We were engulfed in dismay when 2013-14 Union Budget came with increased customs duty for imported bikes. Custom duty on imported bikes with engine displacement of 800cc and above has been increased to 75 percent from earlier 60 percent. However, it turns out that there is a silver lining to this cloud. As the decision of increased custom duties affects only those bikes which have engines displacing 800cc and above, bikes with engines smaller than 800cc still enjoy a lower custom duty of 60%.
It has emerged that Ducati might soon take benefit of this loop hole and introduce the Monster 696, its entry-level motorcycle, in India.The 696 looks similar to the Monster 795 and shares many components with the bigger sibling. The 696 has the same wheelbase, saddle height, rim and tyre specs and brakes as the 795.
Powering the smaller bike is a 696cc, L-twin cylinder, air-cooled, Desmodromic engine which has a max power output of 79bhp.
Cost of owning a Ducati might be an issue for some but the manufacturer is reportedly working on keeping the prices under check. “Given the overall situation of the Monster 795 assembled in Thailand, we, along with our local importer in India, are currently evaluating the most appropriate steps for the market,” says Ducati in response to a question from Autocar Professional. Ducati is working on to locally sourcing a big chunk of components in India. “We are already sourcing some parts in India. It wouldn’t be a surprise if our colleagues in the global sourcing team increase the number of parts purchased in India. There are already several suppliers who comply with our stringent quality requirements,” the statement adds.
2013 Ducati Monster 696 Specifications