In the recent years, the motorcycling segments have become way more mature than ever before. Needless to say, it has led to the dwelling of various new segments and niches which were almost inexistent till yesterday. This phenomenon is more common in the segments of entry level quarter liter segments as well as middleweight sportbike segments, which has seen the arrival of several new players on the Indian soil, which to some extent, have shown excellent results in terms of overall sales and popularity.

Amongst the new segments which have made their presence felt in the Indian market, the segment of tourers and adventure motorcycles definitely needs to be given a special moment. The segment, which is considered to be the most practical among the big sports oriented motorcycles, have shown that the average Indian motorcycling enthusiasts have geared up and have become way more mature than they actually were. A credit of this has to be given to the launch of various new motorcycles in this very segment.

Till now, the segment of tourers was basically confined only to the middleweight segments (600-800cc), which has seen the motorcycles such as Kawasaki Ninja 650, Benelli TNT 600i/TNT 600 GT and the 800cc versions of Triumph Tiger escalating new heights in terms of sales. Witnessing this golden opportunity, various two wheeler manufacturers are moving down in the entry level sportsbike segments, say the 250-300cc category, and have started working on the same.

And the results are quite fruitful too! Honda initiated this with the quarter liter sportsbike, the CBR 250R, which is more of a fully faired sport tourer than a track focused scalpel – a perfect and practical recipe for the bikers obsessed with fully faired machines. Then came the much awaited Mahindra Mojo, which took almost a decade for development till it actually got launched in 2015 and showed good signs of excellence, for the fact that it is the only naked tourer in the quarter liter segment.

And finally, after a lot of speculations, Royal Enfield came up with what was totally unexpected in this segment – a proper fully focused adventure tourer, the Himalayan. Seeing the first impressions, the Royal Enfield Himalayan has finally appeared as the answer to the prayers of all those, who wanted to experience the best of off-roading on two wheels.

In this write-up, we will be comparing the three different motorcycles with varying characters and personas – the Royal Enfield Himalayan, Mahindra Mojo and Honda CBR 250R, which have varying body styles, but there aim is same – to satiate the hunger of all those biking aficionados who want to explore the unexplored terrains, whether on or off road.

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STYLING

Best budget tourer - Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Mahindra Mojo vs Honda CBR 250R High Quality
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Best budget tourer - Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Mahindra Mojo vs Honda CBR 250R Exterior
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Best budget tourer - Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Mahindra Mojo vs Honda CBR 250R High Quality
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Let’s start with the newest kid, or should we say, uncle on the block – the Royal Enfield Himalayan. ‘Uncle’ because, in this age of razor sharp and aggressive designs, the Himalayan has a very mature flair in its overall design, which may not go well with many in the first glance. To be honest, the Himalayan looks wild and non-urban, with its design language staying true to the purpose for which it has been designed, but in our opinion, Royal Enfield could have made the motorcycle a bit more desirable than what it actually is, in terms of visual appeal, with the motorcycle having a very plain-jane design.

Though this doesn’t mean that the design is utter useless, in fact, the overall design and kit on offer of the Himalayan is very much likeable, if touring is basically your only purpose, and not street riding. The slim slimhouett with panneier supports near fuel tank and behind pillion seat, the bigger spoke wheels, the high mounted round headlamp and front visor, engine sump guard – all indicate that the Himalayan has a no-nonsense approach when it comes to the sole purpose of touring. And yes, it’s instrument console is easily the best in this comparison, and it is way more comprehensive than the other two – it also includes a digital compass, which none of the entry level performance motorcycle in India has got!

Mahindra tried a lot to showcase the Mojo in an altogether different flavor than the motorcycle which it premiered for the first time in 2008, and the rest of the other vehicles in its stable. To some extent, they have been successful with this, with the overall design of the Mojo being very distinctive, when compared to the other roadsters in its class. The dual round headlamps, daytime running LEDs above the headlamps, LED tail lamp, dual golden pipes running below the fuel tank in the form of ribs and dual exhausts give it an individualistic appeal among the naked motorcycles in this class.

But then, the overall design of the Mojo lacks the ‘snazziness’ of the other roadsters like the KTM Duke 200, Benelli TNT 25 and the Apache RTR 200. The overall design may be polarizing, with the bikini fairing design with round headlamps and golden ribs being not to everyone’s taste. The part digital instrument console, though a comprehensive unit, looks a bit dated, with garish graphics and background for it. The overall build quality and fit and finish though is far more impressive than the rest of the motorcycles and scooters which Mahindra makes.

Then finally comes the Honda CBR 250R. This fully faired motorcycle is the oldest of this lot, and its overall existing design with non-recognizable changes showing its age as well. The motorcycle has existed for almost half a decade with no substantial cosmetic changes as well as feature additions (leave aside the new graphics and body decals), which somehow reduces the novelty factor which the other two motorcycles here possess.

Nevertheless, the CBR 250R still manages to look handsome, with the VFR-inspired design somehow giving it a big bike appeal. We would personally like Honda to give the motorcycle a bit more aggressive design overhaul without compromising on the practicality of it – something it did with the CBR 500R.

In terms of visual appeal, none of the motorcycles here are destined to win any kind of beauty pageants. The Himalayan looks the most purposeful, though the Mojo and CBR 250R have the more big bike appeal, with the Mojo feeling the most fresh in this comparison.

Feature Royal Enfield Himalayan Mahindra Mojo Honda CBR 250R
Front pilot lamp(s) No Yes Yes
Part digital instrument console Yes Yes Yes
Upside down front forks No Yes No
Clip-on handlebars No No Yes
Split seats Yes No No
Monoshock Yes Yes Yes
Split pillion grab rails No Yes Yes
LED tail lamp No Yes No
Tubeless tyres Yes Yes Yes
Petal disc brakes No Yes No

POWERTRAIN AND PERFORMANCE

Best budget tourer - Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Mahindra Mojo vs Honda CBR 250R High Quality
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The engines of all the three motorcycles here on comparison differ a lot in terms of overall throttle responses and displacement, but one thing which remains almost the same in all the motorcycles here is that they provide you immense amount of torque especially in the lower and mid range of the rev band.

The Himalayan comes with an all new four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 411cc engine, which is basically a stroked out version of the Thundebird 350’s engine, and pumps out 24.7 PS of power and 28 Nm of torque. The engine is different in feel when compared to other Royal Enfields, but like the other, it does posses a healthy amount of torque across the entire rev range. The vibrations, especially at higher revs, have reduced massively, which is quite an impressive improvement.

The Mojo does come with the second biggest engine in this comparison – this naked tourer has a potent four stroke, single cylinder, liquid cooled, 296cc engine, which churns out 28 PS of maximum power and 30 Nm of maximum torque. The engine, unlike the Himalayan, does feel stress free even at the highest point of the rev range, which is testimony to the fact that how hard Mahindra has worked on improving its technology. Although the engine of the Mojo is the most powerful of this lot, the initial acceleration figures, however, remain the same as the other two motorcycles in this comparison.

When it comes to refinement though, nothing can beat a Honda powertrain. Though the four stroke, single cylinder, liquid cooled, 249.6cc engine of the CBR 250R is a bit lesser refined when compared to its stable mates of lesser displacement, it still manages to outshine the other two motorcycles, and manages to be equal to them in terms of performance and acceleration figures, despite having the smallest engine here. And thanks to the presence of a front full fairing and liquid cooling system, the overall cooling of the engine too is the most effective here.

On comparison in this front, the engines of all these three motorcycles are torquey units, but the engines of the Mahindra Mojo and Honda CBR 250R give you the additional zest, if you feel the requirement of wringing the throttle occasionally.

Figures Royal Enfield Himalayan Mahindra Mojo Honda CBR 250R
Power 24.7 PS 28 PS 26 PS
Torque 28 Nm 30 Nm 22.7 Nm
Fuel injection Yes Yes Yes
Gearbox 5-speed 6-speed 6-speed

RIDE AND HANDLING

Best budget tourer - Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Mahindra Mojo vs Honda CBR 250R High Quality
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It is where all these three motorcycles feel drastically different, with varying mechanical setups, but when it comes to travel long distances with ease and composure, all these three motorcycles perform the job excellently.

The Royal Enfield Himalayan is easily the most hardcore of the lot, and can be easily termed as a mini Triumph Tiger for those who are on a budget, with its wild genes to tackle the worst of the roads. The motorcycle is fitted with a half duplex split cradle frame, which is the strongest of the lot, and comes with 41mm front telescopic forks and linked monoshock at the rear, which have the longest suspension travels at both front and rear, when compared to competition. The bigger 21-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear wheel (both spokes) with off-road tyres give you a very different feel – though this setupe might not give you the best feedback on smooth patches, when taken off the tarmac, this very suspension setup comes in an altogether different element.

The overall suspension settings of the Mojo are somewhat a combination of an Italian streetfighter and a cross country tourer. The Mojo is the only motorcycle here which gets inverted hydraulic forks at the front, while at the rear, a gas charged monoshock does the job perfectly. While this overall suspension setup, complemented with super-sticky Pirelli rubbers might make you at home on highways, it lacks the precision and focused nature of the Himalayan, when taken on the unexplored terrains. The brakes, though, are the best here, for the Mojo has petal disc brakes at both the ends.
The same story can be said for the CBR 250R as well. You sit a bit more aggressively on the saddle as compared to the high set handlebar feel of the other two bikes here, more like a proper sportsbike. Though the ergonomics here are set on a softer side, with the overall suspension too tuned for a softer ride as well. The CBR 250R comes with 37mm telescopic hydraulic forks at the front and a monoshock at the rear, which are tuned for a supple ride quality for smooth tarmac, though the overall off-road riding can be a bit of challenge, given the additional weight of the front fairing. Though, this very front fairing gives it the best high speed stability, a must for highway touring. Adding to it, it is the only motorcycle here to feature ABS (as an option), which is a big boon for a sportbike.

It is almost clear, if you want something for the mountains and jungles, and not the urban streets, look no further than the Royal Enfield Himalayan. However, it may not provide the suppleness of the Mojo’s or CBR 250R’s suspension setup, with the CBR 250R edging out the other two in terms of high speed riding.

Figures Royal Enfield Himalayan Mahindra Mojo Honda CBR 250R
Front suspension 41mm telescopic 41mm upside down telescopic 37mm telescopic
Rear suspension Linked Hydraulic monoshock Gas charged Hydraulic monoshock Hydraulic monoshock
Front tyre 90/90 x 21” 110/70 x 17” 110/70 x 17”
Rear tyre 120/90 x 17” 150/60 x 17” 140/70 x 17”
Front brake 300mm disc 320mm disc 296mm disc
Rear brake 240mm disc 240mm disc 220mm disc

CONCLUSION

Best budget tourer - Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Mahindra Mojo vs Honda CBR 250R Exterior
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The Honda CBR 250R indeed was the segment starter, and continues to remain an excellent option for the big bike lovers who want a comfortable and affordable option in the form of a fully faired motorcycle. But then, the motorcycle has started showing its age among the new arrivals. The engine though is undisputed the most refined and vibe free in this company, but then, it also is the least powerful. Honda should up the game now by giving it a major upgrade, both cosmetically and mechanically, so that the CBR 250R becomes a game changer once again, as it was once on the time of its arrival. Though for the fully faired tourer lovers, the CBR 250R still remains a viable choice.

It has to be said that the Mojo is indeed an honest attempt by Mahindra. From making puny motorcycles and scooters to making a proper entry level naked tourer, Mahindra has come a long way in a rewarding way, the proof of which is the Mojo. Though the design is a bit awkward and takes some time to grow on you, the engine and overall comfortable ride quality are the strongest traits of the Mojo. And yes, the brakes too are the best here, but like the CBR 250R, the overall suspension somewhat lacks the off-roading capability of the Himalayan, and is best suited for long highways and smooth twisties.

The Royal Enfield Himalayan may have arrived late at the party, but then, it is a product worth the wait. Sure, the motorcycle doesn’t look beautiful, but it is purposeful for an adventure tourer. The engine is a huge improvement over previous generation Royal Enfields, but like them, it continues to offer immense amount of torque. And there’s the gem of a chassis and suspension setup, which has the capability to take you places where all other motorcycles in its price range may not dare to. Though it doesn’t offers you the plushness of the other two motorcycles, but that’s not the purpose of the Himalayan – it’s on a different mission, a very different to be precise, which surely is going to pave the path for more and more adventure tourers in this category and price range.

Read the Royal Enfield Himalayan review by clicking the link here

Read the Mahindra Mojo review by clicking the by clicking the link here

Read the Honda CBR 250R review by clicking the link here

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