Need advice: Upgrading to a new bike from my Yamaha MT-15

The MT is great to ride in the city and acceptable in short highway stints but seriously lacking when it comes to longer journeys.

BHPian neshga recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello, I've been riding my 1.5 year MT-15 BS VI around the state and feel like it's time to get something with more oomph for long highway journeys. I'm planning on keeping the MT for local commute and using the new bike for touring on weekends (300-500 km per day trips, maybe more).

The MT is great to ride in the city and acceptable in short highway stints but seriously lacking when it comes to longer journeys. The top speed took a hit from the smaller driven sprocket, 120 kmph being pretty stable and maxing out at about 130. The other big issue is comfort at those speeds, affected by poor seat comfort, riding position for my height (just under 6 feet) and importantly, wind force.

The bike gets super light at the front end when riding through crosswinds or passing large vehicles. It also sways unpredictably sometimes because of aforementioned conditions. The force on your body and helmet also gets to you after a while. I have tried windscreens and riding in a committed position but the ergonomics just don't work and my head becomes the leading edge of the front.

I plan on upgrading by the second half of this year or early next year, so unreleased motorcycles are also in the cards. All my friends own similar capacity bikes or just drive cars so I am looking for advice on a good stepping stone for a more powerful motorcycle. I'm comfortable with speed and riding\driving in a safe manner on the road but not with fast maneuvers on bikes (I have a lot more mileage cars than bikes).

Here are my requirements:

  • Price: Under 5 lakh rupees and preferably around 3L.
  • Power: Something around 50 bhp give or take.
  • Features: Good dynamics, ABS at the front at least, slipper clutch, luggage capacity, exceptional brakes and a nice engine note would be appreciated.
  • I'm okay with not having a pillion seat or a poor one and also harsher ride quality at low speeds.

Some help would be appreciated, thanks.

Here's what BHPian swiftnfurious had to say on the matter:

You seem to be keen only on a brand new bike. The only bikes I recollect close to 50 ps under 5L are R3 & Ninja 400, out of which Ninja is already discontinued.

If you look at pre-owned, am sure few options will pop up, Ninja 650 being a top contender. All 150cc+ bikes come with ABS as standard and at 5L, anyone better give a dual channel one. For dynamics, KTM still rule, least comfy probably amongst all.

Since you are not too worried about pillion, fared bikes are good options.

Here's what BHPian TorqueMonster had to say on the matter:

I think you should go the used route for a well maintained Ninja 650. A good and recent example can be found for 5 lakhs easily, with availability also being high. For new bikes, the RE Twins are almost 50 hp, but are ergonomically not the best, and need a few changes for them to be better for a long ride. As for the KTM, it is one beast of a vehicle, its the most powerful vehicle I have personally experienced and it is excellent, except for comfort, engine note and luggage capacity. You can try getting the Adventure 390 if you are okay with touring bikes if possible.

But based on your requirements, I think the best bet is a Ninja 650. Also, see if the Honda CBR 650 is within your budget too.

Here's what BHPian neil.jericho had to say on the matter:

So many bikes suit your wide use case:

  • Around Rs 5 L : Honda CBR650F *
  • Rs 4 - 5 L : Kawasaki Z650 * / Kawasaki Ninja 650 * / KTM Adv 390.
  • Rs 3 - 4 L : KTM Duke 390 / Royal Enfield 650 twins.
  • Below Rs 3 L : Kawasaki Ninja 300 * / Yamaha R3 * / KTM RC 390 *

* denotes preowned

Go take test rides of these bikes and see what you like. The Interceptor 650 is a pretty popular choice on this forum though you can't go wrong with any of these bikes.

Here's what BHPian GreasyCarb55 had to say on the matter:

If you absolutely want a brand new bike:

  • KTM Duke 390 Adventure - If highway touring is what you want, good in the city as well, it can go off-road but it's not a full on off-roader like the Himalayan or XPulse. Pretty popular model so aftermarket should be good. Around 3.8 lakh on-road Chennai.
  • KTM Duke 390 - Not as much as tourer as it's Adventure cousin but still a fantastic bike all things considered, whack on a windshield and you should be good to go. IMO The craziest bike brand new bike under 5L. Great international and domestic seller for KTM, aftermarket support should be plenty. Around 3.35 lakh on-road Chennai.
  • Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 - Arguably the best bike to come out of the Royal Enfield stable in a really long time, only brand new twin cylinder on the list means the Interceptor effortless chugs along the highway in a clam manner but can also keep up with the R3's and Duke 390's in the twisties. Around 3.3-3.55 Lakh on-road Chennai depending on colour.

If you don't mind used bikes:

  • Kawasaki Ninja 650 - The Ninja 650 is one of the best choices on the used market, you pick up an older model for as low as 3.5 Lakh but I'd personally shell out about 4-4.5L to get a newer model.
  • Kawasaki Verseys 650 - Now if your main focus is Highway/Touring then I'd shill the extra 80k-1 lakh over the Ninja 650 to get a Versys 650. Both of them are great bikes.

Get the Ninja 650 if you want an all rounder or get the Versys 650 if you want a focused touring bike.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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