Bajaj Pulsar RS200 vs Yamaha R15 vs Hero Karizma ZMR Comparison Review

  • May 7, 2015
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The Bajaj Pulsar RS200 impressed us on the race track but how does it perform in real world conditions in the company of its rivals? We have pitched it against the Yamaha R15 Version 2.0 and the Hero Karizma ZMR to find out the answer

Bajaj Pulsar RS200 vs Yamaha R15 vs Hero Karizma ZMR

The Bajaj Pulsar is a motorcycle that needs no introduction to the hordes of Indian two-wheeler enthusiasts as it has been a stepping stone into the world of performance bikes for many. Ever since the launch of the Bajaj Pulsar 200NS a few years back, the Chakan based two-wheeler giant had been missing from action as no new products were launched. Bajaj Auto returned with a bang as they launched the new Pulsar RS200 labelled as the “Fastest Pulsar yet”. Our editor had a go on the Bajaj Pulsar RS200 at the Chakan test track and came back mighty impressed. But its real test was on how it performed on the street. To make things more interesting we have brought along the Yamaha R15 version 2.0 and the Hero Karizma ZMR which are its full faired rivals in the given price point (we have omitted the KTM RC200 as its priced at a Rs 36,700 premium over the RS200 ABS variant).

Design & Features:

Bajaj Pulsar RS200: rating_4.0_rating

Yamaha R15: rating_4.0_rating

Hero Karizma ZMR: rating_3.0_rating

Bajaj Pulsar RS200 vs Yamaha R15 vs Hero Karizma ZMR  static

The Bajaj Pulsar RS200 is a striking looking motorcycle with its form and bulk while the snazzy graphics further accentuates its appeal. The front is where all the action lies with the twin projector headlamps above which sit the eyebrow shaped DRL’s and the neatly sculpted windscreen. The Pulsar RS200 is the first motorcycle from Bajaj to be equipped with a full fairing. The multi piece faring is neatly sculpted with various cuts and creases. In profile the bike isn’t pleasing to the eyes as the front heavy design makes it look unproportionate. Instead of an underbelly exhaust, the Pulsar RS200 features a stubby muffler which gels well with the overall design of the bike whereas the floating LED tail lamps sticks out like a sore thumb. The instrument console has been borrowed from the Pulsar 200NS whereas the switch gear quality is excellent. Build quality is good but could have been better. The Bajaj Pulsar RS200 isn’t a pretty looking motorcycle but it seems to have struck a chord with youngsters who adore its flamboyant styling and are the target audience for the RS200.

Bajaj Pulsar RS200 vs Yamaha R15 vs Hero Karizma ZMR  group shot

The Yamaha R15 looks as if it came out directly from the race track with its sporty and edgy design lines. Inspired from the Yamaha R6 super sports offering, the R15 is a handsome looking motorcycle with its sharp fairing, sculpted fuel tank, split seats and the minimalistic yet striking tail section. The Hero Karizma ZMR looks a bit out of shape in this company. Although it also sports similar design features, the Karizma ZMR’s styling lacks the styling finesse of its rivals. Having said that, the vertically stacked twin headlamps and the floating LED tail lamp do look good. Switch gear quality on the Yamaha and Hero offering is good while the R15’s build quality is of the first order whereas the ZMR has some loose edges. The Yamaha R15 has a semi digital instrument console with the analogue tachometer taking centre stage while the Hero Karizma ZMR employs an all-digital instrument cluster with a plethora of info on display.

Engine & Performance:

Bajaj Pulsar RS200: rating_4.0_rating

Yamaha R15: rating_3.5_rating

Hero Karizma ZMR: rating_3.0_rating

Bajaj Pulsar RS200 vs Yamaha R15 vs Hero Karizma ZMR action
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The Bajaj Pulsar RS200 leads the charge with respect to power output among the trio. The 199.5cc, liquid-cooled motor churns out 24.5PS at 9,750rpm and peak torque of 18.6Nm at 8,000rpm. It is also the first Bajaj offering since the Pulsar 220 DTS- Fi to feature fuel injection. Open the throttle and the Pulsar RS200 lunges forward with great enthusiasm while the fuel injection means that the throttle response is crisp and precise. The Pulsar RS200 is clearly the fastest bike among the trio be it acceleration or top speed and the throaty exhaust note in the background adding to the drama. The engine isn’t as harsh as it predecessors but vibrations do seep in via the footpegs and handle bars at the apex of the motors performance. Given the full fairing, aerodynamics of the bike has improved and sustaining speeds above 100kmph doesn’t take much effort. This makes it an able touring motorcycle when one isn’t corner hunting.  The RS200 was easy to ride in the arduous roads of Pune as the gear ratios have been well distributed but gear shift quality could have been better.

Bajaj Pulsar RS200 action

The Yamaha R15 is the least powerful motorcycle in the comparison as the 150cc mill pumps out 17PS and 15Nm of torque. But numbers don’t really tell the real story. The Yamaha R15’s motor is a high revving soul and one has to feed in the revs to extract its full potential. Keep it on the boil and the Yamaha amazes you with its performance, its slower than the Pulsar RS200 to hit the ton mark but it’s a close fight. Where the YR15’s powerplant impresses is the brilliant refinement that it offers. Also the 6-speed gearbox is the best of the lot with crisp and positive shifts that showcases the engineering prowess of Yamaha. But the high revving nature of the bike is good on highways and race tracks but in day-to-day riding it becomes a bit irritating.

Yamaha R15 action

The Hero Karizma ZMR is powered by a 223cc, air-cooled, fuel injected mill with an oil cooler pushing out 20PS at 8,000rpm and a peak torque of 19.7Nm at 6,500rpm. This is the same engine as on the older ZMR but it now produces 2PS more power. Performance of the new Hero Karizma ZMR is good now, no doubt, with the motor gathering momentum at a quick pace. But the Hero Karizma ZMR loses out in terms of refinement level as the motor has lots of vibes.

Ride, Handling and Braking:

Bajaj Pulsar RS200: rating_4.5_rating

Yamaha R15: rating_4.0_rating

Hero Karizma ZMR: rating_3.5_rating

Bajaj Pulsar RS200 vs Yamaha R15 vs Hero Karizma ZMR  cornering

Suspension duties are handled by telescopic front forks and a monoshock setup at the rear on the Pulsar RS200 and the R15, whereas the Karizma ZMR employs a tradition twin shock setup at the back. In terms of ride quality, the Bajaj Pulsar RS200 and Hero Karizma ZMR were evenly matched as they handled broken roads and undulations with ease. The stiffly sprung Yamaha R15 wasn’t happy riding over potholes and it made its displeasure evident by offering many jolts on the riders back. The Pulsar RS200 had gained a hefty 20kg over its naked sibling and we had our apprehensions on whether the added bulk would foul with its handling. But gladly that hasn’t happened, as the Pulsar RS200 took on the twisties with great gusto and the bike tipped into corners without much effort. The handling prowess of the Pulsar RS200 can be credited to the fantastic MRF sourced tyres that offered fantastic grip.

Yamaha R15 cornering shot

But the most fun ride bike around twisting mountain roads has to be the Yamaha R15. The delta box frame provides oodles of feedback which means you could increase the cornering speed with every passing corner and the track bred dynamics of the R15 is clearly evident. It is a great learner bike, if one wants to go corner craving and scrape your knees on the tarmac and it’s an utter joy to throw the bike around turns. As far as handling goes, the new Hero Karizma ZMR feels completely at home taking fast flowing corners but it wasn't as happy changing directions quickly. This is down the bike's 157kg, its long wheelbase, softer suspension setup and its slightly top heavy weight distribution. All three bikes employ disc brakes at front and rear for anchorage and they do a great job in shedding speeds. But the Bajaj Pulsar RS200 has the added advantage of optional ABS (single channel only on front wheel).

Riding Ergonomics and Pillion Comfort:

Bajaj Pulsar RS200: rating_4.0_rating

Yamaha R15: rating_4.0_rating

Hero Karizma ZMR: rating_3.0_rating

Bajaj Pulsar RS200 vs Yamaha R15 vs Hero Karizma ZMR in action

The Bajaj Pulsar RS200 and the Hero Karizma ZMR have a raised handle bar which makes the riding posture less sporty than the R15’s but is more comfortable in comparison while riding in the city or on the highway as the wrists don’t come under much pressure. The Yamaha R15’s sporty riding posture is beneficial on the race track or on the twisties but in real world conditions it isn’t pleasant. Also, it feels cramped for space in comparison to its rivals due to its petite dimensions.

Hero Karizma ZMR action

The Hero Karizma ZMR is the most pillion friendly of the lot with the well cushioned seats and raised grab handles. The seats on the Pulsar RS200 are on the stiffer side but are spacious while the tail section embedded grab handles doesn’t offer good grip to the pillion. It seems Yamaha designers gave significance to form over function as the tall and petite rear seat isn’t remotely pillion friendly and the fact that there is no grab handle doesn’t help its cause either.

Pricing and Fuel Efficiency:

Bajaj Pulsar RS200: rating_4.0_rating

Yamaha R15: rating_3.5_rating

Hero Karizma ZMR: rating_3.5_rating

Bajaj Pulsar RS200 vs Yamaha R15 vs Hero Karizma ZMR group static

The Hero Karizma ZMR is the cheapest offering priced at Rs 1.05 lakh whereas the Yamaha R15 comes a close second at Rs 1.14 lakh. The Bajaj Pulsar RS200 is offered in two variants, ABS and standard version, the ABS version retails for Rs 1.30 lakh whereas the non-ABS version carries a sticker price of Rs 1.18 lakh. The bike we tested was the ABS version and although ABS technology has its benefits, the one on the Pulsar RS200 is a single channel one. So our suggestion would be to go for the non-ABS Pulsar RS200 and invest the money saved in good riding gear. Overall the Pulsar RS200 offers fantastic value for the features and performance it has on offer. While these machines are tuned for performance over mileage, they do offer decent fuel efficiency. All the three bikes will return around 30 to 40kmpl depending on the riding style of the owner in real world conditions.


Bajaj Pulsar RS200: rating_4.0_rating

Yamaha R15: rating_3.5_rating

Hero Karizma ZMR: rating_3.0_rating

Bajaj Pulsar RS200 rear static

There was a lot riding on the back of the Bajaj engineers with the Pulsar RS200 as it was a new breed of full-faired motorcycle genre for the Chakan based manufacturer. And the Pulsar RS200 has lived up to those expectations. It offers fantastic performance, great handling and comfortable riding dynamics making it a wholesome package. What seals the deal further is its striking design, list of features and the competitive pricing.  The Yamaha R15 finishes a close second; it has the looks, performance and brilliant handling dynamics. But the aggressive riding posture restricts its audience while maintenance is also significantly higher but it’s a hugely impressive motorcycle. The Hero Karizma ZMR offers decent performance, supple ride, neutral handling, and comfortable riding dynamics at a good price. But the styling isn’t pleasing on the eyes and despite the hike in power the powerplant feels unrefined and its lacks the engineering proficiency of its rivals.

Specification Sheet:

Bajaj Pulsar RS200

Yamaha R15 Version 2.0

Hero Karizma ZMR


199.5cc, liquid-cooled, fuel injected, single-cylinder

149.8cc, liquid-cooled, fuel injected, single-cylinder

223cc, air-cooled, fuel injected, single-cylinder


24.5PS @ 9,750rpm

17PS @ 8,500rpm

20PS @ 8,000rpm


18.6Nm @ 8,000rpm

15Nm @ 7,500rpm

19.7Nm @ 6,500rpm






Front- Telescopic fork

Rear- Nitrox monoshock

Front- Telescopic fork

Rear- Monoshock

Front- Telescopic fork

Rear- Twin shock


Front - 300mm dia disc (ABS optional)

Rear - 230mm dia disc

Front - Disc

Rear – Disc

Front - 276mm dia disc

Rear - 240mm dia disc

Fuel Tank Capacity

13 litres

12 litres

15.3 litres




Length x Width x Height

1,999 x 765 x 1,114mm

1,970 x 670 x 1,070mm


Kerb Weight




Ground Clearance




Price (ex-showroom Delhi)

Rs 1.18 lakh

Rs 1.30 lakh (ABS)

Rs 1.14 lakh

Rs 1.05 lakh

Bajaj Pulsar RS200
Bajaj Pulsar RS200
Rs. 1.73 Lakh
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