Different bikes, different brushes

Being relatively new to the idea of different bikes for different purposes, we Indians often tend to look for the same things in different motorcycles. Here’s a closer look

Recently, I was at the media ride of the Mahindra Mojo, where after a full day of riding from Bengaluru to Madikeri, nearly 350 km away in heart of the Kodagu (erstwhile Coorg) district of Karnataka, I overheard a couple of journalists discuss how the Mojo was completely outclassed by the KTM 390 Duke. For roughly the same amount of monies there’s so much more power to be had, handling is so much more sublime. That little bit of conversation snatched from the other table by my eavesdropping ear set me thinking. Are we Indians prone to painting different bikes with the same brush? Are we prone to the malaise of expecting all motorcycles to behave exactly in the same manner? Perhaps we do, and therein lies our immaturity in setting expectations of the motorcycle we intend to ride, buy or own.

You see, in principle, I agree with my fellow journalists who were arguing the merits of the KTM 390 Duke against the Mahindra Mojo’s shortcomings. Yes, the 390 Duke does make more power and it’ll leave the Mojo chewing dust when it comes to handling. Then what am I arguing about? Well, the question I’m asking is this; is the Mahindra Mojo supposed to be doing exactly what the KTM 390 Duke does or is it a wholly different bike built for an entirely different purpose?

In my mind, the latter part of my question holds true. I mean, look at that raked out front fork and that huge wheelbase. From the geometry alone, it’s quite clear that the Mahindra Mojo and the KTM 390 Duke are two entirely different machines offering two very divergent experiences. While the latter is supposed to provide the rider with the thrills of two-wheeled street fighting (without any negative connotations mind), the former is designed for dispensing long distance touring duties.

image The moot point that can be distilled from all this is that we’re sure to be disappointed if we end up buying the wrong bike with the wrong expectations. For instance, if you’re interested in classic biking in its purest form then perhaps you’re actually better off with something like the Royal Enfield Continental GT instead of anything else. Nothing else will take you back to the era of classic bikes like that one does, vibrations included. If you’re looking for a classic looking bike on the other hand but one that has all the advantages of a modern bike, the Triumph Bonneville or the Ducati Scrambler needs to be on your wish list.  If you’re looking for a bike to take to track days then you should put your money down on a KTM RC 390 or at the high end of the premium spectrum, on something like the CBR 1000RR. If instead you’re looking for something that you can tour on and then thrash around the track as well, then the CBR 650F is the one you need to buy.

image KTM RC 390 (5) (800x533)

Honda CBR 650F (4) (800x533) 2014 CBR1000RR Fireblade

Then of course there are naked bikes, adventure bikes, supermotos, hypermotards and so on. The moral of the story? Motorcycle purchasing has to be done in steps. Step 1: Be sure of what you want your bike to do. Step 2: Do your research and find out which bikes will do what you want them to do. Step 3: From your short list buy the one that best suits you. Matching the bike to the purpose therefore is the key.

Kawasaki Z250 (6) (1280x853) (800x533) Suzuki V-Strom (5) (800x533)

Ducati Diavel Carbon (1) (1280x853) (800x533) Aprilia Dorsoduro (3) (1280x853) (800x533)

Happy riding!


  1. das.sidharth@gmail.com'Sid says

    Thank you Aninda for taking the time to come up with this article. Glad someone addressed this point and saved us riders from explaining the immature ones, why we ride what we ride. And it has nothing to do with which bike makes the most power for a given road price (can’t believe it has come to this!). Coming back to this post, it is short, precise and well put together. I hope it will reduce debates on the topic of “Duke 390 Vs ” and instead encourage more constructive conversations, when two bikers catch up for a coffee during a weekend ride. Cheers!!

    • Aninda Sardar says

      Hi Sid. Thanks for writing in with your feedback. It’s extremely valuable for us journalists who often voice opinions without ever knowing how the readers are taking it. Hope you continue to follow my Idle Chatter each Saturday. And of course, keep the feedback coming…:)

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