The Indian two-wheeler industry has seen unprecedented action in the past couple of years. The motorcycle enthusiast in this part of the world has never had it so good. KTM has emerged as a game changer of sorts, with its Duke / RC | 200 / 390 raising the bar substantially and transforming the performance to value ratio for the Indian motorcycle buyer.
And it’s not just the KTM quartet that has thrilled the discerning audience. The traditional leader in value-performance biking, Bajaj Auto has also tried to create disruption with its NS200 (though discontinued for now), along with the RS / AS 200 duo, offering fantastic options to the typical Indian biking enthusiast in the mainstream category. On its part, Royal Enfield has introduced its fans to the relatively sportier Continental GT, with Kawasaki and Yamaha also offering their utterly desirable Ninja 300 and R3 to those who have somewhat deeper pockets.
On the higher end of the spectrum, we have seen Kawasaki offering a fantastic do-all offering in the form of the Ninja 650 with a reasonable price tag, while Harley-Davidson has commenced a revolution of sorts by offering the Street 750 at an incredibly accessible price point for the brand. Even the inline-fours aren’t as a far-fetched as they once used to be, with the Benelli TNT600i / GT, CBR650F and the Z800 doing their bit to bring the dream of owning an inline four much closer to reality.
While it may be a little difficult to imagine when you have so many options around you, the fact remains that the everyday performance-oriented, budget conscious buyer doesn’t have too many options to choose from. At Motoroids, we receive dozens of queries on a daily basis from our readers who are looking at a performance-oriented motorcycle within a budget of Rs 1-1.3 lakh. These readers represent a large chunk of the upwardly mobile bikers who look forward to experiencing motorcycling at a relatively higher level, without having to spend too much as buying or running costs. In most cases, these buyers are looking at options like the Yamaha R15, the Pulsar RS / AS200, Apache RTR 180 and in some rare cases, the ZMR.
So when the upcoming Apache 200, based on the Draken concept was spotted yesterday, it somewhat fuelled a sort of a debate within the Motoroids office. Most members of the teams argued that TVS has missed the bus, and that the game has moved further away from the 200cc category. However, a closer inspection of the options available to those with a budget of Rs 1 – 1.3 lakh reveals that the upcoming motorcycle can actually be the definitive choice for a large audience. Let’s break it down.
We’ll start with the R15 S / R15 duo, the ex-showroom price for which ranges from Rs 1.15 to Rs 1.20 lakh. Now, while the R15 is a fantastic piece of engineering, the hard fact is, that it still is a 150, and even with its sporty, fully faired styling, advanced engine, and sweet handling, it doesn’t cut it for those who are looking at higher output and outright performance. While a reasonable number of buyers are opting for the model, most of them go for it owing to a lack of a real option, more than anything else.
The closest to the aspirations of this segment of buyers is the Pulsar RS / AS 200 duo. We aren’t considering the NS here as the motorcycle has been temporarily discontinued. So while at Rs 95K the AS200 represents great value, and has a lot going for it, it isn’t exactly a ‘sporty’ machine – and the audience we are talking about are looking for that raciness in their ride as a key factor. The RS200 on the other hand fits the bill, and has found its share of admirers, though at Rs 1.26 lakh it verges on to being slightly out of budget for the specific buyer we are talking about. The styling of the RS 200 isn’t to everyone’s taste either, and compounded with the fact that not all enthusiasts are Bajaj fans for a variety of reasons, strikes it out as an option for many. All of that having been said, the RS / AS duo does offer a great option to many – but are they the definitive answer to the need of the buyer with a specific requirement and budget? Maybe not!
Next, the KTM Duke / RC 200 are the definitive performance oriented machines in the 200cc segment. Their price, however, at Rs 1.37 lakh and 1.64 lakh, is rather steep.
We’ll not consider the CBR250R / Mojo 300 as they’re too expensive, and we’ll skip the RE models too as they are suited to a different genre of riders.
So after cutting through the clutter, we land on the fact that the R15, which is clearly underpowered, and the RS200, which is slightly above the ideal price range are the only two real options a buyer looking for a sporty, reasonably powerful motorcycle within a budget of Rs 1-1.3 lakh has.
Enter the Apache 200. The Apache RTR 180 with ABS currently retails for a reasonable Rs 85k ex-showroom (non ABS version is even cheaper). Factoring in the cost for the bigger block, along with all the fancy bits, it would be safe to assume that the new model will cost about Rs 25-30k more than the current model. That brings the ex-showroom price of the new 200 to about Rs 1.10K – 1.15K. That price, for a 200cc performance oriented motorcycle with about 22-25 bhp of power should be the ideal fit for the audience we are talking about here.
We genuinely believe there is a void in the segment as of now, and that the new Apache 200, if it turns out well, can become the definitive motorcycle that captures the audience in that space authoritatively. It’s a substantial chunk of buyers – we can tell you that!
What’s your estimation? Do you agree / disagree? Do let us know your thoughts via the comments sections below.