Diwali! The festival of lights always brings a sense of joyous fervour. There is fun and frolic in the air all over. As automotive journalists, our sense of joy comes from riding and driving all sorts of two-wheelers and cars. There are few things which give us more pleasure than the smell and feel of cars and bikes. It is the perfect occasion for us to celebrate. This year, we had the absolute pleasure of riding some of best two-wheelers around the globe and in India. This was also the year which saw a multitude of launches in the performance motorcycling segment starting from the new-gen KTM 390 Duke and till the newly launched Triumph Street Triple RS. Here is our pick of top five live-wire bikes which we thoroughly enjoyed riding. This Diwali, don't burst firecrackers, instead, ride one!
1. Kawasaki Z900: It is perhaps the most explosive motorcycle we have ridden in 2017 and mind you, we have ridden many. The Kawasaki Z900 has raw power coursing through its nuts and bolts. And the way it puts down the power on tarmac is sheer madness. Its in-line 4 engine makes 123 bhp and churns out 98.6 Nm of peak torque and there is just the ABS to save your hide. No traction control, no fancy electronics, nothing. It is a bike absolutely for the purists. The more we rode it, the more we fell for it hook, line and sinker.
Also Read: 2017 Kawasaki Z900 Review
2. Triumph Street Triple RS: Even though it has been launched in India, we rode it in February 2017 in the stunning locales around Barcelona, Spain. It is perhaps the most affordable bike which can give you the thrills on a racetrack and be ridden as a daily bike in the city. At ₹ 10.55 lakh, you get all the bells and whisltes such as Brembo brakes, Showa suspension, a bunch of electronics, 5-inch TFT screen and so on. The bike is swift, precise and offers almost as much power as the Z900. There is more than required power to keep you entertained at all times. Adding to the list of equipment are those sticky Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tyres. The Street Triple RS is a sure-fire recipe unbridled riding fun.
3. Honda Africa Twin: Honda Scooter and Motorcycle India has always had a rather conservative lookout in the Indian two-wheeler segment. Which is why, perhaps, the iconic Africa Twin took so much time to come to India. There is no terrain that the Africa Twin cannot conquer. While many of us weren't convinced with Honda offering only DCT (dual-clutch transmission) automatic transmission on the Africa Twin, but once we rode it, all doubts were washed away. The DCT gives a lot of confidence to newer rider on tougher terrains, plus even on the highway, it proved to be intelligent, holding gears when accelerating and not shifting mid-way. Honda has already sold out the first batch of 50 units, which speaks volumes about its popularity. We were completely sold on the Africa Twin and the author of this story will gladly have one in his garage.
Also Read: Honda Africa Twin First Ride Review
4. Ducati SuperSport: A list of firecracker bikes with no Ducati on it? We don't think so. The Ducati SuperSport is an out and out sportbike with a magnanimous hint of practicality. Daily rides, occasional touring and racetrack thrills, the SuperSport is capable of it all. It looks like a million bucks and has the goods to go with it as well. The more expensive SuperSport S gets top-shelf equipment such as Ohlins suspension, standard quickshifter et al. The 937 cc L-Twin Testatretta engine makes 110 bhp and pumps out 93 Nm of peak torque, 80 per cent of which is available from as low as 3,000 rpm. A great buy as an all-round performance bike.
Also Read: Ducati SuperSport S First Ride Review
5. 2017 KTM 390 Duke: The last bike on our list is the new-generation KTM 390 Duke. It gets massive upgrades in form of feature and equipment and is more refined now. The piece de resistance is the LCD instrumentation, which adds that premium look and feel to the bike. The bike looks a lot meaner now and continues to have its gnarly, raw power of 43 bhp from that 373 cc single-cylinder engine, which made the 390 Duke a cult motorcycle in the first place. Plus, there is the ride-by-wire tech which makes power delivery seamless and precise. At ₹ 2.25 lakh, it is the most affordable firecracker motorcycle we have ridden in 2017 and is oodles of fun too.