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Wow! Top 15 performance bikes of 2018

By Karan Narsu
January 05, 2018 08:08 IST
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Zigwheels' Karan Narsu lists down the highly anticipated performance bikes of 2018 that are sure to keep you drooling

BMW F 850 GS

BMW F 850 GS

The BMW F 850 GS, which was unveiled at EICMA 2017, replaces the older F 800 GS. Although this mid-weight adventure tourer shares its 853cc engine with the F 750 GS, it produces 96PS of power and 92Nm of peak torque, which is 18PS and 9Nm more than the smaller bike.


The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox with an anti-hop clutch and gets a different firing interval to make it sound meatier. When compared to the older F 800 GS, the new motorcycles feels modern, looks sharper and even packs more gadgetry than before.

The F 850 GS gets two riding modes (Road and Rain), ABS and BMW Automatic Stability Control as standard. There's even an optional 'Pro' riding pack which offers more riding modes such as Dynamic, Enduro and Enduro Pro.

While the smaller bike gets 41mm front forks, the 850 gets larger 43mm units.

We expect BMW Motorrad to launch the F 850 GS at the upcoming Auto Expo in February 2018 with a price tag of around Rs 14.5 lakh respectively.

Ducati Monster 821

Ducati Monster 821

Earlier this year Ducati India took the Monster 821 off the shelf as it did not meet BS-IV emission norms. Now, however, Ducati has a Euro 4-compliant version of the Monster 821, which we believe could be launched here next year.

The new version gets a couple of styling tweaks such as the headlamp from the Monster 1200, among others.

It also gets a TFT colour display for instrumentation, which is something its stable-mates such as the Multistrada 950 and the Supersport S miss out on.

Adhering to Euro 4 norms has hit the 821's performance figures a little.

The 821cc, 90-degree V-twin motor now produces 111.5PS of power and 86Nm of torque, which is 2PS and 2.4Nm lesser than before.

We expect the 2018 model to be priced marginally higher than the older version. So it's safe to assume it'll cost around Rs 12 lakh (ex-showroom).

Ducati Panigale V4

Ducati Panigale V4

Ducati unveiled its latest flagship, the Panigale V4, at EICMA 2017 in Milan, Italy. It is the first motorcycle from the Italian manufacturer to be powered by a 4-cylinder engine.

The Panigale's Desmosedici-derived, 1103cc, liquid-cooled, V4 engine has a power output of 217PS and produces a peak torque of 123.5Nm.

Power can be boosted to 226PS by opting for the titanium racing exhaust developed by Akrapovic as per Ducati Corse specifications.

The 6-speed gearbox gets Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) for quick and seamless shifting as well.

Being Ducati's flagship motorcycle, and the fact that it will be imported to India via the CBU route, expect the Panigale V4 to come with an eye-watering price tag of around Rs 35 lakh (ex-showroom).

Ducati Multistrada 1260

Ducati Multistrada 1260

The Multistrada 1260 is nothing but a re-badged Multistrada 1200 with a bigger engine derived from the XDiavel.

While the styling of the new motorcycle remains unchanged, the 1262cc, liquid-cooled, L-twin motor produces 160.2PS of power and 129.5Nm of torque, which is 6PS and 1.5Nm more than what the earlier motor was capable of producing.

In terms of electronics, the 1260 gets cornering ABS, backlit handlebar controls and automatic turn signal cancellation feature. It gets four riding modes (Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro) and it even has Ducati Wheelie Control, cruise control and hands-free connectivity options as well.

Also standard is the Vehicle Hold Control (VHC), which is a part of the new ABS unit.

The Multistrada 1260 is expected to be priced at around Rs 16.5 lakh (ex-showroom).

Ducati Scrambler 1100

Ducati Scrambler 1100

The Ducati Scrambler 1100, which was unveiled at the World Premiere 2018, retains the design lineage of the Scrambler 800 while looking a tad larger.

Powering the all-new Scrambler 1100 is the tried-and-tested 1079cc, air-cooled, L-twin engine that produces 87.2PS and 88Nm.

The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox and gets ride-by-wire throttle and three riding modes (Active, Journey and City).

Unlike the Scrambler 800, the 1100 gets ABS, cornering ABS and a four-stage traction control system. To help it stand out from its sibling, the Scrambler 1100 also gets a new round headlight with an 'X'-shaped pattern along with the standard circular LED DRLs.

While the smaller bike gets a circular single-pod instrument cluster, the 1100 gets a secondary capsule-shaped display.

The more powerful Scrambler has a kerb weight of 211kg and gets a 15-litre fuel tank.

We expect the Scrambler 1100 to be launched in the first half of 2018 with a price tag of Rs 12 lakh (ex-showroom).

Kawasaki ZX-10R SE

Kawasaki ZX-10R SE

Kawasaki's ZX-10 range gets a new member in the ZX-10R SE. Compared to the standard ZX-10R and the ZX-10RR, the new addition gets Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension (KECS), or electronic semi-active suspension, derived from the unit seen on FIM Superbike World Champion Jonathan Rea's ZX-10RR race bike.

The motorcycle features Balance Free Showa forks at the front and a BFRC-lite monoshock unit at the rear.

The KECS system on the ZX-10R SE allows the bike to adapt to road and riding conditions with a reaction time of just one millisecond in order to provide optimum levels of damping. The ZX-10R SE makes 209.9PS of power and 113.5Nm of peak torque.

When launched in India, expect the ZX-10R SE to cost Rs 20 lakh.

Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX

Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX

At the EICMA 2017, Kawasaki showcased a tourer based on the Ninja H2.

Called the Ninja H2 SX, the tourer gets a much larger fairing that wraps around the engine and chassis. The H2 SX also gets split seats that are long and wide enough for touring.

The pillion seat has been designed for optimum comfort and even has space for mounting panniers. Further, it gets a larger fuel tank to improve range.

The instrument cluster and the switchgear are the same as the H2.

Although Kawasaki hasn't disclosed technical details of the H2 SX yet, it claims the motor delivers sportsbike-like performance with around 200PS on tap.

Unlike the ferocious H2, expect the H2 SX's motor to be tuned for smoother power delivery and better low-to-mid range tractability.

The company also claims that it will be more efficient than the Z1000SX.

Other goodies include Kawasaki's latest IMU package that includes cruise control and various riding aids to help tackle corners better.

There are two variants on offer: the H2 SX and the H2 SX SE. The latter gets lean-sensing headlamps, a colour TFT screen and a bi-directional quickshifter.

Since the H2 is already on sale in India, expect the H2 SX to be introduced here as well, especially considering the rise in demand for tourers among enthusiasts.

Kawasaki Z900 RS

Kawasaki Z900 RS

The Kawasaki Z900 RS, which was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, seems to have been inspired by the Z1 from the late 70s and early 80s.

The retro-themed motorcycle is powered by the Z900's 948cc, in-line 4-cylinder engine.

Unlike the Z900 which makes 126.7PS, the RS only produces 112.5PS.

Peak torque is rated at 98.5Nm.

The Z900 RS gets a small digital display between the twin-pod analogue instrument cluster that shows vital information such as fuel gauge, distance-to-empty, current and average fuel efficiency, coolant temperature, real-time temperature and a gear indicator.

The Z900 RS is expected to go on sale in international markets in the coming months.

We expect Kawasaki to launch the motorcycle here in India by the second or third quarter of 2018 with a price tag of around Rs 8.5 lakh (ex-showroom).

SWM Superdual T and Superdual X

SWM Superdual T and Superdual X

SWM, the Italian bike maker owned by Chinese group Shineray, will soon launch a couple of motorcycles in India in association with Kinetic's Motoroyale.

The upcoming Superdual is SWM's flagship motorcycle and will be offered in two variants -- T and X.

The 'T' stands for touring while the 'X' is an off-road version.

We expect SWM to launch the Superdual T by the first quarter of 2018.

As any adventure tourer out there, the Superdual T packs gear like knuckle guards, a bash plate, radiator guards and a luggage rack.

It is powered by a 600cc, fuel-injected and liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine that pumps out 57PS of power and 53.5Nm of torque.

The engine is based on Husqvarna's TE610 Enduro unit which displaces 576cc and produces 54PS of power and 52Nm of torque.

The Superdual T gets a 6-speed gearbox and utilises 45mm Fast Ace USD forks at the front and a Sachs monoshock unit at the rear.

Although there are a decent number of adventure tourers on sale, the addition of a 600cc tourer with a price tag under Rs 6 lakh would make for a good addition, don't you think?

Triumph Tiger 800

Triumph Tiger 800

Triumph Motorcycles unveiled the 2018 version of the Tiger 800 at EICMA this year. The British company claims to have made more than 200 updates to the engine and chassis.

However, there is no change in the power and torque figures with 95PS coming in at 9250rpm and 79Nm being produced at 7850rpm.

The 6-speed gearbox has been tweaked and features a shorter first gear ratio.

The exhaust is 22 per cent lighter than the previous model, which should make for marginally better performance figures.

On the design front, the 2018 Tiger 800 features LED headlights on the top-spec model, backlit switchgear and a manually-adjustable screen.

The Showa suspension on the 800 is also adjustable now. Similar to the Tiger 1200, the 800 also get six riding modes.

However, the new Off-Road Pro mode and cruise control are not available on the base version of the XR variant.

Triumph Tiger 1200

Triumph Tiger 1200

Triumph pulled the wraps off the 2018 Tiger 1200 at EICMA 2017. Design updates include restyled bodywork, new graphics and new colour schemes too.

The headlamp now features LED lights and cornering lights as well. It also gets a TFT colour display for instrumentation.

Apart from this, the 1200 also gets backlit switchgear and keyless ignition.

The change is not just cosmetic as the new bike has managed to drop 10kg thanks to modifications to the engine, exhaust and chassis.

The Tiger 1200 continues to use the semi-active WP electronic suspension to tackle bad roads and Brembo brakes.

The 1215cc, in-line, three-cylinder engine generates 141PS at 9350rpm and 122Nm of torque at 7600rpm.

New additions include a bi-directional quickshifter and six riding modes with a new 'Off-road Pro' mode wherein the rider can deactivate all of the electronic intervention.

Other new electronic additions include cornering ABS and hill hold assist. The IMU has been optimised along with other electronic aids including traction control, electrically-adjustable windscreen, heated grips/seats and power sockets.

Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster

Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster

Triumph Motorcycles unveiled the Speedmaster at the India Bike Week in Goa recently. The company is set to launch the Bobber-based cruiser in India by April 2018.

Although it's based on the Bobber, it's designed for a more comfortable riding experience. Unlike the Bobber, the Speedmaster gets a longer split-saddle for the pillion as well.

The Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster packs the same engine that powers the Bonneville T120 and the Bobber.

Mated to a 6-speed gearbox, the 1200cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine produces 77PS of power at 6100rpm and 106Nm of torque at 4000rpm. The ride-by-wire throttle allows for two riding modes -- Road and Rain -- with switchable traction control and cruise control.

The Speedmaster also gets ABS as standard. Triumph offers two customisation kits for the Bonneville Speedmaster in the form of Maverick and Highway.

When it goes on sale next year, we expect it to be priced around Rs 9.5 lakh.

MV Agusta Turismo Veloce

MV Agusta Turismo Veloce

Kinetic-owned Motoroyale is expected to launch the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce in the first half of 2018. This will be MV's first sports tourer to be launched in the country.

The styling of the Turismo Veloce is clearly inspired by the MV Agusta F3. Although the fuel tank looks compact, it can hold 22-litres of fuel.

The triple exhaust cans, the single-sided swingarm and the multi-spoke alloy wheels add to the exotic appeal of the motorcycle.

It features a 5-inch colour TFT that is Bluetooth-compatible, and packs two USB ports and two 12V power sockets.

The Veloce gets the 798cc, three-cylinder motor that powers the Brutale 800. This motor delivers 110PS at 10150rpm with 80Nm of peak torque at 7100rpm.

The 6-speed gearbox also gets a bi-directional quick shifter.

Speaking of electronics, the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce gets an 8-level traction control system and ride-by-wire with four riding modes. Both the front and rear suspension are fully-adjustable and braking is managed by Nosch 9 Plus ABS-equipped disc brakes.

MV Agusta has also endowed the Turismo Veloce with RLM (Rear wheel Lift-up control).

When launched, the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce is expected to be priced around Rs 17 lakh.

Honda CB1000R

Honda CB1000R

At the 2017 EICMA, Honda unveiled the Neo Sports Cafe Racer concept, the bike that will eventually replace the Honda CB1000R.

The concept motorcycle's minimalist approach and the perfect blend of modern street nakeds and classic cafe racer styling will trickle down to the next-gen CB1000R.

The motorcycle will be powered by the Fireblade's 998cc, liquid-cooled, in-line 4-cylinder motor that has been reworked to produce 145PS of power and 104Nm of torque.

There will be three riding modes as well. The bike will also get throttle-by-wire as standard.

The bike will employ 310mm front discs and a 256mm single rear disc for braking.

The CB1000R+ version with heated grips, aluminium front and rear panels, flyscreen, single seat cowl, radiator grille and quick-shifter will come at a later date.

Considering that Honda has been selling the CB1000R in India for some time, we expect to see the latest iteration of the bike by 2018.

Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports

Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports

Honda showcased the all-new version of the Africa Twin at EICMA 2017.

It gets a large 24-litre fuel tank, which is an increase of 5.4 litres over the standard model. Honda has also flattened the seat to offer a more upright seating position for comfortable riding.

To take on a more serious role, it gets heated grips, a taller windscreen, and an increased suspension travel of 22mm, wider footpegs and a bigger sump guard.

The Africa Twin Adventure Sports gets the same 998cc, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled engine that produces 95PS of power and 98.9Nm of torque. There are some changes though, as the revised airbox and new exhaust help in boosting the midrange significantly.

The ride-by-wire system gets a couple of tweaks and three riding modes and a 7-stage traction control system.

A quickshifter is available as an optional extra.

While top-spec Africa Twin with the DCT gearbox is already on sale in India, we expect the Africa Twin Adventure to be launched here soon.

Owing to the additional equipment, however, expect it to cost considerably more than the standard variant.

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