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Old 24th August 2022, 22:51   #1
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Default What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

Hi,

To give an introduction I am 44 years old, working professional out of Delhi/NCR, have a cervical shoulder, and lower back, with slowly developing arthritis in the knees. Five feet eight inches and eighty kilos of weight.

My current ride is a 2016 RE TB UCE at 1,20,000 kms on the odo. The bike still runs till 80 without any major issues, except the pick up has slowed a bit, and vibrations have increased over the kms.

Some background on my touring. Started with a RE TB AVL for 50,000kms sold and got a P220 which was used for 30,000 kms and finally my RE TB UCE at 1,20,000kms. I would say city vs highway usage currently stands at 80/20 ratio.

However am looking to bring a new vehicle to the stable. My RE is aggravating my spondylitis and am not confident if I can venture out on the highways with it now. I know I will be advised to shift to a 4 wheeler and quit riding, but is like leaving a long standing addiction to smoking, just not have been able to give up biking altogether over the years.

My requirements is comfort to my ageing torso, I keep speeds between 80-90kmph on highways. Am looking for a vehicle which can do the tarmac and probably carry me to Ladakh/Spiti this year without pillion and minimal luggage.

Budget is 1,80,000 INR max

My shortlisted vehicles:

Hero XPulse 200 4V - - This meets my requirements of upright seating, good suspension, a top end which I will have no problem with. Cheap to maintain, with hopefully available spares, and Hero not axing the model with the upcoming 300 ADV. Also in my budget. I test rode the vehicle for 1-2 kms and found it quite comfortable. The fly in the ointment is will the engine last till 1 lakh kms as my TB and we actually do not have any long ownership reports of the 200 4v.

Pulsar N160 - The latest breed of pulsars. Have owned the OG definitely male pulsar, along with the 1st gen DTSI, and a P220 down the line. Have been associated with Pulsar's for long. This seems to be a sporty commuter with advanced features and a top end of 80 kmph and definitely better tractability in the city. The slightly sporty posture is something I am not sure my knees can take in the long runs, and can the engine be stressed continuously at 90 kmph over extended time. You tube has gaga reviews of the N and F series pulsar's, but have not seen any on the roads. My budget permits till the 250's, but what is the future of these latest gen pulsar's

I am also open to looking at scooters for touring. I am a big fan of maxi scooters but that segment will be lukewarm in our country. Keeway Vieste is a good product but atrociously priced, and was destined for failure with the pricing. The convenience of gearless with adequate power is the perfect combination for cities and highways. My choices in this category.

Yamaha Aerox - Fits the bill for power with the 150 R15 mill and can keep 80-90 on the highway without getting stressed. The small tank range vs the power is a deterrent. Also have not seen a single Aerox in Delhi/NCR or anywhere much pan india, even at the dealers. What is the future with sales and spares of this model. Lack of parts availability and long term support might be an issue.

Vespa 150 - Am a sucker for retro looks and the Vespa's get you weak on the knees (which in my case will be wobbling soon). The 150's seem to have the max power and a tank range of 7 liters. Can cruise at 80 on the highways with sustained breaks. Have never ridden one so am not sure on the comfort. Will be a boon for the city and highways combined. Price is definitely on the higher side.

Aprilia SR and SXR 160 - The SR though having power has extremely stiff suspension as per feedback, have not ridden one, but has the power to pull on the highways, comfort goes for a toss. SXR is the stylish version with added comfort and same characteristics. Do not see much on the roads so same issues of long term spares availability and reliability. Also priced higher.

Suzuki Burgman - Definitely not a maxi scooter, but a wannabe, however the comfort factor seems good. Again have not ridden it, but had owned a 1st gen Access, hence can guess the power characteristics. A normal 125 scoot, will be out of breath on highways, but the streched out seating is a temptation.

If anyone has long term experiences on these vehicles kindly share. I am not planning to sell the TB and will be using it till it falls apart. I know the TB can still do what I want, but am looking at a better comfort option, with maybe slight reduction in speed.

Last edited by SidharthaN : 24th August 2022 at 23:17.
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Old 24th August 2022, 23:13   #2
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Default re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

The Indian scooter scene is evolving very slowly but surely, but switching to scooters for touring isn't advised with our current available choice. It's possible no doubt, but with your health concerns I'd say you should think twice. If you're familiar with riding your above mentioned choices for long periods and find them comfortable, then yes.
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Old 25th August 2022, 05:37   #3
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Default re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SidharthaN View Post


My requirements is comfort to my ageing torso, I keep speeds between 80-90kmph on highways. Am looking for a vehicle which can do the tarmac and probably carry me to Ladakh/Spiti this year without pillion and minimal luggage.

Budget is 1,80,000 INR max

My shortlisted vehicles:

Hero XPulse 200 4V - - This meets my requirements of upright seating, good suspension, a top end which I will have no problem with. Cheap to maintain, with hopefully available spares, and Hero not axing the model with the upcoming 300 ADV. Also in my budget. I test rode the vehicle for 1-2 kms and found it quite comfortable. The fly in the ointment is will the engine last till 1 lakh kms as my TB and we actually do not have any long ownership reports of the 200 4v.
This is tailor-made for your requirements. Hero engine should last long enough without much hassle, they arenít very high compression/complicated as such. For long ownership you will have to wait for few years but if reviews till now are to be believed, this bike is everything you need
Quote:
Originally Posted by SidharthaN View Post
Yamaha Aerox - Fits the bill for power with the 150 R15 mill and can keep 80-90 on the highway without getting stressed. The small tank range vs the power is a deterrent. Also have not seen a single Aerox in Delhi/NCR or anywhere much pan india, even at the dealers. What is the future with sales and spares of this model. Lack of parts availability and long term support might be an issue..
Donít worry about not seeing it in NCR. This scoot sells aplenty down in Bangalore and other cities. Its a fun bike to ride but is stiff again to certain extent as per reviews. Plus the 5L tank range really limits its highway usability.

Do take an extended test ride of the Xpulse 4v by renting it out and check if it suits your back. If yes, go for it. Thereís hardly any bike in market which is such tremendous VFM
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Old 25th August 2022, 07:33   #4
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Default re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

I have some back and hip joint issues for quite some time and I found that bikes are many times better than scooters in general due to larger wheels, and usually better suspension travel. So, I feel you should not go towards the scooter side.

However, if the need is for short drives only, while keeping the TB for longer rides, the scooter still works, in my humble opinion.
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Old 25th August 2022, 09:15   #5
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Default re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

Bikes mostly have 17" & higher size wheels which are good at absorbing the road bumps and feel easier on hips especially if you ride on potholes like the ones we see in Bangalore.

I don't know if others agree, no mono-shock bike can effectively absorb shocks like the dual shocks we find on commuter bikes, usually, they are stiff even on their softest setting. This is one of the reasons why I will not suggest any scooter to you - smaller wheels and single shocker in the rear.

I have used the following bikes extensively - unicorn dazzler(mono shock), discover 100 (5speed) nitrox suspension, activa(10" wheels), wego (12" wheels), Electra and lastly I am now with ct110 with SNS suspension.

Nothing absorbs potholes like my current ride, feels plush and is worth every penny, I am 33 and no longer have the urge to ride fast, although I do like riding long distances.
What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?-16613990833487822902995293686247.jpg

Buy a bike with the following features
1. Dual shocks in the rear
2. Preferably a new bike
3. Avoid touring/tall bikes if your height is not sufficient
4. Although Xpulse looks great when new, try checking out how impractical it is as a commuter and also the condition of the bike deteriorates after sometime.
5. Add extra cushion to the seat and a modified (removable) backrest for long rides like Ladakh.

For a tarmac rider, Xpulse will be an overkill.
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Old 25th August 2022, 10:03   #6
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Default Re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

Your points about the scooters are correct, so not an option IMO.

For bikes :
- XPulse : engine should not be much of a concern, it has been around since the Xtreme days. Even if there's a repair needed it should be significantly cheaper than RE.
This seems to be an excellent bike and will easily handle what you intend.
Downsides being a relatively flat power delivery and the brake feel could be improved for tarmac.

- Ronin : I don't expect you to like the design but take it for a spin. Somehow I found this to be exceptionally comfortable. Check if it meets your requirements for ride and handling as I haven't ridden it yet, just got a chance to sit.

- The point by SS80 is valid too, but I can't recall a bike over 150cc having dual shocks except the retro ones like the REs and CB350. Some older models like the Pulsar/RTR180 might still be available but IMO on 2022 get a bike for today unless you have specific requirements which aren't met elsewhere.

Last edited by shancz : 25th August 2022 at 10:05. Reason: formatting
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Old 25th August 2022, 11:35   #7
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Default Re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SidharthaN View Post
Hero XPulse 200 4V - - This meets my requirements of upright seating, good suspension, a top end which I will have no problem with. Cheap to maintain, with hopefully available spares, and Hero not axing the model with the upcoming 300 ADV. Also in my budget. I test rode the vehicle for 1-2 kms and found it quite comfortable. The fly in the ointment is will the engine last till 1 lakh kms as my TB and we actually do not have any long ownership reports of the 200 4v.
SidharthaN with your back and other issues do not go for any scooter, it will never match the comfort of a bike. I think you have answered your own question with what you have written about the XPulse.

Just pick up the XPulse, be happy and done with it. We donít know if we will be around to ride any bike for 1 lac kilometres, why are you getting stressed on this point. Buy it and enjoy it now

Cheers
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Old 25th August 2022, 23:19   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoumenD View Post
This is tailor-made for your requirements. Hero engine should last long enough without much hassle, they arenít very high compression/complicated as such. For long ownership you will have to wait for few years but if reviews till now are to be believed, this bike is everything you need


Donít worry about not seeing it in NCR. This scoot sells aplenty down in Bangalore and other cities. Its a fun bike to ride but is stiff again to certain extent as per reviews. Plus the 5L tank range really limits its highway usability.



Do take an extended test ride of the Xpulse 4v by renting it out and check if it suits your back. If yes, go for it. Thereís hardly any bike in market which is such tremendous VFM


Agree, hence my first choice is that. However it is a high revving engine, though the liquid cooling should help out a bit, its unlike a long stroke block, hence wear and tear will be quicker. All said it still fits the bill the best. The only problem is at Noida there are no rentals I know where I can try out and extended ride.

On the scoots this is the only choice which trumps. I am not too concerned with the slightly stiff suspension since I will be mostly touring on tarmac (or whatever offroad our NH and SH provides) and the small tank will still find fuel pumps on the route. The Yamaha dealer at Noida did not have anything on else. Will have to ask them what is the plan i someone wants to purchase an Aerox.

As mentioned not sure on the renting part where I live

Quote:
Originally Posted by deep_bang View Post
I have some back and hip joint issues for quite some time and I found that bikes are many times better than scooters in general due to larger wheels, and usually better suspension travel. So, I feel you should not go towards the scooter side.

However, if the need is for short drives only, while keeping the TB for longer rides, the scooter still works, in my humble opinion.
I have a Jupiter used by my SIL. Strangely the suspension feels better than bikes, however I agree on slightly longer rides the shoulders start aching. Am trying to offload my TB from longer rides hence looking for an alternative

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS80 View Post
Bikes mostly have 17" & higher size wheels which are good at absorbing the road bumps and feel easier on hips especially if you ride on potholes like the ones we see in Bangalore.

I don't know if others agree, no mono-shock bike can effectively absorb shocks like the dual shocks we find on commuter bikes, usually, they are stiff even on their softest setting. This is one of the reasons why I will not suggest any scooter to you - smaller wheels and single shocker in the rear.

I have used the following bikes extensively - unicorn dazzler(mono shock), discover 100 (5speed) nitrox suspension, activa(10" wheels), wego (12" wheels), Electra and lastly I am now with ct110 with SNS suspension.

Nothing absorbs potholes like my current ride, feels plush and is worth every penny, I am 33 and no longer have the urge to ride fast, although I do like riding long distances.
Attachment 2350595

Buy a bike with the following features
1. Dual shocks in the rear
2. Preferably a new bike
3. Avoid touring/tall bikes if your height is not sufficient
4. Although Xpulse looks great when new, try checking out how impractical it is as a commuter and also the condition of the bike deteriorates after sometime.
5. Add extra cushion to the seat and a modified (removable) backrest for long rides like Ladakh.

For a tarmac rider, Xpulse will be an overkill.
I have gone down the 100 cc, lighter, less powerful bike route and am repenting. I brought a TVS Sport before covid hit, however have still managed to clock 9000 kms on it. The vibes post 60 are even worse than my TB, at 70 it seems the engine will eject itself out of the frame, the narrow seat even with cushioning is a pain to ride. I am stuck with it since wifey has asked me dispose it off before I buy another bike. Selling a vehicle is a lot more complicated than before, probably will ship it over to my hometown where my Dad's Shine is on its last legs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shancz View Post
Your points about the scooters are correct, so not an option IMO.

For bikes :
- XPulse : engine should not be much of a concern, it has been around since the Xtreme days. Even if there's a repair needed it should be significantly cheaper than RE.
This seems to be an excellent bike and will easily handle what you intend.
Downsides being a relatively flat power delivery and the brake feel could be improved for tarmac.

- Ronin : I don't expect you to like the design but take it for a spin. Somehow I found this to be exceptionally comfortable. Check if it meets your requirements for ride and handling as I haven't ridden it yet, just got a chance to sit.

- The point by SS80 is valid too, but I can't recall a bike over 150cc having dual shocks except the retro ones like the REs and CB350. Some older models like the Pulsar/RTR180 might still be available but IMO on 2022 get a bike for today unless you have specific requirements which aren't met elsewhere.
Ronin just does not call out to me, I believe the bike needs to be fairly attractive to be given a second look once you have parked. Sadly the Ronin just does not appeal. If only TVS would have designed the rear better, with a slightly longer pillion seat, and overall length a bit streched out, it would have been a looker. I am not concerned with the offset display, which is talk of the town.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyborg View Post
SidharthaN with your back and other issues do not go for any scooter, it will never match the comfort of a bike. I think you have answered your own question with what you have written about the XPulse.

Just pick up the XPulse, be happy and done with it. We donít know if we will be around to ride any bike for 1 lac kilometres, why are you getting stressed on this point. Buy it and enjoy it now

Cheers
My daily running has fortunately reduced to 60 kms round trip due to a change in work location. My earlier workplace demanded a daily 160 kms roundtrip, clocking more that 3000kms a month. I do not know if my next job venture will take me back to the same place. Hence coming back to me stating the 1 lacs kms on the odo. My TB is 6 years and has already clocked 1,20,000kms. If my fortunes turn to be worse, the Xpulse will be clocking 1 lac kms in a very short duration, and I plan to keep the vehicle for long instead of replacing.

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Last edited by Aditya : 26th August 2022 at 04:52. Reason: Back to back posts merged
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Old 26th August 2022, 08:47   #9
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Default Re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deep_bang View Post
I have some back and hip joint issues for quite some time and I found that bikes are many times better than scooters in general due to larger wheels, and usually better suspension travel. So, I feel you should not go towards the scooter side.

However, if the need is for short drives only, while keeping the TB for longer rides, the scooter still works, in my humble opinion.
I have lower back issues after an accident. The comfort offered by bike is superior to that of scooters in general. Kindly review and test before buying.
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Old 26th August 2022, 11:25   #10
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Default Re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SidharthaN View Post
Agree, hence my first choice is that. However it is a high revving engine, though the liquid cooling should help out a bit, its unlike a long stroke block, hence wear and tear will be quicker. All said it still fits the bill the best. The only problem is at Noida there are no rentals I know where I can try out and extended ride.
A slight correction here. The Xpulse 4v comes with an oil cooled engine not liquid cooling. It's not exactly a high revving motor (comparing it with a KTM). There is a lot of torque at lower RPMs good enough for city commutes. The suspension is pliant enough to take bumps. I may be biased here since I own an Xpulse 2v, but from my experience with every other road in Bangalore being dug up or under construction I don't have to worry much about undulations/bumps on the road when I'm on the xpulse. The 4v being more refined than the 2v can easily do highway speeds of 85-90 kph.

You could also give the Himalayan a try, only gripe would be the weight.
If you have back problems it would be best to avoid scooters in the long term.
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Old 26th August 2022, 13:36   #11
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Default Re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

If you can stretch your budget by 80K I suggest the V-STROM 250. Meets all your requirements
Quote:
Originally Posted by SidharthaN View Post
My requirements is comfort to my ageing torso, I keep speeds between 80-90kmph on highways. Am looking for a vehicle which can do the tarmac and probably carry me to Ladakh/Spiti this year without pillion and minimal luggage. Budget is 1,80,000 INR max
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Old 28th August 2022, 10:51   #12
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Default Re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

First, DON'T go for scooters, they will break your back and spine over time.

I would suggest only 2 choices:
1. XPulse 4v. This is the best choice and will offer you better fuel economy as well apart from being cheap to maintain.
2. Used Himalayan(If you can buy new, better wait for the 450 coming soon): It gobbles potholes and undulations like no one does. Get a recent model used Himalayan even if you have to stretch your budget by some 20k, it will be worth it.

Congratulations on keeping the biking bug alive in you. Ride till whenever your body can!
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Old 28th August 2022, 11:56   #13
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Default Re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

I would suggest you to try a dark horse in this.

Avenger 220 Street or Cruise. I will list pros and cons of the same:

1. Bike is extremely comfortable at average speeds. It takes bumps smoothly. However, ride might become a bit bumpy if you take the potholes at higher speed.

2. Engine is proven 220 cc of Bajaj and comes with a warranty of 75000 kilometers. Low end torque is good enough for city and highway speeds.

3. Only downside is that it isn't a corner craver and one have to understand the limits of the bike while taking a turn. Turning radius too is on higher side. Pillon comfort is poor due to narrow seats. (But better than all those bikes which have pillon seats on first floor).

4. Front disc ABS have solved the problem of bike skidding during emergency braking. Back drum brakes don't have much bite.

5. Extremely low maintenance and one of the better built bike from Bajaj. Parts availability will never be a problem because bike is around for many years now.

You can try Cruise version first as the front shield will help you in highway cruising. Downside would be the spoked wheels which would be more puncture prone.

Happy shopping.
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Old 28th August 2022, 12:13   #14
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Default Re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

Scooters - for anything much more than grocery runs they are a terrible idea for anyone with even a slightly dodgy back (such as yours truly who struggles with one too), let alone someone with spondylitis and oncoming arthritis. You need decent suspension trace and excellent ergonomics. Even the best maxis won’t beat a motorcycle in those departments. The Aerox is a phenomenal product but I think you’ll still pay the (health) price over distances.

The Xpulse seems the most optimal choice although I personally am not sure whether the build quality is good enough to age well over 1 lakh kms. Not the engine so much as all the plastics panels, wheels and so on. I’d say keep your expectations modest and you’ll be fine. There’s now a long travel rally version of it which might be even better for your needs.

Having said all of which, given your particular requirements, you may be best off finding a lightly used Honda CBR250 - wonderful ergonomics, beautiful engine, bombproof build quality and hallmark Honda reliability. You’ll spend half the money up front, and keep the rest for any part swapping over time. And even if it lasts you just half the miles (it’ll do much more and quite easily I’m sure), you can re-evaluate options a few years down the line.

Other options may be from the new RE Hunter lineup or the TVS Ronin, although I’d never be an early adopter of any RE product in all honesty.

Last edited by RT13 : 28th August 2022 at 12:15.
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Old 28th August 2022, 15:11   #15
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Default Re: What bike/scooter for a middle-aged touring enthusiast?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SidharthaN View Post
Am looking for a vehicle which can do the tarmac and probably carry me to Ladakh/Spiti this year without pillion and minimal luggage.

Budget is 1,80,000 INR max

My shortlisted vehicles:

Hero XPulse 200 4V -
You've answered your own question. Literally nothing else in that list or budget will satisfy your requirements more aptly than the Xpulse 4v. If my Zma that ran 80k kms without any issues is a comparison, the xpulse 4v will definitely do 120k if you keep it well. Forget everything else and buy this. None of those scooters will keep you as happy as the xpulse. Not even close.
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