India is a country where the number of riders is increasing day by day, be it male or female. Among the million bikes being sold in the country (1.70 crore bikes in 2016 to be specific), only a few are considered as tourers. The best part about motorcycling is the sense of freedom one experiences while riding.
Munching miles down the highway with just the hum of the engine accompanying you is one of the most calming experiences in life. Now, for many of you, Leh-Ladakh is the rider’s paradise where your bike is baptized. So, if you’re planning to go this beautiful place or for that matter any beautiful destination India has to offer, this article might help you make a choice.
It would be imprudent to not start the list with a Royal Enfield model. The Himalayan is arguably the most versatile RE produced. Long-travel suspension, natural upright riding position, a durable and torquey engine all add up to a comfortable ride. With an engine displacement of 411cc, the Himalayan produces 24.5bhp and a torque of 32Nm. The power output of the Himalayan is a bit disappointing though.
The Himalayan has a fuel tank capacity of 15L and has a fuel efficiency of 32Kmpl. Comes with a telescopic and a monoshock suspension with linkage for front and rear suspension respectively. But stopping the Himalayan is a big task. Although the bike comes with disc brakes, they have a delayed response. The ample ground clearance of 200mm, helps it to tackle various terrains at great speeds.
The RE Himalayan is an all-terrain bike and if you want to experience its soul then try the challenging trip from Shimla to Manali via Kinnaur and Spiti or you could try the Guwahati-Tawang route (this is an even more challenging 520 km road trip). You’ll feel the adrenaline rush and your heart thumping the moment you go off-roading. Both these routes are going to give you one hell of a ride. Now the bike might tear your purse after all these off-roading due to maintenance costs, but the Himalayan which is priced at INR 1.63Lakh is the most affordable tourer available in India.
The 295cc single cylinder, liquid cooled engine sits coaxially mounted in an all-new twin-tube exposed frame. The single cylinder produces 27bhp and a torque of 30Nm.
The Mojo has a humongous fuel tanks capacity of 21L, the largest in its class. It has a fuel efficiency of 25 kmpl. The bike comes with upside-down telescopic fork front suspension providing great riding comfort even on those bumpy roads. The Mojo is equipped with disc brakes and the Tourer Edition comes with magnetic tank bag, saddle bags, fog lamps, mobile holder and front engine guard. Another great thing about the Mojo is the Pirelli tyres that come as standard.
One of the best route to take the Mojo is the Chennai-Munnar route. You’ll be mesmerized by the beauty of the landscape and will love this 600km ride on the Mojo. The road is flawless and one could easily touch the top speed of the Mojo (but that’s illegal). Or you could take this machine for an ideal bike ride on the Valparai-Vazhachal route during the monsoon season. The route connects Pollachi in Tamil Nadu to Chalakudy in Kerala, which is prominently covered with fine tropical rainforests and cloud and evergreen forests. The trail passes through stunning waterfalls and numerous dams and reservoirs. Priced at INR 1.72Lakh, this is one of the best tourer available under INR 2 Lakhs.
BAJAJ AVENGER CRUISE 220
The 220cc oil-cooled DTS-i tourer produces 18.76bhp and 17.5Nm torque. Cruise 220 comes with telescopic suspension in the front and two shock absorbers in the rear. It is equipped with disc brake for the front wheel and drum brakes for the rear wheel.
You might have heard of the Mumbai-Goa trip, one of the most famous road trip routes in India and it deserves all the fame that it gets. Popularly called NH17 (National Highway 17), this route offers a trip along the western coastline of India and the Avenger will give a sweet and memorable ride of your life. The user’s complaints regarding the uncomfortable pillion seat suggests Avenger is purely made for cruising, but not for the pillion rider.
The bike has an exceptional mileage of 40kmpl and has a fuel tank capacity of 14L. The Bajaj Avenger Cruise 220 is equipped with all standard features a tourer must have and comes with a price tag of INR 87k.
RE THUNDERBIRD 500
The Thunderbird 500 shares its engine with the Classic 500 range, which is a fuel injected, 499cc, single-cylinder air-cooled engine that makes 27bhp and 41Nm of torque, mated to a 5-speed gearbox.
The Thunderbird 500 features forward slung foot pegs, wider, a taller handlebar for a relaxed riding posture, projector headlights, and disc brakes at both ends. The TB500 is the perfect bike to be taken for a trip from Chennai to Pondicherry along the East Coast Road and could be the most relaxing ride you ever had.
The road is unblemished and one could easily cruise at 100-120kmph (also illegal). The TB has a massive 20L fuel tank for touring purpose and has a mileage of 28kmpl. The bike is not recommended for tall people as long rides on it could lead to back pain. The Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 is priced at INR 1.84Lakh which makes it an affordable 500cc bike.
KAWASAKI VERSYS 650
The 2017 Kawasaki Versys 650 is equipped with compact 649cc DOHC twin cylinder engine that makes 67bhp and 64Nm of torque, paired to a 6-speed gearbox. The motorcycle comes featured with double petal disc brakes up front mounted on USD shock absorbers. Arguably the perfect touring machine in middleweight category. Other features include long travel front suspension, tall touring visor, and a 21-liter fuel tank. ABS comes as standard for the Versys. The high-quality suspension and stiff chassis make the Versys 650 one of the sweetest-handling motorcycles in its category on any surface, despite the wheels and tyres being biased toward tarmac.
There is a 250 km stretch of hilly terrain from Shimla to Manali via Mandi setup for the Versys with the River Beas trudging alongside, is a beautiful road trip to relax and unwind in India. The ergonomics are spot on and won’t tire out the rider even after spending long hours on the saddle The Kawasaki Versys 650 comes with a price tag of INR 6.6Lakh. The price is very high but it’s worth it.
DSK BENELLI TNT 600GT
The Benelli TNT 600 GT is a very efficient tourer which comes with powerful 600cc inline- 4 engine producing 82.7bhp and a torque of 54.6Nm.
The 600GT comes with inverted front telescopic forks for the front suspension and hydraulic monoshock absorber for the rear and is set with disc brakes. It has a massive 27L fuel tank and has a fuel efficiency of 19kmpl. The 600GT is a focused touring motorcycle with an upright seating position, tall windshield, and optional panniers that can store away luggage.
Taking the 600GT through the Darjeeling-Sikkim route might be a challenging task especially considering the mileage factor but this machine could easily complete the trip of a lifetime. The route is a witness to many steep and winding roads that are enough to keep the adrenaline rushing. A heady mélange of religions and fine hill culture make this route an anticipated one by both adventurists and nature lovers. Also, the views of the Kanchenjunga are the big-time bait of this route. Priced at INR 6.92Lakh, the bike would be one of the cheapest inline-4 touring machines available in the country.
There is always a part of us awaiting adventure. True that the Versys and 600GT are on the expensive side but they will always give you the best ride. On the economic side the Mojo, RE, TB 500 and Avenger are perfect for touring and trust me these bikes won’t disappoint you. Your bike is your best friend and it is going to take you places (literally).
Wherever you go, just trust your bike and always ride safely. There are hundreds of places to visit in India so just choose the right bike and explore this incredibly beautiful country.
This Article is Contributed by Elizabath Mathew.