1. KTM RC390
While not exactly the superbike class, the sound performance of this machine knocks those doors with valour. The Austrian manufacturer deserves some appreciation to have managed to keep the weight in check. This fully faired 390 is just about 8 kg heavier than the Duke 390. While this could dent the performance, given that you get the same 375 cc single with 43.5 PS (woah!), it would not be a deal breaker. We Indians like our bikes king size. So when you got your Duke 200 or even the 390, your neighbor wasn’t really impressed. But with this one, he surely is going to be hovering about your parking place. Besides the looks, the RC390 brings in the added advantage of wind protection at speeds and slightly better straight line stability. This might come as the ultimate track weapon with its Metzeler tyres and that able chassis. The price may be about 10-20k dearer than the Duke 390.
Engine: 375 cc, 4 Stroke Single Cylinder
Power: 43.5 PS, 35 Nm
Top Speed: 160 Kmph
2. Kawasaki Z800
Kawasaki seems determined to get a huge chunk of the performance bikes market here in India. With the launch of it Ninja 1000 and Z1000, and previously the ZX10R, the Japanese manufacturer’s litre class bikes are all here. Soon we are going to see the Z800 as well. Designed almost like the Z1000, this bike is going to blow your mind off when seen in flesh. The Z800 produces about 110 BHP and being a naked, it is going to be torquey right at the ascent of the rev range. The bike is going to be priced in the Rs 8 – 9 lakh region. The sole problem that one can have with this bike is it 221 kg kerb weight. You need the strength of hulk to jostle it around in a parking lot. This in line 4 cylinder might not take you to mind numbing speeds like its elder brother but is sure going to put a big smile on the face. One can expect the launch soon, in Jan 2014. Killer looks, decent performance and relatively affordable bike sums up the Z800.
Engine: 806 cc, 4 Stroke 4 Cylinder In-line
Power: 111 PS, 83 Nm
Top Speed: 250 Kmph +
BMW Motorrad recently unveiled the semi faired version of the liter class flagship the S1000RR. This one is the S1000R. Just like every other bike from BMW stables, this bike offers slightly quirky looks which can grow over you with time. The engine is the same 4 in-line 999 cc from the track focused S1000RR but it is tuned differently. The torque of about 11 Kgm comes in slightly earlier and the power is down to 160 BHP. When I say ‘down to’ don’t be disappointed, this bike can still scare the day lights off you when ridden that way. The bike gets all the electronics one is ever going to need – ride by wire, race tuned ABS, traction control and much more. The launch dates and price can only be guessed for now but it will be priced only slightly below the S1000RR.
Engine: 999 cc, 4 Stroke 4 Cylinder In-line
Power: 160 PS, 83 Nm
Top Speed: 250 Kmph +
4. Honda CBR1000RR
Honda launched the SP CBR1000RR in Milan, to add to its 2014 lineup. This SP version, they say comes with special pistons and connecting rods which enhances performance further. Also the exhaust has been modified. The Honda patent tri colour scheme adorns this bike. The 4 cylinder 1000 cc SP version gets a modest 3 BHP raise from the regular Fireblade. This bike’s stopping prowess comes from twin 320 mm discs up front and 220 mm at the rear. It is also equipped with Honda’s C-ABS system. The CBR1000RR was a success from its advent and in its latest form, it is arguably the most rider friendly litre class bike available in market. When this Honda SP versions hits the Indian shore, it is going to receive a warm welcome just like the fireblade did.
Engine: 999.8 cc, 4 Stroke 4 Cylinder In-line
Power: 188 PS, 114 Nm
Top Speed: 299 Kmph
5. KTM Duke 690
Best for the last? Only time will tell if it is the best or not. KTMs were always considered pocket rockets. And this one just takes the definition to new levels. The single cylinder 690 cc engine produces about 70 PS of power. While this figure might not seem huge, the engine has to propel only 147 kg of mass! Now it seems to have caught your attention, did it not! Yes, the bike weighs only so much. And all those 70 horses are transferred to the rear wheel via a exposed chain drive aided by 6 speed gearbox. It is going to be one helluva ride the moment you thumb the starter. The bike needs to be ridden with sanity and care. The launch is expected to happen late 2014 but this bike is definitely worth waiting I would say. The duke just like every other KTM is going to be priced extremely competitively. So worry not about the bucks.
Engine: 690 cc, 4 Stroke Single Cylinder
Power: 70 PS, 70 Nm
Top Speed: 200 Kmph+
Hold on to your thoughts boys and girls. The list doesn’t end her. There are many more exciting choices coming our way besides the above 5. We have the Z250 from Kawasaki,Suzuki Inazuma, Honda CBR300R and so many more. Ducati is making a come back with its entire lineup. So the list is almost endless. So save up some cash, choose the right one, and go ride your dreams.