India’s third largest motorcycle manufacturer Bajaj Auto has announced that they will be releasing two new flagship bikes this Indian financial year (1 April to 31 March) after they were debuted at last years Indian Auto Expo in Delhi, they being the naked Pulsar CS400 and sportsbike Pulsar SS400.
In a sign that the Indian market continues to mature and go from strength to strength, demand for higher capacity machines is continuing to grow and domestic bike manufacturers are starting to meet that need. Both machines will compete directly with the KTM 390 Duke and KTM RC390.
That will no doubt be helped by the fact that Bajaj Auto owns a 47.96% stake in the Austrian company. The technical specs of both the Pulsar CS400 and Pulsar SS400 are at this stage unknown other than it will use the same engine as found in the 390 Duke/RC 390. There have been some rumors it will be bored out to 400 cc, but it’s far more likely it will be carried across as is to save the expense.
Given the heavy collaboration between Bajaj Auto and KTM, you would probably expect a pretty decent machine even by western standards. But where it would really become interesting is the price. For example, the Pulsar RS 200 which is a sports bike styled single cylinder that produces 24 bhp costs the equivalent of $2,000 USD with ABS. When for sale previously, the Honda CBR250R cost $4,500. Another comparison would be the KTM Duke 200 sold in the UK for £3,995 but costs the equivalent of £1,482 ($2,284) in India.
India is the currently the world’s largest motorcycle market after China but is currently dominated by smaller 100cc to 150cc machines. That’s beginning to change rapidly and it’s expected that growth in higher end motorcycles will expand by at least 30 per cent a year all the way until at least 2019.
Unfortunately for those of us in western countries, Bajaj Auto has no current plans to export any of its bikes to us, focusing instead on areas such as Africa and Latin America.