Honda, one of the world's leading motorcycle manufacturers and an elite player in the Indian scooter and motorcycle segment has recently disclosed its plans to build a performance bike in India. Honda's global bike model, the CBR650F will now be made in India as part of its interest in being a part of the 'Make in India' concept initiated by the current Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi.
The Honda CBR650F is currently undergoing testing at the Buddh Interntational Circuit in Delhi and Honda is looking forward to launch the sports-tourer by July this year. The bike will be built with 5% localisation i.e 5% of the bike's parts will be sourced locally, following the CKD (completely knocked down) method used similarly by other international auto manufacturers.
Honda said that the Indian biking environment is changing and that the buyers are leaning towards higher performance bikes in addition to styling. The President and CEO of Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India said that the CBR650F would be an entry level performance bike that is part of Honda's plan for 2015 that looks to introduce 15 new models. He also mentioned that several new models with new chassis and engines are waiting to be introduced to the Indian roads.
The CBR650F is a sport-tourer bike with an in-line 4, 649cc that produces 85.8bhp @1100RPM and 63Nm of Torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox. Dual hydraulic discs in the front and a disc in the rear reassured by a 2-channel ABS. However, there are no details regarding whether the ABS will be standard for all variants that will be built in India. Once the bike hits the market, this may pose a serious threat to Kawasaki who is keen on developing bikes in this range of engine displacement.
The pricing will be another important factor that determines how the bike will be received by the Indian riders and Honda has hinted at putting the price tag somewhere in the vicinity of Rs 8 lacs, which might not necessarily appeal to buyers since the Kawasaki Ninja 650 comes lighter at only Rs 5 lac. The battle of the midweights will be certainly one to watch out for.