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Thread: options for long-distance touring bike in India?

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    Question options for long-distance touring bike in India?

    I'm a Canadian planning to do a long (6m-12m) moto tour of India late this year. I've never been to India, but I've done lots of motorcycle touring elsewhere, and prefer to stay off the highway as much as possible. I started a thread for general inquiries (especially re: paperwork and route) in the Touring Queries board here if you have advice on that.

    Here I'm hoping to get a grip on what my options are for a bike. I'm inclined to tour on something intended for rough roads, with decent suspension travel and clearance, which would seem to limit my options in India quite a lot. Searching online, the two I've found (without getting into big-dollar imports) are the Hero Xpulse 200 and the RE Himalayan 400. Thoughts on these? The Xpulse looks to be just coming out so I'd have to buy new, although I might be able to find a used Himalayan to save some money.

    Are there other bikes I might find that'd fit the bill? Perhaps something modified?

    I'm kinda surprised the India bike market seems so skewed to city bikes. I'd figure roads outside the cities and even in would be pretty rough. Something like the Dominar 400 looks to be incredible value, but I worry it's not up to poor/unpaved roads, and that I'd be limited to very street-biased tires?

    Thanks for your input.

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    Super Moderator sunilg's Avatar
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    Default Re: options for long-distance touring bike in India?

    Hi,

    Unfortunately, there are not too many options available when it comes to a proper mid/small adventure motorcycle in India. Hero xpulse has not been launched yet. You might get a used Hero impulse, but it would be too underpowered, it uses a 150 cc engine and makes only 13 bhp. Plus it has been out of production for quite some time, so i won't recommended it if you plan to keep it for these many days. Finding spares would be a real issue.

    There are BMW G310 GS and also Kawasaki Versys 300, but these would be expensive, Kawa being more expensive then beemer. BMW brand new is about 4 Lakh INR on road. And since there have been very few units of these bikes sold, getting a good used bike deal will depend on luck.

    Himalayan is a good option, but make sure you go for the Euro 4 version only. The earlier versions faced a lot of issues and were not reliable at all.

    Other non-adventure but worthy touring motorcycle options are Bajaj Dominar. People have literally crossed continents on this motorbike. People have Arctic to Antarctic ride on this, a trans-siberian ride, plus a girl from india is doing India to Australia on it right now. Has about 35 bhp of power and you will get plenty of service centers across the country to service it and won't be heavy on pocket as well. There are some customization options available as well to make it more adv/touring friendly.

    Hope you have a pleasant stay in India.


    Quote Originally Posted by stewacide View Post
    I'm a Canadian planning to do a long (6m-12m) moto tour of India late this year. I've never been to India, but I've done lots of motorcycle touring elsewhere, and prefer to stay off the highway as much as possible. I started a thread for general inquiries (especially re: paperwork and route) in the Touring Queries board here if you have advice on that.

    Here I'm hoping to get a grip on what my options are for a bike. I'm inclined to tour on something intended for rough roads, with decent suspension travel and clearance, which would seem to limit my options in India quite a lot. Searching online, the two I've found (without getting into big-dollar imports) are the Hero Xpulse 200 and the RE Himalayan 400. Thoughts on these? The Xpulse looks to be just coming out so I'd have to buy new, although I might be able to find a used Himalayan to save some money.

    Are there other bikes I might find that'd fit the bill? Perhaps something modified?

    I'm kinda surprised the India bike market seems so skewed to city bikes. I'd figure roads outside the cities and even in would be pretty rough. Something like the Dominar 400 looks to be incredible value, but I worry it's not up to poor/unpaved roads, and that I'd be limited to very street-biased tires?

    Thanks for your input.
    (Been There Done That) x 3.25

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    Default Re: options for long-distance touring bike in India?

    Hmm... looks like the Dominar may be the best option. I suppose I can have some fun modding it a bit before I go.

    Name:  2018-Dominar-by-Autologue-Design-6.jpg
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    ordinaryme and pahnin like this.

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    Default Re: options for long-distance touring bike in India?

    Quote Originally Posted by stewacide View Post
    Hmm... looks like the Dominar may be the best option. I suppose I can have some fun modding it a bit before I go.

    Name:  2018-Dominar-by-Autologue-Design-6.jpg
Views: 1300
Size:  53.6 KB
    These are the mods I know, you might want to consider:

    Some people in Pune have raised the front suspension a little, it won't increase the travel but it increases ground clearance I think, SVS Moto in Pune.

    You can try autologue windshield/carbon racing wind sheild. Multiple companies (Sahyadri, autologue, carbon racing, Zana, lluvia) make saddle stays etc.

    You can add gelpad to the seat for more comfort, or go for "fego float" as an add on.

    Also you can raise the handlebar a little, for upright posture, again there are multiple companies that sell these raisers.

    Happy riding!

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    Default Re: options for long-distance touring bike in India?

    Is there any provision to slide the Dominar forks down the tree? (to raise the height of the front) Or for shorter links (or whatever) to raise the rear some?

    Are tread-ier, thicker-sidewall tires available? (perhaps fitting tubes? I assume the stock tires are tubeless?)

    Edit -- Looks like there are suspension raisers for sliding the front forks down: https://youtu.be/9rsliR8HiRM

    How does it work in the rear?
    Last edited by stewacide; 03-31-2019 at 01:45 PM.

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    Default Re: options for long-distance touring bike in India?

    Quote Originally Posted by stewacide View Post
    Is there any provision to slide the Dominar forks down the tree? (to raise the height of the front) Or for shorter links (or whatever) to raise the rear some?

    Are tread-ier, thicker-sidewall tires available? (perhaps fitting tubes? I assume the stock tires are tubeless?)

    Edit -- Looks like there are suspension raisers for sliding the front forks down: https://you.tu.be/9rsliR8HiRM

    How does it work in the rear?
    Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR should do the job pretty well i think. I think they would suffice all your adventure and touring needs. Adding the link https://www.amazon.in/s?k=pirelli+sc...sl_xtutwxjcr_e. Yes these are suspension raiser but they would not increase the travel but would add some more of ground clearance. I have personally not seen anything been done to the rear monoshock to increase the ride height. I am a dominar owner and feel free to ask any doubts or queries you have in mind.
    Ride Hard Ride Safe
    Amogh Sharma

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    Default Re: options for long-distance touring bike in India?

    Quote Originally Posted by V 12 View Post
    Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR should do the job pretty well i think. I think they would suffice all your adventure and touring needs. Adding the link https://www.amazon.in/s?k=pirelli+sc...sl_xtutwxjcr_e. Yes these are suspension raiser but they would not increase the travel but would add some more of ground clearance. I have personally not seen anything been done to the rear monoshock to increase the ride height. I am a dominar owner and feel free to ask any doubts or queries you have in mind.
    Ride Hard Ride Safe
    Amogh Sharma
    Adding to this, 2019 dominar has slightly more ground clearance and softer rear suspension, so raising front suspension on 2019 dominar will be much better. But as it has only been released couple of days ago in the market, you wouldn't be able to buy it in 2nd hand

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    Default Re: options for long-distance touring bike in India?

    Quote Originally Posted by stewacide View Post

    I'm kinda surprised the India bike market seems so skewed to city bikes. I'd figure roads outside the cities and even in would be pretty rough. Something like the Dominar 400 looks to be incredible value, but I worry it's not up to poor/unpaved roads, and that I'd be limited to very street-biased tires?

    Thanks for your input.
    The road network is quite good more so outside the city. Except for the rare occasion, you will find most roads to be proper unless you're looking to venture off-road into woods, towards banks of rivers, lakes or towards mountainous region - some places will have the what we call the "kachcha" road. You should find great roads in most places - you can look at the travelogue section for some insight.

    If you're traveling Solo, I'd recommend the Bajaj Dominar since it's built to munch kilometers. A member posted changes to suspension, seats and more, so that'll something you may want to look into.
    If you're certain you'll be off-roading, the Hero XPulse 200 is a fantastic option.
    If you're going to have a pillion, The RE Himalayan is a great motorcycle, but I'd recommend staying away from a seconds motorcycle unless you have a seal of approval from someone who knows the motorcycle well - xBhp members can help out with this.

    Sahyadri Moto: https://www.sahyadrimoto.com/pages/contact-us

    Welcome to incredible India. All the very best for your adventure
    stewacide likes this.

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    Default Re: options for long-distance touring bike in India?

    I wound up getting the Xpulse 200 (FI model). Currently waiting for plate (apparently it's 8-12 business days here!). The state of the roads here in Mumbai (where I'm starting) scared me straight about getting a street bike (Pulsar, Dominar), as well as the difficulty of mounting my already-owned softbags with a low-mount exhaust.

    I just did a very short test ride (no opportunity to get out of second in the city with traffic) but it seems to be geared super low, and I couldn't even manage to stall it when trying, so I figure I can raise the gearing significantly with a sprocket swap to improve the high speed. (does anyone know what sprockets fit / where I can buy/order?)

    I'll post a review on here when I actually get it and have it for a while, since I think I have one of the first ones, but my first impressions just looking at it, coming from a lot of Japanese dual sports / dirt bikes, is that this is very much a road/touring bike first. The steering stop-to-stop angel is that of a road bike not a true off-roader (and with the stock tank there's no way to improve it by grinding the stops, although if someone went to say a plastic aftermarket tank that should be possible). The plastics are on the hard/brittle-feeling side. Also it doesn't appear the front suspension is adjustable for preload/sag, and seems a bit soft to my taste, although the rear is. It also would have been really nice if they'd included proper metal-reinforced 'barkbusters' as standard since that sorta' stuff doesn't appear to be readily available aftermarket in India.

    On the plus side is of course the price: about 1/3 to 1/4 the price of a comparable Japanese bike! (in North America). And the equipment/technology is just insane for the price: LED headlight, navigation, gear indicator, fuel injection, front ABS. And of course the suspension travel, ground clearance and wheel size (all adding up to comfort and confidence over bumpy roads). The front tubes were surprisingly beefy which gives confidence in durability off-road.
    Last edited by stewacide; 10-15-2019 at 04:10 PM.
    V 12 likes this.

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    Default Re: options for long-distance touring bike in India?

    Googling a bit it seems the Xpulse 200T (i.e. the cast-wheel 'city' version) sprocket would raise the gearing some, but I'm having trouble finding how much (how many teeth). That could be a good upgrade for touring.
    #bpk likes this.

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