The year 2018 has seen a lot of new two-wheeler launches, from 150-160 cc bikes, to top-end litre-class supersport bikes. The year has also seen some groundbreaking new products, like the return of the Jawa brand with two new motorcycles, and Royal Enfield's first 648 cc, parallel-twin engine and two very capable modern classics, possibly the best bikes in the company's history. Hero MotoCorp entered the 200 cc premium commuter segment with a brand new street bike, the Xtreme 200R, and the made-in-India BMW G 310 R was finally launched in India. Here's a look at some of the best bikes of 2018.
Yamaha YZF-R15 Version 3.0
In early 2018, Yamaha launched the third-generation model of the Yamaha YZF-R15, called the Yamaha YZF-R15 Version 3.0. The 2018 R15 doesn't only get some design changes, and new bodywork, but with significant mechanical changes as well, including a bigger, more powerful engine, updated chassis, new swingarm and revised steering geometry. The bigger 155 cc engine now gets variable valve actuation (VVA), and puts out 19 bhp at 10,000 rpm, with maximum torque of 15 Nm kicking in at 8,500 rpm. The new, 2018 Yamaha YZF-R15 Version 3.0 is priced at ₹ 1.27 lakh (ex-showroom).
TVS Apache RTR 160 4V
TVS Motor Company launched a brand new model of its 160 cc premium commuter, with a new, four-valve engine. The 159.5 cc, air-cooled, four-valve engine makes 16.6 bhp on the fuel-injected version (16.3 bhp on the carburetted version), and 14.8 Nm of peak torque. The new Apache 160 4V has very likeable performance and superb road manners. With updated styling that resembles the bigger TVS Apache RTR 200 4V, the new Apache 160 4V is one of the best 160 cc motorcycles available on sale right now. It is priced at ₹ 81,490 (ex-showroom).
Hero Xtreme 200R
Hero MotoCorp has entered the 200 cc premium commuter motorcycle segment with a new 200 cc motorcycle - the Hero Xtreme 200R. Priced at ₹ 89,900 (ex-showroom Delhi), the Hero Xtreme 200R offers an affordable option in the 200 cc motorcycle segment. Powered by a 200 cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine tuned to make 18.1 bhp at 8,000 rpm and 17.1 Nm of peak torque at 6,500 rpm, the Xtreme 200R is one of the most affordable 200 cc motorcycles on sale right now.
The legendary Jawa brand has made a comeback in 2018, and is available in two variants - the standard Jawa and the Jawa Forty Two. With beautiful fit and finish and styling which is a fitting tribute to the original 1960s two-stroke Jawa 250, the Jawa now comes with a four-stroke, fuel-injected 293 cc single cylinder engine. It's got likeable performance, very good road manners and handling, and a price which isn't quite expensive either, starting at ₹ 1.55 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the Jawa Forty Two, and ₹ 1.64 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the Jawa. More than anything else, the Jawa offers a beautiful modern classic option in the 300-400 cc motorcycle segment, which will certainly find appeal with fans of the original Jawa.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
Royal Enfield introduced the 650 Twins in 2018, with a brand new, 648 cc, air-cooled parallel-twin engine. The Interceptor 650 is the neo-retro roadster taking its name from Royal Enfield's rich history and is easily one of the best bikes from the Royal Enfield stable. The engine puts out 47 bhp at 7,250 rpm and 52 Nm of peak torque at 5,250 rpm. The four-valve per cylinder engine is smooth and refined and is easily the most refined and technologically advanced engine on any Royal Enfield motorcycle ever. But the best part is the price! Launched at ₹ 2.5 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 promises a stellar price to performance package, and easy availability of spares and service as well as low running costs.
Ducati Panigale V4
When launched, the Ducati Panigale V4 was one of the most powerful road-legal superbikes in the world. The first production Ducati to use a four-cylinder V4 engine, the Panigale V4 and the Panigale V4S are one of the most performance oriented superbike launches of 2018. The four-cylinder V4 engine is derived directly from the MotoGP Desmosedici engine, and the 1,103 cc V4 engine puts out 211 bhp at 13,000 rpm and 124 Nm of peak torque at 10,000 rpm. With a comprehensive electronics package which includes an inertial measurement unit, cornering ABS, wheelie control and slide control, the Ducati Panigale V4 is one of the most advanced superbikes in the world right now. The standard Ducati Panigale V4 is priced at ₹ 20.57 lakh (ex-showroom) and the top-spec Ducati Panigale V4 S with electronic Ohlin suspension and IMU is priced at ₹ 25.29 lakh (ex-showroom).
Also Read: Ducati Panigale V4 First Ride Review