Rs 1.50 lakh budget: Comfortable bike for long road trips

The bike should be capable of hauling two adults, plus their luggage on long trips.

BHPian darkLightning recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello Team-BHPians,

As the title suggests I need your inputs in shortlisting the bikes for my next purchase.

Let me walk you through the background and conditions for this purchase.

I am 29 and a half year young married guy from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

My wife and I both like to travel and are really looking forward to many new trips together.

For the better part of the last one and a half years, I was on the lookout to purchase a car that will serve as the primary means for outstation trips. However, about a month ago situations took a curve and a new job and location change has come into the picture due to which I will in all likelihood be required to move to Bangalore sometime in the next 3-4 months while my wife will continue her studies from Bhopal only. Due to this change plonking 15L into a new car makes no sense to us and we have gone back to the drawing board.

Another big factor that has come into the picture is a possibility where I may have to take a couple of years break and move out after a couple of years (in essence a gap from riding-driving for 2 years) which effectively means whatever bike/car I have for personal use at that point will be gathering dust for 2 years.

With these two factors into consideration new car is something we ruled out totally (Ecosport going out has not helped matters either, it was one car we were really eyeing).

The next option we had on our bucket list was something out of CB350/ Meteor/ Himalayan i.e a bike to cruise on those long trips with enough capability to carry luggage and the two of us. This was the natural choice we settled on after ruling out a new car however the case of this bike biting dust for 2 years has got my feet nervous, To buy something that I really want to own and then see it in the dust is not something I can comprehend and I am one of those people who cannot part ways with something that I really like. So we decided to avoid CB350 and gang for now and purchase it at a later point.

The plan now is to purchase a bike which will be used for trips (from Bangalore or from Bhopal). And this bike will be sold after 2-2.5 years.

Now with these two options out what we are really looking for is a bike with the following capabilities:

  • Reliability - Each month the bike will see at least one long weekend getaway so fill it, shut it, forget it bike will be high on the list.
  • Comfort - These long trips will be with my wife as a pillion so back seat comfort cannot be compromised.
  • Long-distance runner - I am looking forward to trips like Bangalore- Ooty, Bangalore - Gokarna etc to give you a hint so the bike should be good enough to haul the 2 of us (135-140kg) plus luggage on these trips.
  • Tough - I don't really know what kind of roads I will encounter in and around Bangalore or on the trips so something which is tough and abuses friendly is desired.
  • Mileage - I am no fanatic of mileage but at the same time I do belong to the middle class so yes a decent fuel economy will be appreciated.
  • Stance - I am 6'2" and I like a comfortable stance on my bike. I am not a racer.
  • Bluetooth connectivity - It would be really nice to see who is calling and maps without taking out my phone.

There is one other requirement under debate which is that bi-monthly I maybe making Bangalore-Bhopal-Bangalore round trips solo so the bike should be capable of handling that but this requirement is under debate.

Budget - CB350 costs 2.5L plus on-road and I had no issues with that price however since I am not purchasing in that bracket I am open to anything from Shine to CB200X however,if the choice is to be done then 1.5L on road is the kind of price I am looking at. (My previous bike is Splendor Plus).

With these points the bikes I am looking at are -

  1. Hero XPulse 200 4V - seat comfort will be deciding factor.
  2. Hero Xtreme 200S - again seat comfort will be decisive.
  3. Apache RTR 200 4V - Good allrounder but needs to be checked in person first.
  4. FZ-X - This ugly duckling has a very comfortable seat which is creating some interest for me.
  5. FZ-S - Good all-around bike but is it powerful enough.
  6. XPulse 200T - The road going XPulse seems good.

I would like suggestions from you all on which of the above is suited for my purpose and whether I am overlooking something.

An insight on road conditions in and around Bangalore with respect to riding will also come in handy.


Here's what BHPian TheHelix0202 had to say on the matter:

Apart from the Xpulse, I don’t see why you have the others mentioned above on your list. Especially since you mentioned wanting adequate grunt with two up for touring.

I’d knock off any and every Hero from the list - except for maybe the Xpulse. And I mean the regular Xpulse; not the Xpulse 200T (which has been discontinued anyway). Do test ride the Xpulse and the 200S though.

The FZ series really isn’t the most powerful machine, they produce the lowest power in the 150cc category. Again, test rides them too.

I would suggest you take a look at pre-owned (or rather pre-worshipped) Himalayan, Dominar 400, Mojo and FZ-25. Or new examples of these. Or try the new CB200X from Honda.

If you can live without Bluetooth, check these out. Certain variants of the Himalayan do get Bluetooth, I guess. These bikes are fairly reliable. Resale wouldn’t take that big of a hit due to depreciation too if you plan to sell a used motorcycle after a couple of years. Alternatively, you can keep the bike for longer if you love it!

Added note - I don’t know anything about Bhopal, but what I can tell you about Bangalore is that if you’re any familiar with Mumbai at all, this wouldn’t really be that big of a surprise to you. Be prepared for long traffic jams, back-breaking potholes, narrow(er) roads etc., not trying to scare you, but that’s the reality! You’d thank yourself for getting a comfortable motorcycle every time your backside hits a rut.

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

2 Years is a really short time for a motorcycle to go bad anyhow let me share my thoughts.

1. Bajaj Avenger 220.

This is the original cruiser, it is dated but reliability is no match considering it's an Air-Cooled Bajaj. However, depreciation hits hard when it comes to Bajaj's. If you're fine with overseeing that then it is still a really good choice considering that the motor has commuter level grunt for 2 up riding.

2. Royal Enfield Bullet 350.

I'm not referring to the new J Series engines, the old Pushrods are still available, buy one used for 2 years and store it for 20 posts which you'd be able to sell it for more than what you'd paid for it.
As for performance get KS if you love thumping around easily does 40kmph in 5th gear riding 2 up, If highways are your thing then get the ES.

FE is spectacularly good at around 45kmpl and this engine is prehistoric so there really aren't any surprises sans the EFI. Also to note, this is heirloom material, can be passed down from generation to generation unlike say a Bajaj or a Honda.

Well, that's about it. No other motorcycle fits the requirement as much as the above, I'm ignoring the requirement for Bluetooth cause a ram mount costs around 5k and is a lifetime investment and works better than what these paltry BT Integrations offer.

Hope that helps.

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

What I'm going to say below is not going to be appreciated by anyone because they're hard truth & facts of life!

  • First of all, if you're looking to travel between Bangalore & Bhopal as a weekend trip, then you should stop thinking about it immediately as the plan cannot sustain for more than 2-3 months even as a solo ride.
  • Then the motorcycles you've listed are reliable, comfortable, maybe tough, can yield tough FE (I think you'll have worked a little deeper here as you've to come up with a figure to understand the costs) but all of them are designed for one use - CITY RIDE or TRAIL
  • On a highway, the game is entirely different; you need a motorcycle that tells you to relax, I'll take care at the speed of 140-150 Kmph (I might get an infraction even for saying this)
  • Bangalore to Bhopal, roads are all fantastic, no complaints, at least till Nagpur which I've taken & then towards Chindwara - Narasinghpur - Sagar - Jhansi, so not sure how the roads are between Nagpur - Bhopal; but let's assume they're good too which should be an easy journey of 1400 Km and the motorcycles you've listed are capable of doing 100 Kmph with the loads; which mean you'll need a good 20 hours to make the trip on a wonderful day (average of 70 Kmph including fuel stops, minimal food break). So if you start by Friday night 4:00 Pm before the Bangalore traffic starts, you can expect to be 10:00 Am on Saturday in Bhopal,
  • And then if you got to be at Bangalore on Monday morning, then you'll have to do the same trip in 20 hours, which means, you'll have to be at Bangalore by Sunday night 9:00 Pm (for a good night's sleep & attend office fresh Monday morning), you'll have to leave Bhopal by 1:00 Am Sunday midnight.
  • The above round trip is for a stay at Bhopal for just 15 hours!! Worthy or not, this is a fact. Maybe as a rider, you're comfortable riding for 40 hours with a break of 15 hours but think about the pillion, unless, the trip is like 15 days at Bangalore & 15 days at Bhopal...I don't know what to say; maybe you & your Wife are super capable, but the motorcycles you've listed do not sustain for a long time.
  • During one of these rides, any bike will baptize you to a racer, for sure no matter you ride Activa or Aprilia! The reason being, one can enjoy the open highway for max 1-2 hours beyond which the urge to reach destination becomes more important especially on home-runs & when the destination is known. This is why most tourer expedition venturing to new places are more relaxed as they're in no hurry to reach the destination but enjoying the journey itself.

If you're still stubborn about buying a motorcycle to frequent between Bangalore - Bhopal...opt for used big bikes, which will tick on reliability, comfort, long-distance runner, tough & stance but knock of FE & budget; otherwise, you can opt for a new RE interceptor which will tick on a budget to an extent, comfort, long-distance runner, tough & stance but knock your budget slightly & reliability to an extent. For sure car is going to be super expensive.

Last but not the least, how do I know? Because been there done that, nearly burnt fingers, fortunately not burnt too much money

Edit - Just made a rough calculation (Ashwin Sir is going to love this)...a motorcycle yielding 40 Kmpl is going to cost you roughly over Rs 7000 only on fuel, food extra for a round trip. So I'm looking at an expense of Rs 9000 per round trip & if it's bi-monthly 18K a month & Rs 1.8 Lakh per annum (considering only 10 months).

Another option being - Buy 2 motorcycles, one for Bangalore-Bhopal-Bangalore runs & the other one for local weekend runs in Bangalore; however, the problems I foresee are...

Maintenance cost of 2 motorcycles is going to shoot up than owning one (insurance is getting crazier)

There's a good chance you might actually start using one motorcycle more than the other; if it's a big bike then the weekend trips & home runs are going to be on the big bike if it's small one then eventually the big bike will start finding a new owner on classifieds

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

darkLightning, I have to agree with aargee's opening statement. The bikes that you are considering and your use case don't go together very well. Given your 2-year gap constraint, there is no easy solution to your predicament.

It all boils down to this:

  • if you buy a more expensive bike like the CB350 / Meteor / Himalayan / Jawa / Bullet, you can do your touring in comfort but you will have to keep the bike unused or sell it after a few years.
  • if you buy a smaller capacity bike like what you have listed, then you can sell it after two years with less of a depreciation hit but your touring and long-distance riding will not be all that comfortable.

The heart says a. but the head says b. Since you mentioned that both you and your wife love to travel, I will suggest that stick to option a. Go ahead and get something like a Himalayan or a Dominar that will keep both you and your wife happy. You can always recover the depreciation loss at a later point in life but for now, the two of you will be able to tour happily, in comfort and make priceless memories when you are young.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

A helmet will save your life