A decade of dominance is one way to look at the legacy of the Bajaj Pulsar but an even greater significance of this sporty motorcycle is the fact that it created the sports bike class in Indian motorcycling unlike at any other time in Indian motoring history. The first gen Pulsars were great for their time and truly set the cat amongst whatever one would care to term the competition but today the latter is more evolved, more determined and more eager to break free and try to usurp leadership of the Pulsar class.
Right at the very start I must pour cold water on the above assumption of the competition because the spanking new Pulsar 200NS (the suffix standing for Naked Sports) has redefined what a Pulsar is and stands for while pushing the envelope so further away from the rest that the fact that the Pulsar continues to remain a dynamic target is attested once again. First off there is nothing remotely close about the new Pulsar from its predecessors barring the name! In fact, even the typescript is subtly changed and while the apparent visage is stunning and tightly packaged, the technology across the bike has helped the Indian motorcycle cause leapfrog itself into the next decade! When Joseph Abraham, chief technology officer of Bajaj Auto and head of Stars Ahead, the R&D department of the company does things, he doesn’t do things in half or three-fourths but goes the whole hog and this has been the case with this stunning second generation offering.
ZigWheels.com has not just the complete details about the new bike but we also managed a short riding session aboard this new powerhouse to bring you this exclusive no-holds-barred story of what promises to take Pulsar power to a whole new level and beyond anything the competition has on offer.
It might be very easy to say Bajaj Auto had the help of its Austrian partner KTM to help it design the new second generation Pulsar when the real story is that Bajaj Auto in fact did the whole shebang with the stunning new small capacity KTM Dukes! Also not very well know is the fact that Rajiv Bajaj is very strong on design and knew that his team had to have a top class design team and while he wasn’t averse to getting many international consultants to help out in the past, he then went and hired some of the best in the world to work and set up a truly modern state-of-the-art design studio within the company. Among the many things incorporated within Bajaj Auto’s Stars Ahead set-up was the coming on board of none other than ex-BMW Motorrad design whiz Edgar Heinrich and he worked closely with Joseph Abraham to perfect the overall stance, makeup and proportions of the new Pulsar (Read : First Ride).
As can be seen from the exclusive images of the Pulsar 200NS, the lineage can be made out to a certain extent but then the bike and its stance and proportions are different, radical, wild and appealing in the way the mass centralization has been taken to a whole new level. The most apparent bit about the new bike is its striking style with the wrap around tank shield, the split seat, the Darth Vader headlamp, the colour coordinated theme and sculpted front mudguard, the delectable rear registration plate carrier, etc. The bike is in the streetfighter mould and makes no apologies about this fact of its makeup. In fact it thrives on its aggressive, in-your-face appeal and the extent to how far the stylists have gone to can be found in the rear view mirrors which have been specially drawn and sculpted to carry a homogenous look all across the vehicle.
The style quotient is unbelievable and nowhere do you find graphics on the bike, the curves and the character lines speaking a language that spells excitement from start to finish and that too in a stylish, sophisticated manner. Bajaj Auto has taken motorcycle style and design to a new high and while it was always renowned for setting the bar in this regard, this time it has moved the bar many notches higher! The clever interplay of painted and darkened surfaces, the menagerie of different materials, especially in the tactile regions, the sheer harmony between metal, plastic, glass, leather and cushion speaks a language which is pure manna from the heavens to the motorcyclist. Check this out in the physical state and you’ll get the drift of what I am stating.
It all starts though with the beam frame, a first for Bajaj Auto and the second clue – after the visual treat – that the new Pulsar 200NS is far removed from the KTM Duke 200. This frame is both form and function rolled into one classic unit that weighs just one kilogram more than the earlier tubular chassis of the Pulsar 220 but more importantly has thrice the rigidity! The key consideration was to try to harness the basic stiffness this sort of chassis delivers and further on the design of the monoshock at the rear (another first for a Bajaj motorcycle though not for a scooter!) saw that the linkage at the top end of the frame would help dissipate forces in as linear a manner from upsetting the handling. The straight run sections to the headstock and the beefy build indicates that this is sure going to be a chassis that can take more than just 24bhp but more of that later!
The 37mm dia front forks and the single Nitrox shock absorber with its piggy back gas canister comprise the suspension units at either end but at the rear there is now also a large rectangular section swing arm which works with needle roller bearings to help impart the strength and this is the key difference between the Pulsar 200NS and the KTM Duke 200 which runs a cast aluminium swing arm (a veritable work of art) operating with special anti-friction bushes and also of course the high tech and costly WP suspension units. Joseph is right in stating that the Pulsar 200NS can do without saving 900 grammes if it means to save over Rs 20,000 for the suspension units and the cast aluminium swing arm!
Unlike in the past and also if compared to the Duke 200, the Pulsar 200NS (Read : Special Coverage) sports a very well defined chassis with a compact 1363mm wheelbase. Giving it an aggressive 26-degree rake, the bike is set up to be a quick turner while being absolutely stable going around bends. Another detail to strike it big like us here at ZigWheels who thrive when a bike goes corner carving is the absolutely fine art of crimping the perimeter frame at various sections to induce a bit of flex at key junctures without this affecting the overall handling. Many of the world’s best-known superbikes use tailored blanks of differing thickness to affect this but given that this bike is to operate within the quarter-litre class confines, this method does just as effectively.
The bike runs on very beautifully sculpted, 10-spoke, 17-inch cast alloy wheels shod with a 100/80-17 52P tyre up front while a 130.70-17 61P tyre does duty at the rear. Needless to suggest both tyres are of the tubeless kind and having ridden it hard and also seen it up close, these tyres are more than adequate from a dynamic and traction point of view as well as the visual aspect. Retardation chores are handled by drilled single petal discs on each wheel, the one on the front wheel measuring 280mm in dia while there is a 230mm dia job on the rear wheel. These disc brakes with floating calipers are Brembo units made by the Italian firm’s Bybre facility near Pune while the suspension components are units designed and built by Endurance.
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