The FB Mondial HPS 300 has just been launched, and it has some tough competition to go up against. The competition ranges from another Italian brand (but with two cylinders) a Japanese naked with two cylinders, and a German with just one, like the Mondial.
The Mondial offers a 250cc liquid-cooled single cylinder engine with 25bhp and 22Nm. There are dual exhausts that are high mounted despite it being a single, and spoke rims with semi-offroad tyres. There is a single 280mm petal disc brake at the front and 220mm disc at the rear. The wheels are 18-inch in front and 19-inch at the rear. It is the only bike in this price bracket that offers dual rear shock absorbers, although it offers upside down front forks.
First up from the competition, the other Italian: the Benelli TNT 300. Like the Mondial, it is also an Italian brand with a lot of pedigree. Like the HPS 300, it is manufactured in China. But unlike the Mondial, the TNT 300 displaces 300cc from a parallel twin engine and generates 38bhp and over 26Nm. It offers upside down front forks, a rear monoshock, but the 260mm front brake isn’t radially mounted. The TNT 300 has the most pleasing exhaust note to the Indian public; it sounds like it has three or more cylinders – its most alluring point of the lot here.
The other twin-cylinder streetfighter also uses a parallel twin configuration but it doesn’t sound like the Benelli. The Kawasaki Z250 is essentially the naked version of the Ninja 250, and generates 32bhp and 21Nm from its 250cc liquid-cooled engine. It is the only one here with conventional front forks. However, it does have pedigree and looks the part, especially after the last facelift – this is the most aggressive design language of the models here. The split rear seat also contributes to its sporty intentions.
The final model in contention is the BMW G 310 R. This streetfighter has the largest displacement at 313cc but is a single cylinder liquid-cooled engine. The upside down front forks have a radially mounted, fixed brake calliper that grabs a 300mm front disc.
The Mondial is the only machine here to offer spoked wheel rims, and also the only one to offer an 18-inch front wheel. All other wheels have a 17 inch diameter. Both the single cylinder machines have ABS, the twin-cylinder machines do not. The Mondial offers a minimalistic round digital instrument cluster, the Benelli and Kawasaki offer an analogue tachometer, and the G has a more traditional rectangular all-digital instrument cluster.
The FB Mondial HPS 300 retails at Rs 3.37 lakhs, the BMW G 310 R at Rs 3.09 lakhs, the Kawasaki Z250 is the best value-for-money at Rs 3.08 lakhs and the Benelli TNT 300 the most expensive at Rs 3.43 lakhs. (All prices ex-Delhi).