The Chinese seem to be taking over just about everything. It’s not surprising that our all-conquering neighbours have now turned their attention to our parking lots. The latest manufacturer to jump into the fray is Regal Raptor, the first Chinese bike maker to enter the Indian market with its upmarket motorcycles. But, if you think it’s here to sell cheap 100cc motorcycles, think again. The Regal Raptor Daytona 350 borrows so many cues from so many different cruisers; you can’t pinpoint the exact source of inspiration for its design. The styling is standard cruiser fare. Surely, Regal Raptor isn’t shying away from aping Milwaukee’s cruisers. To be fair, even some Japanese bike makers have done the same with their cruisers.
The attention to detail is noteworthy. Even its orange-and-white logo bears a passing resemblance to the Harley-Davidson logo, which shows what sort of audience Regal Raptor is aiming for. Coming back to the Daytona 350, Regal has resisted the temptation of adding a fat rear tyre or a big windscreen. This ensures the front looks simple, but elegant. The bike looks best from the rear three-quarter angle, in which the ‘softail’ look is highlighted. The grey racing stripes look good, but the chrome splattered all over the battery and chain cover is overkill.
Instead of a typical V-twin, Regal has gone in for a parallel twin. This leaves a huge gap between the engine and the body, which looks a bit odd, but it keeps engine heat at bay. The fuel-injected, parallel-twin motor displaces 320cc, and makes 23hp and 22Nm of torque. Again, unlike typical cruisers that use a belt to drive the rear wheel, the Daytona sticks with the tried-and-tested chain system. The power figures are not very impressive for a twin of this size, but considering the Daytona weighs only 180 kilos, it is adequate. On the move, you hardly notice the weight of the bike. The engine feels refined, and the vibrations are barely noticeable at idle. Acceleration is smooth, and the Daytona 350 simply glides away from standstill. If you’re hoping to hear a distinctive note from the exhaust, well, you’ll be disappointed. It sounds more like a Japanese sportsbike than a traditional American cruiser, naturally.
The engine is surprisingly practical. Low- and mid-range are good, but there’s not much power at the top. Intentional, it seems, because on a cruiser, you need a tractable motor with enough juice available through the range. Regal claims that the Daytona can do about 130km, which is enough to keep up with traffic on the highway. It cruises comfortably at 110kph, but it struggles post 120km. Reaching an indicated 130km will need a decently-long open stretch. Though the engine might be smooth, the five-speed transmission lacks refinement. No false neutrals, but the shifts feel rubbery. Slotting into neutral is a chore, and reminds you of old Enfields.
The seating position is pretty much cruiser-like, with the pulled-back handlebar, but the angle at which it leans towards you necessitates reaching out to grab it. The same goes for the speedometer. Instead of facing the rider, it’s placed somewhat flat. The foot peg positioning feels right, set well forward for that laid-back cruiser feel. The seat could do with some more cushioning, considering it’s a long-hauler. The 140mm ground clearance is enough to ensure the Daytona doesn’t ground out while going over a speed breaker. The rear suspension has six preload settings to choose from, depending on your preferences.
Overall, Regal has avoided making this cruiser unnecessarily heavy. This makes it much easier to manage the bike in traffic. Riding it around the city is easy, and with a weight of 180kg, you never have to plan too much about slotting into tight spaces. It changes direction quite quickly for a cruiser, and this makes it more of an everyday motorcycle than a weekend-only toy. Some of the plastics used are a bit low-rent, and finishing could be better, but the mechanicals are sound. The only major problem we see is that for a little-known company, the bike’s asking price of ₹3.22 lakh, which is a little too high. But, as India is filled with motor enthusiasts, they wouldn’t mind buying one of these cruisers.