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India's Best Cruiser
The fact that there is very little to choose from if you want to buy a good cruiser motorcycle in India, has only helped the Bajaj Avenger's case. Currently, apart from the Royal Enfield Thunderbird there is no real competitor to the Avenger in the market. While the Thunderbird has its own breed of Royal Enfield patrons, the stylish yet practical charm of the Avenger explains why despite onslaughts from other bike-makers over the years, it still remains a hot-favourite set of wheels amongst the Indian cruiser-fans.
But not the one to rest on it laurels, Bajaj Auto has been constantly upgrading the Avenger along with its Pulsar brand. In its latest avatar, the new Avenger gets the bigger 220 DTSi heart from the Pulsar 220 and it works wonders to more grunt to this cruiser. Highway bouts on the new improved Avenger are now more thrilling and exciting and so is covering distances. In the new bike, the motor has been slightly detuned and it has been configured to suit the Avenger’s cruiser characteristics. As a result of which, the torque comes from low-down the rev-range and the bike pulls right from 30km/h even when slotted in fifth gear. The chassis and suspension parts remain the same as seen on its predecessor albeit with minor changes to compliment the larger engine. The suspension is definitely more pliant at tackling bumps and other road undulations when compared to its predecessor, and the bike also feels more planted when tackling fast twisty corners. The Avenger effortlessly tips into fast corners and holds onto the desired line without any drama.
All this and more at a phenomenal price advantage minus any real competition means that the Bajaj Avenger 220 DTSi is truly a superb value-for-money buy that will satisfy the Indian cruiser-lovers as well as those who want a stylish low-rider.
Engine: 219cc Air-cooled Single
Power: 19.03PS@ 8,400rpm
Torque: 17.5Nm @ 7,000rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
LxWxH: 2,195 x 750 x 1,070mm
0-100 km/h: 15.8seconds
Top speed: 121.6km/h
Fuel efficiency (overall): 47.2kmpl
Bajaj Avenger 220 DTSi (Ex-showroom, New Delhi): ` 69,930
1. Very grunty and punchy motor ideal for highway hauling
2. The Avenger always had fantastic ergonomics and it remains unchanged
1. The Avenger 220 needs a bigger fuel tank for a good tank-range
2. The pillion ride quality is on the stiffer side and can be painful over long duration on our roads
1st Runner Up
Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark
Royal Enfield's departure from tradition towards better bikes continues with the Thunderbird Twinspark. Starting with the Twinspark moniker, the new engine now features two spark plugs in the head for more efficient burning of fuel in the large combustion chamber. A unit-construction engine, with the gearbox integrated into the crankcase, akin to most modern motorcycles.
Also, new hydraulic tappets mean no pushrod adjustments and more precise valve timings. A new clutch results in a claimed 25 percent reduction in clutch effort, and a redesigned oil pump gives twice the oil flow as compared to the earlier spindle-type pump, again helping the bike run more efficiently.
When one is carrying a six-decade load of tradition, bringing about change may seem somewhat daunting. Royal Enfield, however, has never seemed more serious about the task. It first set the ball rolling with the plenty fast Machismo 500LB last year, and now gives reliable power to the 350cc fans with the Twinspark. Unfortunately for purists of the Brit-bike era, the younger, fresher market has numbers on its side -and RE is doing well to buy them over with launches like the Twinspark.