Jan 20, 2007

The Review: Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi

Offical image of the launch spec Bajaj Pulsar DTS-FiYes, I rode it. The 220, that is. And I'm remiss on the riding impression. So here goes. First of all, the two big questions.

  1. Is it impressive?
    Oh yes it is. Very much so. Without a doubt, it gets my vote for the best motorcycle in the country today. Overall. I still have a couple of bones to pick with it....

  2. Karizma beater?
    What's a Karizma? You mean that little yellow speck in my fold-away, fairing-mounted, shapely mirrors?
Now for the guts and glory bits, eh?

Mechanically speaking
This is easily the most well-engineered Bajaj bike yet. It has an almost disappointing Honda-like civility. It's not as noisy as the older Pulsars. And you could keep a coin on the tank and rev it to the moon (or rev limiter, whichever is earlier) without aforementioned coin sliding off. Gears snick into place with minimal fuss, the clutch take up is very progressive. Despite trying, I could not trick the gearbox into missing a shift, had no trouble finding neutral and it all worked just the way it should.

Which is why the bike (as I said) didn't leave me as excited as I could have been. It's too civil. Not that I want a harsh, vibey old thing, but that its too smooth in its power delivery. You almost don't notice the speed. Not until I found a helpfully aggressive chap (220? Bajaj? Pchah! Race lagaayega?) on the aforementioned yellow Karizma did it become emphatically obvious how fast the thing really is (all usual disclaimers against racing on streets apply. Only did it because of the lack of space - to ride - and time - owner was getting itchy).

On its own, the digital tacho shows perpetually climbing numbers, the sounds rise a bit, the scenery blurs by a bit quicker. That's it. I wish the FI curves were a bit more aggro. I don't know if that's possible but I do wish the bike blew harder from the word go. As in its too much of a gentlemen. I wish it'd punched me in the nose a couple of times, that would have helped the love and the excitement, eh?

On any terrain, nothing in India's gonna catch it. Its surefooted, confident and can be relied on to get a move on. A couple of times, I caught myself not backing off even in dirty corners, expecting the whole package to just samba on without a twitch. And both times, that's exactly what happened. Absolutely amazing. Astoundingly good, even. The chassis re-tune works. Period.

The Karizma upgrade will need to answer some hard, hard questions in corners when it comes.

And it isn't a sportsbike for only the greatest of roads either. The 220 has gained a nice balance on the ride front too. It feels sporty and absorbs almost everything without as much as a raised eyebrow. I rode it through a stretch where cars and trucks has pretty much blasted off chunks of tarmac from the top layer. At high speed and at low speed. And I have nothing to report. No worries, no problems, no shocks, nothing. This is a truly great package.

More love for the brakes as well. They're great. They talk to you through the fingers, have great power, and should stoppie the 220 easy (I didn't try - I'd mooched the bike from a fairly reluctant owner; which is also not to say that I can, in fact, stoppie it in the first place).

It's comfy all right, but there is a hitch. The fixed fairing comes back a bit too much and unless you're sitting so that the tailbone is touching the seatstep, your knees will be rubbing on the fairing. That's a bit uncomfortable.I guess when you are riding it in jeans, I'd grip the tank quite hard before hitting the brakes hard. In riding pants, the armour has that privilege of being very intimate with the fairing end. Shorties - I'm guessing 5'5" and below won't notice this.


Other niggles
  • Why have a removable seat with storage space and then put the release under lock and key in the side panel?

  • White wheels instead of silver?

  • Tubeless tyres look identical to normal ones. Why? A different pattern, or name or something would have been a nice differentiator.

  • Why no clock in the dash?
    I for one found the Kari's clock damn useful on longer trips...

  • Eyesore of a front numberplate

  • Looks identical to every other Pulsar except for the front fairing

  • Don't think the bike's too pretty front on either

  • Clear indicators look naff all. Would've preffered orange LED ones, a slim line integrated in the mirror... lovely!

  • Clips not too adjustable

  • External tubing for the oil cooler looks plenty ugly

  • Engine kill switch is upside down. And ugly brown

  • From what I know, they're coming in unadventurous colours. Why? Why not a orange one? Pearl white? Metalflake silver? Gixxer blue? Kawa green?

  • Returns almost 40 kpl! What nonsense! I want only 25 kpl. And 25 bhp to go with that.
Phenomenal! Dirt cheap, even.

(Oh! we're giving verdicts now?) In a nutshell, if it weren't for the utter civility and the neutrality of the bike, I'd buy it. Right now. If I weren't such a rush-head, this would be my bike. A keeper for a year or two at the very least. By then, of course, some 300s, 400s would have come and I'd be ready to upgrade...

Other posts about the DTS-Fi


Anonymous said...

how much is it for? and when's the karizma upgrade due?

theslayer said...

"The Review: Bajaj Pulsar 200 DTS-Fi"

You know there's a mistake buddy! Do correct it!

Nyctophobia said...

our friend kavitha was quite the bit indifferent towards the launch of the 220 news that i had broken to her some time back, that is until i showed her the pics and the specs from this time's bike india. :-)

i like the way the front looks, atleast there's no big lamp / refelctor thing upfront! hows the light from it tho?

rearset said...

The lighting's absolutely great. The damn things are bright, clear and without any illuminating flaws...

rearset said...

Price in Pune is 83,595 on-road. Kari upgrade expected March 2007 or April 2007.

Thanks theslayer...

Maltesh Ashrit said...

Hi !
Well, First things first..

I didnt like the styling of the P220.

If Bajaj if making an bike wid so many 'New' and 'first time in India' features, then they could have changed the styling of it...Atleast the tank..

Or atleast dont do the same for 150/180/200..
Where's de exclusivity?

Ok now you wont change the Pulsar name, for any reason..so no point talking about it..

As far as the performance is concerned..is it Underpowered.I believe so..

Why they had to conc a bit on Fuel efficiency?

But, this is a Gr8 first attempt, considering the Hondas would have sold the same 100cc bike in 10 diff variants, and if it werent for Bajaj, then they would have launched their premium bike..(Hope they do, but Im not a Honda Addict..)

And yea
Nice Blog...
Even I'm a Auto Blogger, chk out my Blog..

n[E]o said...

hi blogger buddy , i am a fellow blogger (www.neo999.com) on indian bikes. As i get frequent requests about the ride quality and performance questions about pulsar 220, i am posting a part of this post followed by a link to your blog.I hope you wont mind that. Thank you...

rearset said...

Thanks for asking. Go ahead and use what you need.

Glifford said...

Does this bike have an all DC electrical system like the Eliminator. I mean does the headlamp work off the battery or off the alternator?

One test would be to check whether you can switch on the headlamps when the engine is not running.

rearset said...

It is. The elecricals are roughly the same as the 200 (specs that Venkat posted). You can have the headlamp run with the bike off. And it is smart enough to turn them off if you try to crank the bike to life with the headlamps still on.

Aditya Bhelke said...

Check out the Pulsar 220 Owners Club, and reviews on the Pulsar 220 here ..

sriku said...

Dude!! Rode it on Saturday morning at the Bajaj pro-biking showroom in Vashi. Unbelievable performance, they had a dynamo rig too. I couldn't get the bike to wobble despite my best(worst) efforts. Took wicked turns at 70 kmph with the wind against me and slammed on both brakes...not a wiggle or jerk, the bike stopped and I couldn't believe it. I've ridden some pretty phenomenal bikes, but for the money they're asking, this one's a total steal! Only problem though, 2 months waiting period. Am meeting the service center head mechanic on this saturday to get a true verdict on maintenance, performance and all such info...will tell you all abt it! Also, coming from the bullet, the gear lever and the foot brake lever rests are tiny! but that's not something I'd change....