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Upgrading to an entry-level sports bike

24th Nov 2018 3:00 pm

Looking to buy a used 250-300cc motorcycle.

I own an Apache RTR 160 and am thinking of upgrading to an entry-level sports bike (a 250 or a 300cc). Please suggest a bike that is fairly reliable and offers a bang for the buck in the second-hand market.
Shawn, Madikeri

AAA Your options in the used market for a bike like this are numerous, but it depends on what your budget is. At the higher end, you could look out for a used Ninja 300 or a Yamaha R3. They will both be reliable, but be warned that the spare parts are significantly more expensive than what you’re used to, especially in the case of the Kawasaki and they are often not immediately available.

A more affordable, but milder-performing option comes in the form of a used Honda CBR250R. The bike is a decent performer and should be quite reliable too. Unlike the Yamaha or the Kawasaki, with the Honda you have the option of looking for a model with ABS, something we strongly recommend.

If you’re looking for more aggressive performance, there’s a number of KTMs to choose from. Even the smaller Duke 200 offers a big step up from your RTR and you will find many reasonably priced options, but ABS, unfortunately, is not available. Look for 2013 models onwards as the first lot of 200s were more prone to a number of issues. The Duke 390, on the other hand, offers a wild and exciting performance, but it can be a bit of a handful in day-to-day traffic conditions as it gets jerky at low speeds and runs quite hot as well. The 2015 model year Duke 390, and bikes from then, had improved heat management, as well as a slipper clutch. This resulted in a lighter clutch action, making them a bit smoother overall, so you may want to look at these bikes. KTM aftersales costs are reasonable, and, if you can live with it, the 390 will keep you thoroughly entertained. Between the Duke and the RC, we’d suggest the naked as it’s far more comfortable and practical.

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