Right now, let's just say that you're someone who likes the perennial charm of classic bikes, but you can't procure one due to any reason. What's the next best option then? A modern classic. No, you don't have to feel sad if you don't have the money to buy a Triumph Bonneville T100. There are cheaper alternatives that would cater to your nostalgia almost as effectively, that too at a fraction of its price.
Benelli Imperiale 400
This Benelli is surprisingly closer to the Bonneville T100 in the way it rides and feels! And that's the summary of the Benelli Imperiale 400 review in one line.
To those who haven't ridden either machine, let us tell you that the Benelli Imperiale 400, in its segment, has the best build quality, the longest wheelbase, the most comprehensive instrument cluster (while still staying true to the analog-dials era) and features the highest ground clearance, and the most comfortable rider and pillion saddles.
It also has the smoothest engine in the segment, and there are almost zero vibrations even at 120 km/h. It's also the most stable of the lot at high speeds. Tourers are going to love this motorcycle! It's a good city bike as well. It handles nice, and doesn't feel heavy despite being heavier than the RE 350s!
The Imperiale 400 comes with a fuel-injected air-cooled four-valve SOHC 374 cc four-stroke single-cylinder engine that produces 21 PS at 5,500 rpm and 29 Nm at 4,500 rpm. Dual-channel ABS is standard, and the bike is available in three colours—silver, black, and maroon. Well, only the tank colors are different; the rest of the panels are mostly black.
The BS6 bikes aren't available yet. The BS4 bikes were priced at Rs. 1.79 lakh for the silver color and Rs. 1.89 lakh each for the black and maroon bikes. All prices mentioned in this story are ex-showroom, Delhi.
The company calls it just the Jawa, while it is widely referred to as the Jawa Classic or Jawa Standard to avoid any ambiguity.
This is the bike that looks like an exact copy of the original number. Naturally then, it's the most beautiful motorcycle in its segment. It's got a liquid-cooled 293cc four-stroke DOHC single-cylinder engine that produces 27 PS of peak power and 28 Nm of peak torque. Strangely enough, the company hasn't mentioned at what RPMs the power and torque peak.
However, being the lightest in the segment, and producing more horsepower than its rivals, the Jawa's performance is the most energetic in the segment. It's also the best bike for shorter riders—its seat height, at 765 mm, is the most approachable in the segment.
The Jawa is available in three colours: Maroon, Black, and Grey (which looks like a beautiful White). There are single and dual-channel ABS variants. The former is priced at Rs. 1.73 lakh while the latter is approximately ten thousand rupees dearer.
RE Classic 350 / RE Bullet 350
A Royal Enfield is not merely a motorcycle in India; it's a religion. The "Bullet", pronounced in different ways in different parts of India, but worshipped in a similar manner almost everywhere, is not just a bike model but a generic term for its worshippers that could mean anything from the actual Bullet 350 to the recently discontinued 500s.
And not without reason. This is the only motorcycle in the segment which is the closest to its original classic ancestor! For example, the modern Jawa just looks like the original Jawa; it doesn't feel anything like it. Similarly, no one knows, in India at least, what a Benelli-MotoBi from the 1950s felt like to ride. But everyone, their children, their grandparents, and their neighbors know what a cast-iron Royal Enfield felt like, and that the current Royal Enfield 350s aren't much different.
Rest everything is secondary. Told you it's not a bike; it's a religion.