With the skies opening up after the monsoons, it’s a great time to go ahead of the short-burst of riding around the closest bends in your city and plan a slightly longer trip. With the riding season starting soon and brining in festivals such as the India Bike festival in Delhi and the India Bike Week at Goa, it opens up venues for a long distance motorcycle tour. Weather attending these festivals or riding through the tea estates of Munnar, the distances to be covered are enough to make you thing about your choice of motorcycle and riding stance. For those who enjoy the feel of wide handlebars, leather saddles, shiny chrome and a easy cruising, this section is sadly not for you. These are the a segment-wise collection of motorcycles that are capable of maintaining great average speeds on the highways and are yet sharp enough to give one a tingle while muscling them through twisty sections of tarmac.
Upto 250cc - CBR 250R
The Honda is not just a great sport touring motorcycle but an overall performer. Its suspensions set for handling bad city roads as well as offering good stability at high speeds, the CBR makes for a great touring motorcycle. Its chassis finds a great balance between providing a comfortable ride yet not slouching around in corners. The 250cc engine delivers power at a linear surge with enough low-down torque to keep things moving smoothly through tough city traffic. Whilst not as quick in acceleration as the Duke 200, the engine cruises at high rates of speed with composure enabling you better average speeds over a long distance. With a seating posture that doesn’t demand to be leaned over the handlebars all the time it makes covering distances north of 500kms in a day a breeze as you come out of the other end with the least amount of discomfort.
Upto 650cc - Ninja 650
Available in India only in its Ninja Green avatar, the 650 makes for a sharp middle weight sport tourer capable of juggling between multiple roles with great ease.With sharp styling cues borrowed from Kawasaki’s Ninja ZX-10R, it sports sharper headlights and a larger fairing. The parallel-twin engine performs the best while at low- and mid-range making it perfect for commuting as well as making a great highway cruiser. Coupled with wide handlebars and upright seating position make long distance journeys not only fast but also fatigue-free. Its suspensions have been tuned for all kinds of road conditions. While being supple over rough and bumpy patches and yet retaining composure at high speed and canyon carving. The only gripe from this motorcycle is that unlike the higher bikes that come in Kawasaki’s range, this one is completely devoid of any electronic safety nets, missing even a basic ABS system.
Upto 1000cc- Yamaha FZ1
The FZ1 is the FZ16’s big brother. The FZ1 is a complete package with the right styling elements giving it a muscular street presence. With its small sharp-cut headlight and aits 1000cc heart exposed, there is no doubt that it has the mean and aggressive stance even while at standstill. The 998cc, 150bhp engine that is powerful enough to whack you from one state to the other with a single twist the Yamaha makes for a perfect sport touring motorcycle, while the brutal torque available from low down the rev range makes it a breeze for highway overtakes. This is a motorcycle capable of comfortably cruising on the highway at speeds in excess of 150kmph, while being almost vibration free at all instances. And fully adjustable front and rear suspensions mean that you can tune your motorcycle to your comfort levels.
Upto 1500cc –BMW R1200GS
The BMW while not an out and out sport tourer is an icon and has a true go-anywhere capability, so a perfect counterpart to a great ride anywhere across India. Weather looking for a long distance highway journey or a desire to conquer the rough terrain of Laddak, the GS shines everywhere. Its meaty boxer engine delivers torque at every rev range and comes loaded with goodies like heated grips, adjustable visor and adjustable suspensions. With 30 years of touring history, BMW has perfected every inch of this motorcycle and made it more and more compliant to any sort of terrain condition. With a 21-litre tank capacity the GS ensures least amount of fuel stops while the height-adjustable seats make for a comfortable long distance tour without any need to stop and take rest. Intimidating in sheer size and height, the GS is no novice machine but once used to, there would be no other motorcycle would offer the fun and versatility of this Bavarian no matter what you throw at it.