Collaboration between traditional western motorcycle manufacturers with those towards the east in India or China in not exactly new news but what is making the rounds at the moment is whether these smaller cc motorcycles will reach western shores?
Both KTM and BMW have launched successful smaller cc motorcycles over the last couple of years and now it is the time for Triumph to team up with Indian motorcycle manufacturer; Bajaj to deliver a range of motorcycles predicted to be in the 250-400cc range of bikes and delivering between 30-40hp for each.
Strong rumours have been mounting on top of reported sightings of test bikes both in the UK and India of imminent release of new motorcycles most likely to be focussed on the Indian market but there could be great success for the UK and European markets such as is the concern for rising costs due to inflation and higher priced lending deals.
Some of the predicted features gleaned from photos and leaked titbits from self proclaimed motorcycling ITKs are; dual channel ABS. Could this be the Continental system announced last year? Slipper clutch, digital display with bluetooth hook up. Front suspension with USD forks and a rear set up using a monoshock with preload adjustability…standard stuff here.
Other features include 17inch wheels and all LED lighting…even the indicators . (Harley Davidson take note!)
The engine will be a single cylinder liquid cooled powerplant and the bikes will come in four styles with others coming in the future. Most likely these bikes will be announced later this year with an early release for 2024 and pre orders for autumn 2023?
It is looking likely there will be some styled scrambler and cafe racer added into the mix too with other styles lending to more conventional small cc commuting or possibly even a loaded roadster.
Reports have predicted that the scrambler could feature a twin exhaust, scrambler-esque block rubber tyres, round mirrors, shaved petrol tank and diddy windshield.
The roadster glimpsed has a single exhaust, road tyres, cafe style bar end mirrors (the brown seat brigade will be pleased) Of course there will be lots of crossover features between the different bikes mostly in the frame, engine and electrical.
The question will be whether Bajaj can launch these bikes in India to be competitive with the likes of KTM and BMW who both had great sales for 2022 and already riding high in early 2023, let alone the existing motorcycles manufactured and imported into the country that occupy the same engine size market. Will these Bajaj-Triumphs be enough to put pressure on the likes of Royal Enfield who are also due to release new bikes in the next twelve months and will the Triumph name be enough to attracted riders from the largest market in the world, namely India.
As for the European markets where these bikes could really find a home and make good numbers, time will tell whether the 2024 economic conditions and buying preferences will favour greater expansion into smaller cc bikes or whether they rest at dipping their toes into to see if the water will be warm to the touch or scold with alarming pain.