BharathAutos 2013 Top Five bikes list – the writers each pick five that impressed them the most last year

The two-wheeler industry did see a lot of changes in the year 2013, and many new launches too. Some of these launches were revolutionary and the Indian biking industry evolved some more in this year. More and more people got into the performance biking segment, the low capacity high performance biking segment grew more than any other segment and as usual, the scooter segment clocked great sales. Among all these launches, these are the top five two-wheelers launched in 2013 in our opinion.

Stephen Neil Gershom:
1. KTM Duke 390


This monster of a bike needs no introduction. The KTM duke 200 had revolutionised the Indian biking scene when it was launched in 2012 and single-handedly brought KTM to the forefront of the Indian performance biking scene and now, the Duke 390 is doing much more than that. The Duke 390 redefines the terms low cost performance biking. Everything about the bike is big except the price.

It is powered by a 375cc single cylinder liquid cooled engine, with an output of 43 BHP and 35 NM of torque which is very powerful in itself, and then comes the weight. The Duke 390 has a dry weight of only 147 kilograms, which in turn means, a power to weight ratio of 296 BHP per tonne, which in turn meant that it was going to be very FAST. And it is, 0-100 KMPH comes up in only 5.1 seconds, and it will go on, to eventually hit a top speed of 170+ KMPH, which is totally respectable. The best part about the bike is the price. The KTM Duke 390 costs only 1.85 lakhs (ex-showroom). So much performance, for that little price tag, is the main reason that this bike ended up on this list.

2.  Yamaha Ray-Z


The Yamaha Ray, when originally launched in 2012 was marketed as a scooter for the fairer sex. Yamaha went to great lengths to promote this scooter as a scooter for women, and they even launched a whole assembly line, specifically for the ray, where only women worked and assembled the scooter. All this worked well for Yamaha, but just for a while. The Ray was a great scooter, it brought freshness to the scooter market in India and, though Yamaha marketed it as a scooter for women, even men liked the Ray, the only reason men shied away from buying the Ray was that, it came with only feminine colors. Yamaha soon realised that they were missing out on many customers, and launched the Ray-Z.

The Ray-Z was essentially the same scooter, there were no mechanical changes on it. It is still powered by the same 109cc single cylinder engine, still putting out the same 7 BHP and 8.1 NM of torque. The only changes were that, the Ray-Z had brighter colors on offer, and all the colors came with black accents all over. Even the wheels were painted black and the scooter looked much better and attractive overall. Earlier, it was a good scooter, but now, with the Z moniker, it has become a perfect scooter, and that is why it has made it to this list.

3.  Royal Enfield Continental GT 535


Royal Enfield, the classic motorcycle manufacturer which originated from England is now an Indian company. The firm is now based out of a factory near Chennai and even today, builds its motorcycles by hand. The motorcycles it manufactures too, are all old-school highway machines which can take a fair amount of abuse. And this has been going on for years, the design too has remained unchanged for decades, it had only a few engines, and used the same engines on all its bikes. But now, they have decided to evolve, to move with the times and to bring something new to the table. And the Continental GT is the result of that decision.

The Continental GT is styled in traditional cafe racer avatar, and boy does it look good. It is powered by a 535cc single cylinder engine, which is actually a bored out version of the engine used in other 500cc Royal Enfield motorcycles. it does come with a fair bit of modern equipment though, it gets disc brakes from Brembo for both front and rear wheels, the rear shock absorbers are imported units, made by Paioli from Italy, and it comes complete with a Bosch fuel injection system. Hats off to Royal Enfield for trying something new and pulling it off successfully.

4.  Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R


Everybody knows that litre class motorcycles are on a different level altogether, everything about a litre class motorcycle is extreme. They are extremely powerful, extremely light considering the power it packs and the level of engineering too is at an extreme level. Everyone who knows bikes, will also know a Kawasaki Ninja, a Kawasaki Ninja is a high performance bike, and is available in different variants, starting from a 300cc twin cylinder, and going all the way till a 1400cc four cylinder! One of the variants, the 1000cc Ninja, which is called the ZX-10R has been around for a long time now, and it has been receiving updates and refreshes every now and then, and in the latest update in 2013, the styling has completely been changed and the ZX-10R too, now follows the new Ninja design theme and after a long wait, it was finally launched in India this year.

The Ninja ZX-10R looks absolutely fantastic and the overall design theme is one of aggression. Keeping in line with the aggressive design, is the color choice. The bike is available only in the traditional Lime green with black accents everywhere which makes it look even more aggressive. The ZX-10R is powered by a 998cc, DOHC, liquid cooled 4-cylinder engine which pumps out a mind boggling 213 BHP and 112 NM of torque. This, when combined with a weight of a 198 kilos, gives a power-to-weight ratio of 1075 BHP per tonne, which is pure madness, the 0-100 KMPH stint takes less than 2.8 seconds and it will go on to touch a top speed of 300 KMPH.  This bike can out-run any supercar in a straight line. For the crazily awesome performance on offer, this bike finds a place on this list.

5.  Triumph Bonneville


After a long wait filled with anxiety and expectation, legendary British motorcycle manufacturer Triumph has finally come to India, and has brought along a range of motorcycles. Triumph India, launched 10 motorcycles at once and included in this onslaught of products was the legendary Triumph Bonneville. The Triumph Bonneville is a motorcycle manufactured by Triumph, and has been in production from 1959, since then, the Bonneville has gone through many refreshes and updates to keep it competitive in the constantly evolving world of automobiles, and here it is today, perfectly blending classic design and modern engineering.

The Triumph Bonneville is now powered by an air cooled, 865cc parallel twin engine, churning out 69 PS. The Bonneville makes it to our list, because it is the best cruiser available at an affordable price. Even though the Bonneville is built in an exotic way, it’s pricing in India is very affordable. The Bonneville is priced at 5.75 lakh (ex-showroom), and is a value for money bike. For those who want a powerful, yet affordable cruiser bike, but not a Harley-Davidson, the Bonneville is here now, and for that reason, it finds a spot on this list.


Mohammed Raeez:
1.  KTM Duke 390


After the success of the predecessor of KTM, KTM launched the Duke 390 on 25th June 2013. It is combined with maximum riding pleasure and is also easy to handle because of its lightweight, power packed engine.

KTM Duke 390 is featured with Low fuel warning lamp, pilot lamps, LED tail lights, body graphics, tachometer, trip meter, clock, digital speedometer, digital fuel indicator, pass switch, ABS, self start, 17 inch alloy wheel, ABS by German biggie Bosch to provide maximum comfort as well as protection even in muddy or curvy hilly roads, Metzeler tyres, front and rear disk brakes, fuel and Ignition system provided by Bosch and Hydraulic operated clutch.

Coming to the technical specifications, it has been powered with 373.2 cc engine with a maximum power of 44HP at 9,500rpm at a torque of 35Nm at 7,250rpm. It is priced at INR 1,83,063 (ex-showroom price Bangalore) and provides a fuel efficiency of 38 kmpl.

2.  TVS Jupiter


TVS launched the Jupiter in the month of September 2013 competing with current big sellers Honda Activa and Suzuki Access. Although Jupiter looks like the siblings of Activa, it comes with a 3D logo on both sides of the panels, which looks like a rounded panel (planet). It features turn indicators in the panel below the headlamps as already seen in Suzuki Access.

It also features pilot lamps, very comfortable seat with excellent cushioning, 12-inch wheel offering superior ride quality and ride regardless riding on bumpier, broken roads too, fuel reserve light indicator, eco and power mode and a unique yellow colored switch for the horn and red color for the ignition.

Jupiter is powered by a 110 cc engine which produces a maximum power of 8 PS at 7500 RPM at a maximum torque of 8 Nm at 5500 RPM. It also offers a fuel efficiency of 44.4 kmpl.

3.  Kawasaki Z1000


The Japanese motorcycle maker Kawasaki had recently revealed the new model of its wildest naked machine Z1000 at the 2013 EICMA. After this, India Kawasaki Motors’ Pune showroom has already started taking bookings for the Z1000 which has already been displayed at the Pune Showroom from December 25th. Customers are expected to get their delivery from January 2014.

The Z1000 is built based on the Sugomi Philosophy which was earlier seen in the Z800 making it more wild and aggressive in terms of styling. It features Kawasaki Traction Control, electronically controlled suspension system, dual front and single rear disc brakes, ABS, muscular fuel tank, full LED instrument cluster, dual side twin exhaust pipes and LED headlamps (combination of six ultra bright LED units, in which inner two are used for low beam and other four units for high beam).

Coming to the technical specifications, Z1000 is equipped with a powerful engine which produces a maximum power of 142 BHP @ 10000 RPM and a maximum torque of 111 Nm @ 7300 RPM. It also features Ride-By-Wire throttle technology, by which we can restrict the engine to work at two power modes 70% and 80%. It is expected to be priced closed to INR 18.5 lakhs (on-road Pune).

4.  Mahindra Centuro


Mahindra 2-Wheelers launched the all new Centuro on July 1st 2013. It is designed entirely in-house at the company’s world-class, state-of-the-art, R&D Centre in Pune. Mahindra’s Centuro represents the Mahindra Two Wheelers’ commitment to emerge as a serious player in the Indian two wheeler market. Mahindra 2-Wheelers also received over 10000 bookings within 3 weeks of its launch.

It features central locking, anti-theft system with an engine immobiliser, remote 128-bit encrypted flip-key with LED lights, find me lights to locate the bike in crowded parking lots and guide lamps that continues to illuminate as one walks away from the bike after parking it. Centuro also features white fully-lit digital instrument cluster, distance-to-empty fuel indicator, LED tail and pilot lamps.

Coming to the technical specifications, Centuro is powered with a MCi-5 (Micro Chip Ignited – 5 curve) engine which produces a maximum power of 8.5 PS @ 7500 RPM at a maximum torque of 8.5 Nm @ 5500 RPM. It covers 0 to 60kmph in just 8.85 seconds delivering a fuel efficiency of 85.4 kmpl (ARAI-certified).

5.  Yamaha Ray Precious Edition


Yamaha launched their first gearless scooter the ‘Ray’, targeted at fairer sex in September 2012. Seeing the amazing response and also thinking about the male fans, Yamaha launched the precious edition of Yamaha Ray in May 2013 which is in fact more sportier with lots of decals  and a small windscreen on its handlebar, called the Ray Z.

Yamaha named this new model with glossy black paint job and with pink patterned graphics as ‘Cygnus Ray’. This limited edition scooter is provided with ‘Precious Edition’ and ‘Ray Cygnus’ stickers in the front and rear respectively.

Precious Edition of Yamaha Ray is powered with the same air-cooled 4-stroke 113cc engine with CVT (Continuous variable transmission) that delivers smooth start-up acceleration and good pickup along with great fuel economy producing a maximum power of 7.1 PS at a maximum torque of 8.1 Nm.


Mohammed Asrar:
1.  KTM 390 Duke


Bajaj Auto has launched the much-awaited 390 Duke in India on June-2013. The 390 Duke looks picture perfect from every angle. Indians have already tasted the unique styling of KTM and it got a really warm reception in our market. It is also one of the finest examples of naked bikes.

Looking at the pricing of 200 Duke, Bajaj has priced the 390 Duke very competitively at INR 1.80 lakhs (introductory and ex-showroom, Pune). If you want a sportsbike like performance at a price of two lakh rupees, you need to ride home the 390 Duke. It’s an extremely powerful bike which is fuel efficient as well. Also, it’s unmatchable in terms of ride and handling.

2.  Royal Enfield Continental GT 535


The lightest, fastest and certainly the most expensive motorcycle to wear the RE logo has been launched in India on November-2013. Royal Enfield has tried its level best to make it look as classy and vintage as possible. They have taken care of every small bit and that’s probably the reason why it truly looks like a cafe racer. It has a compact design featuring low positioned headlight and handle bar.

The retro styling and powerful performance of Continental GT makes it a complete value for money bike and Italian involvement further makes it special.

3.  TVS Jupiter


TVS Motor Company is one of the most lovable scooter manufacturers of Indian market which has given a lot of beautiful and comfortable scooters to both its male and female customers. Now, the company has launched the much-awaited automatic scooter ‘Jupiter’ in India on September-2013.

The Jupiter looks like a good blend of style, performance, safety, speed, comfort, reliability and price.  It is very aggressively at Rs. 44,200 (ex-showroom Delhi), which lands it into the territory of recently launched Honda Activa-i although it directly competes with the regular Activa.

All the drawbacks of Activa are studied and made convenient in the Jupiter like, ideally levelled and better accessible kick-start, patented E-Z center stand, external fuel filler, twin-pilot lamps for better visibility in any kind of weather and unique pass-by switch for easy and safe overtaking manoeuvres on highways and no-horn zones.

4.  Mahindra Centuro


With the Centuro, Mahindra has tried their level best to make this bike look mature and premium than other entry-level bikes. Launched in July-2013, the Centuro comes with many segment first features like Central locking, anti-theft system with an engine immobiliser, remote 128-bit encrypted flip-key with LED lights, find me lights to locate the bike in crowded parking lots and guide lamps that continues to illuminate as one walks away from the bike after parking it.

The Centuro also comes with LED tail and pilot lamps, white fully-lit digital instrument cluster with service and distance-to-empty fuel indicator.

5.  Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R


Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R will take some time to create awareness in our market but Kawasaki has made it instantly famous by pricing this bike at Rs 16.90 lakh in India, which is undoubtedly value for money bike. In India, the Ninja ZX-14R directly compete with much popular Suzuki Hayabusa. The Ninja ZX-14R proves to be a tough competitor for Hayabusa as it looks quite attractive and offers equally strong performance.

The 2014 ZX-14R has become more stylish and premium in terms of appearance. Kawasaki has made noticeable changes in this bike which differentiates it from the outgoing model. The multi chamber headlights at its front give it a unique identity. These circular headlights look extremely classy at night. The heart shaped air-inlet separates the headlights of this bike. The broad V-shaped front cowl of this bike gives it aggressive looks and makes it look futuristic.

World’s fastest bike and company’s flagship model, the Ninja ZX-14R uses a 1441cc engine that delivers power of 210bhp and a mighty 162.5 Nm of torque. It is the most powerful production bike with a top speed of 350 kmph, which is electronically restricted at 299kmph. The Ninja ZX-14R is capable to achieve 0-100kmph in just 2.62 seconds (the world’s fastest car Bugatti Veyron does it in 2.46 seconds).


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