The Rs 2-3 lakh bracket might offer only three products, but the sheer variety is surprising – you can get a sport-touring type faired commuter, a proper adventure-tourer, or a sportbike with aggressive ergonomics. What exactly do you get for that kind of money, though?
Before we get into the actual products available for that price range, though, a short explanation on the criteria to qualify for this piece. One, it needs to be available at the time of writing. So if a BS6 version hasn’t been launched yet, it won’t be here. Two, there isn’t any other criterion. Honourable mention to the Yamaha FZ25, which will appeal to the type of buyer who wants the Suzuki Gixxer SF250, and the Suzuki Gixxer 250, which didn’t make the cut for the sake of a few hundred rupees.
1. Suzuki Gixxer SF 250.
Suzuki’s 250cc faired product squeaks into this comparison by virtue of being just over Rs 2 lakh on-road, at Rs 2.11 lakh, Mumbai. That’s a considerable step up from the equivalent Yamaha (which isn’t on sale anymore, we must point out) so if you want an air/oil-cooled 250cc supercommuter with a fairing, you don’t have much of a choice. For your money, you get 26.1bhp and 22.2Nm from a 249cc single cylinder engine. You do, however, get a six speed gearbox, which the Yamaha 250 doesn’t offer. Everything else is par for the course: disc brakes front and rear, ABS at both ends, LED lighting, and an all-LCD instrument cluster.
What the Suzuki Gixxer SF250 has is massive doses of presence, especially in that fetching MotoGP livery. It also carries over the fun factor from its 150cc siblings. This is the one to choose if you’re on a budget, even if you’re willing to spend over Rs 2 lakh for your motorcycle.
2. Royal Enfield Himayalan.
The Himalayan zigs where all others zag. Everyone and their uncle are tripping over their feet to provide a fatter rear tyre, Bluetooth LCD instrumentation and flashy paint schemes, but the Himalayan has no problem proclaiming its minimalistic approach to adventure motorcycling. What you get is a 411cc air/oil-cooled single cylinder motorcycle with 24.3bhp and 32Nm – that’s a power figure lower than the Gixxer despite it having 160cc more than the ‘Zook, but it more than makes up for it in the torque figure. You also get a gearbox with one speed less than the other two bikes here, but the Himalayan’s big motor still allows it to cruise comfortably at 100kph, a must if it is to live up to the ‘touring’ bit in ‘adventure touring’. You also get one of the most comfortable pillions in the business (and certainly the best pillion seat in this comparison), a remarkably spry chassis from Royal Enfield, and more touring accessories than an R1200GS would know what to do with. The new paint schemes also make it look far better than the BS4 models.
It could do with more output from the engine and a larger fuel tank, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better choice to take down unknown dirt roads without fear. The asking price? Rs 2.35 lakh, on-road, Mumbai.
3. TVS Apache RR310.
TVS’s first attempt at a feature-packed motorcycle has impressed. Its 312cc engine might seem small compared to its rivals, but 33bhp and 27.3Nm are enough to have a lot of fun in almost all scenarios. Couple it with the aggressive ergonomics, and you’ve got yourself a great motorcycle to go around corners with. Things have improved with the ride-by-wire throttle and the colour LCD instrumentation – you now get riding modes as well! What’s more, the different modes offer different throttle and ABS response, and different power and torque curves. Coupled with the slipper clutch, it allows for the Apache RR310 to be ridden hard, but with precision as well. For the feature-conscious owner, there is all-LED lighting, Bluetooth connectivity, and turn-by-turn navigation as well. The screen also allows you a surprising level of customisation. If you’re the kind of person who loves the Yamaha YZF-R15 but finds it isn’t quick enough, you will find the Apache RR310 a worthy upgrade.