This is the question that comes to most people’s mind when making a decision to purchase a new bike above 250cc. The kind of money you need to invest crosses a couple of lakh rupees easily, so we cheap Indians do endless discussions before arriving at a decision. When I took my first 250+ class vehicle, it happened to be an RD 350, which requires no introduction in the world of motorbiking. At that time there were not many choices like we have now, so my decision was a pretty simple. Pay and get the baby rather than asking around!
So in the current scenario, what should we look for while making a purchase in this category? Well, it depends a lot on how we use the machine. Sadly, this part is not considered by 40% of the buyers while making the decision. I would call them the impulsive buyers, or simply people-with-money-to-burn. People will simply check out the looks and specs and fall for it. They will use it for a month, and then throw it in the garage for the rest of its pathetic life.
A person should understand whether he/she is capable of taming a 250 class beast and ride it properly. The number of crashed vehicles which I have seen at the service centres of the respective companies is huge. And most importantly, the odometer reading of most of these vehicles are less than 1000kms. I don’t need to say further on this fact, do I?
The story of Naked bikes
In India during the 80-90s there were only naked bikes, faired bikes were a rarity, other than the imported ones of course. This is primarily because of the landscape (shitty roads) of our country, and the usability of an air-cooled engine, for which the naked bikes happened to be a practical solution. So naked bikes were a part of Indian motor biking history and will continue to be. This is one of the main reasons why we have a strong desire for a more attractive, muscular looking faired machines.
In 1990-2004 the naked bikes were of the category 100cc to 200cc, and were capable of doing speeds of 60-120km/hr. This game has completely changed after the introduction of higher capacity models which are capable of doing 150km/hr+ with ease. Here are some advantages of Naked bikes:
Advantages of Naked bikes
- These babies can easily be parked ,as it won’t consume much space, unless you have hand guards and extended handle bars.
- Even in the case of a fall the, damage can be limited by frame sliders and fork protectors, which are expensive. Most models are equipped with a leg guard which will help you in small falls, but an upgrade is always recommended.
- Most importantly, the straight seating position of most of the naked bikes makes it really good for touring and long rides.
Disadvantages of Naked bikes
- Windblast is a real problem at high speeds. Neck will pain and it will be hard to hold on to the bike, and you will get tired easily.You can get a solution for this by putting a windshield on it. But you should know that the windshields for naked bikes will cost you more than those for faired ones, as they include brackets for additional support.
- If you are looking for a head turner, naked bikes are not meant for you ,unless you load it with some sweet sounding exhausts, which will also cost you a bomb.
The story of faired beauties
Now in case of faired machines the first impression is “Damn it looks so sexy”. But beauty won’t serve in practical life. Ask any married man they will support this statement 😉
Advantages of faired bikes
- Crash protection for the rider is better than naked ones because of the fairing, even though you have to add frame sliders and fork protectors to protect the bike itself. Fairing damage is a costly affair.
- It is more aerodynamic and will give you more top speed than a naked model with the same engine.
Disadvantages of faired bikes
- All models comes with windshield. Is this is good enough to stop the windblast? My personal experience “No, it is even worse”. The wind will be diverted from the shield and will be hitting the top of your head. This feeling would be close to someone trying to rip your head off the body. Most of the serious faired bike riders I have met have upgraded their windshield to a bigger one for this reason. The cost for this is slightly less than the naked ones.
- Riding position is more aggressive than naked ones, which will break your back in long rides. With time you may get used to the clip-ons and the fetal position, but initial few weeks will be spent with considerable body pains.
- These machines have limitations to be taken for off-roading and rough terrain. You can take this but be prepared to bear the expenses for the fairing damages. Faired bikes also generally have low ground clearance, which adds to the off-roading woes.
- Last thing to say about is about the static headlight postioning. Ever tried ghat sections in the night on a faired bike? The light will just go forward and not where it should go. I took friends Stunner and it really Stunned me while doing some hairpins.
Naked or Faired: Verdict
So considering the facts which I have mentioned, I hope your confusion between Naked or Faired bikes got somewhat clearer. Everyday use I would prefer a naked bike over a faired one always, but nothing beats the killer looks of a faired one. As a buyer, think of the needs and fix the category, then zero down to the model which will help you to make a prospective buy. Cheers.
Image source: Ndtv.com