INDIAN newspaper The Hindu is reporting that Triumph is planning to launch a 125cc machine by the end of 2013 to take on the biggest sales sector of one of the world's largest motorcycle markets.
According to the paper's business section (www.thehindubusinessline.com) Triumph representatives met prospective components suppliers for the project last year, and plan to make the bike in the firm's new Indian assembly plant, which is due to be set up this year in Karnataka.
Initially, the plant will make Bonnevilles, Street Triples, Speed Triples and Daytonas, all destined for the Indian market, but it is also believed to be slated to manufacture a range of cheaper machines. A machine in the 250cc-350cc range is believed to be under development already and is likely to be built in either India or Brazil.
The creation of a 125cc machine would give Triumph not only a good position in the Indian market, where small-capacity bikes are still in the majority, but would also provide a learner-legal machine for Europe.
Although Triumph has denied the 125cc rumours in the past, small-capacity models from other manufacturers have been seen circulating at some of the British firm's favoured test tracks in recent months alongside Triumph's own new models, presumably giving Triumph a firm grasp of what its potential rivals are currently offering in the entry-level division.
The Hindu also echoes reports that Harley-Davidson is planning an Indian-specific model to be made at its own new Indian assembly plant. Although not as small as the Triumph 125, it's reckoned to be between 500cc and 750cc, making it by far the smallest (and cheapest) Harley seen in years.
Rendering by Luca Bar Designs