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Honda CBR250R vs KTM Duke 200 vs Bajaj Pulsar 200NS: Comparison
Any monkey can open the gas and go fast in a straight line. It’s the corners where the real abilities of a bike, and a rider, lie
It’s one thing for a performance bike to go and stop quickly, but that’s just half the story. To see the complete picture, you also have to take into account how well it handles through the bends. Let’s get one thing immediately out of the way – the CBR, which by no means is a bad handler, is very softly set up and definitely seems to be more suited to long distance sport touring rather than corner carving. Quick changes of direction are simply not the Honda’s forte. So that just leaves this as a two-horse race between the KTM and the Pulsar.
The baby Duke, when it arrived earlier this year, completely blew our minds, and the competition out of the water, with the way it tackles the twisty stuff. The ultra light, mass centralised design makes the KTM a very nimble handler, while at the same time, keeps it fairly planted through the corners as well. To put it simply, it is simply phenomenal. But, and this is a big, round one at that, the Pulsar simply does it better. The Pulsar’s narrow twin spar perimeter frame endows the bike with much better dynamics, with the right amount of rigidity and flexibility to tackle almost any sort of cornering shenanigans one can think of. So much so, that it wouldn’t be a far stretch of imagination to call the Pulsar 200NS one of, if not the best handling bikes in the country, rivalling even the venerable Yamaha R15 in its cornering prowess.
The KTM comes a close second though. A part of the problem lies in the fact that, with 150-section rubber at the rear, which is even wider than that on the CBR, the Duke really is over-tyred. The wide contact patch of that tyre makes the turn-ins not as sharp, and it also makes it a little tricky to handle over loose surfaces. The flickability advantage that the Pulsar enjoys also comes from the bike being a little bit taller, with the rider sitting a little higher as well, which raises the centre of gravity making it that much easier to tip into turns.
Why the Pulsar 200NS
Supremely capable chassis sporting a perimeter frame combined with all the right elements such as the wide handlebars and tallish riding position makes it one of the best handling bikes in the market today