We list down the ideal motorcycles from different genres to help you begin your two-wheeled journey!
Riding a motorcycle can be a really liberating experience. As a learner, it is extremely rewarding to experience the joy of finding the ‘balance’ and sustaining the momentum of the motorcycle as you take your feet off the ground. In a country like ours, there are a lot of low-capacity, cost-effective yet stylish and capable options to begin your journey on two wheels. We list out the ideal beginner bikes from different genres, which should make your decision a lot easier.
The TVS Radeon is a great choice for those who are just learning to ride a motorcycle. Its accessible seat height and low kerb weight of 112kg makes it easy to manoeuvre. Moreover, the 109.7cc engine is fuel efficient too. With a sensitive throttle, we achieved a tested efficiency of over 100kmpl! Another confidence-inspiring aspect of the bike is the light clutch and tight turning radius coupled with the light handlebar, which should make city riding effortless.
The engine has good refinement and low-end grunt for city rides. Also, the ratios are evenly spaced out to bring out the best of the motor’s powerband. The ergonomics are upright and the seat is quite comfortable even for long hours on the saddle. At Rs 50,070 (ex-showroom Delhi), the Radeon offers good value for money especially considering its frugality and ease of maintenance. However, the only grinch is that the motorcycle comes only with drum brakes: a front disc isn’t offered even as an option.
Bajaj Avenger Street 160:
If you’re looking to get your first cruiser, the Bajaj Avenger Street 160 is a good option. It is also the country’s most affordable cruiser at just Rs 82,253 (ex-showroom Delhi). The Avenger Street 160 certainly looks the part thanks to its lazy rake angle, low seat and meaty rear tyre. The 730mm seat height is one of the lowest in its segment, and at 150kg kerb, the motorcycle is pretty light for a cruiser.
Its 160.4cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine is peppy and lets you cruise comfortably between 70kmph to 80kmph. However, vibrations creep in beyond those speeds. In our tests, the bike delivered 52.18kmpl in the city and 48.02kmpl on the highway. This coupled with the 13-litre fuel tank should offer around 630km on a tankful. With a 13-litre fuel tank, the Avenger 160 ABS should have a real-world range of around 630km on a full tank. When it comes to braking, the 260mm front disc and 130mm drum offer really good bite and progression. A single-channel ABS ensures the front wheel doesn’t lock up under hard braking.
Hero XPulse 200:
The Hero XPulse 200 is by far the best choice for riders who are starting to learn the nuances of off-roading. Priced at Rs 1.05 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the FI variant, the XPulse is the most affordable off-road-friendly motorcycle on sale today. Also, being a bike from Hero MotoCorp, the spare parts should be affordable too, in case you break things in your off-road adventures. We would recommend getting the FI variant as the fuelling is better than the carb version and the bike also comes with an aluminium bash plate and petal discs on both ends as standard. Powering the bike is a 199.6cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine. It offers fantastic low-end performance but leaves you craving for more out on the highways.
The XPulse 200 comes with proper off-road kit like a large 21-inch front and 18-inch rear spoke wheels with dual-purpose tyres. With a healthy 220mm ground clearance and massive wheel travel of 190mm up front and 170mm at the rear, the XPulse 200 is capable of making short work of challenging terrains. At 823mm, the seat isn’t too tall and the narrow profile ensures that you can keep your feet down comfortably. Moreover, the reasonably light kerb weight of 154kg makes muscling the bike off road a lot easier.
The Suzuki Gixxer is one of the best all-rounder in the 160cc naked segment. Its low 780mm seat and light 136kg kerb weight ensure it is easy to manoeuvre. What’s more, the 154.9cc engine linked to a 5-speed transmission is tractable and can pull the bike from a little below 30kmph in fourth gear without lugging.
Even in the handling department, the dynamics are precise and neutral. It inspires confidence in the rider every time he/she gets into a corner. For optimal safety, the bike gets single-channel ABS with disc brakes on both ends. Priced at Rs 88,941 (ex-showroom Delhi), the Gixxer is one of the best value-for-money naked bikes one can buy.
Yamaha YZF-R15 Version 3.0:
The Yamaha YZF-R15 Version 3.0 has everything that is expected from a supersport. Sleek faired design? Check. Aggressive riding ergonomics? Check. Performance-focused engine? Double check!
Its 155cc liquid-cooled engine comes with Variable Valve Actuation technology (VVA) which ensures low-end performance without compromising the top-end grunt. This coupled with the smooth-shifting six-speed slip-assist gearbox makes the motorcycle a hoot to ride on the racetrack as well as in the hills. Yamaha also offers a rear Metzeler tyre as an option which should take the handling up a notch. For safety, the R15 gets dual-channel ABS acting on disc brakes at both ends.
The R15 is the one to go for if you have racing aspirations. That said, you’ll need a little experience before going for this motorcycle. Overall, for Rs 1.39 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the R15 is a perfect beginner’s bike if you want to become a better, faster and safer rider all under a budget.