Looking for a middleweight bike for touring & city commutes

Looking for a middleweight bike for touring & city commutes

The motorcycle will be used for 500 km per day trips once a month & weekly city commutes of 25 km in Bangalore.

BHPian rohing recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I recently sold my Himalayan after 20k kms on it. Himalayan was good but really lacked some key things I wanted:

  • Refinement (the vibration after 80)
  • Reliability (clutch wire, cone set, rusting)
  • Power (best below 100)
  • Good service network (RE is good, no complaints)

Need some guidance on comparisons from experts here. I need a comfortable middleweight cruiser for 500 km/day trips (once a month) and city commutes in Bangalore (25kms) once a week. I am 6.1 ft and 40+yrs so comfort is key.

The 3 bikes I am considering are:

Bajaj Dominar

Lots of enhancements now and flaws fixed. Value for money! The only negative is the ride quality on bad roads. Many rural roads are quite bad and I ride a lot on them. Is it better now? Also riding position in an adv motorcycle is better.

KTM 390 Adventure

No brainer. Meets most criteria. Higher on the cost side compared to Dominar but within budget. Would love it more if it was a twin. Riding position for someone like me is nice.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

The love for the twin! But horrors of RE and rinding position due to straight seat. Value for money! But again the attraction for the twin.

Any other models the experts here recommend? Do I go for a single or a twin? I don’t mind indulging a little bit. The Honda’s ‘look’ does not appeal. Versys 650 is nice but is KTM x 2, can afford but middle-class value mindset kicks in.

Appreciate any thoughts on the above

Here’s what BHPian ku69rd had to say about the matter:

You left out the Honda CB 500X. Would be a good bet that will balance the city and highway.

The other option would be to consider the KTM 250 Adventure, a well-tuned motor to balance the city plus sufficient power to cruise the highway all day at 100.

390 ADV might be a pain in the city with its high revving nature.

Dominar is a heavy machine for what it offers.

Here’s what BHPian AutoIndian had to say about the matter:

You mentioned that “The Honda’s ‘look’ does not appeal”. Is it so for the 500X as well? Mind you this has a parallel twin & you said you don’t mind indulging a bit. Moreover, the new CB500X is on the cards and the existing version is retailing at discounts of over a lakh rupees. In Bengaluru, the outgoing model would cost you around 6.86 lacs on-road (as per Bikewale), refer to the pic below. You can squeeze further discounts if you have good negotiation skills.

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

If you had mentioned that your usage was only on weekends, then I would have said go for a Kawasaki Versys 650. But since you mentioned you are looking at city commuting in Bangalore, then you should strongly consider something more usable and all-rounded. These mixed conditions are where the Honda CB500X truly shines. It gives up some brownie points on highway rides when compared to its more powerful competition but it makes it all back up, in the city where it slides into a super commuter avatar.

Here’s what BHPian RiderZone had to say about the matter:

Really lovely that everyone has completely ignored the Interceptor. Don’t buy it if 500 kms day trips are your thing, the stock bike absolutely sucks for that requirement. Stock bike also sucks for two-up commutes, bad pillion ergos and lava for exhausts.

If I had the budget, I’d get the Honda 500. If not, KTM 390.

Here’s what BHPian Parishrut had to say about the matter:

I have had a Dominar for the last 4 years. I use it for a similar routine as you have described. I had been doing 1000+ km trips every month until the pandemic struck, and 25 km commutes ever since, which are partly city traffic and partly good roads like Electronic city flyover.

While the big bikes are definitely more comfortable, Dominar has never failed me and I know I can go even longer on my trips. I usually don’t do more than 500km/12 hours of riding on a single day, but I have spent 18+ hours on broken roads and it was fine if you can live with the extra weight. The weight won’t trouble you much in the city since you would commute only once a week, and the same weight will keep you rock-solid on the highway. It has superb low end and mid range, and I barely even use the accelerator in the city traffic for the first 2 gears. The sound and feel is good enough to keep you happy at below 4k RPM in the city and then redline gloriously as you merge onto the highway. I just wouldn’t want to use it for more than 2-3 days in peak traffic (which is how I ended up buying a cycle). I’ve taken it on off roads as I love taking the road not taken. Unless you are doing some crazy off-roading, you can easily swap tires and the bike will take you 95% of the places.

It has very good service support, especially because of its popularity with touring groups which means you can find specialized mechanics if you are not happy with Bajaj. Bajaj service is decent enough and very cheap (I love it) but I always had a backup checkup done at Highlander to keep long-distance reliability in check. Only issue is that good service support is limited to cities when you are on a trip. Not all Bajaj service centers in rural areas can work on a Dominar. But otherwise, relative to other premium bikes in the same segment, parts availability is good and mechanics are not difficult to find if you have a breakdown. The only other brand that I think outperforms this is RE.

Good customization support is cherry on top. There are lots of additional accessories well suited for it at a decent price, and the engine has enough grunt to carry their weight around. It even looks good when it is properly kitted out!

To be honest, I keep reading all the reviews on Team-BHP and lusting after the Honda CB500X which in my opinion is a very genuine upgrade for my needs, especially given how I use the Dominar, but every time I see a new update that Bajaj makes, I just keep considering buying a new Dominar again 😛 For the price that it comes at, it is astounding value. There are flaws, yes, but for the price, I am not complaining.

P.S. Thumb rule for long-distance reliability: Avoid everything that is less than 2 years old or fresh in the market, especially from new brands.

Sinec you are 6.1 ft tall, you will definitely need handlebar raisers on the Dominar and it will definitely not be as comfortable for you as it is for me. I am 5.9 ft.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

LeMond 8 Concept: New US-made road bike claims biggest development in carbon fibre in 30 years Previous post LeMond 8 Concept: New US-made road bike claims biggest development in carbon fibre in 30 years
Royal Enfield Scram 411 first ride review Next post Royal Enfield Scram 411 first ride review