yahoo/bajajpulsar and from whatever I've read, not everyone is clear about the XCD and Bajaj's intent behind the bike. So I thought I'd post some clarifications.
- DTSi was supposed to boost power and mileage. Now you have S also, so where is the extra power?
The S(wirl) is designed to promote the speed and efficiency of combustion (as in speed up and clean up events inside the combustion chamber) at part throttle loads. That means, the DTS-Si motor is burning best at less than full throttle riding, when the engine is not heavily loaded. Why is this crucial, because the average entry-level rider (actually, this probably applies to almost everyone) does not spend any significant time at full throttle. So, the S is designed to boost efficiency and not power, which is why Bajaj says 109 kpl from a 125cc engine is pretty significant. Why 109 kpl? That's 1 kpl more than the Platina's standard-test claim, and I think, that's the exact message going out – more than Platina.
Extra power? Who said anything about extra power? Bajaj clarified during their press conferences that the S' benefits lay in torque and efficiency, while the F (Fi) was where the tuning for more power would be done. Also, if you look at the specs, the engine's pretty much a square configuration (bore and stroke are nearly identical). Given that almost all of Bajaj's other engines are oversquare by varying degrees, that's another sign that Bajaj never inteded for the XCD DTS-Si to be a really high-power machine. As you may have noticed from the DTS-Si launch curves (they're XCD curves), the bike has a massive, massive torque advantage over the Platina, and a still considerable, but not quite so towering advantage over almost all the 125s at lower revs. I'm not just talking the peak torque here, I'm talking the of the torque at 1500-2500 rpm kind of the low-down torque. In fact, the only motorcycles I can think of which sport similar torque curves are the Suzuki Heat and Zeus, which have torque peaks at an unlikely 4,000-odd rpm.
- BAL is claiming performance comparable with other 125s...
To some extent, that is imaginable. The Super Splendor class of 125s make 9.5 bhp, which is exactly what the XCD makes. So, will it outperform the Disco or the Gladiator?
No, and that isn't the point. Bajaj's point simply, is that despite the high efficiency, the XCD still has the guts to clean out clocks in the 125cc segment – not the intention, really but a definite possiblity. On the other hand, the XCD's real enemies are the Splendor-class machines (which are priced almost exactly the same) and lower bikes (Platina, CD-Whatever etc). Among this lot, its faster, quicker, more frugal, and more feature loaded by a fair margin. Those who scoff at the claims that the Exceed sorry, XCD, has 150cc class features, it isn't an empty claim. The XCD does have the goodies, right? Like the digital speedo, LED lights etc. Also, I think a standard electric start is a first in the entry-level segment, in the sense that there is no kick start only variant.
- Comparisons with the Flame
The TVS Flame 125 is a sticky topic that keeps running around and around. Before I bring the XCD into this, lets get a few things very clear. The TVS Flame 125 is without a price at the moment, and has not been launched. TVs is likely to miss the festive season burst and will probably launch it after Diwali. The TVS Flame claims 10.5 bhp, peaking at 8,250 rpm and 0.98 kgm at 6,250 rpm. The TVS Flame weighs 121 kg (kerb).
All right. First, TVS clearly announced that the Flame will compete in the 125cc segment. And Bajaj clearly announced that the XCD would compete with the entry-level bikes, and any cannibalisation from the 125cc segment (or conversion of rivals, for that matter) would be welcome. That means, the Flame will directly compete with the Shine, Zeus, Gladiator, Super Splendor, Glamour, Discover pantheon. But not with the XCD. On the other hand, the XCD may draw some sales from this lot also. However, the markets never work that clearly, right? So yes, I expect that there will some spill over in both directions.
So, how will the performance compare? The XCD makes 1 bhp less, and the power peaks one thousand rpm earlier. On the other hand, the Bajaj makes 0.2 kgm more, 1250 rpm earlier. In riding terms, this should mean that the Bajaj will have the advantage in acceleration for a short while before the Flame kicks in properly and takes off. On the other hand, the XCD also happens to be 9 kg lighter, which isn't a difference you can laugh off. That kind of a weight difference should mean that the XCD will keep up longer with the Flame than the curves would suggest. Of course, this is all pure speculation, since I've only actually ridden the XCD. In practice, on the open road, the XCD will feel out of breath at higher speed cruising, while the Flame will feel fine. In the depths of traffic, this could be reversed. Again, the gearing will play its part, and this is purely speculative guesswork.
Be that as it may, in this light, the price difference between the XCD and the Flame might actually work to the Bajaj's advantage. The XCD is priced at Rs 41,000 ex-showroom and the Flame should come at about Rs 45,000 ex-showroom, if it is to remain in the segment ballpark. On the other hand, while the XCD merely looks fresh, sharp-ish and all right, but the Flame does look very, very neat... Yes, this is going to be a close-run thing.