So, the acclaimed jurors just handed over the IMOTY trophy to the Harley-Davidson Street 750. The finalists for 2014 were zeroed down to the Bajaj Discover 150 F, Harley-Davidson Street 750,Hyosung Aquila GV250, Kawasaki ER-6n, Kawasaki Z250, KTM RC 200, KTM RC 390, Suzuki Gixxer, Triumph Bonneville T100, Triumph Daytona 675 R, Triumph Street Triple and Triumph Thruxton.
Here’s what we think!
Harley-Davidson played their cards right with the Street 750. Already armed with a burgeoning heritage and a fairly desirable image outside America, HD decided to assault developing markets with an all-new, appropriately positioned cruiser. For many purveyors of the brand, and there are quite a few in this part of the world, having a Harley-Davidson parked in the driveway suddenly became a distinct possibility. This marked a new era for the brand and its followers, with Harley enjoying healthy sales, which even inched closer to the Royal Enfield Continental GT – a bike that retails for less than half of the Harley, and the IMOTY 2014 winner.
With a price tag of INR 4,27,230(Ex-Showroom), the 750 brought the premium, highly desirable brand closer to its admirers as well as new buyers. Their strategy also opened up the market somewhat, with the idea of an India-specific, highly localized, moderately powerful motorcycle hinting at other premium manufacturers to take note and probably follow suit. As for the bike, it’s pretty well-rounded for the price. Agreed, its bit of an image-shredder for Harley, but it’s a way of nurturing the brand to grow beyond its comfort zone, without crossing the line too much.
Summing up the rest:
The RC 200 and 390 twins, the next best contenders, and are cracking motorcycles in their own right, but they’re purely evolutionary, and their characters are mere extensions of the Duke twins. KTM didn’t offer anything new to the table this time, unlike the brilliant Duke, which almost gave a new dimension to Indian performance motorcycling.
The Suzuki Gixxer was a great launch, we felt, and a terrific comeback for Suzuki’s Indian operations. But then again, the fact that it had to ape the Yamaha FZ’s original idea of an affordable street-fighter might have diluted its personality. In short, nothing new to the table was brought.
The Kawasaki ER-6n is a strong and capable product, and at 4.78 lakh, makes a strong point for itself, but again its type has a slimmer audience and it follows in the footsteps of the Ninja 650. What the ER-6n does is a great thing, but it’s been done before by the Ninja 650R. As for the Hyosung, with a weak image and a 3 lakh price tag, chances were slim.
The Triumphs are brilliant in their own right, but they mired themselves in controversy with the recent power loss debacle, which made them take a severe beating to their image nation-wide. Ethics were questioned, and Triumph had to resort to compensating their Street Triple clientele (More on that coming up soon).
Which leaves us with the Bajaj Discover 150F, which isn’t quite an IMOTY material. For more, read our exhaustive review here