Monday, June 17 2019


Top Bikes

There’s a big world out there to explore and nothing but the best will do. When it comes to speed, skill, features and technology, these automobile brands have made revving up something of an art. Aditya Kapoor puts together the top bikes available today.
Dual-purpose bikes serve buttoned-up performance on the road, with forgiving suspension and balance in off-road applications. The Japanese, Italian and British have taken their best stab at it, but the Germans are a distant leader with their rock-solid R1200 GS. BMW may not win any awards in naming their motorcycle, but they have mastered this category with their unique horizontally opposed twin engine that eliminates vibration and delivers a low centre of gravity, while keeping it simple and bullet-proof as an air-cooled engine. The design features of the bike, asymmetric headlights, engine head gaskets sticking out the sides, or extra large gas tank may be quirky to some, but they are just proof points on how BMW has ignored all rules to achieve the best dual-purpose bike for the last four years. Rumours have it, there is a 1250 or 1300 around the corner.
SPORT Ducati 1199 Panigale
The 1199 is the latest of the long history of Ducati super-sport bikes that started with the category-redefining 916 in 1994. Leave aside the championship trophies Ducati has taken in the last two decades, and ignore all the talk about the power-to-weight-ratios or top-end RPMs the Japanese (Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda) claim victory over, the Ducati super sport is the Ferrari in the motorcycle world. All other motorcycles in this class are designed by engineers with PhDs. The Italian Ducati was designed by free-hand painters. The single-sided swing arm, the rumble of the twin, and all the design elements, right from the lighting systems to the exhaust, leave you wondering if it could be ever topped, and then Ducati brings along their next model.
CRUISER Harley Road King Classic
The cruiser category is the most diverse motorcycle genre; manufacturers build anything from classic Bobbers to V-twins with 240 rear tires to 2400cc monsters and they all compete in this space. Choosing one bike from them is like picking one of your ten children as the ‘best’ one. The brand that takes the cake here is one that generates so much passion with so many across the world, it can make husbands leave their wives for it. Harley-Davidson has created an ecosystem that is unparalleled: Just their T-shirt sales would put to shame many clothing manufacturers, and we have not talked about the bike yet. Their parts and accessories book is as thick as a telephone directory, and that does not include hundreds of vendors that design for and around the brand. There is nothing like pulling up to a stop light on a Harley Road King Classic. Harley has mastered the art of engine and exhaust sound, and the unique rumble of a Harley can be heard for miles. Once that sound becomes a part of you, there’s no going back.
TOURING Honda Goldwing
This category is the most contested of all, and you can no longer be in the motorcycle business without having a serious presence here. Some have taken their big cruisers and retrofitted them into tourers, others have taken their top-end sport bikes and redesigned them for comfort, but when it comes down to it, the Honda Goldwing that could be argued as the creator of this segment continues to be the top dog. The Goldwing can gobble up miles on the highways like jello. Everything from its silky 1832cc six-cylinder engine, to its weight distribution and ground clearance, is designed to make the rider feel they are watching TV on their favourite couch at home. Honda has refined the power train, suspension and handling to perfection and topped it off with every imaginable convenience from the heated seats to the surround-sound audio system. Don’t be fooled by its size; the Honda Goldwing is as light as a Hero Honda in its territory: The open highways.
  Dry weight: 491 pounds
Engine: 1170cc
Bore and stroke:101 mm x 73 mm
Wheel Base: 59.4 inches
Seat height:35/35.8 inches
Fuel capacity: 8.7 gallons
Price: USD 17,250
  Dry weight: 361.5 lbs
Engine displacement: 1198cc
Bore and stroke:112 mm x 60.8 mm
Wheel Base: 56.57 in
Seat height: 32.48 in
Fuel capacity:4.5 gallons
Price: USD 17,995
  Curb weight:810 pounds
Engine: 1690cc
Bore and stroke:3.875” x 4.38”
Wheel Base:63.5 inches
Seat height:26.7 inches
Fuel capacity:6 gallons
Price: USD 19,599 to 20,504

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