Motorcycles are often known for their agility and speed. Faired motorcycles are perfect examples of an ideal balance between performance and looks.
There are various types of motorcycles but fully faired ones often bring out the enthusiast in us. With the go to match the show, legendary bikes like the Yamaha R1 and MV Agusta F4 have all been bedroom-poster materials for many of us. In due course of time, manufacturers have started offering affordable faired motorcycles for riders in India and here are five of the cheapest bikes one can buy in the country:
Suzuki Gixxer SF:
Japanese giant Suzuki began its onslaught into the Indian budget performance segment with the Gixxer. It was then followed by the Gixxer SF, a faired version of the first bike. At Rs 89,659, ex-showroom Delhi, the Gixxer SF is the cheapest faired motorcycle available in India. The design is reminiscent of its litre-class sibling, the GSX-R 1000. The fairing is not just for aesthetics; it improves aerodynamics by around 5-6 per cent over the naked variant, thus commendably improving riding comfort over long distances.
The bike is powered by a 154.9cc air-cooled single cylinder engine which churns out 14.8PS of power at 8,000rpm and 14Nm of torque at 6,000rpm. The engine is paired to a five-speed unit. Suspension duties are carried out by traditional forks at the front and monoshock at the rear. The bike comes with front and rear disc brakes as standard, but unfortunately, there is no ABS. A fuel-injected variant of the Gixxer SF has also been launched, which offers crispier throttle control and better cold starts but the power output remains the same as the carburetted one.
Yamaha YZF R15 Version 2.0:
The R15 from Yamaha was one of the first fully-faired motorcycles to make a mark in the budget performance segment. It was later updated with the new ‘Version 2.0’ which has a reworked ECU, drivetrain, aluminium swingarm and wider tyres at both ends. Priced at Rs 1.18 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi, the bike creates an aspirational feeling among MotoGP fans, particularly the one in Yamaha’s trademark blue colour. It’s a no-brainer considering the fact that the bike has an R1-like faired design with a high-set tapering tail section, twin headlamps, monoshock suspension, disc brakes on both ends, and a small but powerful engine.
The bike is powered by a 149cc fuel-injected engine with liquid cooling, mated to a six-speed transmission. The power figures stand at 17PS at 8,500rpm and 15Nm at 7,500rpm. Accessible power and nimble handling makes the R15 one of the best bikes for beginners on the racetrack.
Bajaj Pulsar RS 200:
The RS 200 is Bajaj’s first fully-faired motorcycle under the Pulsar range. With numerous cuts and slashes, projector lamps, and a matching colour scheme, the RS 200 is quite the looker. Despite the radical looks, the bike is priced competitively, in typical Bajaj fashion. At Rs 1.21 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, Bajaj has made sure the sporty Pulsar is within the reach of enthusiasts under a budget.
The RS 200 borrows the liquid-cooled engine from Pulsar 200 NS but enjoys the added benefits of fuel injection. As a result, the bike produces 24.5PS of power at 9,750rpm (1PS more than the NS) and 18.6Nm of torque (0.3Nm more than the NS) at 8,000rpm. Other benefits of fuel injection include better cold starts and improved throttle response, apart from cleaner emissions. Transmission duties are taken care by a six-speed unit. The bike is also available with ABS, but the system is only single-channel to keep the price in check.
KTM RC 200:
Austrian bike maker KTM is well known to make products that are power-packed with performance and the RC 200 is no exception. With aggressive riding position and a powerful engine, the bike is built to devour the racetrack, under a budget. Speaking about the moolah, the bike is priced at Rs 1.71 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. The bike also gets top-cycle parts like upside-down forks, 300mm disc at the front; monoshock and 230mm disc at the rear. The MRF Zapper tyres provide optimal balance between corner-carving and commuting.
The RC 200 is powered by a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 199.5cc engine which makes about 25.8PS of power at 10,000rpm and 19.2Nm of torque at 8,000rpm. The power delivery is more contained than its bigger brother, the RC 390. This, coupled with sweet handling, makes the RC 200 a great choice among riders looking for some fun weekend rides. Not all riders may like the ergonomics in this bike, as it is meant to be ridden hard. Apart from this, the only chink in its armour is the lack of ABS, even as an option.
KTM RC 390:
Priced at Rs 2.25 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, the KTM RC 390 is arguably the most affordable sub-400cc faired performance bike available in the Indian market. In its 2017 iteration, the RC 390 sports a side-slung exhaust which complies with the BS-IV emission norms and the fairing also sees subtle changes in the livery. When it comes to equipment, KTM has left no stone unturned. The bike is armed with inverted forks at the front, monoshock rear suspension - both from WP; a bigger 320mm disc at the front wheel and 230mm at the rear. The ABS-enabled brakes and Metzeler tyres work in tandem to give the RC 390 unparalleled handling characteristics.
The RC 390 employs a 373.2cc liquid cooled engine which makes 43.5PS of power at 9,000rpm and 36Nm at 7,000rpm. The explosive power delivery is smoothened out by ride-by-wire throttle and is transferred to the rear wheels via a six-speed transmission. The staggering performance to price ratio makes the RC 390 one of the most fun bikes to flog around the track.
These performance bikes really show how the Indian motorcycle market has matured- from purely being commuter-based to enthusiast-focused. Other legendary bikes like the Karizma and the CBR 150R have been given a miss because they are not available currently in the Indian market owing to the new BS-IV emission norms.