General

Bigger bikes from India this year

Homegrown Indian bikes leaping up the cc ladder

AS India's population gets ever more affluent the country's bike firms – some of the biggest in the world – are increasingly turning their attention to models that might finally pique the interest of European riders as well as their Indian counterparts. 

Bajaj's unstoppable march up-market, thanks largely to its tie-up with KTM which gives the Austrian firm financial security in exchange for high-tech European know-how, will see the launch of the Indian company's take on the Duke 390 later this year. Likely to be called the Pulsar 375, it's going to use the same engine as the KTM but in Bajaj's surprisingly attractive Pulsar chassis. The Pulsar already gets the motor from the Duke 200.

But it won't have the market to itself. Rival firm Mahindra – best known over here for its 125cc GP efforts – is also on the verge of releasing its own 300cc model. In fact, Mahindra showed the bike, called the Mojo, back in 2010, but various problems have prevented production. Now it's expected to reach production some time before the end of 2013.

Even in 2010, the Mojo wasn't totally new, having its roots in an earlier concept bike by Italian firm Malaguti – the two-stroke MR250. Although Mahindra tweaked the styling and added a four-stroke single, it's clearly the same design. The common thread is design agency Engines Engineering, which developed the MR250 for Malaguti before being bought by Mahindra and developing that firm's 125cc MotoGP machine.

Confusingly, Engines Engineering has since regained its independence and is now tied up with yet another Indian brand, Hero, to develop that company's next-generation machines, which are also likely to reflect the Indian manufacturing sector's increasing ability to build larger capacity bikes as well as cheap-as-chips 100cc models.

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