I was expecting a lot more competition here than what I found, the best bike under 3 lakh category is strangely empty in India.
This article is a part of the series I’m doing that looks at the choices available in the market, and then logically attempts to find the best option under a certain budget. I did the 2 lakh category last time, will do the 1 lakh one at some time in the future, and that would be the end of it. 3 lacs is quite enough for a motorcycle in my opinion, anything above that would most likely end up being an emotional choice, and you don’t need to waste your time on this website for that.
I think there are 3 reasons why there isn’t much of a selection in the under 3 lakh department:
- KTM has total control in this range, other manufacturers don’t bother with it
- It’s kind of a niche category, bikes in this range can’t be called budget, but they aren’t exactly premium either
- 3 lacs is still a lot of cash for an Indian to spend on a motorcycle, with everyone yelling “You can buy a car with that money”
It’s kinda weird though, with the way performance motorcycling is growing in India I expected there to be more players in this segment, there aren’t even any upcoming bikes rumored to be in this range that are worth a look. Then again my understanding of the Indian biking scene is about as good as a dog’s understanding of linear algebra. All I am capable of is drooling, licking balls, and pissing on others.
But I digress, let’s try and apply some more decision making skills to find out what’s the best bike under 3 lakh that you can buy in India.
Best bike under 3 lakh: The budget
We already have that, but as always there’s a hard stop at 3 lakh and the price considered is on-road, not ex-showroom.
Like I’ve mentioned before, buying a motorcycle is easy, living with one is hard. It’s like having a baby, fucking is easy, but the real fun begins after delivery. Buying a motorcycle is usually the beginning of a long and complex expense sheet, stay well within your budget to be prepared for the future, at least if you plan to truly enjoy the bike.
The 3 requirements
The requirements remain the same, although there isn’t much of an effort required in this category to thin the herd. Here are the 3 things that must be present in a motorcycle at this price point:
- Large service network
Buying a motorcycle without ABS and EFI in today’s time is like buying a flip phone, only serial killers and child molesters do that. And you can’t buy something from Benelli or Hyosung or UM because they don’t have the giant safety net that Bajaj or Yamaha or TVS do.
We could’ve skipped the previous step, there are only 4 options available in this price range:
- KTM Duke 390
- KTM RC 390
- TVS Apache RR 310
- Honda CBR 250R
That’s it, there’s nothing more. I had expected a few Benellis and Hyosungs and Kawasaki’s to be in this range as well, but all of them are way over 3 lakh.
The CBR 250R had been discontinued by Honda, but they’ve launched a new one at the Auto expo with a bunch of stickers and a new headlight. Old shit in a new box. I’m including the picture for the old version here because there aren’t many of the new one, and also because who cares.
Alright then, time for the magic, let’s try and give a number to each of the features of each of the bikes. Remember that this is a subjective exercise and the numbers might be different for you. 1 is bad, 10 is good.
[table id=19 /]
Best bike under 3 lakh: The answer
I used to own a Duke 390, so I can safely confirm that it is one hell of a bike. The new Duke is even more improved, looks better, runs better, and is one of the most impressive machines you’ll ever put between your legs.
There is only one situation where your decision might be different. If you are a track junkie, then it makes sense to try and choose between RC 390 and RR 310. The RC is already a well established track tool, is cheap to maintain, and has a variety of upgrades available. The RR 310 is brand new, so you shouldn’t really even look at it for at least 6 months. After that if all the initial niggles have been resolved, and it stays at the current sweet price, and the user reviews are good, then it’s worth the money.
Oh and don’t buy the CBR, as a matter of principal. Honda doesn’t want to give us any of the bikes that we really need, don’t give them any of what they want, money.
If you are mainly going to be riding on the track, go for the RC 390. If not, go for the Duke 390.