We take a look at the best bikes you can buy in India that are not just run-of-the mill models but offer something unique to make it to this list.
Even though the Indian two-wheeler space has really taken off in the last decade or so, most of us enthusiasts wish that Indian bike makers would offer a larger variety of motorcycles in the ‘affordable’ category. That being said, there are some rather interesting offerings now available in the country that can be had under Rs 1 lakh. So we’ve compiled a list of the top five bikes you can get today that fit this bill. And even though the definition of ‘best’ can be rather subjective, for this list, the contenders really need to offer something greater than run-of-the-mill to make the cut, be it great bang-for-buck, or just a tonne of personality.
Before we start, we’re going to admit that this ‘under Rs 1 lakh’ title is a bit of a misnomer. For the sake of this list, we’re considering the best five motorcycles which have their ex-showroom (Delhi) prices of about a lakh of rupees, so their actual on-road prices might go a little over.
Hero Xtreme 200R
After showcasing the motorcycle on numerous occasions, Hero finally launched the new Xtreme 200R last month in India. However, there’s a catch, as the Hero 200cc bike is only available in four North-eastern states and has been priced at Rs 88,000 (ex-showroom). However, Hero has added that it will be launching the Xtreme 200R across other states in our country soon. While the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V and the Bajaj Pulsar NS 200 have been positioned as performance motorcycles, the Xtreme 200R is more of a competitor to premium 160cc and 180cc motorcycles, given its aggressive pricing.
Its styling is also a bit conservative for a 200cc motorcycle, but fit-and-finish is good. Powering the new Hero offering is a 199.6cc, air-cooled motor developing 18.4hp at 8,000rpm and 17.1Nm of torque at 6,500rpm. The engine is mated to a five-speed gearbox. Hero claims a 0-60kph time of 4.6sec and top speed of 114kph. The bike comes with a 276mm front disc and a 220mm rear disc; single-channel ABS comes standard.
Power: 18.4hp at 8,000rpm (carburetted version)
Torque: 17.1Nm at 76,500rpm
Price: Rs 88,000 (ex-showroom, Siliguri)
Bajaj Avenger 220
The Bajaj Avenger has been the mainstay of Indian-made cruiser motorcycles ever since it debuted, back in 2005. The bike maker has unveiled the 2018 Avenger 220 line-up. As part of the update, the Cruise and Street now feature LED DRLs, and both get a distinct headlight design. Among other important changes, there’s now a digital instrument pod – backlit in blue on the Cruise, with a taller shroud to shield it from direct sunlight; orange on the Street – comprising a speedometer, odometer, two trip meters, fuel bar gauge and service reminder. Also part of the deal are new body graphics, a visor and a new grab rail for the Street; and a sissy bar with a backrest for the Cruise. Both variants will be offered with a new paint scheme – the Street in Matte White and the Cruise in Moon White. Both these bikes remain mechanically unchanged. Mated to a five-speed gearbox, the 220cc, single-cylinder engine produces 19.03hp and 17.5Nm of torque. Even though we’d expected to see it on this update, ABS has still not been introduced.
Power: 19.03hp at 8,400rpm
Torque: 17.5Nm at 7,000rpm
Price: Rs 95,923 (Avenger 220 Cruise, ex-showroom, Delhi)
TVS Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition 2.0
With its rev-happy motor and razor sharp handling, the RTR 200 is an impressive motorcycle – impressive enough to be crowned the 2017 Bike of the Year here at Autocar India. As the name suggests, it packs a 197.75cc, single-cylinder, air-and-oil-cooled engine that gets a four-valve head and was derived from the company’s racing efforts. It’s available in both carburetted and fuel-injected variants, although we’re not considering the Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) version.
The RTR 200 also received a facelift recently and was christened the Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition 2.0. It now features an A-RT (anti-reverse torque) slipper clutch, new decals and a prominent fly screen. The motorcycle also gets a dual-channel ABS as an option. Only the base variant of the RTR 200 4V is priced below Rs 1 lakh. However, we recommend going for the ABS model that is priced slightly above, at Rs 1.10 lakh(ex-showroom, Delhi). If you find the Apache RTR 200 4Va bit too pricey, you can opt for the new TVS Apache RTR 160 4V, prices for which start at Rs 82,535 (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Power: 20.5hp at 8,500rpm (carburetted version)
Torque: 18.1Nm at 7,000rpm
Price: Rs 96,730 (ex-showroom, Delhi) (carburetted base model)
Bajaj Pulsar NS200
It’s the second Bajaj bike on this list, but let’s face it… it really had to be here. The Chakan-based two-wheeler giant knows a thing or two about making bikes that offer phenomenal bang for your buck, and the Pulsar NS200 is a prime example of this. After a short hiatus from the market, the NS200 has been brought back as a BS-IV model and it packs the same 199.5cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor derived from the KTM 200 Duke. Unlike the KTM however, the Pulsar’s motor is fed through a carburettor, but it features Bajaj’s patented triple-sparkplug technology that makes it a lot more efficient, albeit slightly down on power. The Pulsar’s short-stroke motor is quick to rev, making for fast acceleration, and the bike offers a competent handling package that makes it fun to ride in pretty much all conditions, whether it’s the city, the highway or a twisty mountain road. “Power to the people” has been the Pulsar hallmark ever since the brand’s inception, and it’s next to impossible to get as much performance as the Pulsar NS200 in the sub-200cc segment. Even though the ABS variant of the NS200 crosses the Rs 1-lakh barrier, we’d highly recommend spending the extra 11-odd thousand rupees for it.
Power: 23.5hp at 9,500rpm
Torque: 18.3Nm at 8,000rpm
Price: Rs 98,714 / Rs 1.09 lakh (ABS variant) (both prices ex-showroom, Delhi)
Ask most of us here at Autocar India what our favourite sub-Rs 1 lakh bike is and more likely than not, the answer you’ll hear is the Suzuki Gixxer, or its faired sibling, the Gixxer SF. When the original Gixxer was launched back in 2014, most of us dismissed it as a Yamaha FZ16 clone, until we rode it for the first time that is. What this bike delivers is hard to quantify on paper. It’s not the most powerful bike in its segment, nor is the epitome of frugality. But if there’s a bike that makes its case purely on its ‘X factor’, it has to be the Gixxer. One aspect that makes it so easily lovable is just how much fun it is to ride, a lot of which can be attributed to its fantastic handling package. It’s a bike that scores high on practicality as well, with a comfortable saddle and seating position, and a light kerb weight of just 135kg. With recent updates, both bike now feature an optional rear disc brake and a single-channel ABS, while the SF is now additionally equipped with electronic fuel injection. And the Gixxer looks great in both its faired and non-faired guises, especially when you take into consideration their racing-inspired blue livery.
Power: 14.8hp at 8,000rpm
Torque: 14Nm at 6,000rpm
Price: Rs 81,343 (Gixxer, rear disc) / Rs 96,800 (Gixxer SF, ABS) (both prices ex-showroom, Delhi)