As you have already read, Bajaj showed off three new products that it intends to launch this year. Unfortunately, none supersede the 220. So, while Joseph and team have been working on, reportedly and bloggedly, on larger motors, either Bajaj will surprise us at some point this year, or not.
This is a rather neat looking scooter, but appearances do not suggest that it is mould-breaking in any visible fashion. It is good looking, very European in the lines and promises good performance. The engine, as you've already read is a four-valve DTSi 125cc. Using a four-valve engine would suggest that the Blade is more powerful than its 125cc scooter competition. Expect a 10 bhp-odd power claim, which should give the scooter a fair bit of performance. Also expect the scooter to manage 10-15 per cent greater fuel economy on average. The wheels are 12-inchers, like the new Honda Aviators, which should bring stability and more handling ability to the package. Bajaj return to the telescopic fork on the scooter (last seen briefly on the Saffire) and there is even a disc brake on the front hub. No idea whether the brake would be standard or not. I'd be thrilled if it were, for the record. The show bike was caged off, so don't know about the storage space. Will buy a beer if you can actually stuff a full-face lid under the seat and then close the seat also. I didn't have the time to spot whether the tyres were tubeless or not, but again, if they were, I'd chase that beer down with another one. But again, will the average scooter buyer be willing to shell out for the goodies? Somehow, I don't think so. No launch dates were specified as far as I can tell, but I think the Blade is the first of the Bajaj launches this year.
Bajaj Discover 150 DTSi
This is Bajaj, once more, playing the game it's learnt, offer more products and profit from the slight overlap and consequent cannibalisation. This is good thing, mind you. The Discover chassis grows up a little to host the Pulsar 150 DTSi engine, giving rise to a machine that is clearly a stylistic evolution of the Discover school of design. I'm not convinced about the XCD-ish shape of the tank extensions, but I do appreciate the LED tips that will replace the stalk-type indicators. Similarly, I don't know if the ultra-sleek tail design is a production-ready design or not, but it looks good. In terms of positioning, the Pulsar 150 is likely to evolve into a more serious machine, with a clear sporty intent and therefore, a higher price tag, marginally, of course. According to Rajiv Bajaj, the P150 will become more of a sport-tourer (yes, I know the press release says the exact opposite) of sorts, while the Disco 150 will be the commuter. He also mentioned that other companies had tried to engineer this stratified approach to the 150 commuter/specialist, but he hopes that Bajaj is the company that gets it right first.
Bajaj XCD Sprint
The XCD also evolves. Many people at the show said, 'ALREADY?' Bajaj is ready with the four-valve engines, and I am a bit surprised that it is the Disco and the XCD that appear to be getting them first. Or maybe, the four-valve Pulsars will debut in June, just ahead of the stonkingly-promising Yamaha YZF-R15. Any way, the 125cc four-valve DTSi engine is likely to hike power output almost to the edge of the 150cc segment, and I, for one, would not be surprised to find a sporty, enthusiastic motor that has loads more character than the civil XCD.
So what happens to the Pulsars? I think, now, finally, a serious, almost ground-up renovation of the Pulsar platform is due, and the silence on the Pulsar front points to the fact that this is, in fact, happening and under wraps. The four-valve DTSi engine should, in theory, allow bigger peak power outputs and turn the Pulsar into a more sporty machine. The stuff that remains to be seen is the rest of it. Will the extra power require only oil-cooling, or liquid-cooling as well? How will it mould the chassis? Will tubeless tyres become standard across the range? Will be get stickier tyres in the bargain (The YZF-R15 seemed to have Indian-made sticky ones, so I've got my fingers crossed)? I have a feeling all of this will happen. And this year. The official line, on the other hand, is that Bajaj has enough on its plate this year. Which, again, I find it hard to disagree with.
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