List of 400-650cc middleweight motorcycles in India
Nimble yet powerful!
After the quarter liter category of 200-400cc motorcycles, if there is one category of motorcycles which is growing at a rapid pace, it has to be that of the 400-650cc motorcycles. Preferred more by the seasoned riders, this category of motorcycles is the most sensible way of stepping up from a quarter liter category, to satiate the growing hunger of power and better riding capabilities, which does the job of honing one’s riding skills in an even better way.
Unlike the previous decade in which we were left to choose only from a couple of options, the Indian enthusiasts are now spoilt with a variety of options to pick up one from. Right from a sport tourer to a naked streetfighter to an adventure motorcycle and even one café racer, this segment has now got everything which one can imagine, including from the motorcycles from both home-grown manufacturers as well as international players.
In this feature story, we are going to have a look on each and every motorcycle which falls in this woo-worthy category of 400-650cc. It is upon you to decide which option to put your hand down as your next dream machine. Here you go:-
One of the most renowned nameplates in the history of motorcycles worldwide, the CBR brand was not utilized by Honda properly with the low selling models like CBR 250R and CBR 150R. To justify the popularity and prowess of the brand name, Honda launched the CBR 650F in India, which though is not as aggressive as the CBR 600RR, but then, given its touring friendly stance, it is much more practical for Indian conditions.
Being the first ever middleweight motorcycle from Honda in India, the CBR 650F had much more responsibility on its shoulders, which it tries to fulfill with its liquid cooled, inline four, 648.7cc engine, which produces 87 PS of power and 62.9 Nm of torque. Apart from it, its comfortable suspension and riding ergonomics as well as standard ABS on offer makes sure that the CBR 650F remains practical on a daily basis. If only it was priced a bit justifiable.
Amidst the impressive and equally aggressive lineup of streetfighters in Benelli’s range for Indian market, the TNT 600 GT stands out to be an odd one out. In comparison to its mean looking naked siblings, the TNT 600 GT is a bit bland looking semi-faired sport tourer, which though remains the most functional and practical motorcycle from the entire Benelli lineup.
Powering the Benelli TNT 600 GT is a liquid cooled, inline four, 600cc engine, which pumps out 85 PS of power and 54.6 Nm of torque. And the icing on the cake is that it is priced much lower than many twin cylinder offerings in the same space. However, it does have a bit of shortcomings like an oddball design and the absence of ABS, but then, it scores heavily on value for money proposition.
The motorcycle which started it all, the Hyosung GT 650R was India’s first ever middleweight motorcycle to go on sale on a large, functional and regular basis. At the time of its arrival, the Hyosung GT 650R impressed everyone with its big bike stance, which was a big boon for those who wanted to upgrade from a quarter liter motorcycle, but found liter class machines a bit intimidating.
However, the GT 650R has not evolved much ever since its inception, which is a lost opportunity from Hyosung, especially from the fact that the segment has been growing at a rapid pace. The styling looks a bit dated now, and the water cooled, V-twin 647cc engine, which oozes out 73.3 PS of power and 60.9 Nm of torque is powerful, but lacks the refinement of its rivals. But if you prefer mass over anything else, the GT 650R is one bike which will impress you the most with its substance on offer.
The current generation Ninja 650 may have dropped the ‘R’ suffix which was present in the first generation model which arrived in India almost 8 years ago. However, the motorcycle hasn’t lost much on its sporty appeal, and in the process of the facelift, it has become more practical and powerful than before.
The Ninja 650 might not be as sharp looking and aggressive as its bigger siblings, but in terms of everyday usability, it is the one which scores the most. The Kawasaki Ninja 650 comes fitted with a liquid cooled, parallel twin, 649c motor, which pumps out 72.1 PS of power and 64 Nm of torque. In terms of refinement and value for money packaging, the Ninja 650 clearly is the benchmark in its category, but then, the glaring absence of ABS even as an option is a big miss.
In this particular segment of 400-650cc middleweight motorcycles, there is no other motorcycle which offers you the old school charm of retro roadsters except this – the Royal Enfield Bullet 500. Coming straight from the bygone eras, the Bullet 500 retains the quintessential basic design of the original Royal Enfield Bullet, and even retains the body panels as well as the very famous pin-striping job done by bare hands.
Under the good old and lovable skin of the new generation Bullet 500, the motorcycle is powered by a refined and retuned version of the single cylinder, air cooled, carbureted, 499cc engine, which produces 26.3 PS of power and 40.9 Nm of torque.
The massive amount of torque available on tap is the reason why it is the most preferred motorcycle to ride on the highways of Himalayas. However, the build quality and maintenance is still one big issue which persists with this brute motorcycle from Royal Enfield.
If the Bullet 500 is too old school for you, Royal Enfield has one more option to pamper you is you want the same old world charm, albeit in a slightly modernized manner. Say hello to the Classic 500, the elder brother of the highest selling model from Royal Enfield 350, the Classic 350. The Classic 500 retains each and every single body panel from the Classic 350, which makes it one beautiful motorcycle to look at, especially with the paint options it is being offered with.
But then, the biggest change on the Classic 500 from the Classic 350 is under the skin, as the former shares its single cylinder, air cooled, 499cc engine from the Bullet 500, albeit in a fuel injected version. The results are quite impressive, as with a better fueling on offer, it pumps out more power and torque than the Bullet 500 – 27.5 PS of power and 41.3 Nm of torque.
For the starters, the Thunderbird 500 is to Thunderbird 350, what the Classic 500 is to Classic 350. This means that, apart from the upsized engine and suffix in its name, everything on the Thunderbird 500 has been shared from the Thunderbird 350, right from the low slung cruiser ergonomics with high raised handlebar and low split seats as well as the impressive list of features.
The Thunderbird 500 retains its single cylinder, air cooled, 499cc engine from the Bullet 500, in the same state of tune – 27.5 PS of power and 41.3 Nm of torque. As with the Classic 500, the Thunderbird 500 offers slightly better riding experience owing to better fueling of the engine, thanks to the addition of fuel injection to its bored out bigger engine.
Out of the two Aquilas on offer by Hyosung in India, the Aquila Pro is a bigger motorcycle, which if you agree to us, is one of the most beautiful looking motorcycles in this segment. The low slung stance coupled with curvaceous body panels makes it look like the cruiser of modern times, though there are some bits like slightly pared down build quality and dated and cheap looking digital instrument console, which mar the overall show.
The Hyosung Aquila Pro shares its water cooled, V-twin, 647cc motor with the GT 650R, which explains its very different behavior from other cruisers in its range. With 74.7 PS of power and 62.1 Nm on tap, the Aquila Pro pulls like a sportsbike more than a cruiser, which will surely surprise the typical cruiser aficionados in the first impression.
If value for money is what you are looking for in a motorcycle from this segment, there is no other machine like the TNT 600i in this category. Easily the pocket rocket in this entire list, the TNT 600i offers you the experience of a proper inline four middleweight motorcycle at a price which till now looked suitable only for a twin cylinder motorcycle.
The TNT 600i shares its liquid cooled, inline four, 600cc engine with its sport tourer cousing, the TNT 600 GT, which pumps out 85 PS of power and 54.6 Nm of torque. With its big bike stance and an intoxicating exhaust note, the TNT 600i will make you feel that you are riding a much bigger bike than what is under your legs. And the recent addition of ABS on the TNT 600i surely has upped its value proposition even more, by being the only naked motorcycle in this space to offer ABS.
Easily the most underrated and sadly the most avoidable motorcycle in this category happens to be this one, the Hyosung GT 650N. The GT 650N was never a popular motorcycle, thanks to Hyosung for not marketing it properly, as the GT 650R appeared to be a more sensible purchase out of the two. However, for those looking for a naked motorcycle from Hyosung, the GT 650N was, and still is, the only option to choose.
Hyosung has lifted the same water cooled, V-twin 647cc engine from the GT 650R and has equipped it in the GT 650N, which oozes out the same performance as the former - 73.3 PS of power and 60.9 Nm of torque, thus making it a serious performer. However, with its severely oddball and dated styling as well as lack of modern day gadgetry like ABS and proper digital meter, the GT 650N is out of radar of most of the potential buyers in this segment.
Always wanted a middleweight motorcycle from Kawasaki but sans a full frontal fairing, the ER-6n is just right there for you. The ER-6n surely misses out on that big and bold full front fairing with dual headlamps, which get replaced with a boring looking front face, but then, save for this change, the ER-6n is essentially a Ninja 650, right from the fuel tank to the rear fender.
Even the bike is the good old Ninja 650 under the skin as well, as the ER-6n shares its chassis as well as the liquid cooled, parallel twin, 649c motor, which produces out 72.1 PS of power and 64 Nm of torque. However, like the Ninja 650, the ER-6n too surprisingly misses out on ABS.
The newest motorcycle in this entire list, the Royal Enfield Himalayan is the only proper adventure motorcycle from Royal Enfield. Having a bored up version of the Classic 350’s engine, the Himalayan looks like a proper bare-bones machine and is designed to take on those terrains which other motorcycles don’t dare to, with its lifted stance, sturdy chassis, long travel suspension and off-road tyres.
As said above, the Himalayan sources its power from a bored up version of the Classic 350’s single cylinder, air cooled, 346cc engine. Thanks to this, the engine capacity now stands at 411cc and it produces a maximum power of 24.7 PS and a maximum torque of 32 Nm. And let us remind you, it is the most affordable mode of getting a proper adventure motorcycle in India!
The Versys 650 is the third motorcycle to be built on the same frame and chassis after the Ninja 650 and ER-6n. This means that it shares its liquid cooled, parallel twin, 649c motor with the latter two, which though produces a lower power output of 69 PS and 64 Nm of torque.
But then, there are a number of changes on the Versys 650 which makes it completely different and much more practical motorcycle than the other two offerings from Kawasaki in the same space. One is the sturdier chassis and suspension settings with higher travel, making it a proper adventure tourer. Second is the higher ground clearance, which enables it to traverse those terrains which were unthinkable to be done on other motorcycles in this space. And the third is the presence of ABS as standard, making it the most practical offering from Kawasaki in India.
With the upgradation of the Triumph Thruxton by becoming a 1200cc café racer, the Royal Enfield Continental GT is now the only café racer to exist in the middleweight category in the Indian market. If you ask us, the Continental GT is easily the most exotic and beautiful looking motorcycle in this entire list, with its true-blue café racer stance of single piece seat, rear cowl, bar-end mirrors and many more.
This flagship motorcycle from Royal Enfield is powered by a bored out version of the Classic 500’s single cylinder engine – a single cylinder, air cooled, 535cc engine, which produces 29.5 PS of power and 44 Nm of torque, easily making it the most powerful Royal Enfield on paper. However, the fact that it is only a single seat motorcycle makes it impractical for daily usage, though for your occasional weekend runabouts, this motorcycle is a sure-shot way to have so much fun.