I woke up this morning to a message from a colleague, with a link to a story that linked Royal Enfield to buying Ducati Motor Holding. The story was from a fairly reliable news publication, but the headline read “Royal Enfield Might Consider Buying Ducati Pretty Soon” – the grammarist in me cringed.*
“Might consider” is the most nebulous phrase in the English language. Let’s think about that phrase for a moment, as it literally means that you are considering the possibility of considering something. Don’t get me started on the timeliness of “Pretty Soon” in the news realm, as well.
Metaphysics and meaningless headlines aside, for our purposes this narrative devolves further in that this story offers nothing new, beyond the story that Reuters published two weeks ago, which set off alarms in the motorcycle industry around the world.
If you think emission regulations in the United States or Europe are onerous, then you should see the hash of things that is being played out in India right now, as hundreds of thousands of vehicles have been sitting on showroom floors, flirting with disaster at the possibility of being declared unsellable in the country.
The exact figure varies from which source you believe (and their understanding that “lakh” means 100,000 in Indian parlance), so the affected number of vehicles ranges from 700,000 to 1.4 million units – most of which are trucks and two-wheelers.
As such, just days before the deadline 600,000 motorcycles soon-to-be non-compliant motorcycles were believed to be still unsold, the result of an interesting intersection of a rapidly changing environmental landscape, an unforgiving legal system, and a slowly reacting vehicle industry.
News from across the pond indicates that the historic BSA motorcycle brand has been acquired by Indian motorcycle manufacturer Mahindra.
According to the newswires, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited (through a subsidiary named Classic Legends Private Limited) acquired 100% of BSA Company Limited for the tidy price of £3.4 million, or $4.1 million (at the time of this writing).
What you see here is the TVS Akula 310, the Indian company’s 310cc sport bike that shares a platform with the BMW G310R.
The Akula 310 isn’t likely to be seen on city streets in the United States, or even in Europe for that matter, but it gives us a glimpse of what is to come from BMW Motorrad on the small-displacement front.
As you can see, the TVS Akula 310 is quite fetching, getting a strong response from motorcyclists since its debut in February of this year.
As such, TVS is moving up the timeline on the project, with the Akula 310 likely to go into production by the end of this year, as a 2017 model (supposedly renamed as the TVS Apache RTR 300).
The reliable Indonesian news source TMC Blog is reporting that the 2017 Honda CBR250RR could debut next Monday. The news stems from Astra Honda Motor, the importer for Honda motorcycles in Indonesia, which sent out a press invite for a new Honda model that is to debut.
While an announcement like that could mean almost anything, the fact that Astra Honda Motor posted a teaser video of the Honda CBR250RR last week though gives us a pretty good hint as what to expect next week from Big Red.
TMC Blog reports that the Honda CBR250RR will sell for 60 million Indonesian rupiah, which at the current exchange rate is roughly $4,500 USD.
One of the hottest bikes on the market since its 2013 debut, the KTM 390 Duke is seemingly set for a model refresh, with cosmetic updates and other minor technical changes coming our way.
This photo above shows the 2017 KTM 390 Duke with its new headlight, and in it you can also see some of the styling changes to the fairings and fuel tank, along with the updated switchgear and dash design.
Designed in Austria, but built in India, it doesn’t surprise us to see this photo leak coming from the Bajaj factory near Pune, India – where production has surely already started in anticipation for the next model year.
The last we checked-in with the Suzuki/Volkswagen divorce, the German automobile maker was ordered by the London Court of International Arbitration to sell its 19.9% stake in the Japanese manufacturer (worth $2.8 billion at the time).
That was back in September 2015, and now that ordered has finally been fulfilled, with Volkswagen completely divesting itself from Suzuki – a move that has been four years in the making.
The Auto Expo in India isn’t usually an event we would cover, but some interesting machines have turned up in New Delhi. The first one to grab our attention is the TVS Akula 310.
On its own right, the TVS Akula 310 is a sharp looking small-displacement machine, especially when its dripping in carbon fiber (Daddy like). Beneath the skin though, the Akula 310 is exactly the same as the BMW G310R sport bike, which is pretty interesting.
This is because TVS and BMW Motorrad collaborated to bring both models to market; and as such, the Akula 310 gives us an idea of where BMW could be headed next with its 300cc class offering.
It’s been a while since we heard about the KTM 390 Adventure, the Austrian company’s third installment to its built-in-India small-displacement motorcycle lineup.
Based off the KTM 390 Duke, the Adventure model has been a long-time coming, ever since KTM CEO Stefan Pierer lit it slip that the dual-sport would be coming, two and a half years ago.
It seems now that KTM is getting closer to production, as the folks at CarTrade are reporting that two test models of the KTM 390 Adventure (codenamed KT22) have been sent to India for R&D, presumably as a prelude to Bajaj beginning production on the budget-friednly machines.
Word out of India is that the Hero HX250R, the quarter-liter sport bike that Erik Buell Racing helped design, will not be arriving later this year, as was originally intended. Rumors instead suggest that the HX250R will debut in 2016.
The delay is said to be directly linked to Erik Buell Racing going into receivership earlier this year, and it’s a fair bet that the delay is due to something in the design of the HX250R.
However, we would also bet good money that Hero realized there was no point in releasing a North American bound model without a North American distributor with which to sell it.