The way Royal Enfield has gained popularity in India is commendable and it only seems to be increasing day by day. Riders are in love with the breed of pure classic cruisers and, with its extremely admirable retro machines, RE has been delivering just that. Amidst this market completely acquired by the British bikemaker, is there any other brand which can step into the ring and come neck to neck with this champion? Chances seem to be slim. However, a bit of research and slight knowledge about the industry can tell you that there are a few manufacturers who have been keeping a keen eye on this category. Silently, they are working hard to churn out such machines which can acquire this highly profitable niche and come out as tough Royal Enfield rivals.
Honda Rebel 300: Honda is a tough nut to crack when it comes to making refined, reliable and lucrative machines. Its ever-increasing sales of commuter motorcycles and scooters have made it second largest bikemaker in India, after Hero MotoCorp. However, Honda never stepped into entry-level cruiser segment in India but that won’t be a case for too long. Just a while ago, Honda has got patented the Rebel 300 in India which is a stylish cruiser motorcycle. It was introduced in the international markets way back in 1985 but never came to our shores. It is powered by a 286cc, single cylinder, liquid cooled, fuel injected engine which delivers 27.3 PS of power and 27 Nm of torque. Reports suggest that it will be built locally in India for other countries but Honda is also highly likely to launch it here in the coming days. If it happens soon, it will be next year, for sure.
Benelli Imperiale 400: Showcased at the 2017 EICMA motor show, the Benelli Imperiale 400 is a classic cruiser with charming aesthetics. The motorcycle descends a ray of hope that the Italian bikemaker might bring down a potent rival for the ruler. It runs on a 373.5cc, single cylinder, SOHC engine which comes mated to a 5-speed gearbox. The motor develops 19 BHP at 5500 RPM and 28 Nm of torque at 3500 RPM. The Imperiale 400 sits on a double cradle steel tube frame and comes fitted with Telescopic forks at the front and monoshock at the rear. All that tells that its pricing might be competitive if it comes to India which will help it compete well in the segment.
Kawasaki Vulcan 650 S: Now, we move on to the upcoming flagship of Royal Enfield, the Interceptor 650 which will be striking a pose at the Auto Expo 2018. With this bike, the company will be trying its hands on a twin-cylinder engine for the very first time and the bike has been in the news lately. However, apart from Royal Enfield, Kawasaki will also drop down the Vulcan 650 S in India. It debuted in the second half of 2015 and has been on sale in the international markets since then. Recently it was reported that Kawasaki dealerships have started accepting bookings of the motorcycle ahead of the official launch. The Vulcan 650 S straps a 649cc parallel twin engine which produces 61 PS of power and 62 Nm of torque. It comes loaded with modern features and looking at other bikes from Kawasaki, it won’t be wrong to expect it to be priced a tad higher. However, it might become a good alternative over the Interceptor 650 if someone wants a more feature packed and stylish cruiser.
Bajaj-Triumph Middle-Weight Bike: Okay, so this is a complete assumption and the bikes from Bajaj-Triumph partnership aren’t reported to be coming anytime soon. But one thing is for sure that both the companies are working to spawn motorcycles in the middle-weight segment, 200-500cc to be precise. And, as Triumph has allocated the duty of manufacturing and acquiring parts for Bajaj, it is highly likely that the Indian bikemaker will strive to do everything economically. Whether the motorcycle will be a street bike or a cruiser is still uncertain but if it comes out to be the latter, it will definitely be a rival to one of the motorcycles from Royal Enfield.