From track rockets like the Suzuki GSX-R1000 to highway cruisers – there’s a type of motorcycle for all your needs. Here are 2015’s best motorcycles
Best budget motorcycle
The Mojo is Mahindra’s first venture into performance motorcycling and from the looks of it, they’re heading in the right direction. It’s designed to be an entry-level tourer, with its upright riding position, scalloped seats and torquey, 300cc single-cylinder engine. Designed like a proper muscle bike, the Mojo is a handsome machine, with a large, dual-headlamp cowl up front and twin exhaust pipes at the back, making it look very muscular in profile. It’s also got an excellent set of Pirelli tyres providing fly paper-like adhesion to the tarmac, so you can dive into corners pretty fast. Built in India, the Mojo is one of the most affordable portals to performance motorcycling.
Ducati has for years made some of the world’s most desirable works of art on two wheels, with price tags to match. The Scrambler is the Italian firm’s attempt at offering a more affordable motorcycle to enthusiasts – and it’s an absolute cracker. It looks amazing, which is always a good start, and it’s almost endlessly customizable in terms of outward appearance. Crucially, it’s a hoot to ride, both as a daily runner as well as a long-distance bike, and has a friendly, effusive character that is grin-inducing; it’s no slouch in the handling department, either. If you’ve always lusted after a Ducati, this is the bike with which to begin a love affair.
Best sports tourer
Honda makes some of the finest motorcycles in the world, no two ways about it, so forgive us for being ecstatic about the new CBR650F that’s just arrived in India. Unlike the CBR600RR, the CBR650F isn’t a hardcore supersport. It’s a more comfortable sports tourer, but what sets it apart is that ultra-sophisticated in-line four cylinder engine – the hallmark of any proper Honda.
Like all Hondas, the CBR650F is a very friendly, approachable motorcycle, which feels perfectly maneuverable despite its not inconsiderable kerb weight. It’s got 85 bhp of power, so it’s not exactly benign once the throttle gates open. For all its sophistication, useability and speed, the CBR650F isn’t a cheap machine (priced at Rs 7.6 lakh, Ex-Mumbai) but it certainly is one of the best.
Suzuki GSX R1000
The Suzuki GSX R1000 has become something of a sub-brand for Suzuki, so revered is its name in the international superbiking community. Sold in India as a Completely Built Up (CBU) unit, the beloved Gixxer is one of the most expensive litre-class superbikes. It does, however, come with three decades of racing pedigree – perfect for the discerning customer who seeks the most uncompromised and track focussed motorcycling experience. Its 999cc, in-line four engine produces 188 bhp of peak power, and the bike looks better than ever in the 30th Anniversary edition that was launched this year, complete with the paint scheme of the original 1985 Gixxer.
Harley-Davidson CVO Limited
If you’re going the Harley-Davidson way, the best way to go is big. These iconic motorcycles were built for long, endlessly straight highways with mild curves thrown in, all to be experienced with plenty of attitude and lashings of chrome – and there’s nothing else in the H-D lineup that quite exemplifies this spirit more than the CVO Limited. It’s massive, it has a great big engine, it’s as comfortable as a living room (just look at those seats) and there’s even a stereo system with a touchscreen, to keep you company on your cross-continental rides. It’ll take a big chunk out of your wallet, but can you really put a price on freedom and the open road?
Best motorcycle design
MV Agusta F4
The legendary Italian bike firm has only just begun selling its products in India, so it’s too early to comment on whether they’ll be successful. What can be said without reservation is that the firm’s flagship motorcycle, the F4, is the sexiest bike you can buy here. First penned by the late Massimo Tamburini, the ‘Michelangelo of motorcycle design’, the F4 was an instant design icon – pretty much nothing else on two wheels looked as good. Its competition has upped its collective game now, but the F4 is still a jaw-dropping piece of machinery – it’s also frighteningly fast and sounds like a chorus of angry banshees, to round off the experience.