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Old 5th October 2011, 14:31   #1
v12
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Smile Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

Its been almost 6 years that the Royal Enfield Machismo 350 replaced my 3 year old Eliminator in Feb 2005. The decision of buying a Bullet was the same as that made my thousands of Bullet owners - the look, the sound, the character, the history of the bike. All these factors made me overlook all the other aspects of the Bullet.

And now after 6 long years - after transforming the bike into a Cafe Racer and getting it back to stock - I feel it is time to move on. I stopped riding the Enfield more than a ago, since I realised that I was spending too much of time concentrating on the niggling things rather than enjoying the ride.

They say that "Once you have ridden an Enfield, you will never ride another bike". People may say that I am crazy but I used to always feel otherwise "Once you ride another bike, you will never ride the Enfield". I loved riding it only when it was in Cafe Racer mode, the low handlebars, the rear sets and single seat - it was a completely different experience. The bike in this mode was all show and hardly any go. In traffic (which is 90% of my usage), I never found the Bullet a comfortable bike. I always found my RX or friends Pulsars more zippy and comfortable in traffic. Any other bike - you twist the accelerator and the bike responds and surges ahead - but not the Bullet. The Bullet is meant to be accelerated gradually - and that means slow take off from signals or traffic. On long rides - obviously - the Bullet beats all other bikes in comfort and stability.

And hence my decision now - to probably let go off the Enfield and buy a good bike which I will enjoy riding in traffic and within the city. So my primary requirements are :
First and foremost - It should bring a smile to my face whenever I ride it.
Lets me enjoy the ride, the weather, the scenery, the traffic - without having to bother about small niggles.
Zippy and maneuverable in traffic. My everyday city / traffic riding is around 24 kms.
The bike should be trouble free and have a decent mileage.
I should be able to enjoy the bike not only in a straight line but also on twists and turns.
A good dealer network.

There are various options in my mind :

Bajaj Pulsar 220 : The Pulsar 220 is a good bike - but I find it too common. Its huge, comfortable and powerful too. And its well equipped too with an oil cooled engine, rear disc brakes and a digital speedo. However there is something about the bike that does not appeal to me - I dont know what that is yet. Maybe its the fact that it is a Pulsar or maybe the fact that I have already owned a Bajaj bike in the past (Kawasaki).

Honda Unicorn : One of the best bikes in the country with its slick gearbox and smooth engine. However, let down by its plane-jane looks and lack of equipments that other bikes have. I have ridden the Unicorn and I find it to be more of a commuter bike than a bike that you would want to enjoy. Also a 6-7 month waiting period is something I dont want to live with.

Yamaha FZ series : I loved the look of the Yamaha FZ. It looks like a big bike - but thats where it ends. Probably if it was a 200/250 I would have considered it. Having ridden an FZ, I never quite liked the feel of the bike. Again it lacked a rear disc brake and a powerful engine. Its too heavy for a 150cc bike and lacks the performance. The seats too are not very comfortable for the pillion. Have been a pillion on the FZ on a long ride and have promised myself never ever to sit pillion on a FZ on a long ride.

TVS Apache RTR 180 / ABS : This is one bike which has always fascinated me since its launch. I agree that its just a 180cc bike - but is feature packed. Twin discs, digital speedometer, ABS - makes it more value for money than other big bikes. I have read a lot of good reviews of the RTR 180 which term this to be the best bike to ride in the city. The only problem I believe I will face is that the bike is too short and maybe uncomfortable for rider and pillion. I am 6ft tall and the bike being short in length may not be good for long rides (which I am ready to compromise). Another problem is the number of TVS dealerships in the city.

Yamaha R-15 / Hero Honda ZM-R : At one point of time, we did consider these 2 bikes - but the price tag was a bit of a concern. We currently dont want to spend anything more than 1 lakh on a bike - since this would further delay our plans of buying a 600cc sportsbike (whenever they start selling one in India). My current requirement is for commuting and that too with a smile So next time you see someone riding with a smile on his face for no reason - you know it is me!

Looking forward to suggestions.
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Old 5th October 2011, 14:50   #2
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by v12 View Post
Looking forward to suggestions.
The Honda Unicorn and the Apache are good choices. The unicorn is a very comfy, hassle free, peace of mind bike and the apache is all this and more. Its more brutal in acceleration but feels a little rough compared to the Japanese counterparts which are butter smooth and refined.

The Yamaha FZ makes a good street bike/occasional tourer but top speeds are limited. It struggles to cross 100k's and at this point the engine feels strained and bogged down. Also the bike is not very economical on the kmpl area.

R15 is a good bike but owing to its sporty stance you might feel uncomfortable riding it in the city. The pressure on your arms and wrists will make you dread riding this bike in the thick of traffic. Its the open highways (and the race tracks) that this bike is made for. Also, the R15 makes very little power at the lower rpm band so blasting off when the light turns green would require some slipping of the clutch. Also, you will have to stay in the power band (mid/high rpm) to perform quick overtaking manouvers. Riding with a pillion on this bike will feel like the bike is underpowered, unless you are in the correct power band.

ZMR - I would suggest the plain jane Karizma ZMA (link). The bike is a fantastic all rounder. A breeze to ride in the city, an excellent tourer, robust build, high reliability, economical to run and maintain, etc. Last Oct, we rode to Ooty. An unplanned trip it was. We rode 50kms outside of Blore for breakfast, landed up in ooty for coffee and stayed overnight. One of the riders with a new ZMA was able to keep up with us (we were on ninja's) albeit a few mins slower.

Ride the bikes you have shortlisted in real world conditions - thick traffic, open roads, bad roads, etc. and you'll be able to settle with the one that fits you best.

Last edited by n_aditya : 5th October 2011 at 14:57.
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Old 5th October 2011, 15:08   #3
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

Any particular reason you didn't consider the Hero Karizma? I find it to have a decent combo of power and stability. Only flip side is the slightly bulging front. Only the black Karizma carries it off well. And yes, plastics; a lot of it at the front. So could look flimsy.

I feel the RTR 180 is just as good or maybe even better (Engine capacity aside). It has a very good mix of power, poise and ride comfort.

If I were in your place, I'd have wished the eternal CBZ was still in production and then gone ahead with either of the above. Maybe slight preference for the RTR.

Agree, the 150cc will bother you on the FZs on a day you want to have fun on the bike.

Agree again on the P220; I somehow just can't imagine owning a Pulsar; doesn't appeal when there are the likes of CBZ and Karizma around.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 5th October 2011 at 15:10.
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Old 5th October 2011, 15:12   #4
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

RTR180 & Karizma-R should be top of your list for test rides.

I too am a 6 footer and have no issues riding the RTR for distances over 200+ kms albeit with butt breaks on the highways or riding in thick traffic for more than 45 mins with bumper to bumper. Of course, i will be dead before i ride pillion on the RTR. Totally uncomfortable even for a short ride of 6-10kms in the city. It always manages to put a smile on my face whenever i ride it in the city/highway. And taking off from the signals, well you will always be the first at these traffic light GP's Returns a decent 40-42kmpl in the city with occasional ripping and spares are priced cheap too. All it needs is good engine oil as the TVS one is not worth even for 300kms of sane riding.

Karizma-R (non-FI) is the best of both worlds. Big bike feel, excellent tourer, equally good in the city. Mileage, costly spares and bad quality of plastics are the only botheration with this bike. And it depends on your preference of a bike being big and long or compact and flickable. All the best with your selection.

If you somehow manage to shortlist the P220, please ensure you have a very capable mech to take care of the bike as the SVC is a joke and 8 times out of 10 screw up a perfectly tuned bike. At least that was my experience in Bangalore. Not sure of Mumbai though.
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Old 5th October 2011, 15:33   #5
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

Ooops,didnt read the budget part.
I would recommend a karizma
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Old 5th October 2011, 15:38   #6
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by v12 View Post
my primary requirements are :
First and foremost - It should bring a smile to my face whenever I ride it.
Lets me enjoy the ride, the weather, the scenery, the traffic - without having to bother about small niggles.
Zippy and maneuverable in traffic. My everyday city / traffic riding is around 24 kms.
The bike should be trouble free and have a decent mileage.
I should be able to enjoy the bike not only in a straight line but also on twists and turns.
A good dealer network.

Looking forward to suggestions.
I have a 2009 Bajaj Avenger 200. Since you already had an eliminator, maybe thats why you never shortlisted it.
  • Small Niggles: Rare
  • Zippy/maneuverable: Yes. You wont agree with me but it just takes some time getting used to. I drive it everyday in Hyderabad traffic (where anyone can come at anytime from any side of the road in any direction ) Also used to drive around in Bangalore for the first year. Average running was 50kms daily and I never felt tired.
  • Mileage: Well mine gives 30 mainly because I drive it like a sports bike. But for the 220 one (two of my friends have it) it gives about 34.
  • Top speed being around 118 for my bike (compared to friends speedo since avengers speedo goes for a toss above 110), isn't much fun to drive on an expressway. But I do get a big smile banking on twists and turns. Went to a team-bhp meet at nagarjuna sagar, with 4 other ninjas and two CBRs and I was able to keep pace with them (was always less than 5 mins behind) and gave them fierce competition in ghats. It is very much fun to drive.
  • Bajaj has good network
  • The optional windshield does gets head turning (of the fairer sex) quite a lot of times. (bike goes 118 in spite of the huge windshield)
The avenger has got great pickup with a 0-60 in about 5 secs. You should definitely test ride once before ruling it out. I have driven it at continuous 110 for two hours as well. Didn't sweat a bit. Plus the front seat is comfortable for a 5-6 hours run. Rear one does need an upgrade for long runs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by n_aditya View Post

The Yamaha FZ makes a good street bike/occasional tourer but top speeds are limited. It struggles to cross 100k's and at this point the engine feels strained and bogged down. Also the bike is not very economical on the kmpl area.
It goes easily till 110 after which it is a struggle. Agreed on the mileage part, can give avenger a run for the money on the low mileage parameter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by n_aditya View Post
R15 is a good bike but owing to its sporty stance you might feel uncomfortable riding it in the city. The pressure on your arms and wrists will make you dread riding this bike in the thick of traffic.
Same thing for FZ. Wrists give up way too early. r15 and FZ both not recommended if you plan to go for a long drive. Also r15's suspension cannot handle all the potholes. Not meant for such conditions. FZ on the other hand does a superb job.
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Old 5th October 2011, 16:29   #7
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by v12 View Post
IThe decision of buying a Bullet was the same as that made my thousands of Bullet owners - the look, the sound, the character, the history of the bike. All these factors made me overlook all the other aspects of the Bullet.

They say that "Once you have ridden an Enfield, you will never ride another bike". People may say that I am crazy but I used to always feel otherwise "Once you ride another bike, you will never ride the Enfield".
Totally, totally agree, especially the second part. I would have also suggested the CBR 250R but for your budget. Probably the best in this selection is the Apache. Think it is decent enough for a commuter but does lose a bit of steam once it crosses 110 kmph?
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Old 5th October 2011, 17:12   #8
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

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Think it is decent enough for a commuter but does lose a bit of steam once it crosses 110 kmph?
If its the Apache you are asking about, then it goes up to 125kmph on the speedo in the RTR160 itself. And it wont feel strained doing those speeds as well. So i am thinking the RTR180 can do atleast another 10-12kmph more on the speedo.
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Old 5th October 2011, 17:52   #9
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

Honda CB Dazzler and Karizma R should fit the bill perfectly.

The Dazzler has all the goodies you seem to have a liking for (read:rear disc and digital meter) and have read only good things about it so far. Performance-wise too it isn't a slouch, i think, and isn't as common on the roads as rest of its competition.
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Old 5th October 2011, 18:55   #10
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

Karizma fits your requirements. I am 6 footer as well
I own one and ride it bumper to bumper traffic in mumbai.
The company recommended oil does not do the job if you would like to rip it occasionally.
Also frequent gear shifts in traffic it starts to make typical thak -thak noise whenever you shift. Simple solution to above problem.
Go for Semi Synth or if wallet permits fully synth.
I have had to change the company recommended oil on a 2000km interval because it was not up to the mark.
On highway rides the bike will do 100 easily for prolonged periods of time without any problems.
The Fortpoint *** in mahim is good. Need to sit on their heads though if you require some niggling issue to be corrected.
Feel free to ask about any other doubts you may have.
It also shares some its spares with the unicorn and apache (yes!)
browse the threads and you will come to know which ones.
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Old 5th October 2011, 21:28   #11
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by v12 View Post
First and foremost - It should bring a smile to my face whenever I ride it.
Lets me enjoy the ride, the weather, the scenery, the traffic - without having to bother about small niggles.
Zippy and maneuverable in traffic. My everyday city / traffic riding is around 24 kms.
The bike should be trouble free and have a decent mileage.
I should be able to enjoy the bike not only in a straight line but also on twists and turns.
A good dealer network
Right now CBR250R will meet & exceed everything above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by v12 View Post
We currently dont want to spend anything more than 1 lakh on a bike - since this would further delay our plans of buying a 600cc sportsbike (whenever they start selling one in India)
So the point is "WHENEVER" & that whenever is not too soon or too far. If you can extend your budget by another 60K (or 1 more Lakh for ABS), you're meeting more than your primary requirements.

600cc sportsbike are not likely to appear in India for next 1 year or even if they appear by 2012, you can make up the additional 60K (just save Rs 5K or 8K per month) in a year. For city riding + a little bit of highway blast (or a long ride, say over 1000 Kms) C250R is pure VFM.
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Old 5th October 2011, 23:13   #12
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

V12, my suggestion is that you get a good old two stroker like RX100 or Kawasaki KB 125, Susuki Samurai, Shogun and modify it like your Machismo 350 (by the way I loved your Cafe Racer). The oldies are the ones which are easily maintainable, I am pretty apprehensive when it comes to fuel injection and co... Two strokers are zippy, fast, loud...

Last edited by Leepower : 5th October 2011 at 23:16.
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Old 5th October 2011, 23:16   #13
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

Hi!

The 600's (proper I-4's) in India are still away from our reach.

Neither of the bikes listed above are F-U-N. I have found the R15 to be fun and you have to be very committed to enjoy her. Please have a test-ride of the CBR-250R too. It should suffice your commuting needs even when the bigger bike is home.
FZ too ain't a bad choice for commuting or a pre-owned N 250R.

Hope I have confused you further
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Old 5th October 2011, 23:27   #14
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee
Right now CBR250R will meet & exceed everything above.

So the point is "WHENEVER" & that whenever is not too soon or too far. If you can extend your budget by another 60K (or 1 more Lakh for ABS), you're meeting more than your primary requirements.

600cc sportsbike are not likely to appear in India for next 1 year or even if they appear by 2012, you can make up the additional 60K (just save Rs 5K or 8K per month) in a year. For city riding + a little bit of highway blast (or a long ride, say over 1000 Kms) C250R is pure VFM.
Yeah, you should try the CBR. Its really worth a shot. Suggest you to try a friends bike on a longish stretch rather than the test ride given by a dealer.
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Old 6th October 2011, 00:31   #15
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Default Re: Moving on from an Enfield to a bike which would make me :) in city/traffic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by v12 View Post
Any other bike - you twist the accelerator and the bike responds and surges ahead - but not the Bullet. The Bullet is meant to be accelerated gradually - and that means slow take off from signals or traffic.
That makes me wonder why sidecars were made for the Bullet. I would imagine sidecars for bikes that had the power to pull themselves and a single-wheeled passenger/luggage carrier without trying too hard.

BTW, don't let plain-Jane looks from keeping you from your next ride. The beasts do not need digital instrumentation, push-button start et al. to deliver pure performance.
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