2020 TVS Apache RTR 160 & RTR 200 BS6 First Ride Review
- Dec 11, 2019
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Back in June 2002, the very first Bajaj Pulsar 180 TV commercial sent a shockwave through the biking community in India leaving all bikers wondering what the new Pulsar would be. Enter 2009 - the fourth generation Pulsar 180 DTSi is an entirely new motorcycle. Do not mistake it to be a mere cosmetic upgrade as she packs in some serious new equipment within its frame. Already a market leader in the premium motorcycle segment in India, Bajaj Auto's latest assault in the form of the 2009 Pulsar Edition promises to keep the company perched on top of the performance bike segment.
Looks & Built:
Before we get into the technical nitty-gritty's of the new bike, one critical improvement needs to be mentioned. The overall quality of parts on this new breed of bikes from the Pune-based bike-maker has improved significantly compared to the first generation Pulsars. The plastics, fittings and other cycle parts have a sturdy feel to them and the new Pulsar is definitely a well-put-together motorcycle. However, the finish on certain parts like indicator holders and the side panel locks could have been better. Once the sight reaches the trademark Pulsar fuel-tank, first thing you notice is the addition of tank shrouds that it borrows from the bigger Pulsar 200 DTSi. Couple that to the beefy 37mm front telescopic suspension (borrowed from the Bajaj Auto's flagship product, the Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi) and what you get is a more aggressive-streetfighter-like Pulsar 180 "Ditsy"
The new Pulsar retains the same five-speed gearbox from the earlier models albeit with minor changes to the gear ratios. The gearing has been shortened a bit and the first gear feels very short. The Bajaj R&D has focused on improving mid-range and ride ability of the new Pulsar which gives it a strong punchy feel from 3Ks all the way up to the redline at 9,500rpm. The gearshifts are slick and precise with each gear change giving that confident feel of the gear getting slot in harmony. The roll-ons directly benefit from the Pulsar's added power and torque as slotted in 5th cog - the bike did the 30-70km/h dash in remarkable 9.23 seconds.
Ride & Feel:
The ergonomics on the new Pulsar 180 too have been altered to complete the new bike's sporty appeal. The view from the seat also gets more lively and spirited with the white-dial digital console and the clip-on handlebars from the 220. The clip-on's really make for a sporty riding posture just adequate enough to do spirited riding but they will not be uncomfortable in the stop-and-go city traffic. The split-seat from the bigger Pulsars further adds to the new bike's charm. But as mentioned earlier, there is a lot more to the new Pulsar 180, than what meets the eye. The wheelbase is increased by 25mm (from 1320mm to 1345mm) while sharing the handling duties with the double-downtube chassis is the oval-section swingarm taken from the Pulsar 200/220 inventory.
The fatter swingarm and well-tuned suspension have added great amount of stability and handling dexterity to the Pulsar 180, making it an extremely well-balanced motorcycle in its class. Old Pulsar-owners will agree that the earlier generation Pulsars felt twitchy through corners and lacked high-speed stability. But this new bike feels completely different altogether when tackling corners. She tips in with precision and holds the line with utmost conviction. Thanks to the beefy forks from the 220, mid-corner stability is unbelievably good and attacking the long sweeping corners at full whack is a breeze.
Motor & Might:
Unlike the norm with bike-makers in India, Bajaj Auto has actually given this new Pulsar 180 additional firepower to go with its rekindled spirit. The 178cc motor has been tuned further and it now makes 17.02PS of power at 8,500rpm. The performance-centred tuning on the new Pulsar 180 makes it one of the quickest bike's off-the-line in its class. The bike weighs two kilograms less than the Pulsar 200 DTSi but also makes marginally less power - however, in terms of performance she manages to post times comparable to the 200. During our test for the 0-60km/h run she posted an acceleration time of 4.64 seconds and the 100km/h mark came in just 14 seconds. Very impressive!
Living with it:
Staying true to its sporty roots and stylish aura, the fourth generation Pulsar 180 does away with the kick lever and the heel-toe gear shifter seen on the earlier models too gets trashed for a sportier toe-shift lever. The fatter MRF rubber too comes directly from the larger Pulsars and gives the 180 a much planted feel, though the increased contact patch coupled with extra weight does require a little more effort to corner the new 180 than its earlier variants. Fuel efficiency is not great but just enough as the fatter rubber and increased mass does affect the over fuel consumption of the new Pulsar. In our tests, the 180 returned us an overall fuel efficiency figure of 54.3kmpl, which is not great, but if you consider the performance and the additional power, it is quite a respectable figure.
All in all it's a very good effort from Bajaj Auto to capitalize on the Pulsar lineage and strengthen the Pulsar brand even more. Priced also very very competitively, at Rs. 62,890 (Ex-showroom, Pune), this sort of an upgrade to the original top end Pulsar is only good news for its very many fans. Though better would be the launch news of the new Pulsar 200 and the flagship Pulsar in the pipeline.
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