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Old 22nd November 2013, 10:31   #1
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Lightbulb A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

Hello Everyone,
I need your help with this decision about which bike to get for the Himalayas. A TBTS you say, hold on. Let me speak ...

Here is the most important bit of background - I HAVE a working Rx 135 2-stroke 4 speed bike at home.
Now let me begin with the whole dilemma. Although I stopped using my Rx 135 around 2003 (bought in 1999) at about 16000 Km on the ODO, I have, from time to time, got it serviced and ridden it a little but it is presently sort of not working and I almost got it serviced and up and running again last year but then didn't. The mechanic told me, its in working condition and only the tank needs replacement, and it would be all up an running in less than a day when I want it to.

As all of you who have experience with the Rx 135 would agree, I presume, that it does some sort of permanent change in your cerebral arrangement about the way you look at bikes. However, since 10 years is a long time and there is a lot of new tech in the market, I am considering whether to buy a new bike or just to put in some money in the Rx 135 to fulfil my latest craze for touring the Himalayas on a bike. And this is where your expert and real world views come in.

I am 5'6" and prefer smaller but powerful bikes. Here are my requirements -
1. Not a tall or big bike.
2. Some good ground clearance, although I am not sure if it really matters that much for a bike as for a car.
3. "Powerful, nimble, agile"; although I am not a racer and I am not looking for the highest bhp, or fastest top speed. The real world performance should be satisfying (not paper specs or few seconds peak in the real world, but maximum satisfaction for most part of a bike ride/trip).
4. Fuel economy and pricing is not that much of a concern, if I am really convinced, I can go upto Rs. 2L.
5. I enjoy initial and quick bursts of power but I am not a racer, I don't want constant top speed dangerous thrill, I am looking for comfortable ride, availability of power when and if I need it, great handling, confidence to explore the unmarked roads.
6. If it is all of that, I would perhaps also use it in tandem with the car for the daily 40 km round trip to work (from South Delhi to Central Delhi) on fair days. This might grow depending on the bike.


Here is what I am considering -
1. TBTS 500.
2. KTM Duke 390.
3. Honda CBR 250R.
4. Apache 180 RTR.
5. Just revamp my Rx 135 - nice new tyres, perhaps a disk brake mod.

Here are my concerns -
TBTS 500. Everyone's ga ga about it.
KTM Duke 390. Every review is positive, seems adequate upgrade from Rx 135.
Honda CBR 250R. Honda Reliability, smoothness, reviews say its really a breeze.
Apache 180 RTR. Seems every bit the logical upgrade but riding posture?

I am a fan of tech in general, and prefer ABS too.

Here is what I am NOT considering -
1. Yamaha R15 - I don't like the big fat head.
2. Pulsars - Never liked them.
3. Karizmas - too big, don't like the front.
4. Kawasaki Ninja.


I read good reviews about all of the ones in my preferred list but as I said, primarily it is for long and short trips in the hills (it well depends on the bike and my experience whether it would continue after the first trip or not, which is why I really don't want to mess this decision).

Please share your views, experience, reasons and any other options if you have some in mind.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 14:45   #2
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

Its a no brainer KTM 390 for your 2Lakh budget. If 1 lakh budget again a no brainer RTR180.

Both share the same characteristics- Lightweight and Powerful.

I did blindly go for a KTM390 blindfolded. Reason - If you drive a RX135 you are accustomed to a bike whose weight is low,extremely flickable and High power.
KTM 390 ticks all your boxes.

KTM390 weighs 4 kg more than a RTR180 and has more than two and half times of Horsepower available at the tap. What more do you want!
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Old 22nd November 2013, 15:08   #3
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

Thanks Amit, I understand the specs point in those directions but I was looking for more real world experience and thoughts of those who have owned/used these machines for similar purposes.

The actual experiences, the things that you guys like and dislike, what are the limitations of each of them where do they shine? I will of course go for test rides as soon as I get some time but test rides are only as good...
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Old 22nd November 2013, 15:09   #4
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

Unless you really want to burn up the excess cash, I'd go for the RTR 180 ABS. Dont get me wrong; the 390 is worth every penny. But for the requirements you stated; the RTR 180 fits the bill perfectly. Brutal initial acceleration. Good Top End. Brilliant Brakes and grippy tyres. Test ride it; if you still want more; pick the 390!
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Old 22nd November 2013, 15:41   #5
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

Another most important thing about ride to Himalayas is about petrol. So do check on the 390's distance it can cover in one refill. I believe it has lesser ratio compared to all others. Again, this depends on what all circuit you want to do in the Himalayas.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 15:50   #6
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

Redo of the RX135 for a long distance ride is a big no no from my side.
Restore the Rx and store it ;-)

Well for your specification I would suggest the TB 500. You sure need to look at the cruising comfort as well. You have not been on bikes for more than 10yrs it wont be very easy to saddle up on a Duke. If you feel you are a sportier person then the CBR250 is a good option too.

OT - Getting a Tank for RX 135 has become impossible.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 16:24   #7
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

None of them are premium bikes, only KTM is somehow good for Himalayas trip. The real fun is riding the bikes made for these kind of terrains like BMW GS series, Ducati Multistrada, Triumph Tigers, Aprillia Dorsaduro etc.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 17:04   #8
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

Hi, i would like to put my 2 pence in this thread.

as you have mentioned that your trend towards riding is not all that much.

1. I would suggest you to stick with the RX. i am sure every one will agree that RX can certainly take you places. (I have owned one and been places on it)

2. I would suggest you to get a bigger tank. If you are not too much into looks department but more into practicality. i know a friend who used a Karizma tank on RX (apparently it fitted fine) because he needed to carry more petrol. I have used the RX tank it self and never felt the need of carrying extra fuel to the kind of places that i went (Its all about planning)

if it was me i would not spend too much on something that i am not going to use. but yes if it was me i will start with the RX and see if i start riding more, in that case i will go and buy another bigger or rather better bike.

and regarding the Parts As VISASTER mentioned that they are almost extinct yes he is right.
But don't you worry anything that you need i can help you find it in delhi.

Last edited by desideep : 22nd November 2013 at 17:07.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 17:07   #9
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4321 View Post
Brutal initial acceleration. Good Top End. Brilliant Brakes and grippy tyres.
The part in bold is not correct. RTR180 by default does not come with grippy tyres. You have to change it after market which has now become a challenge to get a good grippy tubeless tyre in the RTR stock size. But all other things mentioned by Rahul hold good. Relatively. Because from RTR180 point of view the acceleration is Brutal, but if you consider D200 in the picture, it out does the RTR by leaps and bounds.

For your requirement of touring in the Himalayas, you need a good tank range, tubeless tyres, strong alloys which dont bend or break on bad roads, easily repairable by roadside mechanic if need arises. The RTR180 ticks most of these boxes. The sitting posture is not bothersome and you will get adjusted to it in a few 100 kms. I have been riding an RTR180 on which i have toured for 10,000kms in 6 months time where every weekend I would do close to 600kms. It was not uncomfortable for me. I am 6'0 tall and weigh close to 75kgs. This should give you a fair idea.

Last edited by abhinav.s : 22nd November 2013 at 17:30.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 17:23   #10
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
easily repairable by roadside mechanic if need arises
From what you've described the Duke would fit your bill perfectly.However since you are touring the Himalayas.If something were to go wrong with the Duke I assume the roadside mechanics might not be able to help out all that much.I would suggest a CI Bull.Doesn't get simpler than that.But it lacks what you need.(Oooomph!!!)
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Old 22nd November 2013, 17:29   #11
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

You may want to wait for Duke adventure version.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 21:36   #12
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

When do you need the bike, I mean how soon ?
OK I know you hate Pulsars downright but If you can wait then I suggest waiting for the to be launched Pulsar 375.
Power , check. Don't know about the 390, but in straight line it will shatter baby Ceeber, r15's, REs, Apache.
Looks, (mostly)check.
Handling, check (Bajaj will provide clip ons and good riding dynamics, going by the 200NS kit, I expect the 375 to be one cracking machine).
Easy to maintain (mostly) check.
Under you budget , Well Hell YEAH, its a BAJAJ! (You will save quite a good amount of money for some good riding gear too).
Fuel tank capacity will be also definitely more than Duke 390.

Going by the scoop pics, it looks quite good as a tourer, a la CBR250R.

-Bhargav

Last edited by Octane_Power : 22nd November 2013 at 21:39.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 22:07   #13
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

Quote:
Originally Posted by rk_sans View Post
Another most important thing about ride to Himalayas is about petrol. So do check on the 390's distance it can cover in one refill. I believe it has lesser ratio compared to all others. Again, this depends on what all circuit you want to do in the Himalayas.
I am planning for smaller circuits, a gentle start. I have been mostly a self driven car traveler, mostly in Uttarakhand and hope to do only short trips usually 3-5 days, which are to or near to popular destinations. Therefore fuel is not that much of a worry. No Laddakh on bike type ka plan, need to do that in the car first

Quote:
Originally Posted by Visaster View Post
Redo of the RX135 for a long distance ride is a big no no from my side.
Restore the Rx and store it ;-)

Well for your specification I would suggest the TB 500. You sure need to look at the cruising comfort as well. You have not been on bikes for more than 10yrs it wont be very easy to saddle up on a Duke. If you feel you are a sportier person then the CBR250 is a good option too.

OT - Getting a Tank for RX 135 has become impossible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by desideep View Post
Hi, i would like to put my 2 pence in this thread.

as you have mentioned that your trend towards riding is not all that much.

1. I would suggest you to stick with the RX. i am sure every one will agree that RX can certainly take you places. (I have owned one and been places on it)

2. I would suggest you to get a bigger tank. If you are not too much into looks department but more into practicality. i know a friend who used a Karizma tank on RX (apparently it fitted fine) because he needed to carry more petrol. I have used the RX tank it self and never felt the need of carrying extra fuel to the kind of places that i went (Its all about planning)

if it was me i would not spend too much on something that i am not going to use. but yes if it was me i will start with the RX and see if i start riding more, in that case i will go and buy another bigger or rather better bike.

and regarding the Parts As VISASTER mentioned that they are almost extinct yes he is right.
But don't you worry anything that you need i can help you find it in delhi.
I am definitely going to restore the Rx but somehow, I think I am itching for a new bike too. Greedy greedy me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajaybiz View Post
None of them are premium bikes, only KTM is somehow good for Himalayas trip. The real fun is riding the bikes made for these kind of terrains like BMW GS series, Ducati Multistrada, Triumph Tigers, Aprillia Dorsaduro etc.
Er... By Premium I meant, something more than regular commuters. Perhaps better suited for power/performance/comfort and not that much concerned about fuel economy, low price. Definitely not talking about 5-10+ Lakh range. One day, I hope to get a Hypermotard ... Been on my mind since I saw Yes Man. But that 'one day' is kinda eluding me for now


Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
The part in bold is not correct. RTR180 by default does not come with grippy tyres. You have to change it after market which has now become a challenge to get a good grippy tubeless tyre in the RTR stock size. But all other things mentioned by Rahul hold good. Relatively. Because from RTR180 point of view the acceleration is Brutal, but if you consider D200 in the picture, it out does the RTR by leaps and bounds.

For your requirement of touring in the Himalayas, you need a good tank range, tubeless tyres, strong alloys which dont bend or break on bad roads, easily repairable by roadside mechanic if need arises. The RTR180 ticks most of these boxes. The sitting posture is not bothersome and you will get adjusted to it in a few 100 kms. I have been riding an RTR180 on which i have toured for 10,000kms in 6 months time where every weekend I would do close to 600kms. It was not uncomfortable for me. I am 6'0 tall and weigh close to 75kgs. This should give you a fair idea.
Hmm, you put a good case for the RTR. I am not averse to aftermarket mods. I'd be happy to go to Lajpat or elsewhere to get better tyres.


Quote:
Originally Posted by B O V View Post
From what you've described the Duke would fit your bill perfectly.However since you are touring the Himalayas.If something were to go wrong with the Duke I assume the roadside mechanics might not be able to help out all that much.I would suggest a CI Bull.Doesn't get simpler than that.But it lacks what you need.(Oooomph!!!)
I am willing to take that risk, for a better motorcycle. Afterall, thats what we all do when we take our non-Marutis to the hills at some level or the other. Fords, Skodas :O ...
About the "Touring" part, I think I gave wrong impression. Its going to be smaller trips. 3-6 days, and mostly around some popular destinations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ani_meher View Post
You may want to wait for Duke adventure version.
I am not in a hurry, as suggested, I will take some time with the Rx too. Let see.


Other than that, not many of you are talking about the CBR 250R. Is it unsuitable for my requirements?

May I request the experienced users to write down a little bit of your experiences with these bikes regarding your trip and the good/bad about the bike. I dont want the bike to fail me while I come across that unseen curving road or that interesting looking ascent. A few months back in Nainital, while at a hotel balcony, I saw these 2 guys, climbing up the rising street (towards me) and their bike was sort of struggling. I don't remember the model but it had fatter tyres (than regular commuters) and looked powerful but it just managed the climb barely. It might have been an Apache. I am not sure though. I don't want that to happen. I am looking for that feeling which an Alto Vxi gives you when you see something unfamiliar compared to a Honda City. With a Honda City, you are almost afraid, with an Alto Vxi, you are Curious. Something on those lines ...

Another thing I am thinking is to rent one from Karolbagh and try that out... Do we get only Bullets there or other powerful bikes too? I don't have much idea about it. However, ultimately, I am always more comfortable with my own machine, therefore, sooner or later, something has to be chosen ...
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Old 23rd November 2013, 07:35   #14
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

Guys, isn't Hero supposed to come up with a new Impulse with a larger engine? I think I read it somewhere.
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Old 23rd November 2013, 15:14   #15
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Default Re: A Premium Bike for the Himalayas

1 question. What happens after the Himalayan Tour? If your Bike is going to lie idle, my suggestion is to fulfill your dream on the Yamaha that you own, or get hold of some adventure tourism company that would let you hire bikes, etc.,complete the tour and get back to your routine, without spending top money on a new purchase.
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