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The Best Class 2B Motorbike For Singapore
2B or not 2B? Which 2B? - is the question. Okay forget Shakespeare, let’s imagine you were given an unlimited budget to buy a Class 2B commuter motorcycle – either you’ve won the Singapore pools, or else you’ve been tasked with writing about the perfect Class 2B commuter. Your first reaction is probably about machines that provide some sort of excitement, regardless of costs.
Machines like Gilera’s ST 200 Runner. I was very tempted to buy a Runner at one stage – I had a fancy 750cc race replica in the garage, but riding the Runner around town made me realise it was the perfect second bike for city riding: It’s surprisingly quick, agile, easy to handle in traffic, and it even looks good. What’s not to like?
But for the sake of this article the perfect Class 2B commuter is probably the only bike in the garage, and I’d really miss changing gears if I had an automatic scooter like the Runner.
The old two-stroke race replicas come to mind, even if you are looking at second-hand for these nowadays.
Gilera ST 200 Runner
The Aprilia RS 125 and Honda NSR 150SP were the closest things you could get to a Grand Prix bike at the time. But squeezing that much power out of a small two-stroke engine inevitably meant that the power delivery is all-or-nothing, meaning if you find yourself in the wrong gear twisting the throttle sometimes gets you nowhere until the narrow powerband arrives, then bam, on it comes in a rush, though the Honda is somewhat easier to live with on that front. Plus there’s the uncompromising riding position and expensive maintenance. Just too hard.
The Aprilia RS 125
Honda NSR 150SP
Maybe something like the KTM Duke is a more sensible, yet still sexy, proposition. I know there’s also the RC 200 race replica, but for around-town duties, the Duke’s riding position makes so much more sense. It seems a popular choice in Singapore too, and why not, with such great looks, relative light weight, a powerful engine, and even the option of ABS braking, which is very tempting.
But then the perfect Class 2B commuter is probably not an exotic European (not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that). That’d be fine if I were spending someone else’s money, but – fancy 750cc race replicas aside – whenever I’ve bought a motorcycle, the desire has been for excitement, but the money went down on something much more pragmatic in the end.
After that sportsbike, I made a list of things I wanted in a motorbike, based largely on the mistakes I made owning it. And it’s a list that applies to motorbikes in any of the three license classes.
Handy checklist when choosing your Class 2B motorbike.
- I wanted a bike that was fairly common – the official distributor of my sportsbike told me I’d have to wait three months for essential parts to come from Japan. Three months! Why? Because they didn’t keep parts on hand for a machine that had sold in such small numbers. Also, it helps to purchase a bike that is backed-up by a good distributor.
- I wanted a bike with fuel injection. This may be less important with single-cylinder Class 2B bikes, but modern fuel injection is a marvel compared to carburetors, and it offers fewer chances for a second-rate mechanic to screw things up.
- I wanted an air-cooled bike. Okay, this may seem a bit of an odd desire, because air-cooled bikes tend to be less powerful than liquid-cooled models, but they do have an advantage in that they don’t have a cooling system that represents a whole bunch of parts that could go wrong. Plus, I find liquid-cooled bikes tend to pump hot air through the radiator towards me in traffic, and that’s the last thing you want in the tropics.
- I wanted an unfaired motorbike. Again, the tropical heat has something to do with it, because an unfaired bike means more airflow, but also the fairing can be easily damaged in a fall, it adds complexity for maintenance, and tends to come on bikes with a weight-forward riding position that can be a real pain around town.
My list presented me with a wealth of options, and I ended up with a bike that I hadn’t originally considered and loved it!
Applying the same criteria to Class 2B, there are a lot of options available, but for my money the Honda CB190R checks all the right boxes. It’s not going to set the world on fire with its performance, but neither is it going to set your wallet on fire. And it even has a little style.
By motorcycling expert Tony Tan.
Photos courtesy of www.sgbikes.com