There are always a set of bikers who prefer the 600 – 650 cc segment. I should in fact agree to the fact that I abide by this mind-set as well to a certain extent. Bikes falling under this segment are perfect all – rounders and I do mean this when I insist this point. The reason is very practical. These bikes are capable of being used to the maximum for both the purposes – Touring and for Racing. A rider can usually get the best of his control when dealing with these kinda bikes.
2011, as a year saw four new launches in the 650 cc segment and one has to agree to the actuality that all the four bikes were show – stoppers which is an additional point to be mentioned at this point of time. The four bikes here were Hyosung GT650R, Hyosung ST7, Kawasaki Ninja 650R and Hyosung GT650N. Now, let’s just get a quick glimpse on three best performing bikes as we travel along this post.
This was one of the first two bikes to enter the Indian market with a 650 cc bike. The presence of GT650R across the globe made it easy for the company to enter here with the same product. The initial craze on this bike by the Indian bikers turned out to be the major plus point for the company. The seating position offered it the perfect sport bike look and feel which made the riders assume that it’s gonna be a great track machine. The 650 cc engine was bliss to riders who wanted to push their bikes hard. However, Hyosung GT650R failed to take up to its fullest potential in the Indian market owing to a few reasons. The build quality of the bike failed to impress the riders who had big expectations in mind. The bike’s handling was not at par with the other global competitors. The hefty price tag which was tied along the bike’s neck proved out to be the prevalent blow for the manufacturer.
But still, Hyosung managed to get decent sales figures in India for the reason that they did not have competition initially. This segment proves to be a monopoly for them atleast for a couple of months till the next player got into the scene.
Kawasaki Ninja 650R
Put your collars up for yourself if you’d guessed it right that the player mentioned in the last paragraph was none other than the Kawasaki Ninja 650R. I’d again covered this launch event live for Bajaj’s plant in Chakan, Pune as the company invited us for Ninja’s unveiling ceremony.
The Ninja 650R had two major advantages which made it easy to get into the market with assured returns and great projection figures. One was the brand reputation that Kawasaki had and the other being its affordable price tag. There’s not much to chatter and gossip about this bike. The name ‘Ninja’ talks for it. A splendid touring machine with great track capability made it the choice of riders who wanted to get their hands on a 650 cc bike with no much thought put about it. The engine was more refined that its counterpart and the handling was again terribly good and these two factors were exactly what a rider expected from a bike in this segment. The Kawasaki Signature Green colour of the bike has always been an add – on for the bike’s great going not just in the Indian market but all across the planet.
It did take some time for the Hyosung to understand that their pricing strategy is affecting the brand’s reach in the Indian market. Hyosung launched the GT650N, naked form of its sport bike GT650R. Though the looks were bare with the fairing completely removed, it was observed that the charm of the machine still looked unaltered. Asian markets do have a slight preference to the street bikes and India has been no exception to this actuality. The engine remains untouched which is derived from its sibling GT650R. For touring and other related purposes, this is one of the best choices that the rider gotta consider in the present market scenario.
Hyosung decided to use this bike as the ‘life – line’ for the Indian market. Guess what it did? There was heavy discount offered for this bike which it still on and the reduction will hold valid only for riders who are booking their bikes in the month of December. The price was brought down to 3.80 lakhs, Ex – Showroom which sounds ideal for a 650 cc bike. To add on to this, the GT650N was recently for the ‘Best Import Bike of the Year’ award. Isn’t that great?
So these were the three bikes in the 650 cc segment which did a great job in the year 2011. For bikers who are impressed with this segment, this year proved out to be ‘The Best’ with four new bikes marking their entry into our market. Time for us to roll on guys.
Happy Biking Folks!