Yes, it is true. We are on the look out for the best dual sport bike that is currently available in India for a pocket friendly buyer and we want your suggestions as well.
It all started a few months back when we rode with a group of bikes and one being a BMW Gs1200 with the mighty boxer engine. We were mesmerized with the look, capability, power and overall stance of the bike and of course all the attention it received every time we stopped on the road. This got us thinking about the small but growing dual sport market in India and soon we decided to find the ideal bike for us keeping an upper limit of Rs 15 lakhs.
Our search began with Triumph India (Keerthi Triumph, Cash Pharmacy Building, Residency Road) which has the very popular Tiger series – XR, XRx, XCx, XCA for the 800 cc triple cylinder range and the Tiger Explorer – a 1200 cc monster. The Tiger being the more affordable range, we test rode the XRx and XCx models. The main difference is that the XCx has 21 and 19 inch tyres on spokes along with better suspension while the XRx comes shod with a 19 and 17 inch tyres on mags which limit your off-road capabilities along with a slightly inferior suspension. The price difference was about 1.2 lakhs with the XCx priced at about Rs 15.5 lakhs on-road in Bangalore. We loved both these bikes for its power delivery and torque which allows you to go from 40 to 140 kms in top gear but were more comfortable on the XRx due to its lower seat height. The bike was more manageable both in city traffic and on the highway. Read about all their features here – http://www.triumphmotorcycles.in/newtiger800
Next stop was the Ducati showroom which is on the second floor of UB City, Vittal Mallya Rd, Bangalore. Keeping our budget in mind, we picked the Hypermotard 939 to test. This almost naked dual sport bike is a monster with a 113 hp twin engine and a real terror on the road. The power delivery is not linear as expected in a dual sport bike and the naked bike without visors does not really give you the feel of a big bike. The pricing is pretty decent though at about Rs 13 lakhs and another lakh more for the Hyperstrada. The Hyperstrada with full faring and side boxes was however not available in the showroom. You will find the full set of features here – http://www.india.ducati.com/bikes/hypermotard/hypermotard_939/index.do
Our third option was the Kawasaki Versys 650 which is assembled and shipped from Thailand and hence the most economical option among the lot. The 650 Versys runs the same rock solid engine from the ER6N and Ninja 650 and is tuned slightly different to deliver 69 ps. The bike also looks very similar to the Versys 1000 but with narrower tyres, simpler instrument panel and available only in Black color. The engine feels powerful enough for Indian roads, can do a top speed of 215 kmph and has very good Showa forks with adjustable preload and rebound. The build quality is not as refined as the other two brands and there is a huge gaping hole between the handlebar and instrument panel. We also felt the lack of a gear change indicator (can be bought as an accessory) which is standard in the other two brands. The four cylinder 1000cc Versys is however a dream to ride with a butter smooth gear change and power delivery. This model is currently imported from Japan and has a price tag of almost Rs 16 lakhs but if you can stretch your budget, this is really a worthy contender. The bike comes with three riding modes depending on the terrain. The on-road price of the Versys 650 is a modest Rs 7.7 lakhs in Bangalore and a host of accessories are available as after market.
We haven’t ventured into the Benelli territory yet, as there are already some mixed reliability issues on their existing bikes. We do hope the Benelli TRK502 comes to India soon, which might change people’s perception.
We welcome your votes on the above brands and help us decide on our next bike.