The Rs 1.5-2.5 lakh bike segment is among the most exciting ones in India. The models in this segment are relatively affordable, and also happen to be some of the most interesting and fun bikes in the country.
As always, we’re considering the ex-showroom prices and not the final on-road costs. The bikes are also listed randomly and not in order of preference.
Bajaj Dominar 400
Not only is the Bajaj Dominar 400 the most powerful bike in this list, but it's also the most powerful bike at its price point. Last year, the Dominar 400 received its most significant update where Bajaj worked on the engine, refinement, and equipment.
The Dominar 400 uses a low-slung, muscular stance that gives it quite a bit of road presence. Its fully-digital instrument cluster is not a full-colour unit, but it does display a lot of information, including real-time fuel efficiency, fuel range, average speed, gear position and more.
Bajaj also took the Dominar's power figure much closer to the KTM 390 Duke, and it achieved this by moving to a DOHC setup, while retaining the unique three-spark plug design. The 373cc, single-cylinder engine produces peak power and torque figures of 40hp and 35Nm, respectively.
Suspension is taken care of by a USD fork and monoshock, and the bike comes equipped with dual-channel ABS as standard.
Power: 40hp at 8,800rpm
Torque: 35Nm at 6,500rpm
Price: Rs 1.96 lakh
Review: 2019 Bajaj Dominar 400 review, road test
Royal Enfield Himalayan
The first-generation Himalayan was plagued with reliability issues and Royal Enfield did address a majority of them when it launched the BS4-spec bike a couple of years ago. Though a stark improvement over the older one, it did have a few niggles and flaws.
Now, with its latest update, Enfield has made some more changes. The BS4 update saw Royal Enfield drop the carburettor for fuel injection and this has been carried over to the new bike as well. And so, what has helped the Himalayan achieve its BS6-compliant status is the addition of a catalytic converter and changes to the EMS (Engine Management System).
Off-road enthusiasts will appreciate the fact that the ABS can now be switched off on the rear wheel, allowing all the sliding action that the older bike denied you.
Power: 24.3hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 32Nm at 4,000-4,500rpm
Price: Rs 1.91 lakh
Review: 2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan review, test ride
Suzuki Gixxer 250/Gixxer SF 250
The 250cc Gixxers from Suzuki have proved to be very likeable machines. We’ve ridden them on a racetrack and on our roads and have been left quite impressed.
At the launch of the Gixxer SF 250 last year, the manufacturer had revealed the bike was developed with the upcoming BS6 norms in mind and now, with the addition of a new exhaust and ECU, Suzuki has updated it to comply with the more stringent emission norms.
Suzuki has also managed to keep its power and torque figures similar to those of the BS4 models, with the 249cc engine on both bikes making 26.5hp at 9,300rpm and 22.2Nm of torque at 7,300rpm.
In comparison to the BS4 bikes, peak power is identical, but is produced 300rpm higher in the rev range. Meanwhile, torque has seen a 0.4Nm drop but is produced 200rpm earlier in the rev range. Both bikes remain visually identical to their BS4 counterparts.
Power: 26.5hp at 9,300rpm
Torque: 22.2Nm at 7,300rpm
Price: Rs 1.65 lakh (Gixxer 250) and Rs 1.76 lakh (Gixxer SF 250)
Review: 2019 Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 review, road test
TVS Apache RR 310
Another motorcycle we’ve experienced on the road and racetrack is the Apache RR 310. In its latest form, the 312.2cc engine, which is now BS6-compliant, produces 34hp at 9,700rpm and 27.3Nm of torque at 7,700rpm.
One of the biggest updates is the move to ride-by-wire throttle, and this, in turn, has allowed TVS to introduce four ride modes – Rain, Urban, Sport, and Track. The modes, in essence, alter engine power, throttle response and ABS settings from.
It shares the same body panels as the previous model but gets a new dual-tone paint scheme that livens up the appearance. A highlight feature is the new 5.0-inch, colour TFT instrument panel with Bluetooth. Called the TVS Smart Xconnect, it allows users to pair their smartphone to the screen and run a number of functions via the TVS Connect App.
Power: 34hp at 9,700rpm
Torque: 27.3Nm at 7,700rpm
Price: Rs 2.45 lakh
Review: BS6 TVS Apache RR 310 review, test ride
Husqvarna Vitpilen 250 and Svartpilen 250
Husqvarna finally entered the Indian market with the Vitpilen 250 and Svartpilen 250. The Vitpilen is a café racer-styled bike, while the Svartpilen is a scrambler.
These Husqvarnas share mechanical components with the KTM 250 Duke and are powered by the same 248.8cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor mated to a 6-speed gearbox. The bikes make 30hp at 9,000rpm and 24Nm of torque at 7,500rpm, while weighing 153kg (dry) (Vitpilen) and 154kg (Svartpilen), respectively.
The styling on the bikes is identical to their respective 401 counterparts, except that the duo use alloy wheels instead of wire-spoke units. The wheels are shod in MRF tyres.
The KTM 250 Duke, which is the motorcycle the Husqvarna twins are based on, deserves special mention. It would have made the list, but the Husqvarnas are around Rs 25,000 cheaper, which makes them hard to ignore.
Power: 30hp at 9,000rpm
Torque: 24Nm at 7,500rpm
Price: Rs 1.84 lakh
Review: Husqvarna Svartpilen 250, Vitpilen 250 review, test ride
All prices, ex-showroom Delhi.
Best bikes in India: Top 5 under Rs 1.5 lakh