No Thrill of the Ride: Motorcycle Launches That Missed the Mark in 2023
news

No Thrill of the Ride: Motorcycle Launches That Missed the Mark in 2023

Featured Stories by Team Drivio | Dec 28, 2023

2023 turned out to be a lackluster year for most motorcycle manufacturers in India, with several high-profile launches turning out to be duds.

  • Royal Enfield, TVS, Hero, and others failed to impress with their offerings
  • Overpriced and underwhelming bikes left enthusiasts disappointed
  • We break down the 7 biggest letdowns of 2023 from major brands

The year 2023 will go down as a lackluster period for most two-wheeler brands in India. From Hero to Bajaj, some of the most anticipated bike launches fell flat in terms of pricing, features, or overall value. We break down the 7 biggest motorcycle disappointments that missed the mark.

These motorcycles arrived with big expectations but ultimately failed to deliver in key areas. Let's explore why these much-hyped models turned out to be duds.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 - Overpriced Cruiser

The Super Meteor 650 marked Royal Enfield's entry into the mid-size cruiser segment. However, its steep pricing of Rs 3.49 lakh (ex-showroom) dampened interest. With no major feature additions over the Interceptor 650 apart from cosmetic changes, the Super Meteor feels overpriced by at least Rs 50,000.

TVS Ronin 225 - Lacks Excitement

TVS aimed to target young buyers with an affordable yet exciting roadster in the TVS Ronin 225. Sadly, its bland styling and budget cycle parts make it feel anything but fun. With just 20 bhp on tap and basic underpinnings borrowed from the Raider 125, the Ronin badly needs more character.

Hero XPulse 200 - Underwhelming Updates

The updated Hero XPulse 200 received only negligible changes like a smaller headlamp. Hero missed the mark by not equipping it with a more powerful engine or adding tech like Bluetooth connectivity. The XPulse has lost its competitiveness now against rivals like the Yezdi Adventure.

Bajaj Pulsar 250 Twins - No Segment-first Features

Bajaj'Pulsar 250 twins seem devoid of any segment-first features despite being all-new models. The styling too has barely evolved over the outgoing 220F. For the pricing, Bajaj should have added standard dual-channel ABS or an LCD instrument cluster to make the Pulsar 250 more value-packed.

Yamaha Aerox 155 - Priced Too High

Most enthusiasts had high hopes for the sporty Yamaha Aerox 155 maxi-scooter. But its exorbitant Rs 1.4 lakh ex-showroom pricing has made it unattractive against more affordable 160cc-200cc scooters with similar performance. The Aerox 155's appeal is limited to a tiny niche only.

Honda CB300F - No LED Headlamp

Honda's strategy with the Honda CB300F made no sense as it costs nearly as much as bigger 400cc bikes. And despite its premium pricing, Honda shockingly equipped it with a basic halogen headlamp rather than full LED lighting. Such cost-cutting measures make the CB300F feel overpriced.

KTM RC 200 - Just a New Paint Job

KTM's RC range got a model year update for 2023 but with negligible changes. The KTM RC 200 only received a new paint scheme with no mechanical or equipment upgrades. For its Rs 2.17 lakh pricing, adding dual-channel ABS or a TFT display would've given the RC 200 better value.

Conclusion

The year 2023 has proved to be a dampener for motorcycle enthusiasts, with most of the hype surrounding new launches failing to translate into exciting products. Big brands like Royal Enfield, TVS, Hero, Bajaj, Yamaha, Honda, and KTM have all been disappointed to some degree.

Royal Enfield's attempt at a 650cc cruiser in the Super Meteor seems to have missed the mark, with its pricing not justified given the minimal additions over the Interceptor. TVS sought to attract young buyers with the Ronin 225 but made it too barebones and uninspiring. A hero barely updated the XPulse 200 amidst tough competition.

Bajaj played it too safe with the Pulsar 250 twins by not equipping them with any segment-leading features. Yamaha ignored real-world economics by overpricing the Aerox 155 significantly. Honda refused to offer an LED headlamp on the CB300F despite its premium positioning. KTM too, with its lack of upgrades for the RC 200, failed to give it the boost it deserved.

These missteps by industry heavyweights showcase lost opportunities to capture consumer interest and mindshare. One hopes motorcycle companies have learned from their 2023 mistakes and come back stronger next year with products living up to their hype. But for now, most of their offerings have left the enthusiasts who awaited them sorely disappointed.