To brighten your day a little, and mostly because I catch myself thinking about this topic way more often than I should – here’s a little list I’ve compiled of some of the motorcycles ‘I’ would love to see in India. Now, notice the emphasis on ‘I’? That’s because these are just some personal favourites of mine that I feel deserve to experience the beautiful (mostly) roads. Also, I haven’t bothered going into the nitty-gritty of each model. Why? Because sadly, most of these bikes will never make it here. No harm in a little wishful thinking then, right? So sit back, relax and enjoy the view!

1. Honda MSX125 Grom

Honda Grom

Who doesn’t want a miniature-style motorcycle to excite the inner child in you? The MSX 125 Grom is actually a descendent of the famed ‘Z Series’ or ‘Monkey’ series of motorcycles. It comes with easily replaceable body panels and was updated late last year. Also, does anyone recall the Rajdoot GTS 175 from the hit film ‘Bobby’? Other features include 31mm upside-down forks, 12-inch alloy wheels and all-LED lighting.

Engine – 125cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder
Power – 9.5 bhp@7,250rpm
Torque – 10.5 Nm@5,500rpm
Transmission – 5-speed

2. Honda CRF300L

Honda CRF300L

The CRF300L too was unveiled late last year and replaced the reputable CRF250L and CRF250 Rally models in some international markets. It’s got an improved chassis, more power and a lighter clutch than its predecessor. There’s also more suspension travel, lesser weight and a new LCD instrument cluster to make this Honda dirt bike more capable than the model it replaces.

Engine – 286cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder
Power – 26.5 bhp@8,500rpm
Torque – 26.6 Nm@6,500rpm
Transmission – 6-speed

3. Suzuki GSX-S1000

Suzuki GSX-S1000

That typical Suzuki-ish blue livery looks absolutely fantastic on the latest GSX-S1000. What’s more, the updated model which was unveiled abroad just last month, gets more aggressive styling all around and a Euro-5-ready engine which produces slightly more power and torque than before. It’s also got new suspension parts and comes in three colour options – Metallic Triton Blue, Glass Matte Mechanical Gray, and Glass Sparkle Black.

Engine – 999cc, liquid-cooled, inline-four
Power – 150 bhp@11,000rpm
Torque – 106Nm @9,250rpm
Transmission – 6-speed

4. Suzuki Katana

Suzuki Katana

Imagine being able to tell your mates that you own a motorcycle called ‘Katana’ – how cool is that! The good news is that Suzuki even displayed the Katana at the 2020 Auto Expo held in New Delhi. It’s pretty similar to the GSX-S1000 in terms of parts and the engine, of course, but has that 1980s-inspired looks which just give that slight (blade’s) edge over its sibling. By the way, the first-ever Katana hit the roads back in 1981.

Engine – 999cc, liquid-cooled, inline-four
Power – 148 bhp@10,000rpm
Torque – 108 Nm@9,500rpm
Transmission – 6-speed

5. KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

This is KTM’s ultimate offering in the off-road side of things, and it was updated quite recently; just a couple of months back to be precise. The updated model gets reworked internals, new chassis and bodywork for a sharper look overall. If you’re used to seeing the 390 Adventure in India, just imagine it on major steroids, almost bursting at the seams with its bulging mud-plugging muscles.

Engine – 1,301cc, liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder
Power – 156 bhp@9,000rpm
Torque – 138 Nm@6,500rpm
Transmission – 6-speed

6. KTM 690 Enduro R

KTM 690 Enduro R

Since we’re already on the topic of off-roading, why not mention one of KTM’s biggest strengths in the market – the 690 Enduro R. As the name suggests, it’s a dirt-bike which is capable of some serious off-roading, and with the latest updates gets a whole boatload of features to make it up to date. These include a new colour scheme, ABS modulator and an instrument cluster that looks quite basic but has a rugged feel to it.

Engine – 692cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder
Power – 73 bhp@8,000rpm
Torque – 73.5 Nm@6,500rpm
Transmission – 6-speed

7. Aprilia Tuono V4

Aprilia Tuono V4

Now this one actually has a chance to make it to our shores. It was recently listed on Aprilia’s Indian website and received an update at the beginning of 2021. The refreshed Tuono V4, which comes in Standard and Factory trims, now comes with a new design and better ergonomics. Moreover, that 1077cc motor is now Euro-5 or BS6-compliant, and ready to the road down our streets.

Engine – 1077cc, liquid-cooled, four-cylinder
Power – 171 bhp@11,350rpm
Torque – 121 Nm@9,000rom
Transmission – 6-speed

8. Aprilia SX 125

Aprilia SX 125

There’s the dirt-bike fetish once again. Compared to some of the other motorcycles on this list, the SX 125 looks quite toned down, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have a good bit of style going for it. For 2021, Aprilia has updated the styling for the SX 125 a tiny bit. To be honest, it’s just a more sculpted fuel tank and that’s it. However, the major change comes in the Euro-5-compliant 124cc motor.

Engine – 124.2cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder
Power – 14.5 bhp@10,000rpm
Torque – 11.2 Nm@8,000rpm
Transmission – 6-speed

9. Yamaha XT250

Yamaha XT250

The XT250 has been around since the 1980s and what better way to prove that than starring in a blockbuster 80s-flick. Yes, the XT250 was used in the famed ‘First Blood’ film, which was the first instalment in the Rambo series. It’s simple, rugged and gets the job done, both on and off the road without so much as a peep. There’s something special about the styling too, which hasn’t changed much over the years.

Engine – 249cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder
Power – 17.4 bhp@7,500rpm
Torque – 19 Nm@6,500rpm
Transmission – 5-speed

10. Yamaha Niken

Yamaha Niken

When was the last time you saw a three-wheeled motorcycle that looks like it would do a pretty decent job at being the Batcycle? If you’re stretching your head with that name, it means ‘two swords’ in Japanese, which makes sense. It’s powered by the same engine as the MT-09 but that’s where the similarities end. It is said to be one of the most advanced motorcycles in the world, and that’s why we wish we could catch a glimpse of it every now and then.

Engine – 847cc, liquid-cooled, three-cylinder
Power – 112 bhp@10,120rpm
Torque – 87.5 Nm@8,500rpm
Transmission – 6-speed

11. Kawasaki KLX300SM

Kawasaki KLX300SM

A supermoto that strikes a fine balance between tarmac and off-road terrains, and is budget-friendly too, at least in outside markets. Now, there are Kawasaki dirt bikes in India but none of them is road legal, which makes the disappointment even more acute. To the folks at Kawasaki, can we please have this one here?

Engine – 292cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder
Power – 32 bhp@8,500rpm
Torque – 28.4 Nm@7,500rpm
Transmission – 6-speed

12. Kawasaki Z900RS

Just a disclaimer, the Kawasaki Z900 is sold in India, but the ‘RS’ variant isn’t – which is a little baffling. First of all, the Z900RS is inspired by the legendary Z1, which first arrived back in 1972. It’s got the same engine as the Z900 but gets a more retro theme which pulls at the heartstrings of those looking for a throwback to Kawasaki’s rich history.

Engine – 948cc, liquid-cooled, four-cylinder
Power – 109 bhp@8,500rpm
Torque – 98 Nm@7,700rpm
Transmission – 6-speed

I know what you’re thinking – no, no, don’t tell me. Where are the ADVs, Supersports, so and so forth? Yes, I take responsibility for the fact that I have a hard-on for dual-sport motorcycles or dirt bikes. Logically speaking – given the conditions of our roads and distances the masses tend to travel on a two-wheeler – shouldn’t a small-capacity dual-sport bike make complete sense? Food for thought, really.