2012: Year of the motorcycle


It doesn't take quite long to figure that I'm not too much of a two-wheeler person. Having spent the royal sum of one year and three months astride a two-wheeler, my legitimacy as a two-wheeler rider is as strong as Prince Charles' chance at becoming the King of England. Which isn't saying much, mind you.

But I am jealous. As a car road tester, I'm satiated if manufacturers continuously keep launching new cars. And so far, there's been just two significant cars – the new Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire and its stablemate, the Ertiga. Don't get me wrong, there have been some more new cars and variants out there, but they aren't necessarily the chartbusting, volume re-defining cars that 70 per cent of the buying public can afford or are interested in. Sure, in the next few months there will be a slew of cars like the Nissan Evalia, a new Tata Safari, Renault's Duster and many more, but think about it, we are nearing the mid-point of 2012 and there isn't anything significant from the dozen plus car manufacturers of consequence.

My point is, just look at the two-wheeler manufacturers. They have been rolling out the bikes faster than you and me can even think. Ducati's new Monster 795 for instance is significant – how often do you get a Ducati this cheap? Harley Davidson is letting the bean counters run the show to prop up their India operations and honestly, motorcycling enthusiasts of the touring kinds have never had it this good. Bajaj's new Pulsar 200NS and KTM Duke 200 are bound to fly (and flying off) the shelves faster than you and me can say vroom! Hero is rolling out many of its versions of Honda products, and it seems they aren't too bad either.

TVS could do better than just a slightly tweaked Apache, but having known them for a few years now, they do have the engineering skills to pull of a product that could shake the market. Here's praying that they do. Honda and Suzuki with their Dream Yuga and Hayate are gunning for the Splendor and who knows, one of them could finally usurp the top spot in the years to come. Mahindra two-wheelers has cast the dice by upgrading its scooters and it seems they will have many new two-wheelers in the next 12 to 18 months. Vespa has marked its return too and Triumph is in the wings. Hyosung has a new partner and new 250cc motorcycle to keep everyone busy. And the nice folks at BMW Motorrad have a new F 650 GS lined up for us penny-pinching motorcycling enthusiast lot and are plotting a Husqvarna entry too. Phew! That's a lot of action in the last six months or so, don't you think?

Here's hoping that the car industry gets back to its good ol' days of keeping us car road testers busy. Otherwise we may have to acquire a new set of skills and start off testing motorcycles too.