Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) has been strengthening its premium portfolio on a regular basis
The company recently introduced the CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports, and the MotoGP-inspired CBR1000RR-R is also on its way here. However, there is a significant gap in HMSI’s portfolio between 300 and 650 cc offerings. Now the Japanese two wheeler giant is planning to introduce its entire 500 cc portfolio in the country. If things go as per plans, the medium displacement Honda motorcycles should be here towards the end of this financial year (early 2021).
Honda’s 500 cc portfolio is an eclectic mix consists of CMX500 Rebel cruiser, CB500F street fighter, CBR500R supersport and CB500X adventure tourer. All these motorcycles are based on the same platform and received significant updates last year. These motorcycles target both seasoned as well as budding riders with a good balance between performance and accessibility.
Supporting these motorcycles is a 471 cc parallel-twin, liquid-cooled motor that is paired to a 6-speed transmission. On board the street fighter, Supersport and adventure tourer models, the motor is tuned to deliver 47.5 hp and 43 Nm of torque. The Cruiser makes do with a version that puts out 46.2 hp and 43.3 Nm of torque. All the half liter Honda motorcycles are equipped with slipper and assist clutch for enhanced riding experience.
If Honda is to bring its 500 cc offerings towards the end of this fiscal, it could have the early mover’s advantage. Expect the motorcycles in question will be imported into the country via CKD route and assembled locally to keep the prices competitive.
With Royal Enfield discontinuing its 500 cc retro-classic offerings, Benelli is the only brand in the India to have presence in the 500 cc segment with Leoncino 500 street fighter and TRK 502 adventure tourer. The Triumph-Bajaj joint venture is likely to target this segment but the first product of this partnership is quite some time away.
The Indian medium-displacement premium motorcycle segment has been witnessing a lot of activity in the recent times. Bajaj recently debuted Husqvarna brand with a pair of quarter liter motorcycles and is planning to introduce 400 cc variants in due course. Harley Davidson is currently hunting for an Indian partner to develop medium displacement motorcycles.
In the coming years, this segment is expected to witness steadily increasing number of customers who are looking to upgrade from their compact displacement sportsbikes, on their way up the ladder to liter class products.