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Top 5 touring bikes for under Rs 2 lakh

Touring on two wheels has become a hobby which has really caught on over the past decade or so. And options for capable touring machines have also increased in the market. We list out the top 5 touring motorcycles under Rs 2 lakh
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500
1. Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500
The Thunderbird 500 is the flagship model from the Royal Enfield stable. Cruiser looks with a high, wide handlebar, large 20-litre tank, and a 499cc twinspark, air-cooled, fuel injected engine making a very respectable 41.3Nm of torque and 27.6PS of power certainly endows the Thunderbird 500 with very good touring capability.
A projector assembly housed inside the main headlamp will prove handy for tackling those kilometres on deserted back roads long after the sun has set. Chrome twin-pod meters gets a digital readout for the odometer, tripmeter and fuel gaug, and also incorporates a handy trip computer which even provides data such as average speed. There’s also a handy hazard light, to be used for those numerous pit stops by the highway.
Although suspension is on the stiffer side, and provides a bumpy ride quality, especially over broken terrain, handling is quite good for a bike with cruiser looks. And all that torque and fuel injection means easy climbing up those high mountain passes, if one is so inclined. Performance is respectable, but not fast. At best, the Thunderbird 500 manages to clock about 130kmph, but is most happy cruising along steadily at around 85-95kmph. Any more speed, and the vibes start creeping in. So, if it’s laid back motorcycling with ample pulling power for two-up touring one is looking for, the Thunderbird 500 ticks all the right boxes.
but then again, Royal Enfield is reportedly working on an all-new adventure tourer called the Himalayan. It will be equipped with a new 400cc engine which will make about 40Nm of torque and will have design and styling cues of an adventure tourer more equipped for long distance cruising as well as taking on broken terrain over the high mountains.
Price: Rs 1.73 lakh (ex-showroom)

Honda CBR250R
2. Honda CBR250R
Although its CBR moniker instantly creates supersport intent, the CBR250R is more in tune with the sport-touring VFR series from Honda. Ergonomics more suited for a relaxed posture, comfortable saddle and space for the rider to move around and decent wind protection, the CBR250R is all every tourer could ask for, and then some more.
The single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, four-stroke 249cc engine makes just over 26PS power and 22.9Nm of torque – decent figures for a touring specific bike. Linear power delivery, refined engine with adequate performance to manage triple-digit speeds all day, makes the CBR250R a very capable touring machine. ABS, even though optional, provides very good stopping power. A little more torque however, would have been welcome. It’s not superbike quick, but the CBR250R offers very good touring capability, with a refined engine for high speed highway munching and some additional power for quick overtakes too.
Honda is reportedly working on a facelift on the CBR250R and an updated 2015 version is on the works.
Price: Rs 1.67 lakh (ex-showroom)

Bajaj Avenger 220
3. Bajaj Avenger 220
With a 220cc motor borrowed from the Pulsar 220, the Avenger packs in decent grunt and thrust to cover distances with less effort but more thrills. The ergonomic triangle of handlebar-footpegs-seat is perfectly designed which makes for a very relaxed and laidback riding position without the rider having to stretch his arms to reach the handlebars. The lightweight aluminium footpegs too are placed correctly to accommodate lanky fellows as well as riders of shorter stature– ideal for the Avenger’s intended use to cover distances without exhausting the rider over long hauls.
The 220cc DTSi engine borrowed from the biggest Pulsar yet, also sports a different engine setup to suit the Avenger’s cruiser character. Thanks to this, the 17Nm of torque peaking at 8,500rpm is evenly spread out over a flat curve and it is available on tap from lower down the rev-range as the engine comfortably pulls into triple digit figures without feeling stressed. Slotted in fifth gear, the seamless power delivery from the 220cc engine provides smooth acceleration right from 40kmph all the way upto its top-speed of over 120kmph. 
With an overall efficiency figure of over 45kmpl under mixed riding conditions, the Avenger is a great tool for those who want to go touring on a budget. factor in the 14 litres of tank capacity coupled to the fuel efficient nature of the 220cc Bajaj powerplant and the Avenger 220 DTSi can comfortably take you over 600km on a single tank full. Equaling the Avenger’s performance is its sure-footed handling and plush ride quality. And at a price tag which is hard to beat, the Avenger makes for a very good value for money tourer with adequate performance to back it up.
Bajaj is already working on updating the existing Avenger and an upgraded 2015 Avenger is expected later this year. It will now be powered by the 200cc motor sourced from the Pulsar 200NS.
Price: Rs 75,500 (ex-showroom)

Hero Karizma ZMR
4. Hero Karizma ZMR
When it was first introduced in the early part of this millennium, the Karizma became instantly popular among the touring community. It provided a big-bike feel, the 223cc refined engine provided adequate torque and grunt for effortless high-speed highway cruising, and it was a very capable touring motorcycle. Despite initial jokes about the name, the Karizma became a favoured touring motorcycle, at least till the advent of the Bajaj Pulsar 220.
The 2014 Karizma ZMR is Hero’s attempt at reviving the past laurels of the first-generation Karizma, but with a full fairing, fuel injection and oil cooled motor.  It also gets new design upgrades giving it a definite ‘big-bike’ look. The engine is a 223cc air-cooled, fuel-injected mill pumping out 20PS power and 19.7Nm torque.
The disc brakes at front and rear provide adequate bite for confident braking. There’s no monoshock but ride quality is supple over most kinds of terrain. With top speeds of over 125kmph, the Karizma ZMR also promises to be an able bike to cover long distances on the highway. But where the Karizma ZMR disappoints is the re-tuned engine, which makes marginally more power and torque, but is plagued with vibrations which creep in at high speeds. Capable tourer? Yes, and at a very good price too. But the Karizma ZMR just isn’t what the earlier Karizmas used to be.
Price: Rs 1,03,000

Bajaj Pular AS 200
5. Bajaj Pulsar AS 200
The Bajaj Pulsar AS 200 is the newest offering from Bajaj. In a way, Bajaj has banked on the popularity of the Pulsar 220 as a capable touring machine and now offers what the company says, an all new segment in the Indian motorcycle industry – the Adventure Sport. And this, the AS 200 is the flagship adventure tourer from Bajaj.
In terms of features and equipment, the AS 200 doesn’t disappoint. It comes with projector headlamps, a semi-digital instrument cluster with two trip meters, an odometer and a clock. Just like the rest of the Pulsar range, the AS200 too comes with backlit switchgear. And then it comes with nice looking star-shaped 10-spoke alloy wheels and tubeless tyres as well. 
Powered by the same engine as the 200NS, the 199.5cc liquid-cooled unit too makes 23.5PS and 18.3Nm. But Bajaj says it is tuned to reduce vibrations and it shows. The suspension set up on the AS 200 leans towards the stiffer side, but it gives the bike very good cornering capability. Despite the adventure touring capability it boasts of ,  more suspension travel and a larger fuel tank than the current 12 litres would have added some more capability and made it a real adventure bike. But at Rs 91,550 (ex-showroom Delhi), the AS 200 provides excellent value for a touring bike.
Price: Rs 91,550 (ex-showroom)

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