Improved road infrastructure has given rise to a lot more motorcycle riders in the country. With the increase in customers, motorcycle companies have also upped their game. Just 10 years ago, we had just Pulsers and Bullets in the 150CC to 500cc category. Now however there are innumerable bikes in that category. Motorcycles have become a very viable mode of transport in congested cities as well as long-distance tourers.
When it comes to riding a motorcycle, you have to give it all. While this is rewarding in itself, it also means you cannot see Google maps to see where you want to go, like while walking or while driving a car. You have to first take your bike to the side of the road, stop, pull out the phone from your pocket and then go to the navigation app. Sure, there are mobile holders for bikes, but those do not work as efficiently as promoted. They often come loose due to vibrations in the handlebar. They also make smartphones susceptible to natural elements like rain and dust. Motorcycle companies have now started to implement navigation in the dash itself. This eliminates the need for a mobile phone holder and the constant anxiety that comes with attaching your costly smartphone to the handlebars. In this article, we’ll rank the best motorcycles with turn by turn navigation under Rs 3 lakhs.
Royal Enfield Meteor 350
The newest kid on the block is probably the best as well. Not to a great margin but best nonetheless. Royal Enfield Meteor 350’s system although not the most useful for all the other things, is certainly the best for navigation. It has a separate screen for navigation and that makes all the difference. The navigation uses Google Maps through the Royal Enfield app and it’s rock-solid in terms of accuracy. Being a colour dash the arrows in the Tripper Navigation flash with a different colour so as to become more visible to the peripheral vision. The app connects the Meteor 350 dash through BlueTooth. The Tripper Navigation would come with all the new upcoming Royal Enfield motorcycles and it would certainly be beneficial for motorcycles that are long tourers.
KTM Duke/ Adventure
KTM Duke is among the very first motorcycles to come with navigation. The navigation feature was first launched with the second version of Duke 390 back in 2017. The motorcycle has a colour TFT screen as dash and it uses the same system as the others on the list. The KTM app has Google maps connected to it that lets the user search for directions and start navigation. The phone then connects to the bike with the help of Bluetooth and simply projects the turn by turn data onto the colour screen.
To me, it seems like a missed opportunity the way KTM displays the turn by turn navigation despite having a coloured screen. The arrows look boring and do not do any of the useful tricks of the Tripper Navigation of Royal Enfield despite having a bigger coloured screen.
Hero Xtreme/ Xpulse
Hero languishes in the shadows of the other brands when it comes to bikes with 200cc or higher capacity. It was among the best in class with Karizma R at one point in time but ever since its partition with Honda it has only gone backwards. The company, however, shows promise with some exciting launches in Xtreme 160R and 200S. Both of these bikes have turn by turn navigation systems through its app Hero Ride Guide. This app uses Google Maps for navigation and is quite accurate in what it does. The dash, however, is no coloured which is why it doesn’t look as good as the Royal Enfield Tripper Navigation. It, however, gets the job done and is better than that of the TVS just because it uses Google Maps
TVS Apache 310/Apache 4v
TVS Apache 2004V and the Apache 310 RR get the same app and navigation system, it’s just that their dash is different. This system uses Bluetooth for connecting the Smartphone app to the dashboard. All the processing takes place in the app, the dashboard just shows the turn by turn navigation. A downside of this system is that it uses MapMy India for its navigation which is not as good as Google Maps.
Honda CB 350/ H’ness
The Honda CB 350 has a really weird navigation system. The company seems to have cut corners in the dashboard by not making it a digital unit capable of showing turn by turn navigations. The company has found a workaround by creating an app that connects to the bike through Bluetooth. It asks you to connect an earphone to the smartphone and all the navigational signs are spoken through the earphone. It’s essentially Google maps being used with a Bluetooth earphone. Since the dash is very small, the turn by turn indications is very hard visible to the rider. While CB 350 is among the best bikes in its class, the navigation system is trash.
These are all the best Indian motorcycles with navigation systems available at the moment. The technological advancement and the availability of smartphones have pushed for greater research and development in the field. In the near future, we would certainly see a dash with full-scale Google Maps and not just turn by turn navigation like the current ones.
Although Ather has full-scale Google Maps on its dash, it’s not on the list, because it’s not a motorcycle. If you want to see what a full-scale navigation system looks like on a two-wheeler have a look at the below video. It’s just a matter of time before other companies catch up to Ather in terms of dashboard design.