Best of 2020: Five best motorcycles of the year
Despite the pandemic wave, we’ve managed to ride some brilliant motorcycles this year
Despite the Covid-19 havoc, manufacturers have managed to churn out some bloody brilliant machines this year. Here’s the list of the best motorcycles that we have ridden this year, thus far.
Royal Enfield Meteor 350
At first glance, many of you guys wrote it off as a rebadged Thunderbird 350 but it is not. The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 is an all-new bike with new tech, mech and cosmetic updates. As it replaces the Thunderbird 350 in the Royal Enfield lineup, it is expected to fill in the big shoes of ‘the best cruiser in the country’ and boy it has delivered. The first ride of the Meteor 350 not only impressed our Ed Sirish Chandran with its supremely refined 350cc powertrain but also with its new looks, features and ride comfort. The Meteor 350 might resemble the Thunderbird 350 from a distance but as you get closer you start noticing the changes. With affordable pricing and Royal Enfield’s promise of brotherhood, the Meteor 350 is definitely amongst the best bikes of 2020 for us.
Hero Xpulse 200 Rally Kit
The Xpulse 200 was already crowned with the 2020 Indian Motorcycle of the year award. This was not enough for Hero MotoCorp and they’ve taken a step further and introduced the Rally Kit for off-road enthusiasts. Demanding a premium of just Rs 38,000 more than the Xpulse 200, the Rally Kit is street legal and FMSCI certified too. Our Principal Correspondent, Abhishek Wairagade rode the Rally Kit edition first and was so impressed by the bike that he could not stop himself from making that call to Hero. It comes with a stupendously high seat, fully-adjustable long-travel suspension and much more for that MXer-like experience. And you can choose what you specifically want to buy from the large Rally kit offerings.
Husqvarna Svartpilen and Vitpilen 250
Retaining the same powertrain from their Australian cousin, the KTM 250 Duke the Svartpilen 250 and Vitpilen 250 have a lot to offer. The Swedish brand introduced these bikes to the audience at the Indian Bike Week. Priced Rs 20,000 less than the 250 Duke these bikes offer you a neo-retro styling in the form of a scrambler in the Svartpilen and a cafe racer in the Vitpilen. Mind you, they might not appeal to everyone’s taste but they have a lot to offer than many of their rivals. The performance is adequate and if the good looks don’t kill you, the fact India is the only market in the world where Husqvarnas are cheaper than KTMs surely will.
Honda Hornet 2.0
The Honda Hornet 2.0 might not seem like a new bike to you all, and you’re right. With a bored-out motor based on the CB 160 R’s; the 184cc engine and a tweaked diamond frame to accommodate it, it’s a slightly more powerful and comfortable package. It is now also equipped with LED headlamps, engine kill switch, wider rear tyres and extended wheelbase and most importantly USDs which none of the bikes in this segment offer. The Hornet 2.0 goes up against the likes of TVS Apache RTR 200 4V and Bajaj Pulsar NS200.
Hero Xtreme 160 R
Based on the 1.R concept showcased at the EICMA 2019, the Xtreme 160 R boasts of segment-first in class features. The Hero Xtreme 160 R comes equipped with a full LED package of LED headlamps, tail lamps, turn indicators and DRLs, a fully digital instrument cluster, side stand engine cut-off and a fuel-injected 160cc motor that is air-cooled and BS6 compliant. The Xtreme 160 R is among the quickest and the best handling motorcycles in its segment and definitely a worthy contender to the TVS Apache RTR 160 (finally).