What 2020 showed to a lot of us, is that it's the little things that matter more and somehow end up bringing us more joy, than the bigger, larger plans. And what a year it has been! Most of us spent months cooped up indoors, and some of us are still wary of venturing out far from home, except within the confines of a few hours' ride or drive from the doorstep of our homes. When the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted, some of us started doing what we love the most, got on our motorcycles, and started riding, socially distancing ourselves, yet doing what brings us the most joy.
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A lightweight, easy to ride, affordable adventure bike is what stood out for me as the perfect companion, rather than a big, heavy ADV like the one I own, which has seen more days parked out front than being ridden, during 2020. If you're into motorcycles, and even if you're not into motorcycles, now is a good time to start learning to ride one, and while you're at it, start exploring the trails in the suburbs, and in your own backyard. You don't have to travel hundreds of kilometres to enjoy some off-road fun, and you can certainly have a blast over one morning of the weekend.
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But, you do need a capable motorcycle. So, here goes, our list of the best affordable adventure motorcycles you can gift yourself in 2021. And there are more in the offing; there are murmurs of both Yamaha and Honda launching their own 150-200 cc adventure bikes which may very well be introduced in 2021! The New Year may well turn out to be the year of ADVs in India, and we can't wait to get back out on the trails, soonest!
Also Read: Top 5 Bikes Of 2020 Under ₹ 2 Lakh
Hero XPulse With Rally Kit
Yes, the Hero XPulse 200 has been around for sometime now, and as a weekend adventure companion, the Hero XPulse makes for a very entertaining companion. Light, affordable and easy to maintain, the XPulse is the perfect platform to begin riding off-road. And this year, Hero MotoCorp launched the Rally Kit for the XPulse, priced at ₹ 38,000 only. Of course, you need a stock XPulse first, but with the rally kit, the XPulse becomes an even more capable off-road companion. With a price tag for the motorcycle at ₹ 1.13 lakh, even with the Rally Kit, the XPulse is a very affordable option, and in our book, the best option to get some off-road riding experience right now. The only drawback is that it lacks the performance for serious touring, although with some patience, you can very well manage that as well.
Also Read: Hero XPulse Rally Kit First Ride Review
KTM 250 Adventure
And to make adventure motorcycling easier, more accessible, and err, somewhat more affordable, KTM India has introduced the new KTM 250 Adventure. It's targeted at riders with less experience who may find the 390 Adventure's performance a little too daunting. At ₹ 2.48 lakh (Ex-showroom), the KTM 250 Adventure still is slightly expensive, but don't forget, it packs the same cycle parts, suspension and bodywork as its bigger sibling, the KTM 390 Adventure. Plus, there's tubeless tyres, a slipper clutch and off-road switchable ABS, so it's a very good platform to start your two-wheeled adventures with.
Also Read: KTM 250 Adventure Review
BMW G 310 GS
The BMW G 310 GS may have been a slightly expensive proposition when it was launched in India two years ago. With the BS6 engine, revised styling, and some learnings on how to make the bike feel smoother from TVS, the new G 310 GS also has a significant reduction in pricing. At ₹ 2.85 lakh (Ex-showroom), the GS offers a superb entry into the famed BMW 'GS' family, and a comfortable mile-muncher and companion for your two-wheeled adventures.
Also Read: 2020 BMW G 310 GS Launched At ₹ 2.85 Lakh
KTM 390 Adventure
Yes, this is the fourth adventure motorcycle in this list! And yes, you may have read negative reviews about its capability. But do yourself a favour! Get some experience under your belt, and you will certainly appreciate the KTM 390 Adventure for what it is. Yes, it still has slightly stiff suspension, for some hardcore off-road work. But the purpose of an ADV is to be your companion on adventures, to cover long distances, measure the end of the day by the sunset, and to scale new heights, explore new horizons, and for those purposes, the KTM 390 Adventure is one of the best offerings with the kind of features it packs in, at that price point right now, at ₹ 3.04 lakh.
Also Read: KTM 390 Adventure Review