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Old 20th January 2016, 20:36   #1
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Default Which Adventure Tourer? Born-again Biker looking for next ride

Rewind to circa Nov’14.

I was planning my move from Hyderabad to Bangalore. Those days I used to own a Mahindra Scorpio Getaway 4X4 (details here http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...-now-sold.html (I gotta Get-away!!! - Scorpio Getaway 4x4 EDIT : Now SOLD!) ) which also happened to be my daily ride in the city. While I was ok with it in Hyderabad, I wasn’t so sure regarding Bangalore considering my previous experience in the with the Getaway in the city. So the pick-up was put on the block and I was contemplating what to buy. Options ranged from cycle to bike to just public transport. I had been thinking of a motor bike for a while in Hyderabad itself and had test ridden Bonnie and the Continental GT. But call it lethargy or whatever, nothing much had happened on that front.

Then one fine Sunday morning, a friend who was moving back to London from Hyderabad, asked me to help him sell his 2 Dukes – 200 and 390. I without blinking obliged and my contact details were put up on the OLX ads. He also gave me the bike papers and the key to take care of the sale on his behalf. Till then, I had only ridden the Duke 200 and had liked the bottom end grunt.

The bikes were listed on OLX at 12:30 PM and the first call for viewing came at 1:00PM. Never knew Duke 200 had such a demand. So I land at my friends apartment little earlier than the viewing time given and take the 200 first for spin. While I had liked the bottom end grunt earlier, this time I wasn’t impressed with the overall power and pickup. So I come back and take the 390 out. And boy I just fell in love with the power delivery. Having lived with 3 RD350’s in my early 20’s, I was accustomed to a certain level of power. And the 390 had exactly the same feeling. Grinning from ear to ear I come back, close the deal for the 200, and take the 390 to another friend’s place for a second opinion. He rides it and also starts grinning ear to ear. And then he abuses me for waking up his pent up desire to get a bike. So I call my my friend who is the owner of the 390 and we conclude the deal on the bike. Apart from the pickup another thing that got me interested in the bike was that it was only 10 months old with only 950kms on the clock. Even the 1st service wasn’t done.

And that’s how I ended up owning a bike after a gap of more than 11 years!
Fast forward to Jan 2016, I have had the bike for about 13 months now and its my only vehicle I Bengaluru. It not only does out station rides but is also used to haul groceries in the ViaTerra panniers that are attached to it. The clock is close to 14k now. I still enjoy riding the bike and it brings smiles far too often. Barring the over heating problem, I think the Duke 390 is full paisa vasool.

While reading an article about biking, came across this quote – “ You know its time to upgrade when your present bike stops scaring you”. And I think that time has come. While I love the 390 for its pick up and manoeuvrability in the city, I feel that it lacks a strong top end. Considering the light weight of the bike, I don’t feel comfortable on it beyond 95-100. So am in the market for an upgrade. The bug started when I saw the news about Triumph Tiger XR 800 and over the last 1 month seen a few bikes but each of them has a longer list of cons than pros.

Am only looking at adventure class bikes as I like travelling long distances, but the bike will also be used as commuter in the city. My long list of bikes are as follows:
  1. Triumph Tiger -
Pros:
i. Pedigree
ii. Engine looks powerful on paper
iii. Looks like made for off road.
Cons:
i. Very expensive at 12.5L ORP
ii. Tall for a short rider like.
iii. Heavy at 220Kgs
iv. Unsure about service
v. Parts seem to be expensive

other expansions
  1. Versys 650 – Don’t know anything apart from price
  2. Benelli 600GT – Too heavy and without basis safety.
  3. RE Himalayan
  4. Benelli TRK 502
I would like to hear from your impression about the bike placed above.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 20th January 2016, 21:07   #2
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Default re: Which Adventure Tourer? Born-again Biker looking for next ride

Here are my two cents. Not going into all that statistics and shall try my best to present a practical opinion to you.

1. Triumph Tiger :

It comes from a reputed brand. Has many happy owners. Is extremely touring friendly. I personally find the engine a tad underpowered. The seating position and egronomics is the supreme in it's league.
However, Triumph spare parts are expensive and take ages to arrive. The service centres are not quite well equipped. Moreover, the image of Triumph has taken a massive hit after it's recent paper/reality escapade. I found the bike to be the lightest in it's class.

2. Versys 650 :

This is quite a decent bike, you know. The only flaws I find is it's pricing and difficult usage of it as a commuter motorcycle. I mean, this one if for the hardcore tourer. Someone who's going to probably set off for Ladakh even before running in his engine. It's engine is okay-ish, but could have been up-tuned. Expensive accessories. Brother KTM like approach and treatment from Kawasaki towards it's bikes, in both sales and service. Lack of colour options for the bike.

I'd pick up the N650 over this. Would serve both of my purposes.

3. Benelli 600GT :

It looks beefy, muscular and is bound to make you think - I finally found it!
No.
You haven't.
It has a gigantic fuel tank and that's it's only USP.
It's immensely heavy. Has flimsy finishing. Embarassing stock exhaust note. Weak engine. I would trust my former ladies more than their mechanics.

4. RE Himalayan :

This is a very promising motorcycle. It's like RE dragged the best parts from their warehouse and manufactured the display motorcycle. But, I personally find it bland, not very well finished and lacks that macho look that's synonymous with REs. I'm not forming a concrete judgement on it yet. Just waiting to take it one a long satisfying spin.
Now, if you plan to divide your Commuting and Touring in a ratio of 60:40, this is an ideal bike for you. It's powered and tuned just keeping these two factors in mind, I feel. RE Service has improved by leaps & bounds recently. Should be priced competitively.

Might I advise you to take a look at the Ducati Hypermotard, Kawasaki N650 and Aprilia Mana 850 GT as well. Good luck!

Last edited by barcalad : 20th January 2016 at 21:11.
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Old 20th January 2016, 21:43   #3
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Default re: Which Adventure Tourer? Born-again Biker looking for next ride

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Originally Posted by barcalad View Post
I would trust my former ladies more than their mechanics.
This is epic dude! I guess this is now the line to use if one is looking to embarrass the SVC

I thought the exhaust note was one of Benelli's USP
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Old 20th January 2016, 22:14   #4
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Default re: Which Adventure Tourer? Born-again Biker looking for next ride

However i would like to know how is the Benelli service compared to the other biggies.
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Old 20th January 2016, 22:41   #5
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However i would like to know how is the Benelli service compared to the other biggies.
Here's the scene as of now.

Most of Benelli is ex-Hero and ex-Bajaj (Not KTM). Their training has been a hogwash (what I hear) and they're expected to 'service' a 600cc motorcycle after attaining expertise on perhaps a Passion or a Karizma. Not quite faith inspiring, I say.
I know not one, but many who have immense disgruntlement against Benelli SVCs. Their are many instances of them inflating bills, having poor finishing to their work and ill trained manpower. 'That' Benelli hype has died down and I don't see any of their bikes in the regular weekend rides that I do, both to commercial and offbeat biker destinations.

Quote:
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This is epic dude! I guess this is now the line to use if one is looking to embarrass the SVC

I thought the exhaust note was one of Benelli's USP
Ha! Danke.

Nope. They use discreetly placed Ixils in literally all of their test ride bikes.

I was fortunate to ride the 600GT in stock and see it's 'real face'.

Last edited by barcalad : 20th January 2016 at 22:47.
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Old 23rd January 2016, 11:30   #6
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Default Re: Which Adventure Tourer? Born-again Biker looking for next ride

I was also in the similar situation as you MileCruncher and spent quiet time to substantiate 5 Lakhs more that you would end up paying for Tiger XR compared to Versys 650. No doubt XR is an amazing bike but it lacks quiet a lot of features compared to it's elder brother XRx. For example three riding modes, Traction control, center stand, 12V charging socket and a basic seat are few that I can think of right now. If it is tiger than it has to e XRx or XCx so that you enjoy the riding modes, traction control and other electronics that make this bike an amazing adventure sports tourer.

So in comparison to XR, versys comes with a similar spec but a 650 engine compared to 800 and a equally competitive bike for almost 6L less.

Ended up booking Versys 650 and for now based on the various reviews online, this seems to be a wise decision that will meet my requirement for touring in not so good roads away for the usual highway rides.
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Old 23rd January 2016, 14:56   #7
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Unfortunately there's nothing in the markets that's exciting, price or adventure wise. I was quite keen on the versys myself, but when I pictured myself going off road with it, and then dropping it some, I couldn't follow through. For some reason, it's the katoom that tugs me. If the 690 were around, I wouldn't even be sitting here writing this note.

If you are going to be soft roading as opposed to off roading the versys is the best you can lay your hands on right now.

On the other hand, a year from now WILL see the introduction of the new 500 and 800 katoom twins.

I say will, because 2016 is the final production year for the 690 single globally. It will be replaced in 2017 by the twins. Manufactured out of India.

Maybe hang on to the 390 until then? Or buy something like a ninja 650 used and be done with it. Sell it off in a year when the market opens up a bit more.

If pillion comfort is high on the agenda, don't even bother waiting and just get the versys. Katooms are not to go dating with.

The Himalayan is off my list. Just way too anemic considering what we already have on offer. And if it's carbed instead of FI, then it's DOA. dead on arrival. Sorry, I want good tech that works, not an apology.

The mojo is way too heavy for what it offers. And it's horribly engineered if it's going to scrape it's silencers when you dip.

I am waiting and watching. And ride something cheap and fun until the real thing comes along.

Last edited by Red Liner : 23rd January 2016 at 15:01.
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Old 23rd January 2016, 17:13   #8
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Default Re: Which Adventure Tourer? Born-again Biker looking for next ride

Quote:
I am waiting and watching. And ride something cheap and fun until the real thing comes along
The 600 segment is something that govt needs to open up. There are too many alternatives in that segment that sits right in between the price point of a 300 and 800/1 litre


Forget these 1l bikes which are insanely priced and even the affordable like z800 is priced high

KTM should make a 599cc engine and make is as good as the 690

Like how Scorpio did to get a 1.99 litre engine.
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Old 24th January 2016, 09:36   #9
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KTM should make a 599cc engine and make is as good as the 690

Like how Scorpio did to get a 1.99 litre engine.
I wouldn't be surprised if the 500 twin is meant to do exactly that along with taking the fight to the cbr 500 and other middle weights internationally...
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Old 12th March 2016, 12:17   #10
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What's news man? Last I read somewhere looks like u got yourself an octy?
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Old 16th March 2016, 22:28   #11
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Default Re: Which Adventure Tourer? Born-again Biker looking for next ride

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What's news man? Last I read somewhere looks like u got yourself an octy?
While I did get myself the Octy 1.8T, the bike bug is still on and waiting to test ride the Himalayan. Post that will take one of the below option:
  1. Become ZEN and maintain status quo for universal equilibrium i.e. Octy and Duke 390
  2. Sell 390 and buy Himalayan. Octy remains
  3. Octy remains, 390 goes through engine remap and exhaust mods.
  4. Octy remains, sell 390 and buy Tiger. This will happen if I have a windfall. Generally part of my wishful thinking!
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Old 17th March 2016, 09:46   #12
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Default Re: Which Adventure Tourer? Born-again Biker looking for next ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by barcalad View Post

1. Triumph Tiger :
I personally find the engine a tad underpowered.
Tiger - underpowered? Compared to what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by barcalad View Post
2. Versys 650 :
The only flaws I find is it's pricing and difficult usage of it as a commuter motorcycle.
Very contrasting views from most people who have ridden/bought the Versys 650. Seems to be a very flickable and easy to use daily ride. One auto Journo even used some very expressive words (in a good way) to describe how it felt riding in city

Quote:
Originally Posted by barcalad View Post
Might I advise you to take a look at the Ducati Hypermotard, Kawasaki N650 and Aprilia Mana 850 GT as well. Good luck!

If touring is a consideration, then the Hypermotard is not the right bike. Maybe the Hyperstrada but like I mentioned in another post, I dont find the value of another 1.7 lakhs. Rather up the budget by 4 and buy the Multi or buy a Tiger for the same price.

Aprilla still has showrooms in India?
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Old 17th March 2016, 09:54   #13
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Aprilla still has showrooms in India?
Yes Aprilia and Moto Guzzi are sold via two showrooms in the country - both in Pune.

One is the existing dealership Arco Automotive and the new dealership is company owned, called Motoplex.

Link to the Motoplex website: Motoplex Pune
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Old 17th March 2016, 10:19   #14
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Default Re: Which Adventure Tourer? Born-again Biker looking for next ride

Just because it says ADV does not mean you take it "off-roading" in India.

I can't even imagine dropping a 200+kg bike on anything but a paved road.

These bikes are not meant for any off-roading straight out of the showroom. How many saw the chassis and foot peg flying on the Himalayan? Are you thinking of doing anything close to that on any of these bikes? Better not. Neither am I a CS Santosh who will walk away in one piece after doing that.

Rode some of these abroad and have seen the sort of modifications they do and the parts they swap from taking these bikes off-road. If those parts are added on, expect to shell out a minimum of 35% of the cost of the stock bike.

Having said that, these bikes are built tough compared to your plastic faired pocket rockets. You can carry a kitchen sink on them with the panniers and stuff and ride them continuously over the Indian states with all sorts of road conditions thrown at you and at good speeds. And that's what you should use them for - continent (nee state) crossings in a tough and luggage carrying capability frame. Don't take it offroad please. A 100cc Yamaha modified for 10% of the cost will do.

How about the Ducati Monster? I am seriously thinking of it. Checks all the boxes except the Italian love for not making anything reliable. With various maps available 75-110 bhp it makes good sense from being a daily ride to state crossings.
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Old 17th March 2016, 10:33   #15
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Default Re: Which Adventure Tourer? Born-again Biker looking for next ride

The Adv category.... from the new entrant the Himalayan at 1..75L
the Versys 650 then the Versys 1000,
the Tiger and its four variants from 11.5-15-odd
The Hyperstrada and the MultiStrada
Then the Triumph 1200 Explorer-
and the whole gang topped by the undisputed King the BMW1200 GS and the GS-A.

The question that decides the bike is more your own budget than what the bike can do. All of them are rideable and its better to own one than to vacillate on whats a better bike- if the budget is not going to cross 10- or 20 or if you can afford the GS, then you should not be reading this ;-)

The insane M/S from Ducati has its charm, and the shaft drives are so good that you can bequeath them in your wills.

Every price point gets you better riding form, fashion and bike quality...

KD.
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