In today's world, it is not uncommon to see your next door neighbour riding a superbike to his office every day. In fact, since last 7-8 years, most of us have been seeing a boom in this premium category and it's just getting bigger and bigger with each day passing. Most of the manufacturers of these premium bikes worldwide acknowledged the potential that Indian market posed and were quick enough to tap the opportunity. Today's consumer has options, money and access to all the information he/she needs before making a decision. So, what are the top superbikes India aspires for and why? Let's figure out.
Not many knew of this mammoth dragster before 2004. It became famous when Dhoom - the employment guarantee act for some of the actors in Bollywood - got released. So what if John Abraham wore half face or modular helmets while riding at speeds over 300 kmph! The movie was an instant hit and so was the motorcycle. The people who could afford it got it imported, and the ones who had little or no money, went to a nearby workshop and got their Pulsars and CBZs converted to look like one. But, there is nothing in this world that can beat the performance of this 4 cylinder, 1300cc, 186bhp demon on two wheels.
The first of the two superbikes to arrive in India legally. In 2007, Yamaha acknowledged the potential Indian market promised and soon MT 01 and YZF R1 arrived in India. R1 was super quick, a technical marvel, looked better than Angelina Jolie, nimble, life threatening etc etc etc. Being the first player in the market worked and R1 soon was almost everywhere. The underseat exhausts looked neat and very sporty. Yamaha R1 was priced close to 12 lakhs then, and it was a very good price keeping in the mind the value for money and the technology that had been doing wonders across the world. Even after 7 years, a Yamaha R1 still has the potential to make anyone go weak in his knees either by its sound or sheer looks.
After Yamaha's arrival, it was Honda's turn to head to India and make it big. And what better motorcycle to arrive with than the legendary CBR 1000RR that had the same racing DNA Honda is known for. Smoother power delivery, slipper clutch, ABS made it more forgiving than other litre class motorcycles in the market that time. The new age Fireblade was made by taking inputs from Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa which in itself says a lot. It was a motorcycle that could be ridden in the city as well without compromising on anything. The new age Fireblade delivers 178bhp of power at the crank without scaring the shit out of you. All this clubbed with Honda's technology and reliability has resulted in huge success for Fireblade in India which has no end to it in the nearby future.
This was BMW's answer to the R1s and the Fireblades of the world and the Germans made sure that the answer remains unchallenged for a long time. BMW launched their first ever Superbike in 2008 - the S100RR - in Munich. It had an inline four cylinder engine that produced more power at the crank than any other bike ever. It delivered a WHATEVER 195bhp of power at the crank and an effing 180 at the rear wheel. It was a very good option for maniacs who wanted something non-Japanese and yet reliable. The uneven front lights, the non resembling fairings on both the sides got mixed reviews but surely made the bike stand out. Yes it does cost a lot more than an average Japanese motorcycle of the same capacity, but that's the price you pay for something that Japanese do not have - German engineering.
Had I written this piece a few months ago, I would have completely forgotten this brilliant English reply to a market which is ruled by Japan and a little by countries like Italy and Germany. But I cannot rule out the threat Triumph Daytona has posed to almost everyone in this category in the recent times. The line-up, the categories to which Triumph is serving and the assurance that comes with the brand name and the legacy. Daytona has been worldwide known as the perfect answer to Yamaha's R6 and Honda's CBR 600RR and has earned many disciples. On Indian roads, where people accept the fact that the roads are not good enough to use the power a litre bike generates, Daytona 675 fits perfectly in the void. Priced roughly at 12 lakhs, it is the most affordable 'superbike' today. With three cylinder 675cc engine that generates 128 horses at the crank, it is more than what a bike enthusiast can ask for. In a few months from now, Triumph Daytona 675 will surely change the superbike scene in India.