Let The Adventure Begin
Considering the frugal nature of Indian consumers and the low cost of owning and maintaining motorcycles, it is no wonder that our country has emerged as one of the biggest markets for two-wheelers. In fact, we use motorcycles for all types of personal and commercial pursuits in every corner of the country. In most cases, this involves going from smooth tarmac to non-existent patches of dirt, every few minutes. This is because the road infrastructure in our country is very unpredictable, especially in remote areas, thus forcing people to brave these uneven surfaces with whatever vehicle is available to them. This changed a few years ago when Royal Enfield launched their adventure bike, the Himalayan and rekindled our country’s fascination with adventure tourer bikes.
These are two-wheelers that have been specifically designed for sustaining on-road and off-road riding for long periods of time. Their purpose is to help you cover all types of ground without losing your pace or breaking down. This is why they are given special modifications that by now have become part of the signature look associated with the segment, such as high ground clearance, tough multi-purpose tyres, a reliable engine with lots of grunts and overall sturdy build quality that doesn’t rattle or break apart when subjected to constant abuse. While these types of vehicles have existed in other countries for years, it is only recently that the Indian consumers have become comfortable with handling bigger bikes with more power, as well as spending enough money to buy a four-wheeler, on two-wheelers alone. This has also encouraged more and more manufacturers to release their own offerings in this booming segment. Here are a few noteworthy options for you to consider.
Kawasaki Versys X 300
Kawasaki has had a history of building reliable bikes, which reflects in the Versys X 300. The bike shares its engine with the well-known Ninja 300 and produces 39BHP of power and 26Nm of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and rides on 19 inches spoke wheels in the front and 17-inch ones in the back. Even though this translates to a healthy ground clearance of 180mm, it is advised to still be careful with the bike as it doesn’t have any underbelly protection like other vehicles made for off-road use. However, you do get dual-channel ABS and dual-disk brakes, which is more than enough to stop it on a dime. All of this at a starting price of ₹4.69 lakh; make this good enough to be your first dedicated off-roader.
At a starting price of ₹3.49 lakh, this is easily the cheapest BMW you can get in this country. However, the price isn’t a compromise as the bike comes fully stocked with a 313cc engine that produces 34BHP of power and 28Nm of torque. The engine, as well as the frame, is taken from the G310R, even though in this version, the bike gets long-travel suspension with upside-down shocks in the front and an ABS system that can be shut off. The bike gets a familiar 19-inch front and 17 inch back setup, even though in this case, it translates to a better ground clearance of 220mm. The end result is a strong contender from a reputed brand that delivers great performance at an affordable price range.
CFMoto is a Chinese brand that is just entering the Indian market with a host of offerings. Even though they manufacture different types of off-road vehicles, the 650MT is their first offering in the country. The bike comes with a 649.3cc engine, which produces a healthy 71BHP of power and 62Nm of torque. Unlike other bikes in the segment, this one sits on 17-inch alloy wheels in both the front and the back, which has led to a very questionable ground clearance of around 170mm. The suspension is taken care of by an upside-down shock in the front and mono-shock in the rear, while the braking is handled by single disc setup on both tyres, along with dual-channel ABS. With this setup and a starting price of ₹4.99 lakh, this is more than capable enough to have a place on this list, even though its long term reliability is yet to be tested.
Benelli TRK 502X
Benelli is one of the oldest Italian brands involved in motorcycle manufacturing, even though their history in India is relatively limited. Their TRK 502X adventure bike is only the second bike from their portfolio to come to India and features a bigger 500cc engine that produces 47BHP of power and 46Nm of torque. The entire setup sits on 19-inch wheels in the front and 17-inch wheels in the rear with a ground clearance of 220mm. In addition, the bike also gets upside down shocks in the front and an adjustable mono-shock in the rear, combined with a sturdy metal bash plate to take care of any bumps you might encounter. All of this makes for a confident off-roader, at a starting price of around ₹5.1 lakh.