India is regarded as one of the world’s biggest motorcycle markets, with in excess of 13 million motorcycles sold in 2022 so far. Majority of these two-wheelers consist of scooters, commuters, and small-displacement, utility-focused machines—rather different from the motorcycle scene in the U.S. and most parts of Europe. That being said, there exists a vast ecosystem of motorcycles a lot of us have never seen before.
Interestingly, however, models from other markets are introduced in the Indian market, with manufacturers conducting feasibility studies to see whether these models would be a good fit in the market. With dual-sports and small-displacement adventure bikes gaining popularity in India, it’s not really surprising that Honda has taken a popular model in Brazil, and is testing it in India, instead of building a new dual-sport from the ground up. I’m talking about the XRE 300, a rugged, tractor-like machine that has gained popularity for its versatility and bulletproof reliability.
Popular for its flex-fuel technology, a 291.6cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine that can operate on both gasoline and ethanol—a fuel that is popular in Brazil—powers the Honda XRE 300. When powered by gasoline, it produces 25.4 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 19 ft-lbs of torque at 6,000 rpm. When powered by ethanol, the output values increase slightly to 25.6 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 20 ft-lbs of torque at 6,000 rpm. The XRE 300 features a more traditional five-speed gearbox without a slipper clutch, similar to other basic dual-sports.
The Honda XRE 300 rolls on wire-spoke wheels measuring 21 inches up front and 18 inches at the back, which translates to 259 millimeters of ground clearance. The XRE 300 has a rather high 860 millimeter seat height, which might be problematic considering the normally shorter stature of folks in India. However, the XRE 300 is considerably lighter than its rivals with a dry weight of just 148 kilograms. As for suspension, Honda has equipped the bike with a telescopic fork with 245mm of travel, and a rear preload-adjustable monoshock with 225mm of travel. A 256mm front disc and a 220mm rear disc equipped with ABS bring the dual-sport to a stop.
Assuming Honda charges the same price in India, the Honda XRE 300 retails for about $4,467 USD in Brazil, making it a somewhat pricey option. Honda may soon introduce the bike in India given that the name "XRE 300" has been registered as a trademark in that country, and that the bike has been seen testing alongside some of its main competitors. If and when Honda decides to debut the XRE 300 in India, it'll lock horns with the Royal Enfield Himalayan, BMW G 310 GS, and maybe even the Hero XPulse 200 4V.