ZigWheels Editor-in-Chief, Adil Jal Darukhanawala got a chance to ride the spanking new Bajaj Pulsar 200NS and here is the exclusive first ride impression of the most important motorcycle of 2012. Time to shift into higher gear as the new Pulsar brings with it a host of never-seen-before technologies and engineering mastery at its very finest
Any Pulsar, be it the 135 or the 150 right up till the 220 was performance oriented and in the present scenario, the new bike hits the front and goes straight to the top of the heap in the quickest possible manner. I would also like to state one thing here and that is to ask whether any other bike maker in this country has come up front and stated the performance capability of any of its machines in so up front a manner as has Bajaj Auto. In fact the specifications released to the media at the launch today indicate a top whack of 136kmph which is surely top drawer stuff but then the acceleration figures are even more illuminating: zero to sixty comes up in 3.61 seconds while the ton from standstill is dispatched in 9.83 seconds!
Quick gets a whole new meaning. However, these figures are all academic because the real pleasure comes from the actual driveability in town and the way the bike reacts when the wick is lit! Meaning when you crack the throttle open, the engine spins so fast and quick that you need to aim for the gaps while keeping the throttle pinned open if you want to dazzle yourself with the capability the Pulsar 200 NS packs. This is a bike (Read: Special Coverage) which thrives on revs but which is equally docile and tractable if that is how you want to enjoy your biking.
I got astride the bike for a short sharp session and was immediately floored by the strong seamless surge the 199.5cc motor put out. If that wasn’t all, sticking tall yet comfortably in the superbly crafted saddle and yet straddling the tank with its well defined recesses – better than on the older Pulsars mind you, the sheer strength of the new bike’s frame was apparent.
There was hardly a weave or tuck and under heavy braking or when leaning into corners and exiting them quickly was a revelation. After a couple of runs I came in but Joseph Abraham who was watching me go out on his baby asked me to be a bit more adventurous and told me to scream the motor in all the gears to its 10,000rpm red line and then come back and tell him how the bike behaved. This was something else altogether for the manner in which the bike screamed in sheer delight as she was given its head and I started shifting as high as the track allowed me to.
Third, fourth and fifth speeds snuck into at anywhere between 9500 and 10,000 rpm saw the Pulsar 200 NS blast out like a bat out of hell but yet so stable and sure that it was an intoxicating affair. Thrusting ahead with the energy of a record-breaking sprinter, the 200 NS lurches forward with intense ferocity as I keep on upshifting with the needle on the analogue tachometer bouncing off the 10,000 rpm redline and the gear shifter blinking incessantly. The new Pulsar pulls and pulls relentlessly in every one of its six cogs devoid of lag or hesitance. The clutch is light yet firm and the shifts are slick, precise and positive. Gives an altogether new meaning to the phrase as one with the bike!
The absolute connect between tyre and tarmac is a sheer joy for experiencing and the torque surge in whichever cog you may be gets you drunk on delight. The saddle height is slightly higher – at 805mm - than the older Pulsars but that is no deterrent in enjoying the brilliance of the handlebars-seat-foot pegs interplay which makes for not just a most sporty yet comfortable stance, it also allows you the flexibility to move your weight when you want to use it to good effect in the corners.
Speaking of weight and its effect, I must mention balance and mass centralization here again and the way this sets the Pulsar 200 NS (Read : Design & Style) from any other bike in the country today. While some may have marveled at the brilliance of the CBR250R’s handling the fact remains that it just doesn’t have the buzz and the exhilaration that the 200 NS does and even while giving away crucial displacement to the quarter-litre Honda, this Bajaj can show a thing or two, not just to the CBR but to every other bike on the market in its class and then leave them for dead.
The tightly packaged engine (Read : Engine & Tranmission) along with the boxy silencer element wrapped above and behind the swing arm pivot is key to this mass centralization. The engine is hung on a bracket just above the swing arm axle and there are two hangers up front to hold the engine on either side. If you thought the petrol tank looks dishy you are mistaken, no not for the style element but for the fact that it is only a plastic cover for the actual 12-litre capacity fuel tank, which resides below and close to where the rider sits on the saddle!
The aggressive rake and the beefy headstock play their vital role as well in the overall dynamic ability of the Pulsar 200 NS that tips the scales at 145kg, a saving of almost seven kilos over the Pulsar 220. While slashing weight is a key component in these days of emission legislated protocols where engine downsizing, better efficiency and cleaner exhausts take precedence over outright performance, here the pleasure delivery never ceases.
If all up weight has been slashed the gains in the weight distribution are even more pronounced. With a near 50:50 weight distribution front to rear, 72kg : 73kg to be precise, this has to be the best balanced bike there is on the Indian market today and nothing much needs to be said about the virtues of a bike endowed with good balance coupled with a low centre of gravity as well.
The ergonomics are light years ahead of whatever competition there is on the market today and while thee would seem to be a slight weight forward thrust to it, this is only in the overall fell where you can work the front end to do much more than on any other bike in the land. And here may I add something which will totally blow everyone’s’ minds: on the Bajaj Auto test track, the Pulsar 200 NS (Read: Pulsar Revolution) sees off the KTM Duke 200 effortlessly! The surety and assurance with which the Pulsar 200 NS displays its prowess across the dynamic spectrum is of another planet.
It will make average riders and newcomers feel as if they are right in the league of gods while for those experienced hands it will be the right tool to go out and flog with delight and the bike will reward those with quickness of hand and the dexterity of being one with the machine. And one more bit I might add, and that concerns the exhaust note – this Pulsar has probably the best sounding note among present day Indian motorcycles with a slight throaty pronounced audio alerting all and sundry as to make way for it, in the nicest possible way!
While this might be emerging as a road test, I must say that an actual road test will only bear out all what I have outlined here and trust me this is one of the bikes which is destined to be a big seller, not just in India but also overseas. Bajaj Auto is finally going to launch the Pulsar all over the world and in any company this machine can more than hold its own. In fact, Kawasaki, its Japanese partner of long standing has been dazzled by the way the bike has shaped up and wants to explore ways to branding it as one of its own in some of its most important markets! And that’s just saying everything one wants to know about this firecracker of a motorcycle with manners to charm, delight and excite. A hooligan and a gentleman both rolled in one!