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Old 22nd January 2014, 15:24   #1
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Default Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

So this is not a segment of Indian biking I usually pay any attention to, and have thus very little current knowledge of, so what better place than to pick your brains here!

The rider: A 40-ish family man with 2 kids, whose not really a born again biker because he has kept (and rides) his 15+ year old college ride (Samurai), but uses it mainly to ferry kids here and there, evening joy rides in the city with wife and kid/s, going to get fruits/veggies/milk/eggs/groceries, odd jobs and errands, etc. Not an aggressive rider. Safe, slow, steady.

The need: To finally upgrade and get a modern family bike with better tyres, brakes, engine, chassis, handling, comfort, performance, fuel efficiency, the works.

A special need is to choose something which does not have a odd shaped tank which would make it difficult for his smaller kid to sit in front. Agreed most modern bikes would not qualify (against the 80s-90s tank shapes like the Samurai, etc.) but its a consideration.

Comfort and suspension and safety would score over outright performance. Fuel efficiency in this price band would not really be an issue, but the more the better obviously.

He would like to get back to serious riding again, and like to visit places on his bike as he used to in college, and needs a competent machine for both his family usage city needs as well as small weekend rids outside town (I don't see him doing anything more than 300-500 kms one way - if at all. Mumbai, Lonavala, Amby Valley, Tamhini, Lavasa, Panchgani etc. would be more like it)

The budget: 70-80K tops.

The candidates::

1. Honda CB Unicorn

2. Hero Xtreme

3. Honda CB Trigger

4. Hero Impulse

5. TVS Apache

6. Suzuki GS 150R

7. Bajaj Pulsar 180/220

8. Bajaj Avenger

What do you guys suggest? Which of these do you think would be best for his needs? Any others you could suggest which I have probably missed? Reliability and value for money are also an important factor for him. I am assuming any one of the above is going to be a quantum leap over his current bike. Just trying to figure out the best.

Thanks!
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Old 22nd January 2014, 15:45   #2
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Default re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

My pick (s) would be between the Honda Trigger & Suzuki GS 150R. Trigger, what I have heard is very comfortable for both the rider & the pillion and is well powered. The Suzuki is also well acclaimed.

The Hero Xtreme may be put under consideration but only if you have reasons enough to reject the above two.

It's not that the other bikes are bad; just they don't check in all your boxes I feel.

1. Honda CB Unicorn- Old commodity. The replacement is here as the Trigger and for better.

2. Hero Impulse: Certainly not a bike for a 40-ish guy. The looks & functionality are far for being a 'family bike' that you are looking for.

3. TVS Apache: Good bike. But I would let it pass if I have the Honda option basically for how it will age and on grounds of long term reliability in comparison to a Honda. However, has higher power than the Hondas we are talking here, but for the FE. However, the 180 with ABS will be really good.

4. Bajaj Pulsar 180/220: Not a Bajaj fan and I really haven't seen pulsars aging too well.

5. Bajaj Avenger: Don't like the cruiser style bikes, hence I don't have a favorable opinion on this one. And again, its a Bajaj. But that's me.

That is my opinion, hope some ardent bikers from the forum would advise you in more detail.

Regards,
Saket

Last edited by saket77 : 22nd January 2014 at 16:09.
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Old 22nd January 2014, 16:15   #3
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Default re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

I too will suggest only these 2 bikes: GS150R and Trigger. Unicorn/trigger/extreme etc have similar 150cc with some tweaks here and there, but trigger being the newest of the lot, has some snob value left over. Rest 2 are pretty common.

GS150R is a wonderful bike if it is to be kept for a long time. It has the potential to last many years, which I doubt whether TVS or Bajaj bikes have. Since he already has the Suzuki Samurai, it is a nice upgrade from the same stable.

Would not recommend any other bike for your requirement. GS150R or Trigger, if need be then Uni or CBZ extreme. None of the others.

I have been touring many places with my wife as pillion on GS150R. He can check the past travelogues. I haven't put any kid on the tank yet, but seeing how my tankbag rests there happily, I doubt whether a kid will be any different (though it is not recommended on ANY bike.)
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Old 22nd January 2014, 16:29   #4
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Default re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ani_meher View Post
I have been touring many places with my wife as pillion on GS150R. He can check the past travelogues. I haven't put any kid on the tank yet, but seeing how my tankbag rests there happily, I doubt whether a kid will be any different (though it is not recommended on ANY bike.)
Agreed bro Was not talking about kid ON the tank, rather on the seat in front of the rider just before the tank. Hence the need for a smooth sloping one versus the abrupt rising ones.

In this regard I think the seat of the Unicorn is the flattest and the tank least rising/sloping.

The GS has a abrupt sloping tank and quite a recessed rider seat so that the illion seat is quite stepped and tall.

The Trigger seat is slightly more stepped than the Unicorn, and so is its tank - though both less than the GS.

I really lie the solid look and dash of the GS though. Very nice (wish my Duke had something like that - big analog with a wide digital display for speed and lots of other info.

The Trigger too has a nice big all digital dash. And is the only one with rear disc as well.

How is the suspension and comfort of these 3 bikes (everything seems to be curently pointing to these three)? The Hondas both have monoshocks while the GS has regular shocks. I have sat on a Unicorn as well as the GS as pillion. The Unicorm was the plusher more pliant ride. Correct? What about the Trigger as well?

How about the performance and bhp/torque specs?

And importantly, what is the real world mileage of these 3?

Reliability, maintenance, cost of spares etc wise which would be the best?

And what are the approximate costs of all three.
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Old 22nd January 2014, 17:04   #5
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Default Re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
...
The rider: A 40-ish family man with 2 kids,
...
The need: To finally upgrade
Sir,
With all due respect,
Don't you think you are taking things a bit too far by looking for a bike, when so many new and pre-worshipped cars abound?
Sorry to observe, but it's your passion for biking - but what about the kids - do they truly share your passion?
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Old 22nd January 2014, 17:08   #6
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Default Re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

Quote:
Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
Sir,
With all due respect,
Don't you think you are taking things a bit too far by looking for a bike, when so many new and pre-worshipped cars abound?
Sorry to observe, but it's your passion for biking - but what about the kids - do they truly share your passion?
Eh? This is not for me bro. This is for a relative of mine. And yes, his kids enjoy rides on their dad's bike. And yes, he already has a car (a VW Vento).

Suggestions, inputs would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 22nd January 2014, 17:40   #7
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Default Re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

I would recommend a Honda 150 cc bike. They are comfy have a good sitting position sans CBR 150

Would allow a kid to sit in the front between Dad and tank.

Mileage is good. Engine is refined.

Keep way from the Hero CBZ extreme. I have one and it is nowhere near to the refinement of Honda

Last edited by GTO : 23rd January 2014 at 14:40. Reason: Typos
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Old 22nd January 2014, 17:49   #8
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Default Re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

I've been riding a Suzuki GS150R since Feb 2009, and as a member rightly pointed out, it ages really well. I've clocked 55,000 kms on it. The quality of the switch gear, spares, mechanicals, etc., is really good. And yes, the seating is supremely comfortable and the ride stable, either in city or on the highways.

Only thing that comes close is Honda Unicorn which has proved its reliability in the Indian conditions. But then, it looks dated.

Hero eXtreme also seems to be good but I have not driven it. Trigger, I feel, doesn't have an identity of its own. It's looks and features doesn't stand out. Apache and Pulsar are also really good but I feel the riding posture is not as comfortable. FZ is good on comfort but pillion seat is short.
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Old 22nd January 2014, 18:05   #9
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Default Re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
So this is not a segment of Indian biking I usually pay any attention to, and have thus very little current knowledge of, so what better place than to pick your brains here!
Sir, my two picks of the lot would be the Unicorn and the GS150r.
The Trigger isn't exactly a Unicorn but it is a "Dazzler" under its skin and trust me, the Dazzler's engine is not even close in terms of smoothness to the Unicorn's; gear shifting yes but not in the engine department.

I own a Dazzler and have ridden the Unicorn as well as the GS150r extensively.
The GS150r has a great instrument cluster, nice orange backlight with big and easy to read fonts, gear indicator,gear shift light; so far the best, this side of 200NS IMO. I would also like to mention about the 6th gear, as it is very useful on highway trips, makes cruising effortless.

The Unicorn doesn't need much introduction, as we all know its strong points.
I would say, if there is confusion amongst the two then just do "eenie meenie..."

I really wouldn't suggest the Trigger as these newer Hondas are nowhere close to the Unicorn in refinement.

-Bhargav
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Old 22nd January 2014, 18:05   #10
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Default Re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

Quote:
Originally Posted by desideep View Post
I would recommend a Honda 150 cc bike. They are comfy have a good sitting position sans CBR 150

Would allow a kid to sit in the front between Dad and tank.

Mileage is good. Engine is refined.

Keep way from the Hero CBZ extreme. I have one and it is nowhere near to the refinement of Honda
Is the Trigger that much better than the tried and tested bullt-proof Unicorn to justify the premium demanded?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane_Power View Post
Sir, my two picks of the lot would be the Unicorn and the GS150r.
The Trigger isn't exactly a Unicorn but it is a "Dazzler" under its skin and trust me, the Dazzler's engine is not even close in terms of smoothness to the Unicorn's; gear shifting yes but not in the engine department.

I own a Dazzler and have ridden the Unicorn as well as the GS150r extensively.
The GS150r has a great instrument cluster, nice orange backlight with big and easy to read fonts, gear indicator,gear shift light; so far the best, this side of 200NS IMO. I would also like to mention about the 6th gear, as it is very useful on highway trips, makes cruising effortless.

The Unicorn doesn't need much introduction, as we all know its strong points.
I would say, if there is confusion amongst the two then just do "eenie meenie..."

I really wouldn't suggest the Trigger as these newer Hondas are nowhere close to the Unicorn in refinement.

-Bhargav
Great inputs bro. But I heard the "newer" Unicorns (CB badging) were also more plasticky and not as good as the old "original" Honda Unicorns? The Unicorns seat flatness and tank slope are definitely better than the Trigger's.

What about the complaints of rusting, wheel alignment issues, etc. for the Suzuk GS 150R? Suzuki's service (and spares) network is also as wide in Pune at least. Plus the seat is pretty stepped and the tank slope quite abrupt. But yes, I love the dash/console with the big analog tacho.

Last edited by GTO : 23rd January 2014 at 14:41. Reason: Quoted post edited
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Old 22nd January 2014, 18:06   #11
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Default Re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

Although Suzuki GS150R has been suggested, I find rear seat too high for females. GS 150R has smooth engine and good ergonomics for long trips, but I don't find it that good for family usage.
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Old 22nd January 2014, 18:13   #12
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Default Re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sukiwa View Post
Although Suzuki GS150R has been suggested, I find rear seat too high for females. GS 150R has smooth engine and good ergonomics for long trips, but I don't find it that good for family usage.
Thanks bro. Looking at side on photos of both (Unicorn vs GS) I would have to agree.

Guys what about throwing the Yamaha 150 cc bikes into the fray? The FZ, FZ-S, etc. Any reason why nobody seems to be recommending those? Too sporty, less mileage, less tyre life, strained top end? Or something else? Price? I know Yam bikes have great fit/finish -all of them.
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Old 22nd January 2014, 18:52   #13
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Default Re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

GS150R has a tall rear seat, on which a saree clad lady may find some problem. I carry my mom around, but still I can see it is not the best height for one-side sitting pillion. If the pillion is seating normally with legs on 2 sides, then the seat offers very good views of the road ahead, and it is a much better view than the back of the rider's helmet!

There is no problem of rust/reliability/comfort of pillion etc in GS. For one case reported, there are many no problem bikes rolling around.

In this particular case though, I would not suggest GS if the requirement is flat seat. Though think of it, for how long that kid is going to sit in between the tank and the rider?

Also, if the pillion is majorly one side sitting, maybe he should consider some other bikes with less height of pillion seat.
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Old 22nd January 2014, 19:19   #14
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Default Re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

Would a rider 5' 8" tall be comfortable handling the Hero Impulse? I really like the bike and this could be an excuse for me getting to ride it as well!
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Old 22nd January 2014, 19:51   #15
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Default Re: Best "Family Bike" in the 70-80K range?

I'm 5' 7" and I was quite comfortable when I took an Impulse out for a short ride. It is a pretty nice bike with a refined engine and wonderfully shock absorbers.

Then again, I'm used to riding a Bullet with shock absorbers that barely work so I'm not the best judge of these things.
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