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Filling the Gap: VOGE 300DS

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Over the years we have seen a majority of motorcycle manufacturers jump on the small capacity adventure motorcycle bandwagon, not just for the sake of it but because of how important it is to influence new buyers and grow the market. There is no denying it, adventure and off-road motorcycling are two of the most popular markets in the industry today, and that may be because we seek adventure more than ever in this modern society or because we see adventure bikes as the jack of all trades.

The thing is, we have been brainwashed to think we need to throw a leg over the giants in the industry because “I read it’s the best for this or that”, but for getting started you might not need all that bike and later on what that particular bike is suited for is maybe not your cup of tea. The best part of it all is that adventure motorcycles come in all shapes and sizes and bigger isn’t always better—we highly recommend something lightweight and with a smaller engine size in most cases.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Right now the 300 to 400 cc market has shown us some real potential with brands like BMW, KTM, Honda and Kawasaki bringing us some really awesome adventure bikes that work seriously well as daily commuters too. The thing is, over the years pricing has started to get a little steep to the point where you need 100k to afford your entry into adventure or your perfect daily commuter. This is where SAM (Southern African Motorcycles), the importer of VOGE motorcycles comes to the show with their affordable and good-looking adventure-styled VOGE 300DS.

The question is, does the VOGE 300DS fill a vital gap in the small-capacity adventure motorcycle market?

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

At first glance the VOGE’s subtle adv styling sort of allures to the fact that the ‘DS’ is more of a soft-roader, rather than a fully-fledged adventure, but aren’t most of them anyways? The design is clean and the finishes impressed me, as I was expecting a budget bike. Then you get the subtle design cues like a VOGE emblem in the LED headlight, Corbin-like seat, adjustable screen and neat features like the USB charge port and clear LCD display that definitely don’t shout budget, but rather quality. For a bit more spend you can order the DS a bash plate and crash bars from VOGE’s optional extras catalogue—for that extra protection or better off-road look.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Yes, the elephant in the room is the 17” rims, but we are talking about an entry-level adv-based commuter. A set of aggressive tyres should keep most demons at bay and take nothing away from the DS when it comes to handling on the road, and handle it does. The DS offers a plush ride with good enough damping to ride on the rough stuff we call tarred roads. Although more road-biased with its little suspension travel the DS still has 190 mm of ground clearance and a stiff setup makes up for the lack of travel—so light off-road duty and curb hopping are a breeze.

Photo credit: Simon Morton / ZA Bikers

Once seated on the VOGE you will notice its mid-level seat height of 810 mm, this is a great height for shorter riders and provides confidence when coming to a stop or when faced with a tricky situation. Most of the competitors hover around the 850 mm seat height which almost makes it impossible for shorter riders to get started in the first place, especially when you think a BMW R 1250 GS Adventure’s seat height starts at 790 mm. VOGE have also made the DS’s seat narrow so when standing it gives you a more natural leg bend and combined with the bar risers almost perfect ergo’s for riders between 160 to 175 cm.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The VOGE 300DS is driven by a 292 cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, electronic fuel-injected motor. Although only 300 cc, the DS feels way more competent—both on the open road and in the slower stuff, too. It’ll sit at a comfortable 120 km/h at 7,000 rpm, with 2,000 more revs to spare, but also effortlessly lugs at under 3,000 when negotiating tight single track. This is thanks to its smooth 6-speed gearbox, which almost works as an overdrive once you pop it into sixth.

With 28 hp and 25 Nm, the DS won’t pull much “skin off a rice pudding” but competes with the likes of the BMW G 310 GS with one less Nm and only 6 hp down (bearing in mind there is an R47 000 price difference between the two bikes). This should put things into perspective of how competitive this DS really is. Another interesting fact, is that the VOGE 300DS is built by Loncin Industries, who builds a certain parallel twin for BMW’s F 850 GS—this explains then why the bike has got such good build quality and riding feel.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The DS won’t blow the minds of the tech-savvy with its LCD display, but it more than makes up for it with its contemporary well-designed layout that shows the rider all they need—it’s better than what we see on most entry-level Japanese equivalents.

As already mentioned the DS isn’t all about the latest software, but hardware is a different story with electronic fuel injection, an electric start, tubeless tyres, strong disc brakes, full LED lights, a rear luggage rack for a top box (or mounting point for a tail bag), USB charge port and an adjustable rally-style windscreen that offers much wind deflection.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

With VOGE combining all of this with a smooth gearbox, a good economy of just over 30 km/L, its 16-litre fuel tank and an impressive 155 km/h top speed, they have made the DS a capable motorcycle to comfortably tackle some lightweight adventures.

The VOGE 300DS ultimately punches above its weight, and will happily ride alongside its fellow 300 cc odd adventure bike brethren. It also answers the question I asked myself earlier, by offering riders a lightweight and affordable start to adventuring at just R62,999.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

VOGE 300DS

For more information on the bike featured in this article, click on the link below…

2022

VOGE 300DS

Pricing From R62,999 (RRP)


Brand: VOGE
Bjorn Moreira
Bjorn Moreira
My name is Bjorn Moreira (Senior Editor at ZA Lifestyle) and I always long for the next adventure. Why yes this may be a problem, but I’m what you call a #LIFEAHOLIC which I have been since my very first breath. My passion leads me to enjoy capturing memories on camera, riding motorcycles, cycling and spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors.
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