Which big touring motorcycle should I buy


I would love to have an upright and comfortable seating […]

I would love to have an upright and comfortable seating posture which I think plays the biggest role when it comes to touring. Reliability and sensible maintenance and spares are the other requirements as I would like to ride the motorcycle rather than it being a garage queen.

BHPian Hamza123 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I have been looking to upgrade my motorcycle and have been shopping around and started doing research. I use a pre-loved 2015 Ninja 650 which is a lovely bike and very very reliable but the itch to upgrade finally got to me after using it for 2.5 years and 15000 km. I also own a Thunderbird 500 which is my daily rider.

I usually ride almost every weekend and sometimes when I get time, even during the week. I don’t ride at fast speeds at all and like to stick to the 90-100 km/h range. I would love to have an upright and comfortable seating posture which I think plays the biggest role when it comes to touring. Reliability and sensible maintenance and spares are the other requirements as I would like to ride the motorcycle rather than it being a garage queen.

Even my breakfast and Sunday rides are between 200 to 300 kms as I hate going for anything shorter than that. Not much of an off road guy and the max I would go is into some B roads and dust trails. My budget is 12 to 13 lacs at maximum as I would like to avoid financing the motorcycle as much as possible.

I have shortlisted the following motorcycles and would love to know your opinion on the same.

1.Kawasaki Versys 1000

Loved the sheer size and road presence of it. Took a very very short test ride and was instantly home. Did not find it too big and unwieldy and could flat foot one foot easily. Surprisingly, my wife was very comfortable on the bike instantly (she was not at all on the ninja). A longer test ride is due. Also hoping that Kawasaki get the S model which has replaced the base model internationally.

2. Kawasaki Ninja 1000

Find the lean angle to be more than that of the Ninja 650 and not sure if I would be comfortable on it for long durations or not. A longer test ride is due.

3. A pre owned Multistrada 950/1260/Diavel

Ducatis have always made me a bit weak in the knees but not sure how reliable they would be or affordable they would be in terms of running costs and spares. Still a dark horse.

4. A pre owned Tiger 800

Another contender but I like the Versys 1000 a bit more than this. But will keep looking for one if I get a sweet deal.

Don’t like the Vstrom / Africa twin purely on the basis of their looks.

Any other suggestions would be welcomed. The purchase will happen next year so I do have some time for the same.

Here’s what BHPian neil.jericho had to say on the matter:

The bike you need is probably either the Suzuki V Strom 650 or the Versys 650. Between the two, I would suggest the former. That said, you cant go wrong with either.

But, since you are already used to a Ninja 650, both these bikes may not feel like a proper upgrade. And since your budget is sufficiently more than what the Suzuki and the Kawasaki cost, then you definitely will want something bigger and better. In that case, the Versys 1000 makes a lot of sense. But, at some level, these are not just logical buys. Since you have time, test ride everything in your budget. You will never know what connects with you the best.

In summary,

Only head – VStrom 650. Eyes closed.

Head + heart – Versys 1000. You already seem to have a liking to it and your wife is comfortable on it.

Only heart – Based on test rides. You never know what tugs your heart strings!

My only suggestion is to keep your finances in place. You never know when a really good preowned deal might popup and help you save a lot of cash. Happy hunting.

Here’s what BHPian no_fear had to say on the matter:

For your sanity and to keep enjoying weekend rides, I will discourage you from looking at used Ducatis. This is purely my opinion and my current experience from owning 4 Ducatis at the moment.

1. Learned this the hard way – insurance companies will say that you can get cashless, 0 dep insurance on Ducati. But you have to pay the repair expenses in full upfront, and then you have to claim the money from insurance, which takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 month. My Hypermotard got rear ended, and the total repair bill is 5.8 lacs. I have to now pay 5.8 lacs upfront to dealer and then get the money back from the insurance company. My insurance provider is New India Assurance. When I took out the policy, I was told it is cashless, but now New India told me that I need to pay upfront and then file for a claim. Why? Because brands like Ducati, Aprilia do not have any factory presence in India, hence insurance companies uses this method. I have no idea about the rationale and logic, but I am sure SnS_12, who has background in insurance, or any other BHPians can shed light on this matter. Probably the insurance agent is bluffing me, since my policy does not mention anything, but I am too exhausted arguing with insurance agents.

2. None of the spare parts come from Thailand directly, where Ducati has a factory. They are shipped from Italy. Average shipping time is 2 -3 months. You have to wait weeks or months to get any spare parts for the bike. It becomes a waiting game and it is not fun.

3. Every spare part is outrageously priced. I was quoted Rs 1,000 for one small screw for my V4S windshield. As per Ducati vendor management tool, its 5 euros for the cost and then add in shipping, GST, customs, fitment charges and the Rs 500 doubles to Rs 1,000.

4. Average servicing costs will run from Rs 20k – 30k. Desmo service, which is required every 24k km runs anywhere from Rs 40-60k. Tires are Rs 40k, brake pads are Rs 10k…. the costs will add up very fast.

4. Most of the used Ducatis for sale in India are in poor shape. Not terrible, but poor. Due to the expensive servicing and maintenance costs, most owners skip on the service. That means, annual service, oil change, filter change, fluid change, brake pads, forks.. none of the consumables are ever changed by owners. I view on average 1 – 2 Ducatis per month in Delhi, as I help out my friends / prospective clients in sourcing bikes. I also work very closely with the Ducati dealers and always hear the horror stories.

5. If you want to buy Ducati, buy a new one. Otherwise, your next best option is to use Ducati’s preowned service, where Ducati dealers and Ducati themselves sell pre-owned bikes with warranty. This is a safer option if you want to go through the used route.

Ducatis are a joy and they definitely stand out, but there is a serious amount of commitment required to own them from a time and finance point of view. My weekends are completely full just maintaining my bikes, and it affects my social life greatly. I am not complaining, as I would gladly choose spending my free time on my bikes, but if you are looking for a very stress free ride, where you do not want to invest time in maintaining and working on bikes all the time, then a Ducati may not be the safest bet.

Here’s what BHPian Axe77 had to say on the matter:

From the list and requirements you have pointed out, I feel a slightly used Tiger 800 will suit you the best. You could even consider the new 850 Tiger Sport, which should be within your budget brand new.

I would say the next option should be Ninja 1000 and perhaps the last should be Versys 1000. Honestly, piloting a Versys 1000 on even B road and some small dust trails can be quite a handful. Please do test it in similar conditions before taking a call. It’s a BIG, HEAVY bike so it’s important to try it out in the more challenging conditions that you think you might encounter in your usage.

Given you are happy to ride within 80-100 kmph, I think it’ll be quite a struggle to use an inline 4 engine with that driving style. It will really beg you to go faster. The Tiger on the other hand, I personally find equally easy to stay within 100 and just as easy to twist the throttle too.

Triumph has excellent service in Pune (perhaps even the best pan India) and the ownership experience and cost of a Tiger 800 should definitely be lower than the Kawasaki litre class offerings.

PS: On a side note, I think I recently read on some group of a Versys 1000 (2nd owner, first owner was Kawasaki India or similar) on sale around Wakad, Pune. Perhaps you can ask around in your Kawasaki groups if you know of the seller.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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