What bike to buy in India

Discussion in 'Asia' started by AlienMotorcycleMama, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. AlienMotorcycleMama

    AlienMotorcycleMama Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Currently? Goa, India
    Hello!

    I feel I shouldn't be on this forum — I am anything BUT an adventure rider — but folks on other lists said you folks might be able to answer my questions, so here I am.

    I moved from the US to India three months ago. Calangute, Goa, to be exact. I've slowly been getting used to the insane traffic on a rental scooter, but since I'm going to be here a year (at least) and want to explore other parts of the country, it's time to buy a bike.

    I ride a NT700V and Pacific Coast in the US (the latest of a dozen bikes I've owned), and have several hundred thousand miles under my belt. But I'm not lying when I say I'm NOT an adventure rider. I ride slowly and carefully, and give everyone else the right-of-way. No peg dragging for me.

    In India, that's tough to do, and more so, I expect, on a big bike. So what I'm looking for is a bike small enough that I can go grocery shopping and take it about town, but also go touring.

    As you can see from my choice of bikes, I like sport-tourers, but they don't seem to exist in India. I'm old, so need a comfy ride with a good seat and easy seating position. Here, that seems to mean small cruisers.

    After a check with several dealers today, I ruled out Royal Enfield (WAY too heavy, even the 350cc) and Honda doesn't make touring or cruising bikes here. (What they do have is way too uncomfortable for me.) That took me to Bajaj and Hero, and I'm looking at an Avenger and a Super Splendor.

    Either one is doable (and even brand new, the price is right in India), but every bike I looked at has a heel-and-toe shifter, and I rode an older Avenger for two weeks right after I got here, and couldn't figure that out. (Even though it's hotter than hell, I do wear long pants and motorcycle boots even on the scooter, and the heel-and-toe shifters don't seem conducive to big boots and feet.)

    So — and sorry for this long post — my questions are:

    Are there any other bikes a should consider in India?

    Will I be able to get the hang of the heel-and-toe shifter?

    Can I tour such a big country on a scooter?

    I'm open to any advice as long as you realize I'm an old wuss who'll have to deal with buses passing within inches of me; potholed roads and speed bumps everywhere; parking in tiny spaces that I'll need to get out of; and I'm sure lots of other things I don't know about.

    I really do enjoy riding/scooting when I'm on an only semi-packed road, and know things will be nice on the highways, but I do need something dual purpose.

    Thoughts?

    A huge TIA!!!!
    #1
    Shivanshu likes this.
  2. Farang Paul

    Farang Paul A Late Convert

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    145
    Location:
    Krabi, Thailand
    What about a BMW G310R or G310GS?
    Made in India, no heel & toe, compact bike, easy in town but able to cope with highway.
    Owned a Bajaj Avenger - heavy, underpowered, clumsy wannabe cruiser that lasts forever - loved in India (but then they love the Morris Oxford), hated elsewhere.
    Heel and toe should be the least of your worries as they can be adjusted to allow for boots, or easily modified to a single pedal.
    #2
  3. AlienMotorcycleMama

    AlienMotorcycleMama Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Currently? Goa, India
    Good to know about the heel and toe (kinda thought so, but the salesman had no clue.)

    Unfortunately, according a web site, the 310R isn't expected to be here until at least October. :-( Plus, since the official BMW India site is only "coming soon," don't think I'd be able to find a dealer nearby.

    Sad, cuz I've owned a BMW and really liked it.

    Thanks for the info!

    BTW, see you're in Thailand. I may be heading over that way (san m/c) soon.
    #3
  4. Loomdog

    Loomdog Where's that trail again?

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    Westminster, CO
    Im going to go out on a limb here.......... An Indian maybe?
    #4
  5. Farang Paul

    Farang Paul A Late Convert

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    145
    Location:
    Krabi, Thailand
    Yamaha FZ25, Bajaj Dominar 400, Mahindra Mojo are alternatives available more easily than a BMW 310. All are light, easy to maneuver in traffic and should be easy/cheap to maintain and run.
    #5
  6. Shivanshu

    Shivanshu Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    582
    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    I completely understand what you are going through. A bit strange for all the traffic here, you need a descent and carefree machine, which you can use it for touring as well as city commuting. I would say Try Yamaha Fazer, Yamaha FZ25, Bajaj Dominar 400 ( the best priced). And yes once you have your own bike and since you are a seasoned rider, so it wont take you more than a week or 10 days to get used to Heel-Toe shifter.

    Ofcourse there are people here who have done touring on scooter and they have enjoyed it. The only drawback is the 4.5 lts of fuel tank, which means lookout for fuel pumps or carry extra fuel. So as per me a scooter is good for city but not for touring.

    Let me know if I can be of any help.
    #6
  7. AlienMotorcycleMama

    AlienMotorcycleMama Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Currently? Goa, India
    Hah, hah. Very funny. :-)
    #7
    Loomdog likes this.
  8. AlienMotorcycleMama

    AlienMotorcycleMama Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Currently? Goa, India
    Thank you so much. My concern with those bikes is comfort. I'm an old phart, used to riding sport tourers that are easy on the arms and butt. <g> If those will be comfortable, I will give them a test drive. (At least test drives seem to be easily available in India.)

    And sorry for the delay in getting back. I took the scooter to the very northern-most point in Goa yesterday — a nice ride — then when I got home my internet was down.)
    #8
    Shivanshu likes this.
  9. Shivanshu

    Shivanshu Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    582
    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    No problem Sir, let me know if I can be of any help. And for every ride (small or big) a pic is must ;)
    #9
  10. AlienMotorcycleMama

    AlienMotorcycleMama Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Currently? Goa, India
    I certainly will. And thought my name would be a giveaway, but I'm not a sir. I'm a little old lady.
    And you want pics when I go out on my scooter? That's not very adventurous. <g>
    #10
    Shivanshu likes this.
  11. Shivanshu

    Shivanshu Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    582
    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    Mam I am sorry, lol see I love touring and i love to capture the moments, so even if you had a small outing, hence I was asking. But yes all depends on your convenience.
    #11
  12. AlienMotorcycleMama

    AlienMotorcycleMama Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Currently? Goa, India
    OK, just an update for you inquiring minds. After checking through the suggestions, I'm going to check out and test ride the Yamaha Fazer and the Bajaj 400. I know there's a big difference in size between the two, but both mention comfort both in the city and on the road, and that's what I'm looking for. Also, both prices are right.
    I was also surprised to see the Bajaj Dominar called a "cruiser sport." That's what I ride in America (sport cruisers), so that may be the way to go.
    So thanks, and I've still got two weeks before I move into my new rental, and that's when I'll be buying a bike. So any other suggestions are welcomed.
    Oh, and for Shivanshu, here's a pic from Fort Reyes Mago in Nerul, Goa. Scootered there a few weeks ago.

    Attached Files:

    #12
    Shivanshu likes this.
  13. Shivanshu

    Shivanshu Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    582
    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    Yeah both of them are good options, Fazer has been in the market for few years now, Bajaj Dominar is all new and latest technology with full LED lights and all. So all the best for it, I will be eagerly waiting. So as per me either would be good try that. If you do not find it good enough then we can look for something else Mam.
    #13
  14. AlienMotorcycleMama

    AlienMotorcycleMama Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Currently? Goa, India
    Thank you so much. I've got a tour of Divar Island Saturday, so I'll pop over the the Yamaha and Bajaj dealers in Panji when I'm done and look and see if I can get a test drive. I'll ley tou know how it goes.

    BTW, where are you in India? Once I get a bike, I'm hoping to travel all over.
    #14
    Shivanshu likes this.
  15. Shivanshu

    Shivanshu Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    582
    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    Great all the best, I am in Delhi. Hop-on and plan your travel. Just a precautionary advice - this coming few months expect the temperature to rise drastically, so avoid being in this heat.
    #15
  16. AlienMotorcycleMama

    AlienMotorcycleMama Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Currently? Goa, India
    OK, I'm back from checking out bikes and feel fairly good about both the Dominor (Bajaj 400, which I have NOT ridden yet) and the Fazer.

    The folks at Bajaj were picky about letting me ride without my international driver's license (it was back at the house with my passport :-(), but I did sit on it and it was very comfy. Looks like shifting won't be a problem and I like all the bells and whistles as well. Just got to see how it handles in this crazy traffic. It's also double the price of the Fazer, so that's something I'm going to have to consider.

    The Yamaha dealer said the Fazer hasn't been selling well in India (figures -- I've never owned a "popular" bike) so he didn't have one in stock. But he had me try a 250 which was WAY, WAY too sporty for me, then let me ride an FZ-S, which is the Fazer without the fairing. (Don't think there's any other differences. If anyone knows of any, let me know.)

    I LOVED it. I'm sure they could tell cuz I was out for a bit, and even though I was riding in the city (Panjim) I could tell it would work for me. (After 3.5 months of just a scooter, I was a little leery of getting back on a "bike." But no problem and I was grinning ear-to-ear when I got back.)

    Plus, it's VERY inexpensive and will take saddle bags and a sissy bar from after-market sources. The dealer is going to call around and see if there are any Fazers that can be shipped from another dealer in India. I said red, but I'll take whatever.)

    I'll go back to Panjim either later this week or next week and ride the Dominor then make a decision. Then, it's just getting my landlady over there to actually buy the bike for me after I put money in her bank account.

    I think this is going to work and I'm excited about finally getting to ride outside Goa.
    #16
  17. Koonzee

    Koonzee Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    Via Lactea
    AlienMotorcycleMama: Hello. The following URLs may provide more information about current motorcycles available in India and model year updates/review:

    https://www.indiacarnews.com/bike/

    Fazer
    https://www.indiacarnews.com/?s=yamaha+Fazer&=

    Baja:
    https://www.indiacarnews.com/?s=baja+400&=

    Karizma:
    https://www.indiacarnews.com/?s=karizma&=

    Pulsar:
    https://www.indiacarnews.com/?s=pulsar+&=

    Good luck! Don't forget to negotiate a few spare parts before your close the deal.

    Take care, keep smiling & ride safely!
    #17
  18. Koonzee

    Koonzee Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    Via Lactea
  19. Shivanshu

    Shivanshu Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    582
    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    Great i am glad. FZ is a good bike and sturdy one. I love it the only problem it has is when riding in high altitude.
    And yes you are right Fazer is justsemi faired version of FZ s and other than that everything is same. And yes FZ has a good hold in Indian market so getting spares wont be a trouble.
    And you are right it will hold ur saddle and everything. Its a good buy.
    Dominar wud be good but yes expensive. It wud be a bit more powerful than FZ250 which u test rode after all Dominar is de tuned engine of KTM Duke 390. So if you found FZ250 too mch power dnt even bother to go to Bajaj.
    The only thing you need to confirm is that did you find FZ-S heavy or was it ok for you?
    Waiting for your update....
    #19
  20. Shivanshu

    Shivanshu Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    582
    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    #20