The Royal Enfield Classic 500 now has ABS, which adds a dimension of safety to it. However, what other options do one have? For this competition check, we needed to find premium products capable of touring, with ABS – which is why a couple of obvious additions like the Yamaha Fazer 25, UM Renegade Classic, and KTM 390 Duke didn’t make the cut.
First, the Royal Enfield Classic 500 ABS offers retro styling, along with all the charm it offers. Nobody will mistake it for anything else (ABS is available only on the matte colours, and the Pegasus doesn’t have ABS). The torquey 499cc mill offers 27bhp and 41Nm, but the performance is dulled by the 190kg kerb weight. The Classic is also the only product here with a five-speed gearbox, tube-type tyres and twin rear shock absorbers; all the others offer six speeds, tubeless tyres and a rear monoshock. The all-analogue instrumentation on the Classic is extremely basic. There is a world of customisation available for the Classic, starting with the upswept exhaust muffler that is provided by the RE dealer itself. Needless to say, if you like cruising to destinations, the Classic 500 ABS will make for a good fit for you. Price: ₹ 2.0 lakhs
However, if you aren’t completely laid back and prefer to ride with pace at least once in a while, the Bajaj Dominar 400 ABS might serve you better. It follows the format of a power cruiser, and it has the muscle to match its looks – a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 373cc single generates nearly 35bhp and 35Nm, and offers a slipper clutch as well. It also offers an all-LED headlamp that is the most effective of the lot here. The reverse-LCD cluster offers a lot of information to the rider, but the Dominar is unique in that it has split instrumentation, with some warning lamps mounted on the tank. Judging by the number of features it offers, it upholds Bajaj’s motto of delivering the maximum bang for your buck. Price: ₹ 1.63 lakhs
But if you like your tourer with a fairing, there is the Honda CBR250R ABS. Not only does it offer ABS, you get C-ABS, which means that the front brake is triggered when you hit the rear brake as well. The engine is the smallest here, displacing only 250cc, but it is liquid cooled, which helps it generate 26bhp and 23Nm. You get Honda’s reliability, along with a motorcycle that is capable and docile, but maybe it misses out on the fun factor just a little bit. Price: ₹ 1.96 lakhs
If it is fun you seek while touring, look no further than the TVS Apache RR310. This product shares its genes with the BMW G 310 R, and it is the only road-biased machine here with upside down front forks and a radially mounted brake calliper. Its liquid cooled 313cc single cylinder motor generates 33bhp and 27Nm. It has an all-digital cluster that follows a vertical format that seems counter-intuitive at first, but is quite easy to follow. It offers a number of features like top speed recorder, lap timer, 0-60kph time, and dual bi-xenon projector headlamps. If you like your touring to be more sporty and less leisurely, the TVS is where it is at. Price: ₹ 2.0 lakh
There is one more bike that meets the parameters of this comparison: the BMW G 310 GS. This is the only adventure tourer here, and has a very similar engine to the TVS, with 33bhp and 27Nm from its liquid-cooled single cylinder engine. It is a road-biased adventure tourer, with alloy wheels and tyres that match. The long-travel suspension and BMW’s reputation for quality should make it one of the best tourers in India. There’s just one thing wrong with it - the price. Price: ₹ 3.5 lakhs.