Gone are the days when we had to make do with anaemic 100c screamers, when the only muscle bikes around was the ‘Yamdoot’ RD350 besides that old warhorse, Royal Enfield’s Bullet and that flash in the pan – Jawa’s Yezdi 250cc. BMW made waves when they announced and launched the F650 Funduro in January ’96.
With an output of 48bhp and 180mm ground clearance it trounced most available cars with those specifications before fading avay due to a non-existent market. Individual riders imported some heavy machinery, mostly Japanese, mostly Kawasaki Ninjas and Suzuki Hayabusas, paying through their nose on customs to form their own niche riding clubs in various Indian metros, while the general bike-loving public stood by drooling.
Twenty years later, the Auto Expo this month promises a slew of mouth-watering motorcycles from a range of manufacturers, all wanting a piece of an increasingly affluent middle class Indian’s disposable income. And they’re all coming – from the uber exotic MV Agustas and DSK Benellis to gigantic Indian and Victory cruisers. Home grown brands such as Hero, Mahindra and Royal Enfield are also going the whole hog with spanking new models such as the Hastur, the Mojo and the Himalayan respectively.