- 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....
- Karizma beater?
What's a Karizma? You mean that little yellow speck in my fold-away, fairing-mounted, shapely mirrors?
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.
- 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
- Autocar India awards
- New Year Wishlist
- Rearset's Annual Motorcycle Awards: List Two
- Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi: Dazed and confused
- Fuel Injection, big boost?
- Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi: More images and specs
- Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi official image
- Launch prospects
- DTS-Fi launch dates
- No market?
- Auto Expo Photos
- Two Wheels at Auto Expo 2006