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Old 30th July 2013, 12:29   #1
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Default What Bike? Ninja650 vs HD Superlow vs Duke390 vs Bullet500. Edit: HD Superlow it is !

I have a budget of upto 5~6 Lacs and am looking for a bike to chase away my mid-life blues... lolz. I am 45, 6', 95 kgs. I have shortlisted Ninja 650, Harley Superlow 883, Duke 390 and RE Thunderbird 500/Classic 500, in that order. I know they are in different categories all together but that's how it is. With the Ninja 650/Duke/Bullet, I also have the advantage that it can be easily serviced in my hometown of Meerut, U.P.. For Harley it has to be done through Delhi which sounds a little cumbersome at present but I always desired to own a Harley. But the ground clearance of the Superlow is a little hampering factor in the back of my mind, especially if I 'ever' decide to drive down to Leh on it.

I had owned a Bullet 500 some 20 years back when it was first launched. It had many build issues at that time and I see not much drastic has changed since. I currently own a Karizma since last 9 years which has been driven 5500kms till date (No, that's not a typo) without as much as a glitch.

I now require a very well built bike which should serve me for a decade or more.

Kindly advise and take me out of this dilemma.
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Old 30th July 2013, 12:52   #2
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Smile Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500

Personally I would suggest you to opt for the RE TB500 for the decent GC, large fuel tank, good build quality, easy availability of spares & service. The bike has a good road presence too. Would be a perfect choice for that Leh trip.

Basically you are looking at <2L and >5L budgeted bikes. Just see the comparo link which will help you decide on tech specs (I know you must have done that homework)
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Old 30th July 2013, 12:54   #3
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500

Ninja 650, you must go for. Strong is the Force with that one.

No seriously, go for N650r - it is easily the most accomplished, well rounded and comfortable bike in your list. The only negative perhaps is that it isn't sheer track focused but that's what makes it so versatile in the first place. It can crunch miles faster than anything else in your list, give you great comfort while at it and also handle city traffic easily enough.
The Superlow is indeed too low for our roads and you'd need a suspension upgrade at the minimum. And run to Delhi for every service.
The Duke 390 is pure fun but I am assuming you are not the throttle-happy kind (I am ) and you might be put off a little by it's size (I am sure Doc would have something to say on that - you both are of similar build i guess)
I don't know why RE is even in this list - forget about it.
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Old 30th July 2013, 13:08   #4
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500

Hey bro. Just to add to the confusion Why not wait for the Triumph Street Triple? That is if they finally launch September end. Hopefully some riders here have ridden it and could let us know if its worth adding it to this list.
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Old 30th July 2013, 13:28   #5
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500

And what about Aquila Pro GV650? Especially since you are looking at 10 years or more of use, in my opinion, a cruiser would be better. No idea about GV650's Leh-ing capabilities though, especially its GC.
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Old 30th July 2013, 13:30   #6
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500

dkaile, Ninja 650 is the way to go! It is arguably the best of the lot..
In the aforementioned list, this bike is the most powerful, will be most fun to ride and it also has the looks and presence which none other offer.

When you are plonking such amount of money on a 2-wheeler you definitely want it to look good and a notch above the rest,right?

With the recent surge in Bullet sales, your Bullet may just go unnoticed and it won't have that "special" feel. The 390 is bodily same as the 200, so even that's out, nothing special about it too.
As far as the Harley is concerned, are you sure you would go up to Delhi to get it serviced?
What if (God Forbid) some problem creeps up leaving the bike immobile? A service center near your place or in your hometown is always a very big added advantage

Also, the riding position of N650 is such that it won't leave your back aching, its not like those superbikes, crouching over the tank and riding style. It's quite comfortable.
Moreover, in future, you have quite a number of options to play around with to enhance the performance of the bike, which must also be considered, given that you are planning to keep it for a decade atleast!

P.S.: If not the green then the new white also looks equally jaw-dropping on the Ninja.
You would definitely love to get "Leh'd" on the 650


Last edited by Octane_Power : 30th July 2013 at 13:36.
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Old 30th July 2013, 15:05   #7
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500

After having owned the Royal Enfield (well my brother's bike is a 2010 RETB), I would say, stay away, their mechanicals are just okay, but the electricals are a real problem. I have read you had bad experience with your Machismo 500 (if I recall correctly), & would suggest follow "once bitten twice shy" approach towards towards Royal Enfield bikes. Even my brother is no longer keen for his RETB as he was till 2010 (despite taking care of the bike like anything), & we don't ride the bike at a decent speed (60+ kmph) in intra-city for long as we fear the brakes are not upto the mark for the weight in case of an emergency. It is okay if you like to ride the Bull at manageable speeds, not if you like to ride fast, though when riding it is as flick-able as any other bike.

Only if you have the time to spend after your family, pets, car & SUV, go for it, else go for a Ninja 650 which will IMO be less of a headache. Moreover, there are enough of Bullets around to make these common amongst the premium bikes (if you consider these premium enough).
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Old 30th July 2013, 15:26   #8
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500

Ninja 650 will be perfect for you,i have ridden one for a good distance,and it is one of the perfect bikes for our conditions,with Ample power to get away from slow traffic,and keep up with powerful machines,and a perfect riding posture for those long rides.On the other hand,the 390 and Super low will look extremely disproportionate under your frame.Being a RE owner i would not really recommend the CL5 or TB5 since you can easily afford better machines.
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Old 30th July 2013, 15:43   #9
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500


Among the bikes you have listed, the best build quality by far is the ninja 650. Even among its peers, the kawasaki stands apart in terms of reliability of parts. However, sourcing these parts involve a 2-3 week delay at times.
The Ninja is a looker, and I believe it is the best all rounder in the market at this point in time. Which is why I got myself one.

The 390 is a fun bike, it is going to keep you very happy, but it is not as comfortable as a Ninja for extended periods. It is a hoot to ride. I believe this is the best performance for price option available.

For both the Ninja and the 390, tyres will set you back by ~25k at similar intervals. Wear and tear on parts will be quicked on the 390. But the Ninja milestone services will be more expensive overall.

As regards the Bullets, I have one for more than a decade now, and I know how much time and patience they demand more than most. IF you want a bike that will reliably start every time you want it to, and one that is a fill it-shut it-forget it option, forget the bullets. I love mine, but it requires a lot of work to keep it on the road. Quality of spares on the bullets is poor, and wear and tear will be significant.

Brings me to the Harley. I would only get a Fat boy, heritage classic or a 48. The rest of their portfolio do not appeal to me. Harley though, comes with a certain image. IF you want this image, any Harley will do. If you want a good harley, a sub 10 lakh budget is no good.

My 2 cents, hope you find your dream bike.

On another note, if you can wait a little longer (4-7months) a Triumph Bonneville could be had.

Last edited by sriku : 30th July 2013 at 15:57.
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Old 30th July 2013, 15:44   #10
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500

Firstly going by the miles you have covered in the Karizma i.e 5500 kms in 9 years i think you on't ride your bike very often.It has more to do with passion than practicality. D390 is an amazing piece of machinary but porbably not the ideal bike for comfortable long rides, the kind your are more interested in. As many of my fellow mates have mentioned RE doesn't have that face value/premium feel. And even i have heard a lot of complaints about the electricals. So I feel you should give it a pass because you won't be riding that frequent. Harleys, what can i say? The whole procedure that you are involved in since the first day you walk into the showroom, taking the delivery of the bike, PDI check, the ownership and the lot is very dramatic.It comes with heavy dosage of heritage, very reliable and well built. And ofcourse the frequent HOG events mean u can indulge yourself in a group of like minded people. Ofcourse issues like low ground clearance and small fuel tank is a bit of a turn off. If you are ready to overlook all these and ride to Delhi for the service, I think its a very good option. Finally N650, probably the most practical of the lot. Adequate power to fulfill that need for speed,very comfortable,practical,can be used everyday,reliable. I guess it can be easily serviced in your city as well. Its a timeless beauty.
Hopefully you will find our suggestions helpful.
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Old 30th July 2013, 18:19   #11
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500

I am also in the same boat, and of the given lot i found the Ninja to be the best in terms of stance, ease of seating and pricing.

I also looked at Suzuki GSX and Suzuki Hayabusa, but not sure which one i will decide on and when, but maybe you can take a look at them as well.

Neither of these bikes should be taken to Leh (I have my doubts) apart from RE 500 (Which was probably born for that sort of terrain).
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Old 30th July 2013, 18:43   #12
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500

Originally Posted by niranjanrvce View Post
I am sure Doc would have something to say on that - you both are of similar build i guess
Yes I have something to say - rather gleefully too.

I WAS a 6 foot 95 kilo rider. I AM now a 6 foot 87 kilo rider. Think of the huge jump in power to weight ratio for all my bikes!

OT: Bro, you have the budget, you do not ride much, and you are looking for a steady companion for a long time.

Everything points to the Ninja 650.

Buy once, buy the best you can afford, should be your mantra.

P.S. Yes, forget the Bullets. Things really have not changed all that much in the 20 years since you had one. Move ahead.

Last edited by ebonho : 30th July 2013 at 18:45.
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Old 30th July 2013, 18:59   #13
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500

I won't be much different either. Get the 650.
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Old 30th July 2013, 20:17   #14
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500


I would say Harley for you really dont ride much. 5500 odd kms in 9 years means you hardly ride and you mostly ride for may be pleasure.

Harley fits all your needs and up the budget and get the street bob.

Second in line would be the Ninja 650.

Wait few more months and you will see a whole bunch of manufacturers announcing 600 and 800 cc models.
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Old 30th July 2013, 22:04   #15
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Default Re: Which Bike? Ninja 650 vs Harley Superlow vs Duke 390 vs Bullet 500

I would suggest Ninja 650 as its a great all rounder + VFM package.

If you can wait for a couple of months then Triumph Bonnie or a street triple are good option for a pleasure ride.
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