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Old 20th June 2020, 13:31   #1
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Default The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

I have been a car person since I turned legal age, in my family we own three amazing cars: Polo, Vento and Pajero Sports.
I absolutely love all three of them. We bought the three cars within a gap of 2 months, about 6 years ago. I almost exclusively drive the Polo, and my dad, driver, sister drive the others.

The problem in my family is that they really don't know how to maintain the cars. For that reason, the Vento and Pajero are filled with a sleuth of dents and scratches. Plus, I cant count how many times the Vento's internals got screwed up. No such issue with the Polo because I drive it the most and maintained it like my very own child. Even the service centre people were surprised at how long my brake pads lasted. One even commented that my Timing Belt after 60k kilometers seemed "almost new" lol.

During the lockdown, the Vento wouldnt start. Some problem with the self. The AC compressor also went bust. It is driven so terribly that these problems are common. So my dad started driving the Polo (my heart sank because I know that this wouldnt turn out well). Voila in 2months, both doors of my beautiful orange Polo are massively scratched and dented. The bonnet (?!?!?) has a deep dent. The rear hit the pole, so the bumper and dikki door are dented. Both the front and rear bumper are displaced and filled with scratches.

Sigh. I am not going to drive this car. I would not even like to be seen in such an obscene car. My orange Polo is iconic in my circle. It is very recognizable, and people around me love it. I would prefer driving a clean Maruti 800 than a dented and scratched Rolls Royce. We just spent around Rs. 1 lakh on my Vento for a new compressor, overhaul of the front suspension, new windshield, service and denting/painting work. I am not in the mood of spending to dent/paint my Polo. I know I can do it cheaply from other workshops, but I've noticed that non-company workshops do a terrible job in denting/painting compared to VW workshops. If anybody has a good workshop for denting/painting in East Delhi, do let me know.

Anyway, we had bought a bike (a Hero HF Dawn) for an employee couple of years back. He used the bike for 3 years, and then he left the job. Since then, the bike was lying around my house. I asked my driver to teach me to ride. I learnt easily. I serviced the bike and started riding it regularly for small trips to the gym, the sports complex, grocery shopping etc. It's been around 2 years since I've been riding it. Maintaining it regularly. I was enjoying it! I started to get closer to my modest 97cc HF Dawn. It was bare bones bike that did the job. It doesn't even have a fuel capacity meter! But it is comfortable as hell, and I absolutely love the upright posture I take when I ride it. The exhaust sounds pretty good too.

Just when the lockdown lifted, I took the bike to buy a blank canvas because I was aching to paint. During my short trip, I was riding at a speed of 60-70 kmph and all of a sudden a rickshaw came in front of me. I applied the brakes, the bike skid and I fell and dragged on the tarmac. No collisions thank God. First thought in my mind: there goes my twice a day yoga practice. Anyway, I had injured myself badly, and its been more than a month now and I have slowly started to heal. My wounds have healed but the internal wounds especially the ones around my knee and shoulder still hurt. Lol, at the time of the accident I was wearing short pants and flip flops...could have saved 90% of wounds with riding gear and wearing shoes. PS: I obviously had a helmet on.

Back to the point, I realised that I needed a bike with ABS to prevent this from happening in the future. And always, the HF Dawn did skid at many instances, so at the back of my mind I always knew that I couldn't trust this bike if I'm riding fast. So I spent the first bed-ridden 10 days after my accident just researching about bikes! I had no knowledge about bikes. So I educated myself on what kind of bikes are being offered.

I needed a new bike. I am an all rounder person, from siting in board meetings, to loading/unloading a truck, from spending nights coding to taking my girlfriends for long drives, from heading to far off lakes to practice yoga to roadtrips to music festivals, from short trips to the sports complex to 15km commutes to-and-from my workplaces multiple times a day, Point A to B to C to D and back to Point A. I need a bike that fills the role of being my main source of transport. My partner. I can't share cars because it involves stabbing my own heart multiple times and I have had enough. My dad is a very careless driver. And no matter what driver we hire, they always seem to screw up the cars. And yet they have the audacity to wonder why my Polo looks and drives the best! And further even more audacity to treat it like garbage!

So, after spending enormous amounts of time researching and educating myself on Team-BHP, Youtube, I zeroed in on the Dominar 400. It has the safety features. It has a big engine, means it can do touring if need be. It is made in India (a bonus). It has wide service network. I can do city traffic riding plus touring on it. I did test ride a friend's dominar. It wasnt the BS6 version, I felt the handle bars were a little lower height than I would have liked. I am 5'10". But still, I loved the bike, it was good, and coming from a 97cc bike, the Dominar didnt overwhelm me. I felt I could totally control it. (some people said dont go for Dominar because it will be too fast for me). Maybe it's because I drive faster than your average Shankaran Pillai.

My only issues with the Dominar are low mileage, low fuel tank capacity (13L), ABS is always ON, so off roading might be a problem. The bike is a little heavy and handling isnt as slick as the HF Dawn, but it wasnt much of a problem to me. I could manage.

Sorry for making such a long post for asking such a basic question, but I like to maintain the BHP tradition of being contextual, which is something us Indians excel at and I'm quite proud of it. For the purposes I mentioned, what bike apart from the Dominar 400 can I consider?

The XPulse seems perfect, but 200cc is kind of limiting it, and means I won't be able to feed my occasional sense of abandon with it i.e. escape to far off places on a bike.
Also, Hero sales is very bad. I've been trying to get a Test Drive but they're just too unresponsive! I have tried 3 dealers! Two of those dealers phone numbers from the Offical Hero Website "do not exist" lol. That IMHO is just terrible from Hero.

The KTM 390 Adv was my first option. But it is more expensive for pretty much the same features as the Dominar. And it has many electronics.

My budget is a maximum of 4 lakhs. What bikes should I consider for the lifestyle I live?

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Old 20th June 2020, 13:46   #2
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

Sorry but all I can gather from your post that rest of your family needs some serious driving lessons.

As for you I would suggest you to get some more riding experience under your belt prior to moving to a relatively more powerful motorcycle.
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Old 20th June 2020, 13:55   #3
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post
My only issues with the Dominar are low mileage, low fuel tank capacity (13L), ABS is always ON, so off roading might be a problem. The bike is a little heavy and handling isnt as slick as the HF Dawn, but it wasnt much of a problem to me. I could manage.
Good thing my family is careful and my father is an automobile engineer so he cringes at scratches and parts going kaput like i do
Back to your motorcycle dilemma, i feel like you have made your mind up on the Dominar. The Dominar is a wonderful motorcycle and has decent amount of power for Indian roads. The adv390 is also a good option if you are okay with the seat height.
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Old 21st June 2020, 11:45   #4
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

Explore the 200-250CC segment around the Rs.1.5-2 Lacs on road price range there are some nice bikes there! The Apache 200,the Gixxer 250,the FZS 25 and the new Dominar 250. (I am not really looking at the Duke 250.)

I have ridden the FZ 25 and the Gixxer 250 and they are both lovely machines for city conditions with occasional touring. Possibly the FZ has a more comfortable seat and has better low end torque but the Gixxer can sustain smooth (100 Kmh +) higher speeds for longer.

In addition there is the upcoming Enfield Meteor with a hopefully more reliable and powerful J1D engine.

You're spoilt for choice
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Old 21st June 2020, 14:09   #5
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post
The KTM 390 Adv was my first option. But it is more expensive for pretty much the same features as the Dominar. And it has many electronics.
My budget is a maximum of 4 lakhs.
You are an inexperienced rider nutcracker, go for the KTM 390 ADV. It fits in your budget and will be a far better fit (for you) than the Dominar 400.

The 390 ADV has another life saving feature called “traction control” which makes it far safer than just dual channel ABS. Traction control is a feature which is normally given on more expensive bikes and the extra money over the Dominar is completely worth it for this feature alone. Plus, it has the switchable ABS which you seem to desire.

Do some homework on the KTM vs Dominar spec sheet, watch some reviews and what I am talking about will be self evident.

Keep your right wrist in check till you gain more experience in riding, as presence of mind and skill always takes precedence over whatever features may be on offer.

All the best and ride safe.

Cheers

Last edited by Cyborg : 21st June 2020 at 14:12. Reason: Adding text
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Old 21st June 2020, 16:46   #6
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post
My budget is a maximum of 4 lakhs. What bikes should I consider for the lifestyle I live?
For that kinda lifestyle you need a balanced motorcycle my friend;

1. KTM Duke 250
2. Bajaj Dominar 250
3. Suzuki Gixxer 250
4. Yamaha MT15

Are the only options you really have considering;

1. Budget
2. Engine Configuration favoring balanced delivery between Low and Top end power.
3. Relaxed seating position.

Personally my pick from the lot would be the Suzuki since its oil cooled with SOCS(not the regular jugaad you see on FZ25, P220 etc.), and not liquid cooled cause I depend on my motorcycles to take me across the country and liquid cooling is something that though quite as reliable just doesn't cut it for me, plus takes a chunk off of the maintenance schedule and can keep running even after taking a hit as you have no coolant or pipes to be bothered about. Plus the lack complicated electronic features is something I consider a blessing.

But if 100cc like nimbleness is what you seek then the Duke 250 would be a good place to look at, my oh my the Duke's are well balanced and do not feel their weight at all, plus the razor sharp handling. Though some might not be comfortable with the excessive feedback the chassis has to offer but that won't be an issue on the D250 as its way more refined than the D390.

Now if you have more queries why I'd not suggest the D390 or D200 or any other option then do let me know and I'll share my thoughts with technical reasons backing my suggestions, seems wasteful to simply keep on typing if the specifics do not interest you.

Now for the less obvious bits:

1. ABS is just a nice safety feature to have that lets you steer away from danger under hard braking, having it doesn't invariably make your motorcycle safer. Safety ultimately depends on 2 things, traction and braking, make no compromises there and you're already on the safer side.

The rest is skill honed over time cause just jamming the brakes and expecting ABS to save you doesn't really work to your advantage, you need to hone the presence of mind that'd enable you to steer away from danger while the ABS tried to maintain traction under hard braking.

2. Don't get too stuck up on displacement, you need a motorcycle that suits your need not one that has the largest bore.

3. There is nothing a new/more advanced/bigger motorcycle would enable you to do that you weren't already having a go at with your 100cc motorcycle, be touring or riding trail, that is just that.

The last 2 points are something I know quite well having started with a ZMA and then downsized to smaller displacement motorcycles rather than going the other way like most, speaking of which my preferred choice now is my CT100B which is my cross country companion even though I also own a P220 which is mostly used for running errands.

So in short, unless you find the ideal motorcycle for yourself the whole experience would be quite boring and fruitless.

Oh I almost forgot!

4. Motorcycles are meant to be dropped, no two ways about it. It's like that quote about the Knight's Armour,

"A Knight in Shining Armour is one that has not had his mettle/metal tested"

So do make safety gear a priority.

Cheers!
A.P.

Last edited by ashwinprakas : 21st June 2020 at 16:57.
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Old 21st June 2020, 18:33   #7
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

I'd say wait out your budget and buy the 390 Adventure.

If not that, the Interceptor.

There are lots of motorcycles but each of these bikes will be keepers and will leave memories I assure you.

As a tangential thought, do also consider the maxi scooter Aprilia SXR 160 when it launches later this year. You never know, it could actually do a lot of what you're looking for and may be incredibly fun to own in its own right.
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Old 21st June 2020, 19:16   #8
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post
I needed a new bike. I am an all rounder person, from siting in board meetings, to loading/unloading a truck, from spending nights coding to taking my girlfriends for long drives, from heading to far off lakes to practice yoga to roadtrips to music festivals, from short trips to the sports complex to 15km commutes to-and-from my workplaces multiple times a day, Point A to B to C to D and back to Point A. I need a bike that fills the role of being my main source of transport. My partner. I can't share cars because it involves stabbing my own heart multiple times and I have had enough. My dad is a very careless driver. And no matter what driver we hire, they always seem to screw up the cars. And yet they have the audacity to wonder why my Polo looks and drives the best! And further even more audacity to treat it like garbage!

So, after spending enormous amounts of time researching and educating myself on Team-BHP, Youtube, I zeroed in on the Dominar 400. It has the safety features. It has a big engine, means it can do touring if need be. It is made in India (a bonus). It has wide service network. I can do city traffic riding plus touring on it. I did test ride a friend's dominar. It wasnt the BS6 version, I felt the handle bars were a little lower height than I would have liked. I am 5'10". But still, I loved the bike, it was good, and coming from a 97cc bike, the Dominar didnt overwhelm me. I felt I could totally control it. (some people said dont go for Dominar because it will be too fast for me). Maybe it's because I drive faster than your average Shankaran Pillai.
You have a good budget and an open mind, so you are already in the right direction. There are a lot of very good bikes in the Indian market these days, I would suggest that you dont get bogged down by the numbers or tech specs or sales figures, for your all round usage. There is an equally good case to be made for every bike in the Rs 2 - 4 L range to suit your purpose, from the Dominar to the Himalayan to the Apache 310 to the Interceptor and the Adv 390 and everything else in between. The only way to decide is for you to test ride the options and see what you like the best. Happy shopping.
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Old 21st June 2020, 20:40   #9
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
1. ABS is just a nice safety feature...
Wrong! ABS is a legal requirement for bikes above 125cc now. While your points pertaining to giving you the ability to manoeuvre under braking are true that is only one facet of how wheel locking prevention can save your bacon. No amount of skill can negate an electronic nanny so if someone is looking for help in diving into the world of motorcycing it would be prudent not to brush off a safety net as "just a nice safety feature". I hear your point about learning the basic concepts of traction, grip and manouvering etc but those can be learnt with all the safety tech installed on the bike too. One does not have to deprive themselves of those just to be a better rider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
3. There is nothing a new/more advanced/bigger motorcycle would enable you to do that you weren't already having a go at with your 100cc motorcycle, be touring or riding trail, that is just that.
Curious, why do most of your posts related to motorcycles have a "Small bike good, Big bike bad" theme? OP here has very specific requirements and your list of recommended motorcycles was spot on and I agree with that list 100%.
It's almost as if you are dissuading the OP from ever considering a big bike in his life
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Old 21st June 2020, 21:09   #10
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

Not really able to understand your riding requirements from the post - but as an all-rounder you have shortlisted some good candidates.

Dominar 400, KTM 390 Adventure, Interceptor 650 - all these are really versatile motorcycles and fit the bill - but you really need to test ride and decide your flavour.

Upgrading to an ABS equipped bike is absolutely worth it IMHO and given your recent accident, you should go ahead with the purchase and give some peace of mind to the family. ABS can of course be compensated with sheer skill or pure luck. The latter is problematic because not only is it limited in supply, but can often be misunderstood as the former! Modern electronics is far more dependable in comparison.

Ride Safe. And have fun.

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 21st June 2020 at 21:11.
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Old 21st June 2020, 22:25   #11
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

All the good bikes in the spectrum of your requirement are already listed by fellow Tbhpians.
Now the time is to get your hands dirty by taking test rides !! Don't settle for 500 meter rounds, ride atleast 3 kms. Be firm about it.
The reason is that no amount of videos & discussions will equate to "field experience"
Please wear boots,gear or jeans atleast as yours are not used to riding a lot or different machines.
We will love to see a follow up post with your feedback once you have taken test rides.
P.S : Just like you do in a buffet, don't eat everything that's served. Same goes here too.
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Old 22nd June 2020, 10:08   #12
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post
I needed a new bike. I am an all rounder person, from siting in board meetings, to loading/unloading a truck, from spending nights coding to taking my girlfriends for long drives, from heading to far off lakes to practice yoga to roadtrips to music festivals, from short trips to the sports complex to 15km commutes to-and-from my workplaces multiple times a day, Point A to B to C to D and back to Point A. I need a bike that fills the role of being my main source of transport. My partner.
Your opening post is almost as detailed as an autobiography, but unfortunately you've told the forum very little about the requirements you're looking for in your new motorcycle! My assumption of your requirements are:
- Classy enough to go to boardroom meetings on
- Taking girlfriends on long rides: Making pillion comfort important
- Far off lakes: Some amount of off roading involved
- Road trips to music festivals: Long distance touring

If the above mentioned points sum up your requirements, the Dominar 400 should suffice. Please do not look at non switchable ABS as a deal breaker. Only if you do hardcore off roading will you need switchable ABS. For regular trail and mud road riding, regular ABS will be just fine. The Dominar should give 28 - 30 kmpl easily, which will give you a tank range of 390 - 400 km, which again should suffice for most touring needs. If you have your heart set on the Dominar, do go for it.

I would also suggest you look carefully at the new BS 6 Himalayan. Especially since you mentioned switchable ABS. The machine is an off roader which can chew & spit most terrains you throw at it. She will surprise you on the road as well and is a natural tourer. Test ride one extensively before you take the plunge. Here is the link to my ownership review:
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...ownership.html (Royal Enfield Himalayan ABS - One year of blissful ownership!)

The KTM 390 Adventure is a grown up and more sophisticated and powerful Himalayan. Do consider it if your budget allows it. I have not ridden one yet personally, so cannot give too much input.

The Interceptor/GT twins from RE have sweet engines, but might not be very comfortable for touring or trail riding. Better avoided, looking at your requirements.

Quote:
I was enjoying it! I started to get closer to my modest 97cc HF Dawn.
Quote:
I was riding at a speed of 60-70 kmph and all of a sudden a rickshaw came in front of me. I applied the brakes, the bike skid and I fell and dragged on the tarmac.
Couple of comments on the accident you had on your HF Dawn. When you're doing 70 kmph on a 97 cc Dawn, you're stretching her almost to the limit. Compare that to doing 100 kmph on a Himalayan or 120 kmph on the Dominar. To add to that, you have dual drum brakes and skinny tyres. That leaves you with very little margin for error and a very long braking distance if something unexpected turns up - like the rickshaw.

Quote:
(some people said dont go for Dominar because it will be too fast for me). Maybe it's because I drive faster than your average Shankaran Pillai.
Shankaran Pillai was slower than you because maybe he was aware of the limits of his motorcycle and was prepared for untoward characters on the road like your rickshaw guy. Shankaran Pillai rides safe! Be like Shankaran Pillai!
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Old 22nd June 2020, 10:34   #13
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

Have a long test ride for whatever bike you decide on. If possible, see if they let you keep it for a few days. I had the Continental GT 535 for a week before I decided to go ahead with the purchase. The showroom refused initially, but a mail to the company and things were in place. I'm not sure if they were desperate to sell the bike and agreed or they would have done it otherwise also.
Add the Dominar 250 also to your list along with the other recommendations.
All the best
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Old 22nd June 2020, 10:42   #14
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

Try searching for bikes that have a slipper clutch and dual channel ABS as standard. The only two technical jargons I’d actually call a bare necessity, given that you’re going above 125cc.
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Old 22nd June 2020, 11:00   #15
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Default re: The best all-round bike <4 lakhs for an entrepreneur & adventure seeker?

To the OP, your opening post has little information from a bike requirement perspective to make a suggestion.

The biggest mistake people make while buying a new bike is that they think the bigger or the 'best' reviewed bike in a category is the right choice. When it comes to bikes bigger is not always better.

IMO you should be test riding all the bikes you think you want. Form opinions and then suggestions can be made here.

Coming to Abs, I am glad that it is made mandatory now and is a nice to have feature but it is not a be all end all feature to have. I ride something that breaches 300 kmph and I don't have an abs. There is a reason why they are called rider ' aids'.They cannot over come the basic understanding of motorcycle riding.

Last edited by bigron : 22nd June 2020 at 11:03.
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