Well, it has been in news for years, and it still remains only on paper. New reports suggest that Honda is working on the 300-500cc class of motorcycles, but the first product is expected to roll out not before 18 months. So realistically, expect a new motorcycle from Honda in this category to come out by 2021. Honda is working on multiple motorcycles on a new platform and engine to capture a healthy market share in the middle-weight motorcycle segment which is growing fast in India.
The Honda CB300R is sold via the Big Wing premium showrooms, but that is a CKD motorcycle and not Made-in-India which has resulted in a not so reasonable price tag. The new 300-500cc range of motorcycles will be built in India, and will also be exported. Honda is planning to set up close to 20-30 dealerships when these bikes should be ready to go on sale. We are expecting a concept model of these upcoming motorcycles to be displayed at the 2020 Auto Expo in India.
In all probability, these new 300-500cc motorcycles will surely have a modern classic model on offer to rival the Royal Enfield range. The Interceptor 650 has gained good acceptance from Royal Enfield fanboys and has shown that there is enough demand for such bikes. If Honda prices it right, and obviously the quality of the bike would be better, it could get decent traction in the segment. However, it will be tough to crack Royal Enfield buyers as the cult following is quite strong.
Honda already has the Rebel 300 & Rebel 500 cruiser motorcycles on sale in International markets. But these bikes are not coming to India, or at least, similar bikes will come to our showrooms but built and developed as per our market requirements. From 2023 onwards, these new middle-weight bikes which Honda will produce in India will also be sold to other emerging markets.
Bajaj is also working closely with Triumph to produce a budget friendly twin-cylinder motorcycle which could bear fruit in the coming months. This new range of bikes from Bajaj and Triumph would also be on the competition radar for Honda in India with their new 300-500cc motorcycles.