Motorcycles are always an interesting topic of discussion amongst us Indians. With a large population in question, there is always something there for each one. Be it the commuter or the performance bike segment, manufacturers in today’s date are trying each and every trick to ensure that their products attract maximum sales despite a dipping economy. A recent trend that has come into effect is the adoption of ‘Classic Design’ on motorcycles. This, in fact, brings us to the debate if this is Classic New Age of Biking in India.
Think of the words Classic Bike and the first thing that would come to anyone’s mind is that of Royal Enfield. Royal Enfield Motorcycles have for the longest of time had ties with the Indian Army and its fan base of enthusiasts just seem to be growing with each given day. Earlier the go-to models were the Bullet and the Classic comprising of both 350cc and 500cc variants. Over the years, this line-up was further expanded to Royal Enfield ThunderBird and Royal Enfield Himalayan. However taking a leap into the middleweight segment of bikes, Royal Enfield this year introduced the much talked about 650 twins.
Royal Enfield 650 Twins that we are referring to is the Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650. By providing customers with bigger capacity bikes at a very attractive price point of ` 2.50 lakhs for Interceptor 650 and ` 2.65 lakhs for Continental GT 650 (ex-showroom) what Royal Enfield has done is made Classic Bikes more affordable for not only the enthusiast but for the public in general. Now individuals need not look at foreign brands like the Harley Davidson, Triumph Motorcycles, Indian Motorcycles among other names that actually make a hole in the pocket considering that their products are priced on the higher side and are out of reach for the most of us. Thus now the Indian household nameplate has devised its own niche segment within the introduction of these two bikes. So what are Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 all about – let us find out?
n looks, both these bikes establish their own place in the mind and heart of a keen bike follower. Some people would like Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 for its Cruiser like appeal while the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 is on the lines of a Café Racer. Besides their different outlook, Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 share the same petrol engine under their respective frames. Thus what we have is a 649cc parallel-twin cylinder unit capable of producing a maximum power output of 47 bhp @ 7,100 rpm with 52 Nm of Peak torque @ 4,000 rpm. It comes equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox that offers a slipper clutch. Unlike Royal Enfield bikes of the past, these are more refined and performance oriented as per Indian road conditions. The other good part is that both these machines feature a 320mm single disc up front while the rear offers a 240mm disc. ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) that would be otherwise optional is now being made available as standard fitment across the entire 650 range. With the addition of 41mm telescopic forks up front and twin gas-charged rear shock absorbers, the Interceptor and Continental GT provide a great ride quality with a minimal amount of vibrations. With all of this on offer, the 650 Twins are sure to create some positive waves in the middleweight motorcycle segment.
Moving to the lower segment of Motorcycles, there is another brand that been creating quite a buzz for itself. After an absence of almost 18 years, Jawa Motorcycles has recently broken into the Indian scene. This was made possible by Classic Legends a lifestyle company formed in the year 2015 to re-introduce Classic brands like Jawa Motorcycles with a little help from Mahindra & Mahindra. As result, this month we saw the introduction 3 new bikes – Jawa, Jawa 42 and Jawa Perak. Almost identical in design to the original Jawa Motorcycle, these three entrants were priced pretty competitively. Thus Jawa is priced at `1.64 lakhs while Jawa 42 comes for `1.55 lakhs with Jawa Perak being priced at Rs 1.89 lakhs.
Perak is priced at Rs 1.89 In order to catch the emotional sentiment of this icon, the company stuck to the ‘Classic’ tag by keeping the bikes as much original as possible. In fact, it is based on the iconic Jawa 250 Type A. As a result what we get to see in front of our eyes is a retro-style headlamp, a cylindrical fuel tank that features a dual-tone chrome finish, flared mudguards with pinstripes on them, flat seat and the iconic twin exhaust system. The Jawa 42 in appeal puts its foot forward with a matt finish paint job.
However, the biggest change was that the engine incorporated in Jawa and Jawa 42 is BS VI compliant. Built from scratch at their research centers in Italy and in India, Jawa and Jawa 42 come fitted with an all-new 293cc single-cylinder engine. This engine is capable of producing a maximum power output of 27 bhp with 28 Nm of peak torque. A 6-speed manual gearbox can be found doing their duty on both these motorcycles.
On the other hand, Jawa Perak is a factory made a custom motorcycle that houses a bigger capacity engine. It, in this case, happens to be a 334cc, liquid cooled, single cylinder DOHC unit capable of producing 30 bhp of power output alongside 31 Nm of peak torque. Despite having revealed the prices, bookings for this particular version have still not been made public. Besides introducing these 3 bikes, Jawa Motorcycles is yet to give us a taste of what they would be like to ride on our Indian roads.
Thus having the option of buying either a Royal Enfield Twin or for that matter Jawa or the Jawa 42, one thing is clear that retro styling is making its way back into our lives reigniting the nostalgia of the ’70s, 80’s and the ’90s. Thus in today’s age, we as consumers are definitely looking at these bikes as a modern adaption of the original classics. Which bring us back to the original question-is biking culture getting an all-together new meaning? And the answer to that is a definitive yes; Classic is the New Age of Biking in India.
Also Read: 7 classic cars that should make a comeback