Many of us understand the importance of motorcycles in our life and some of us even treat them as a part of the family. As time goes by, every single aspect, from its design, performance, ease of riding, etc. keeps evolving and the only thing constant is the peace of mind one has while riding a bike on an open highway or carving corners. One such component that is affected by the evolution is the instrument clusters of our motorcycles and each manufacturer comes up with a new design every day. We have different types in them as well ranging from analogue-digital to completely digital clusters and the information they offer has increased by leaps and bounds. So, let’s take a look at 12 motorcycles with the best-looking instrument cluster in the sub-500cc category.
Royal Enfield Himalayan
We start the list with the currently booming ADV segment and on top of the ADV category is undoubtedly the Royal Enfield Himalayan. If you do not have roads to the place you want to visit or sometimes you do not want to take the roads to the place you want to visit, then the Himalayan is the most hardcore off-roader in India that can literally go anywhere and wade its way through anything. And accordingly, Royal Enfield has equipped the Himalayan with everything you need and it has the most mixed variety of features in this list of the best-looking instrument cluster.
The entire layout is neatly designed and the only things analogue are the speedometer and the fuel gauge. In the digital department, it gets 2 trip meters, an odometer, gear shift indicator, direction indicator, temperature, clock and the recent addition of what Royal Enfield calls the Tripper Display. The Tripper Display shows only the turns and the distance to make the turn which is rather useful than mounting a phone on a holder in a bike that is meant to go off-road. There are telltale signs that sit between the speedometer and the tripper display for your high beam, neutral, ABS and other signs. The only disadvantages are, it does not come with a tachometer and while riding under direct sunlight, the digital part of the cluster is not easy to read as the font is rather small and not very legible.
KTM Duke 390
This has to be the best looking all-digital instrument cluster on this list and that’s not just because of the high-resolution TFT LCD screen it has on offer. It displays everything that you will ever need and heck it even comes with Bluetooth connectivity that shows calls, messages and even the track that is currently playing. It has all the bells and whistles like a speedometer, tachometer, odometer, temperature gauge, gear position indicator, 2 trip meters, average fuel consumption, battery level, date, time, average speed, ABS modes, side stand indicator, and in each trip meter it shows individual fuel consumption, distance travelled and time of the trip. There are a number of settings that can be turned on\off, like the DRLs, changing ABS modes or turning it off, using the options displayed on the instrument cluster. It even has options to change the units of distance, temperature and fuel consumption which is very neat and helpful.
It gets the gear shift indicator which can be changed for different rider setups. The telltale lights are on either side of the display and can be easily seen in case any of them are lit up. On top of all this, one of the hidden features that we liked very much is that as you go faster, the font of the speedometer keeps increasing so that it is easily readable just at a short glance. It has ambient light sensors that detect low visibility and changes the display to night mode which makes it easy for the eyes to read in dim\no light. Even in day mode and under direct sunlight, the display is easy to read and pretty legible, at least things that are important.
TVS Apache RR 310
Initially, the Apache RR 310 came with a vertical layout of the instrument cluster on the Apache RTR 200 which was good but with the latest update, they have introduced the TFT display and it looks so much better. The skeleton of the design looks like a smartphone itself but the design layout is pretty neat and quirky. Just like the one on the KTM, this also gets all the bells and whistles like speedometer, tachometer, odometer, temperature gauge, gear position indicator, 2 trip meters, time, average speed, side stand indicator and even the kill switch indicator.
The part where this gets extra since it was race-bred is, it comes with a lap timer, 0-60kmph timer and a top speed recorder. Since the bike gets different riding modes, the entire layout and colours change according to the mode which we feel gets you in the mood. The display resolution is precise and easy to read with legible fonts even under direct sunlight. The telltale lights are on the top and are easily visible in case there is something wrong or something that you need to attend to. It also gets Bluetooth connectivity and gives a summary of the rides and bikes status in the app on your smartphone.
Kawasaki Ninja 300
You ever heard the saying, “Old is Gold”, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 is the living example in the motorcycle sector and everything about this bike is still amazing. Coming to its instrument cluster, even though it is in the market for ages, it still has one of the best-looking instrument clusters majorly because of the design layout and it displays most of the information we need. It has a big wide analogue tachometer that is smack dab at the centre of the design, below which you get the digital speedometer, odometer, trip meters, digital clock, and fuel gauge. The telltale signs are on either side of the tachometer and have a funky design to them. We feel the only important thing missing is the gear position indicator which would have been helpful in a bike that has 6 gears.
Who would have guessed that anybody could buy a Beemer for the price of around 3 lakh on-road? Thanks to a partnership with TVS, we have an affordable BMW bike and this bike is built in India at TVS’s plant in Hosur and exported to other countries as well. The instrument cluster on this one is all-digital, pretty basic and still has all the information that you need. This takes the function over form approach and even though it is not the best looker, it definitely is more functional and gives a lot of information. It displays a speedometer, tachometer, 2 trip meters, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, date and time, fuel range, engine temperature and has telltale signs on either side of the display. Unlike the other all-digital instrument consoles on this list, the one on the Beemer does not come with Bluetooth connectivity which is a bummer when you compare its competition and also when you look at the price you are paying.
Benelli Imperiale 400
This has to be the best-looking analogue-digital instrument console when it comes to its retro design and very clever use of digital clusters. The layout is pretty basic and definitely checks the box for retro looks with the twin-pod dials. The one on the left shows the analogue speedometer while the analogue tachometer is situated on the right and in between them lies the digital fuel gauge as well as the gear position indicator which is pretty neat and useful. The other digital display is on the left pod under the analogue speedometer and shows the odometer, 2 trip meters and the clock. The telltale signs are situated in the right pod below the analogue tachometer and are neatly laid out but might be difficult to read under direct sunlight. The console does not come with Bluetooth connectivity but it does show everything you need except for directions and for a bike that is meant to go majorly on the tarmac we believe a phone holder will do the job pretty well.
Yamaha R15 V3
The Yamaha R15 V3 comes with a very functional display and has a very compact design. It shows the speedometer, tachometer, gear position indicator, average speed, fuel gauge, average fuel consumption, 2 trip meters, gear shift indicator which is customisable, clock and a welcome message. The Bluetooth connectivity feature is yet to be seen but Yamaha states that it will be upgrading the console on the recently released R15 V4. Apart from that, it has telltale signs on either side of the display and is very plain and simple. The console might not be fancy but is compact and the fonts are very legible for a display of this size. It has a white backlit display for the night mode that is easy on the eyes and comfortable to read.
TVS Apache RTR200 4V
The instrument console on the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V has been recently updated to provide Bluetooth connectivity which enables navigation and alerts you for calls and messages as well. Apart from this, it gets the usual speedometer, tachometer, 2 trip meters, fuel gauge, clock, gear position indicator, lap timer, 0-60kmph timer, top speed recorder and all of this comes in a compact yet well-designed layout that is white backlit and very legible fonts. The speedometer that takes the centre stage is pretty big and bold to be able to read in just a glance and most of the information can be read even under direct sunlight. It also gets a gear shift indicator present on the top right corner and gives a sporty look. Where the TVS wins over the others in this list, is the top-notch build quality of the plastic used.
The instrument console on the RC200 which was introduced on the KTM Duke 200 and Duke 390 was one of the first consoles to be feature loaded and it comes with a tachometer, speedometer, 3 trip meters, fuel gauge, real-time fuel consumption, average fuel consumption, service indicator, gear position indicator, distance-to-empty reading, clock and side-stand warning light. The gear shift indicator can be customised and sits in the middle of the telltale lights which are situated on the top of the console. The console comes with an ambient light sensor and automatically turns on the orange backlights when the visibility gets low. But one of the major drawbacks of this console is that the fonts are pretty small and hence are not legible to view while riding and makes it even tougher when viewed under direct sunlight.
Hero Xplulse 200
The second and more affordable motorcycle that comes from the ADV world is the Xpulse 200 and it comes with an all-digital display that has Bluetooth connectivity features and hence benefits with navigation, call and SMS alerts. Apart from that, it has all the normal features like a speedometer, tachometer, gear position indicator, odometer, 2 trip meters, fuel gauge, date and time. The telltale lights are positioned on the top and give necessary information and alerts that include ABS, side stand warning, engine check warning, high beam, turn indicators and Neutral. The console is white backlit and most of the fonts are pretty legible and easy to read even under direct sunlight. The trip meters information and navigation is neatly provided on the right-hand side of the screen while the other information is on the left.
Suzuki Gixxer SF250
The Suzuki Gixxer 250 comes with an all-digital instrument console and has pretty much everything that its competitors have. It is one of the early birds of the all-digital game and even now has one of the best-looking instrument consoles. The telltale signs are on either side of the display and the customisable gear shift indicator sits on the top. The fonts are very legible and are easy to read at any point in time and the blue backlit display is easy on the eyes. The console shows a speedometer, tachometer, odometer, 2 trip meters, clock, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, and service interval. The USP of this console definitely has to be the fonts and legibility of the display which is easily readable even at a short glance and even under direct sunlight. The blue backlit display is easy on the eyes and does not affect the driver’s vision even when you look at it for a long time(which you are not supposed to do while riding).
Husqvarna Vitpilen 250
If you are a simple man who looks simple and compact designs, then the instrument console of the Huskies will impress you very much. This is easily the most compact and the least intrusive to the rider when they look ahead. All the information that you need comes in just a circle and it displays a speedometer, tachometer, 2 trip meters, ABS modes, fuel range, average speed, average fuel consumption, fuel gauge and clock. The telltale signs are situated around the layout, along with the mode and set buttons that are used to toggle between information, change ABS modes and reset trip meters. It also gets the side stand and the kill switch warning on the display. Although small in size, we believe it still qualifies to be in the list of the best-looking instrument cluster.
Some of them worth mentioning are
- Bajaj NS200 and RS200 – The layout is pretty good and looks very sophisticated but unfortunately does not get a gear position indicator while a lot of other bikes in the same segment and even in the lower segment are equipped with it.
- TVS Apache RTR 180 – This bike also has an analogue-digital display which looks pretty neat but this design was introduced a really long time ago and it still continues to use the same.
- Honda CBR 250R – The design of the console on the CBR is very good to look at and it sort of gives you the big-bike feeling. But the big bikes we are comparing to are the ones which were present when India was celebrating its first Republic day and yeah the design is so old. Nevertheless, it has a large tachometer in the centre and the digital speedometer below it which looked good but did not age well.
- Jawa – This console brings you the nostalgic memories of the 80s but those memories won’t help you read even the speedometer under direct sunlight and even the speedometer readings are weird as the 0 kmph starts from the 2 o’clock position as opposed to the normal readings that start at the 7 o’clock position.
These instrument consoles are definitely feature-loaded and are very helpful in understanding your motorcycle better at all times. On that note, we think the LCD displays should make way to all the bikes above 200cc and maybe even the Bluetooth options as well. But we like to hear from you and you let us know, apart from the LCD display and Bluetooth, what else do you want your instrument console to have and how does it help you while riding or maintaining a motorcycle.
And of course, if you feel we left out other motorcycles that have better instrument consoles than the ones mentioned above, please feel free to leave a comment and we will surely acknowledge them.