Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTSi : Roadtest
Sunny days are back again and there can't be a better time to grab your bike keys and head-out in the twisties on a bright Sunday morning. I do that quite often, weather conditions not being the deciding factor. But when it's an all-new naked streetfighter hooligan like the new Pulsar 220 DTSi parked in my garage for the weekend, there is little ambiguity about what my plans for Sunday are going to be. A brief stint in the city on the new Pulsar 220 DTSi clearly indicated that this bike was a madhouse on wheels - just the thing I needed for the weekend ride.
The Akurdi-based bike maker has plonked in the carburetor-fed 220cc DTSi motor from its flagship model into this latest iteration of the far-famed (now discontinued) Pulsar 200 DTSi bodywork and it does wonders as to how the bike feels and performs. Without the weighted fairing, the bulky headlight and other body panels of the Pulsar 220F DTSi, this new streetfighter from Bajaj Auto feels quick, agile and intense to ride. Well that said, it's a good thing as well as bad. That's because those who haven't ridden the older generation Pulsar 200 DTSi, this bike will throw them off their rockers without any shadow of a doubt. But if you have been astride the Pulsar 200 DTSi, then you will be left wanting for the stance and aggressive poise of the 200. The dropping down flat handlebars of the 200 and ergonomics ideal for a streetfighter motorcycle complimented by its strong mid-range made the Pulsar 200 feel like a parkour artist high on crack running amok on the streets.
However, the Pulsar 220's power-packed performance and new-age equipment like two-piece handlebars, rear disc brake and fatter forks, which translates into a better setup and speed, more than makes up for the deficiency of character as compared to its predecessor. Nevertheless, this is still the best and only performance streetfighter motorcycle available in the country, yet. While thrashing the new Pulsar 220 DTSi through the mountain roads near Pune, the bike felt extremely sure-footed and well-heeled as she ate over bumps and other road undulations with aplomb. The 220 attacked corners precisely and exited them with a lot more aggression than the older 200 ever managed. Although, the rear suspension did feel a bit squishy, which was probably because it has been tuned more towards better ride quality and comfort than sport-riding. It also resulted in the main-stand grounding too quickly on almost every other corner. Not quite in line with the bike's hooligan image then...
Bajaj Auto's new direction to put its bikes on a strict diet has largely helped the company to yield better performance from its products. For instance, the Pulsar 135 LS, even with its 135cc motor, completed the 0-60km/h run in less than five seconds! Similarly, the new Pulsar 220 DTSi stays lean and mean with a kerb weight of just 148kg, despite bumped up power and a bigger engine and it directly shows in the performance figures. This new naked 220 Pulsar is the quickest Indian motorcycle with a 0-60km/h figure of just 3.6 seconds and a 0-100km/h of 10.5 seconds! The Ninja did it in 3.4 seconds and 8.1 seconds, respectively. But to extract all the power, one does not require to keep the tacho-needle revving near redline as power comes freely throughout the rev-range and the additional horsepower coupled with more torque transforms into superb rideability. Slotted in fourth gear, the Pulsar 220 DTSi took just six seconds in the 30-70km/h roll-on dash, which clearly hints at the strong mid-range grunt coming from the 220cc powerplant.
Undoubtedly this is a true-blue hooligan that offers oodles of torque and power on tap to have fun no matter where or how you ride it. With incredible performance and matching agility, the new 220 DTSi truly lives up to the Pulsar brand's sporty pedigree. And despite such amazing acceleration and a solid top-whack of 127.4km/h, the Pulsar 220 DTSi returns respectable overall fuel economy of 51kmpl under mixed condition riding. Like always, Bajaj Auto has yet again delivered a strong blow in the performance bike territory in India and the cherry on the cake is the pricing of this new Pulsar which is retailing at Rs. 69,425 (ex-showroom, Delhi)! Now that's one bike which looks all set to once again revive the glory of the good?ol Pulsar 200 DTSi!