11 new Royal Enfield challenging motorcycles for India: Bajaj Dominar ADV to Hero XPulse

by Dennis James

Royal Enfield is a brand that resonates in the minds of Indian motorcycle riders looking to upgrade to a ‘big bike’. Its line-up of retro-themed bikes are available at affordable rates, which is an unbeatable combination for the Indian buyer. Thanks to this and a strong brand recall, Royal Enfield has a stranglehold over the 250 cc to 500 cc motorcycle segments despite various attempts by other manufacturers to dethrone it. However, this hasn’t dissuaded bikemakers from trying to come up with new bikes to take on RE bikes. Let’s take a look at 11 new challengers to Enfield’s retro line-up, which will be launched soon in India, in the near future.

Hero XPulse

The Xpulse 200 is the world’s largest 2 wheeler manufacturer Hero Motorcorp’s take on a much more affordable alternative to the Himalayan from Royal Enfield.

The XPulse 200 was first showcased at the Auto Expo 2018, and is powered by a 200-cc single-cylinder engine producing 20 bhp and 18 Nm of torque. While it may not be as powerful as the Himalayan, the Hero adventure motorcycle is a lot lighter at 140 KGs.

With prices expected to start at around Rs. 1 lakh, the Xpulse 200 could prove to be a big headache for Royal Enfield when it arrives in India before the end of the current fiscal year.

Bajaj Avenger 400

Bajaj is planning to take its Avenger line-up of cruiser motorcycles to a whole new segment to compete with the Bullet and Thunderbird motorcycles from Royal Enfield. The bike for this will be the Avenger 400, which will see Bajaj slot in Dominar’s 373-cc into the newest Avenger’s frame. The Avenger 400 is expected to be the most expensive cruiser from Bajaj when it hits Indian streets. However, we expect Bajaj to price the Avenger 400 aggressively to help it take the fight to the Enfield 350-cc and 500c-c bikes.

Bajaj Dominar Adventurer

Bajaj launched the Dominar 400 in December 2016 as a direct rival to Royal Enfield’s line-up of cruisers. Bajaj has used the Dominar 400, billed as a sports cruiser, to take multiple potshots at Royal Enfield vehicles in its ad campaigns. However, the ad campaign hasn’t really resulted in doing much to steer people away from the Enfields.

In May 2018, Bajaj registered the Adventurer name hinting at the arrival of an adventure tourer version of the Dominar 400, which is expected to use most of the same running gear as the cruiser. The Bajaj Dominar Adventurer will take on the Royal Enfield Himalayan when it arrives on Indian roads.

KTM 390 Adventure

Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM, which is partially owned by Bajaj, is set to unleash its own adventure tourer rival for the Himalayan in India. The KTM 390 Adventure is currently undergoing testing and could arrive sometime next year in India.

The KTM 390 Adventure will get longer travel suspension, a totally different design compared to the 390 Duke along with a few extras in terms of kit and spoke-wheel tyres. However, the 373.2-cc engine is a carryover from the Duke and produces 43 bhp and 37 Nm of torque. Expect prices to be at a premium compared to the Himalayan.

Husqvarna Vitpilen

Swedish motorcycle marque Husqvarna will arrive in India next year. The first of the two bikes from the KTM-owned bike maker is the Vitpilen (white arrow) 401.

The Vitpilen 401 features cafe racer styling cues and borrows all of its running gear from the 390 Duke. With its quirky design and riding gear from the 390 Duke, the Vitpilen could give RE a run for its money.

Husqvarna Svartpilen

If the Husqvarna Vitpilen is a small cafe racer, then the Svartpilen (dark arrow) is the scrambler version of the same bike. The Svartpilen, like the Vitpilen, is based on KTM’s Duke 390 and makes use of the manic 43-bhp engine and other running gear from the Austrian naked bike.

Jawa 350 OHC

Mahindra owns the rights to the Jawa motorcycle range and its first offering in India will be the 350 OHC. The retro-themed Jawa will arrive in 2019 and will butt heads with the Classic 350 from RE. The Jawa 350 sold abroad uses the engine from Chinese brand Shineray. However, Mahindra is expected to use one of its own engines for this Bullet-baiting Jawa.

Benelli Imperiale 400

Chinese-owned Italian bikemaker Benelli will launch its rival to the Bullet line-up in the form of the Imperiale 400, in 2019. The Imperiale 400 was first unveiled at EICMA 2017. The Imperiale is powered by a 373-cc, air-cooled, fuel-injected engine that produces 20 bhp @ 5,500rpm and 28 Nm of torque @ 3,500rpm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed gearbox. Expect prices to be competitive as Benelli looks to localise production after another restart in India.

Benelli Leoncino 

Benelli is expected to launch the Leoncino scrambler in India next year in both on-road and off-road guises. The Leoncino was first showcased at EICMA 2017. The scrambler bike draws power from a parallel-twin 500-cc engine producing 47 bhp and 45 Nm of torque.

Benelli is also bringing the smaller Leoncino 250 to India as well. The Leoncino uses a liquid-cooled single-cylinder 249-cc engine producing 25 bhp and 21.2 Nm of torque.

Benelli TRK 502 and 250

Benelli will also bring its TRK 502 and 250 adventure bikes to India. The TRK 502 uses the same engine found on the larger Leoncino with 47 bhp and 45 Nm of torque on offer. The TRK 250 will use the same engine as the Leoncino 250. While the TRK 502 will be offered in two different variants, the 250 will only be offered in one guise.

UM Motorcycles Scrambler

UM Motorcycles will also launch a new Scrambler motorcycle for its line-up in India. The Scrambler uses the same 280-cc engine found on the Renegade cruiser, but differentiates itself from the cruisers with its styling. UM is also expected to bring a cafe racer version to India.