It is wonderful to ride a motorcycle. Not only they are affordable to buy and maintain but also energy efficient. Also, the freedom of changing gears offers satisfaction and performance depending on the riding terrain. India is big on motorcycles. In fact, in the last financial year, two-wheeler sales volumes (domestic) stood at 14.40 lakh units. Of these, 9.82 lakh units were motorcycles, the majority being entry-level, beginner motorcycles. Here is a list of 5 of our favourite accessible beginner motorcycles. For the sake of keeping things tidy, all these bikes have a starting sticker price of less than INR 70,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Honda Livo: Japan’s answer to premium 110 cc motorcycles
Introduced first in 2015, Honda Livo is our favourite entry-level beginner motorcycle. Replacing the CB Twister, the Livo is Honda's most premium 110 cc product. The simply designed bike gets a 3-D Honda Wing badging on the fuel tank extension. Also, the large Livo brand stickering on the fuel tank is a great add-on now. Besides that, the twin-pod instrument console includes a digital-analogue meter with built-in service due indicator and clock.
The Honda Livo is shod with Honda’s patented low rolling resistance tyres which increase fuel efficiency. The bike’s rear suspension involves twin springs with 5-step adjustability for preload. The Honda Livo is powered by a 109.19 cc engine which produces 8.4 PS of power and 9.09 Nm of torque. Its gearbox is a 4-speed unit. The braking setup includes 130 mm drum unit (as standard)/ 240 mm disc with Nissin calliper (as an option). During our review, the optional disc brake added serious bite and has got us out of quite a few hairy situations.
Apart from great looks, the Honda Livo is easy to ride with accessible power output. Also, the bike easily returns more than 60 km to a litre of petrol. Besides that, it has a low seat height of 673 mm and a ground clearance of 180 mm. A low seat height makes it easy to hop on and off the bike, while a high ground clearance means the bike can take on difficult terrain.
Colour options for the Honda Livo include Athletic Blue Metallic, Black, Imperial Red Metallic, Matte Axis Grey Metallic and Sunset Brown Metallic. The Honda Livo has a price tag of INR 58,216 for the drum brake version and INR 60,627 for disc brake version (both ex-showroom, Delhi).
TVS Victor: Premium commuting for everyday rides
Muscular looks, peppy engine, comfortable seat and easy finance options - the TVS Victor has it all. It is the first bike in its segment to get feature LED daytime running lights. Its rear suspension includes twin springs with comfort-focused series spring setup, as well as 5-step adjustable preload. The TVS Victor has one of the most spacious and relaxed seats in the segment.
Powering the TVS Victor is a 109.7 cc 3V Ecothrust mill producing 9.6 PS of power and 9.4 Nm of torque. This engine is linked to a 4-speed gearbox. Also, the TVS Victor has a ground clearance of 175 mm. Brakes include a 130 mm drum (as standard)/240 mm disc (as an option) up front and 110 mm drum in the rear.
The TVS Victor offers a hazard lamp switch on the right handlebar, usually where you see the engine kill switch. However, in our testing, it happened several times that we accidentally switched on the hazard lamps at a traffic signal instead of switching off the engine.
The TVS Victor has a peppy engine with one of the best sounding exhaust notes in the segment. Colour options include Blissful Blue, Generous Grey, Beatific Black Silver, Serene Silver, Restful Red and Balanced Black Red. The standard variant is priced at INR 54,682 (ex-showroom, Delhi), while the disc brake variant costs a couple of grand more.
Hero Splendor iSmart+: India’s golden boy with an engine Start-Stop system
Backed by the solid Splendor badging, the biggest USP of Hero Splendor iSmart+ is the i3S technology. Essentially an engine Start-Stop technology, i3S helps in switches off the powerplant when you stop for a while, say at a traffic signal. When the light turns green, you only have to press the clutch and the bike is good to go.
The Hero Splendor iSmart+ features a split grab rail and all-black alloy wheels and engine that add a certain level of charm. At the heart of the Hero Splendor iSmart+ is a 109.15 cc mill, which is Hero’s 1st indigenously developed motorcycle engine. Mated to a 4-speed gearbox, the engine produces 9.5 PS of power and 9 Nm of torque.
New riders will love the ‘Fill it, Shut it, Forget it’ attitude of the Hero Splendor iSmart+. The Hero Splendor iSmart+ is available only in dual colours: Techno Blue, Sports Red, Leaf Green and Jet Black. It costs INR 57,430 (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Honda CB Shine SP: King of reliability
Snazzy graphics, 5-speed gearbox and Honda’s tried and tested reliability make the CB Shine SP a great package for beginners. It features a fuel tank extension that adds to its premium look.
The Honda CB Shine SP is powered by a 124.73 cc engine that can produce 10.30 PS of power and 10.30 Nm of torque. It has a 10.6-litre fuel tank and a 160 mm ground clearance. Brakes include 130 mm drum units at both ends as standard. A 240 mm disc brake is an optional extra. Besides that, the Honda CB Shine SP gets digital-analogue instrumentation, low rolling resistance tyres and a low maintenance seal chain.
Also, the Honda CB Shine SP is offered in Black, Athletic Blue Metallic, Imperial Red Metallic, Geny Grey Metallic and Pearl Siren Blue. The Honda CB Shine SP is priced at INR 65,020 for the drum brake variant and at INR 68,938 for the disc brake variant (both prices ex-showroom, Delhi).
Bajaj Pulsar 125 Neon: Classic Pulsar looks with an accessible price tag
To beat the recent economic slump, Bajaj has taken the design of the classic Pulsar 150 and plonked in a 125 cc engine. The now-iconic muscular fuel tank gets a dash of neon to attract a younger audience. The rear section of the Bajaj Pulsar 125 Neon bears the familiar split LED taillamp.
The Bajaj Pulsar 125 Neon is powered by a 124.4 cc twin-spark, DTS-i mill. Mated to a 5-speed gearbox, the engine can squeeze out 12 PS of power and 11 Nm of torque. Besides that, the Bajaj Pulsar 125 Neon gets the same twin gas-charged springs at the rear. The ground clearance is a healthy 165 mm. Also, the brakes include a 170 mm drum at the front and a 130 mm drum at the rear. There is an option for a 240 mm front disc brake, though.
Colour options for the Bajaj Pulsar 125 Neon include Neon Blue (on Matte Black body), Solar Red and Platinum Silver. The Bajaj Pulsar 125 Neon has a starting sticker price of INR 64,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the drum brake option. However, a disc brake option will set you back by INR 2,618.