Even though the Indian two-wheeler space has really taken off in the last decade or so, most of us enthusiasts wish that Indian bike makers would offer a larger variety of motorcycles in the ‘affordable’ category. That being said, there are some rather interesting offerings now available in the country that can be had under Rs 1 lakh. So we’ve compiled a list of the top five bikes you can get today that fit this bill. And even though the definition of ‘best’ can be rather subjective, for this list, the contenders really need to offer something greater than run-of-the-mill to make the cut, be it great bang-for-buck, or just a tonne of personality.
Before we start, we’re going to admit that this ‘under Rs 1 lakh’ title is a bit of a misnomer. For the sake of this list, we’re considering the best five motorcycles which have their ex-showroom (Delhi) prices of about a lakh of rupees, so their actual on-road prices might go a little over.
Hero Xtreme 200R
After showcasing the motorcycle on numerous occasions, Hero finally launched the new Xtreme 200R last month in India. However, there’s a catch, as the Hero 200cc bike is only available in four North-eastern states and has been priced at Rs 88,000 (ex-showroom). However, Hero has added that it will be launching the Xtreme 200R across other states in our country soon. While the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V and the Bajaj Pulsar NS 200 have been positioned as performance motorcycles, the Xtreme 200R is more of a competitor to premium 160cc and 180cc motorcycles, given its aggressive pricing.
Its styling is also a bit conservative for a 200cc motorcycle, but fit-and-finish is good. Powering the new Hero offering is a 199.6cc, air-cooled motor developing 18.4hp at 8,000rpm and 17.1Nm of torque at 6,500rpm. The engine is mated to a five-speed gearbox. Hero claims a 0-60kph time of 4.6sec and top speed of 114kph. The bike comes with a 276mm front disc and a 220mm rear disc; single-channel ABS comes standard.
Power: 18.4hp at 8,000rpm (carburetted version)
Torque: 17.1Nm at 76,500rpm
Price: Rs 88,000 (ex-showroom, Siliguri)
Also read: Hero Xtreme 200R review
Bajaj Avenger 220
The Bajaj Avenger has been the mainstay of Indian-made cruiser motorcycles ever since it debuted, back in 2005. The bike maker has unveiled the 2018 Avenger 220 line-up. As part of the update, the Cruise and Street now feature LED DRLs, and both get a distinct headlight design. Among other important changes, there's now a digital instrument pod – backlit in blue on the Cruise, with a taller shroud to shield it from direct sunlight; orange on the Street – comprising a speedometer, odometer, two trip meters, fuel bar gauge and service reminder. Also part of the deal are new body graphics, a visor and a new grab rail for the Street; and a sissy bar with a backrest for the Cruise. Both variants will be offered with a new paint scheme – the Street in Matte White and the Cruise in Moon White. Both these bikes remain mechanically unchanged. Mated to a five-speed gearbox, the 220cc, single-cylinder engine produces 19.03hp and 17.5Nm of torque. Even though we'd expected to see it on this update, ABS has still not been introduced.
Power: 19.03hp at 8,400rpm
Torque: 17.5Nm at 7,000rpm
Price: Rs 95,923 (Avenger 220 Cruise, ex-showroom, Delhi)
Also read: Bajaj Avenger review
TVS Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition 2.0
With its rev-happy motor and razor sharp handling, the RTR 200 is an impressive motorcycle – impressive enough to be crowned the 2017 Bike of the Year here at Autocar India. As the name suggests, it packs a 197.75cc, single-cylinder, air-and-oil-cooled engine that gets a four-valve head and was derived from the company’s racing efforts. It’s available in both carburetted and fuel-injected variants, although we’re not considering the Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) version.
The RTR 200 also received a facelift recently and was christened the Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition 2.0. It now features an A-RT (anti-reverse torque) slipper clutch, new decals and a prominent fly screen. The motorcycle also gets a dual-channel ABS as an option. Only the base variant of the RTR 200 4V is priced below Rs 1 lakh. However, we recommend going for the ABS model that is priced slightly above, at Rs 1.10 lakh(ex-showroom, Delhi). If you find the Apache RTR 200 4Va bit too pricey, you can opt for the new TVS Apache RTR 160 4V, prices for which start at Rs 82,535 (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Power: 20.5hp at 8,500rpm (carburetted version)
Torque: 18.1Nm at 7,000rpm
Price: Rs 96,730 (ex-showroom, Delhi) (carburetted base model)
Also read: TVS Apache RTR 200 review
TVS Apache RTR 160 4V
It’s the second TVS on this list, but let’s face it – it really had to be there. The RTR 160 4V now boasts of the most powerful motor in its segment and can be had with two options – carburettor and fuel-injection. It also gets four-valve technology, while most of its competitors employ a two-valve head. The 4V also uses a new frame, which has allowed TVS to equip the bike with a monoshock suspension.
The RTR 160 has received consecutive cosmetic updates since it first launched over a decade ago; but the bike has never been thoroughly updated. The 4V changes that trend. With an overall styling heavily inspired from the RTR 200, it features a similar tank, headlight, tail-light, instrumentation and even turn-indicators. The RTR 160 also features a similar ‘shotgun’ exhaust design, a fully digital instrument console and an LED tail-light, as seen on the RTR 200. However, the RTR 160 does feature a different centre body panel. If you are looking for a more commuter-friendly version of the RTR 200, the 160 4V is the bike for you.
Power: 16.8hp at 8,000rpm (EFI), 16.5hp at 8,000rpm (Carburettor).
Torque: 14.8Nm at 6,500rpm.
Price: Rs 82,810 (Drum), Rs 85,810 (Disc) and Rs 91,810 (FI). (All prices ex-showroom, Delhi)
Also read: 2018 TVS Apache RTR 160 4V review
Ask most of us here at Autocar India what our favourite sub-Rs 1 lakh bike is and more likely than not, the answer you’ll hear is the Suzuki Gixxer, or its faired sibling, the Gixxer SF. When the original Gixxer was launched back in 2014, most of us dismissed it as a Yamaha FZ16 clone, until we rode it for the first time that is. What this bike delivers is hard to quantify on paper. It’s not the most powerful bike in its segment, nor is the epitome of frugality. But if there’s a bike that makes its case purely on its ‘X factor’, it has to be the Gixxer. One aspect that makes it so easily lovable is just how much fun it is to ride, a lot of which can be attributed to its fantastic handling package. It’s a bike that scores high on practicality as well, with a comfortable saddle and seating position, and a light kerb weight of just 135kg. With recent updates, both bike now feature an optional rear disc brake and a single-channel ABS, while the SF is now additionally equipped with electronic fuel injection. And the Gixxer looks great in both its faired and non-faired guises, especially when you take into consideration their racing-inspired blue livery.
Power: 14.8hp at 8,000rpm
Torque: 14Nm at 6,000rpm
Price: Rs 81,343 (Gixxer, rear disc) / Rs 96,800 (Gixxer SF, ABS) (both prices ex-showroom, Delhi)
Also read: 2017 Suzuki Gixxer SF ABS review, test ride
Best affordable ABS-equipped motorcycles in India
13 fuel-injected bikes in India under Rs 1.5 lakh
Top 5 bikes under Rs 2 lakh in India
Top 5 bikes under Rs 4 lakh in India
10 most expensive bikes on sale in India