Commuter motorcycles are a highly desired form of transport in many parts of the world. The highest-selling bikes in India, for example, are commuter motorcycles that offer low maintenance, a reasonable price, and, most importantly, moderate fuel consumption, targeting overall efficiency over style and speed.
India is a motorcycle marketplace that has historically looked to fuel efficiency due to high commuter motorcycle demand. When the rider puts energy into accelerating, then abruptly stops due to thick traffic, energy is wasted in braking as kinetic energy is converted to heat by the brakes. India is one of the most lucrative markets for engine management systems that help bikers to tackle these high traffic density scenarios efficiently.
The real fuel efficiency figures of commuter motorcycles in India are hard to determine, as that country does not have a fuel efficiency testing program such as the World Motorcycle Test Cycle (WMTC). The WMTC measures fuel consumption and emissions in motorcycles using methods stipulated as part of the Global Technical Regulation established under the United Nations’ World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations.
Manufacturers in India, instead, agree to concur with guidelines for fuel efficiency set by the Automotive Research Association of India‘s (ARAI) testing policies.
One of the most fuel efficient commuter motorcycles in India is the Bajaj CT100. It boasts of fuel efficiency of 99.1 kmpl. The CT100 is quite popular in India’s rural areas and gets its power from a 99 cc motor. Its maximum power is 8.08 bhp at 7,500 rpm. A slightly more premium version of the CT100 is available in the Bajaj Platina 100ES, with similar engine output but completely different styling. With a twin spark ignition tech, which purports to offer better fuel-air combustion, performance, and efficiency, the Platina has established itself over the last ten years in India and has consistently performed well in sales.
But Bajaj is not the only commuter motorcycle manufacturer in India that produces solid sales numbers. A new version of the TVS commuter motorcycle was unveiled in 2016, called the Sport. The Sport has new features including an updated instrument cluster, a chrome guard for the silencer, aluminium grab handles, and increases in fuel efficiency to 95 kmpl. With a 99.77 cc motor that makes 7.7 bhp and 7.8 Nm, it’s also quite affordable, making it a top selection for India’s commuter motorcycle crowd.
Hero Splendor Pro has set the mark in India for high commuter motorcycle sales and continues to be favored over competitors in rural areas. The Splendor has always offered low maintenance alongside fuel efficiency, with current ratings of 93.2 kmpl. The Hero HF Deluxe variants are also sought-after, due to their appealing mileage and price ranges. There are three HF Deluxe variants currently available: the HF Deluxe, HF Deluxe i3S, and HF Deluxe Eco. All of them have the same 97.2 cc engine which makes 8.24 bhp and 8.05 Nm.
With constant enhancements to technology, price, and fuel efficiency, will it be long before India’s love of smaller but more efficient commuter motorcycles reaches to the U.S. shores?