India is seeing a change in the way people commute. More and more people are actually ‘riding’ than moving from point A to B. They are demanding better bikes.. higher displacement, technologically advanced bikes. The ‘kitna deti hai’ attitude is changing even if it is a few people in county which sells about 1.5 million bikes every month. So even those few make up a significant number.
This has made bike manufacturers bring in new high performance bikes to India which augurs well for the customer.We have the choice to choose among four bikes between the 2500cc to 400cc range.The Japanese trio of Honda CBR 250R , Kawasaki Ninja 300 and Yamaha YZF R3 along with the Austrian KTM RC390. In this article we will leave out the Honda CBR250R, it really does not fit in the comparison because it isn’t in the vicinity of others in terms of either displacement or pricing.
Build Quality :
Ninja is the benchmark when it comes to build quality in this segment. The newly launched Yamaha R3 is also very sturdy and is as good as the Ninja 300. The KTM lags behind slightly behind in this department.
The RC390 wins the game here with a 373.2cc mill, with R3 displacing a good 321 cubic centimeter and Ninja the least at 296 cc. However the factors that are hidden behind the bare numbers is that RC390 has a single cylinder engine while the others have twin cylinder. The R3 matches the power output of RC390 at 42 PS even after being smaller by a good 50cc. The Ninja makes marginally less at 39PS.
Torque figures are 35Nm for RC390, 27Nm for Ninja 300 and 29.6 Nm for R3.
Features : RC 390 wins this battle by a mile here. The list of features is unending on this Indo-Austrian bike. Projector headlights, LED blinkers and tail-light, mirror integrated front turn indicators, upside down front suspension from industry-leading manufacturer WP, super sticky Metzeler tyres and Bosch ABS as standard. The other two do not even offer ABS as optional even after being a whole one lakh rupees expensive and more which is a big disappointment to me. ABS should be made standard safety feature on all bikes sold in India. It will help save many lives. Oh! Sorry for deviating from the topic a bit.
Looks : R3. Hands down the R3 takes it home. The R3 is the sportsbike and its sharp styling makes me look at it for that extra second before turning on the ignition. For me the Ninja comes in second. The Ninja has been around for sometime and it doesn’t have that sharp looks of R3 or the brashness of the RC390.The in your face styling on the RC390 might appeal some . The bright orange frame and rims makes you stand out quickly. However, unconventional headlights on the RC390 do not appease me. They do their jobs admirably well, but just not my taste.
Drivability : The Japanese are neck and neck in this battle. Both are ready to perform on the highways and at the same time friendly in traffic without wincing. The RC390 on the other hand always wants you to push it harder. Feels like it is on steroids and wants to do a 200kg deadlift every single time. Not possible. Unfortunately we do not have a track neither do we have roads. The need for constant gear changes in the city make you scowl. And then the riding position isn’t really made for city commute. The crouching position is best suited for the track. Few tens of kilometers and you start experiencing a sore back. The Ninja provides the best comfort while touring.
As a package none of these bikes are perfect. Riding position on RC390, lack of ABS and value for money on the Ninja and R3 makes the choice difficult. To me there is no clear winner. The RC390 is a a whopping 1 lakh cheaper than the R3. and 1.5 lakh cheaper than Ninja 300. If money is no bar, I’d go for the Yamaha R3. If you have been saving for months to buy a bike than there is not a choice really. KTM RC390 is the bike for you. Just be ready for a stiff back on long rides. Every day commute should not be a problem.