough, comfortable-enough package . Very interesting. If I were... I would.

Kawasaki ER-5
This is the most promising of the bikes in my opinion. Again, the ER-5, in Brit terms, is a effing dinosaur. But in our context, it has a fairing and a fairly easy to like 500cc twin motor as well. 46 bhp is a nice number too. If I were Bajaj, I'd stop tinkering with the Ninja 250 (which makes a rumour-appearance every n months and then vaporises...) and think seriously about the ER-6 and ER-5.

Suzuki GS500
No way dude. This bike has been around for too long and at 44 bhp, will simply feel too soft for us. I for one would not bother. On the other hand, I'd look at the GS500F (the new faired version) carefully. It's a bit awkward compared to the smooth, sleek litre class Suzukis, but still, by our standards...

What's high-tech? The original report is British let's look at it by their standard. By British standards, a high-tech half litre twin would have er... fuel injection, radial brakes, an aluminium spar frame, a good link-ed monoshock. By our standard, a high tech twin would have two cylinders. Oh well.

500cc. A twin cylinder Bullet? No. However, Bajaj for one do have a larger displacement platform in development – they've said as much. If they do, the others couldn't be far behind. Or far forward for that matter.

But here's the thing. I believe, this report, if true, is a sign that a bike is closing in on final development somewhere. Look at the three Japanese manufacturers in India. They're effectively sitting on their butts and not doing a thing about their rather low sales. Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki, you would imagine, would be a lot more eager to start making money in the second largest market in the world, wouldn't they? But look, they're not moving as fast as Bajaj, or for that matter, Hero Honda.

1 comment:

praveen said...

It will take ages for companies to launch or copy such bikes for India, First the roads in India have to be Improved drastically.