So if you have read my old post you will know that I was looking for an upgrade. My criteria was:-
- All day long effortless cruising at 100 – 120kmph
- Minimal vibrations
- Good wind protection
- Thoroughly tested product and all niggles ironed out
- Longer servicing intervals, sensibly priced spares and servicing costs
- ABS is a must
There were couple of bikes in considerations. I am listing them in no specific order:-
Royal Enfield Himalayan: Us tourers have understood that not all roads in India are well paved. Himalayan is good option which can do the touring duties all through the year. Along with an experienced rider on the saddle it can tackle roads or no roads literally. This bike certainly looks badass and riding it means you are ready to circumference the globe.
However, like my Karizma the Himalayan feels good upto 80-90 kmph. Also, on long rides, I wanted a bike that was easy to get on and off, manageable to push or pick-up all by myself when things didn’t go well. Besides, there were quality issues which I witnessed myself during a multi-day ride.
Hero Xpluse:- This bike looked promising at-least from the pictures and from media reviews. Being a Hero customer already, I knew what I would be getting into. I waited for the major part of the 2018 and there were no concrete news of its launch. I just gave up on it.
BMW GS310:- A great product but terrible pricing…period.
All the above bikes will surely get me a lot of off-road fun and learning. I might save enough to pick up one later. But as of now I was looking for something that keeps me engaged on long highways and twisty roads.
KTM Duke 390:– This bike has always intrigued me. This bike is so powerful and technically advanced that not owning it is a sin. 2017 model felt like it was designed by directors of a Sci-Fi movie. I took multiple test rides and drooled over most of the media posts. I was convinced that this is to be in my garage for sure. And then the ownership reviews started pouring in. What scared me the most was that the LED headlight tuning off by itself, engine heating issues and coolant mixing with the engine oil.
By now, I realized, I wanted a bike that was built right, thoroughly tested and it spent more time burning petrol on the road and creating memories than eating dust at the service centers. Quality doesn’t come cheap.
Kawasaki Ninja 650:– If it was not Duke 390 then it had to be Ninja. 67 bhp and 65 N-m of torque was good enough to keep me entertained for the next decade or so. For 2017, the old panda has taken gym sessions to shed off weight and looked chiseled in that new black-green paint scheme. A great finance deal and I was sold on it. 3 things made me run away from it.
- Ninja’s long slung exhaust compromising its ride height. I didn’t wish to be under pressure while passing the unmarked pyramids on our roads.
- Kawasaki horrific servicing and spares costs
- Spares such as levers and body work available on order with a long waiting time (read couple of weeks)
Kawasaki Versys 650:– Great mile muncher and potent machine for 2 up ridding. Since the new one was out my budget, I was looking for a used one. I ceased my efforts realizing the Kawasaki’s service and spares costs. If I had that kind of hard cash ready, this was surely making into my garage.
Bajaj Dominor and TVS Apache 310 RR were great value for money but these options didn’t excite me as much.
Yamaha YZF R3:– This is the last option here in the list and if I were writing this article in year 2015, thanks to its price tag, it would not even make it to my options. However, this is the bike that I eventually bought. Ever heard of “A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.”
More about my decision to get the Yamaha R3 home in the next article. Wish you a good day!