The KPR 165R is the successor to Chinese automaker - Lifan's flagship model – KPR 150 which has been in the Bangladeshi market since 2015. Since its launch, it has been the most affordable motorbike of its category.
The bike is mainly integrated with two variants for the 165cc displacement; the fuel injected (FI) variant (2018) and the carburettor (carb) variant (2019).
Today, we will be talking about both the versions. This review is based on my experience of riding the FI variant for over two years (16,000 km) and the carb variant for around 2,000 km.
The KPR 165R features sleek contours of a semi-sports bike design, sharp shark-like face with optical-lens head-lights, grand-size integrated side covers, split-type handlebars, 3-digital meter layout. It also has a new exhaust muffler with scald-proofing, semi wide front and rear tires, a grippy stiff suspension, and 150 kg of body weight.
The FI feels very torque biased, I would not deny the fact that the 165 FI pulls low torque faster than any other motorcycle in our local market. It finishes off with a good top speed of about 135/138 kmph while the carb pulls a top speed of 128/135 kmph- which is adequate enough for such a good semi-sport layout.
Both the variants are effectively good on quick 0-100 kmph stretches but one would have to compromise a bit in terms of top speed.
These two KPR 165R versions contribute to massive numbers like 17 Nm of torque and 16.8 HP of power which is produced by a 165cc liquid-cooled, SOHC engine which tends to heat up a bit during the first 1,500-2,000 km. The engine takes around 5,000 km to completely smoothen up until you get to enjoy its optimum performance.
Both versions have the same ergonomics, however, the carb mainly has a wider tyre profile and comes with a chain and sprocket upgrade which the KPR did demand on the earlier variants.
Though the front tyre combination (90/100) is the same for the two variants, the FI features a 120-section rear tyre while the carb features a 130-section rear tyre.
Since the 2018 FI variant, Lifan started replacing the CST tyres with Timsun dual sport tyres. I think it was a much-needed upgrade as CST tyres lacked optimum grip on wet and low-pitch terrains. The Timsun dual sport tyres, however, stretch out the riding experience to be much better.
Both, the 2018 FI and the 2019 carb variant, now, have better tyres which does justice to the superb performance the engine provides.
Given the miles I have covered with these units, it is easy to state that the bikes have an ideal ride height and riding comfort which is good for moderate heighted people. Tall users might find the position to be less appealing.
Both the variants have narrow turning radius with the stock handle and tyre setup which might make it difficult to cruise through the busy Dhaka streets at times.
However, with around 180mm of ground clearance, it is good enough to roll on the city streets and the good weight distribution allows the rider to experience very pleasurable rides on highways as well.
The seats are well designed. The extra wide handlebar really stretches out for a comfortable riding experience and the layout, being semi-sport, keeps the tail end quite low which also allows for an easy and comfortable pillion seating.
In terms of mileage, the FI variant goes around 40 km per litre within the city and on highways, it can cover a distance of 48-49 km per litre. The carb version, on the other hand, has a limited mileage of 30-32 km per litre in cities and a highway mileage of around 36-38 km per litre.
Even though the carb variant has a lower mileage, it gives a very smooth riding experience compared to the FI version, due to a gearbox update - new balance functional 1 to new balance functional 2. This tweak mainly made the shifts feel more spongy and calm.
The FI variant has a hard gearbox which puts a lot of pressure on the chain set due to sudden hard push from the gearbox.
At the initial stage, the bike performs best with 20w40 grade mineral engine and later performs adequately with 10w40 grade semi/full synthetic engine oil.
While running on poor quality octane, the FI variant gives away rough jerks whereas the carb can readily combat bad fuel since it is now equipped with an engine oil filter and a new clutch assembly as well. The latest clutch assembly also contributes to steady clutch-throttle response which makes the overall riding experience better.
I think, for a price tag of below TK200,000, this motorcycle is way ahead of its competitors such as the Honda Hornet 160R, Suzuki Gixxer 150, Bajaj NS160, TVS Apache 4v, and even takes a spill on the top companies too.
It can easily be rated as the best budget motorcycle in the country at the moment and the importers and distributors - Rasel Industries Limited, are also doing great with the after sale services and spare parts availability.
So, the KPR indeed stands out and eliminates the stereotypical idea that Chinese motorcycles can never be quality integrated.
Sahil Ahsan is an Operation Specialist at automotive channel - Throttle Alpha.