The Rs 1-2 lakh segment is one of the fastest growing in the Indian market. The bikes in this segment are relatively affordable, and also happen to be some of the most interesting and fun models in the country.
As always, we’re taking into account the ex-showroom prices and not the final on-road costs.
After years of waiting for Yamaha to launch a quarter-litre motorcycle in India, it finally surprised us with the FZ25 in 2017. The bike sports a squat, muscular stance much like the FZ16 and manages to look quite pleasing, albeit not as intimidating as some of Yamaha’s larger streetfighters. It gets a 249cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled motor that not exactly is a shining example of power and performance, but does dish out a healthy dose of refinement and linear power delivery. Weighing 148kg, the FZ25 is among the lighter bikes in this class, which makes for acceptably sprightly acceleration. And with a claimed mileage of 43kpl, it certainly seems to be one of the most efficient motorcycles in this segment as well. It is sprung a bit on the stiffer side, but that does endow it good handling characteristics, although it is not the best in class. The FZ25 also get dual-channel ABS, an LED headlight, as well as an all-LCD instrument cluster. The Yamaha might not be setting benchmarks in this category, but with its practicality, comfort, refinement and charming design, it is certainly one of the most easily likeable bikes here.
Power: 20.9hp at 8,000rpm
Torque: 20Nm at 6,000rpm
Price: Rs 1.33 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Also read: 2017 Yamaha FZ25 review
Bajaj Pulsar RS200
The Pulsar RS200 is the company’s only full-faired motorcycle in its range. It has been around since 2014, and its last noteworthy update came in 2017 with the arrival of the BS-IV emission norms. To refresh your memory, the RS200 is summarily the faired version of the NS200; which, in turn, is Bajaj’s spin on a fun motorcycle produced by its Austrian counterpart – the KTM 200 Duke. However, the RS200 is more than just another motorcycle with a lot of bodywork. The bike has a completely different frame and suspension set-up than the KTM and is a seriously fast and capable motorcycle in its own right. Underneath the fairing sits a 199.5cc motor paired to a six-speed gearbox. This liquid-cooled, four-valve, single-cylinder engine is similar to the KTM but uses a unique triple-spark-plug SOHC layout. The result is a healthy 24.5hp output at 9,750rpm with a peak torque of 18.6Nm at 8,000rpm. Like some of its competition, the RS misses out on LED headlights. However, the projectors it is equipped with do a very good job of lighting up the road.
The Pulsar also has decently sized brakes – 300mm up front and 230mm at the rear – and also offers a single-channel ABS. That being said, all is not perfect with the RS200. The fit and finish levels need to improve and the styling is not to all tastes.
Power: 24.5hp at 9,750rpm
Torque: 18.6Nm at 8,000rpm
Price: Rs 1.39 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Also read: 2018 Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0 vs Bajaj Pulsar RS200 comparison
Bajaj Dominar 400
The Bajaj Dominar recently received its most significant update. The bike still retains its design – styled to look like the Ducati Diavel’s baby sibling. And with its low-slung, muscular stance, the new Dominar continues to have quite a bit of road presence.
On this iteration of the bike is a new, digital, secondary instrument dashboard on the tank, in place of the unit that previously only displayed symbols for ABS, neutral indicator, and more. The new dash also displays gear position and the trip meter. Bajaj has also taken the Dominar's power figure much closer to the KTM 390 Duke and achieved this by moving to a DOHC setup, while retaining the unique three-sparkplug design. The 373cc, single-cylinder motor now produces peak power and torque figures of 39.9hp and 35Nm, respectively, with both coming in later in the rev band than the previous-gen bike. Taking the Dominar closer to its ‘hyper rider’ image is a reengineered rear suspension and a 43mm USD fork that replaces the telescopic unit, resulting in a softer ride. The new Dominar gets dual-channel ABS as standard.
Power: 39.9hp at 8,650rpm
Torque: 35Nm at 7,000rpm
Price: Rs 1.80 lakh estimated (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Also read: 2019 Bajaj Dominar 400 review, test ride
Royal Enfield Himalayan
Last year, Royal Enfield updated its Himalayan to correct the previous bike’s reputation for low reliability. The biggest change on the updated Himalayan is that it now uses a fuel-injection system instead of a carburettor; the company has done this in order to meet BS-IV norms. The bike has also undergone other small changes – like the addition of a small metal guard on the oil cooler, matte-black powder coating for the fuel tank's cap, and bar-end weights and luggage-mounts below the rear seat. It’s a bike that is purpose-built to tread off the beaten path, with lots of suspension travel (200mm at the front, 180mm at the back) and a massive 220mm of ground clearance. Even with that much clearance, RE has managed to package the bike in such a way that seat height stays at a relatively short 800mm. A large 21-inch front wheel, coupled with a 17-inch rear (both wire-spoke) and shod with off road-biased tyres, also adds to the Himalayan’s rough-roading prowess Like all Royal Enfield bikes, the Himalayan comes with dual-channel ABS.
Power: 24.8hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 32Nm at 4,250rpm
Price: Rs 1.80 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Also read: Royal Enfield Himalayan FI review
KTM 250 Duke
Honestly, it was a bit of a tough call between this and the KTM RC200. The RC’s out-and-out supersport nature makes it an extremely engaging riding experience. But the new 250 Duke brings all the styling cues from the new 390 (which itself is inspired from the Super Duke R) and puts it at a somewhat affordable price point. Even though it misses out on some top-end features like the TFT instrument panel and the split LED headlights, the 250 is one gorgeous motorcycle. It’s not a slouch either. It might struggle a bit in bottom-end performance, but from the mid-range revs, it really pulls hard. This much horsepower and those head turning looks are impossible to be had anywhere else in the quarter-litre space. The 250 Duke was also recently updated with dual-channel ABS.
Power: 30hp at 9,000rpm
Torque: 24Nm at 7,500rpm
Price: Rs 1.93 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Also read: 2017 KTM 250 Duke road test
Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0
The R15 V3.0 has a lot going for it – it looks stunning, and is the quickest, most advanced 150cc motorcycle money can currently buy. Of course, it’s also a thrilling handler and manages to do all this while still returning impressive fuel-efficiency figures. Following a recent update that saw the addition of a new colour scheme and dual-channel ABS, there’s very little we can find fault with on this bike – as long as you are willing to live with its committed ergonomics. If you live, breathe and sleep MotoGP, you’ve just got to have the R15; it will make you feel like one of your heroes – and that is why it gets an honourable mention on this list.
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