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2012 Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS Review

Bajaj Auto unveiled the next generation Pulsar, called the Pulsar 200 NS and everyone has been talking about it, speculating how the motorcycle will be. We did a quick specification comparison with its closest competition and the Pulsar 200 NS offered the best bang for the buck. Today we will be reviewing the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS, talking about what we feel about the next iteration of the Pulsar. We have not ridden the bike yet, so this is not a road test review!

Styling – The Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS is an all new design, all new design for the Pulsar series but not quite an all new design for the world. The front headlight is very resemblant of the Yamaha FZ, while the side is typical of streetfighter machines. The rear is very similar to the Pulsar 135 LS. The overall styling seems to be quite similar to the Honda CB1000R (specially from the front 3/4th angle). This is not a bad thing at all as there are not too many CB1000Rs on the road for people to notice. For those amongst us who are not a big fan of naked bikes, need not worry as Bajaj Auto will be launching a faired version of the Pulsar 200 later.

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The alloy wheels are all new 10-spoke units. A welcome change from the boring 5-spoke wheels all the bikes come standard with nowadays.

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Instrument Cluster – I don’t know about others, but one of the most important parts of the motorcycle is the instrument cluster. Because this is the only part which can be seen while riding. A well designed instrument cluster is important. The instrument cluster can be divided into three parts, the left side, which houses the lights (indicator, headlight, neutral, etc), the right side which carries the odometer, trip meter and the speedometer and the center which has a large tachometer. The first time I saw the instrument cluster of the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS, I remembered the Honda CB Unicorn Dazzler, which also has a similar layout. The appearance of the Pulsar 200 NS’s exterior and instrument cluster being reminiscent of Honda bikes are purely coincidental.

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Engine – The Pulsar 200 NS is powered by a 199.5 cc single cylinder (bore – 72 mm, stroke – 49 mm), SOHC engine. This engine shares quite a few parts with the KTM Duke 200 but has been modified by Bajaj to reduce costs and offer similar levels of performance. The Pulsar 200 NS features a liquid cooled system and 4-valve technology. It is also the first bike in its segment to employ triple spark technology, which is the next step for Bajaj Auto. Bajaj will undoubtedly use this on smaller Pulsars in the future. Ignition system is independent spark control while a UCD 33 carburetor takes care of fueling duties. Bajaj Auto has not opted for fuel injection in the interest of cost reduction and easy service of the Pulsar 200 NS. A paper element air filter helps the Pulsar 200 NS to breathe while a new Exhaust TEC system helps it exhale.

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Performance – Bajaj Auto knows what enthusiasts want and seldom does the company disappoint. The Pulsar 200 NS is the most powerful Pulsar till date and produces 23.52 PS of peak power at 9500 RPM and 18.3 Nm of peak torque at 8000 RPM. But what is more important is the power to weight ratio of 162 BHP per ton, which lends the Pulsar 200 NS extremely good acceleration. Bajaj Auto claims a 0 – 60 km/h time of just 3.61 seconds and a 0 – 100 km/h time of 9.83 seconds. The Chakan based automaker has realized power is nothing without control and the new Bajaj Pulsar was not designed with being the fastest Asian in mind. Thus the Pulsar 200 NS has a top speed of 136 km/h, which is still quite fast for a motorcycle in this segment. A new 6-speed manual gearbox debuts on the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS, which is again a first for the Pulsar range.

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Handling and Ride – A pressed steel perimeter frame type is used in the Pulsar 200 NS. This helps in rigidity of the motorcycle and offers razor sharp handling. But trust me, even though the Pulsar 200 NS might corner like a rail, it cannot beat the Yamaha R15’s handling prowess which employs a Delta box frame (the R15 is an out and out track machine, weighing just 136 kgs). The exhaust of the P200 NS is centrally mounted under the riders seat helping in optimum weight balance. Talking of weight balance, the Pulsar 200 NS has excellent weight distribution of 72 and 73 kgs. With a wheelbase of 1363 mm, the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS has the right hardware to offer a better ride than the Pulsars.

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Brakes and Suspension – The Pulsar 200 NS brakes are made by Bybre (a subsidiary of Brembo). The bike gets bigger 280 mm front disc brake, which is bigger than the Pulsar 220’s 260 mm front disc. The rear disc brake size is the same as the P220 at 230 mm. The Pulsars are notorious for having noisy and squealing rear disc brakes but the next generation Pulsar is expected to resolve this issue. The discs are petal type with floating caliper. The front tyre is 100/80/17 while the rear is 130/70/17 helping in better braking, which is imperative for a bike which can do a ton in sub 10 seconds.

A ground clearance of 167 mm ensures that the Pulsar 200 NS won’t foul any speed breaker. The front suspension is telescopic fork with anti-friction fork dia 37. This is similar to the old Bajaj Pulsar. However the rear suspension is vastly improved Nitrox mono shock absorber with piggy back gas canister compared to the twin hydraulic gas-charged shock absorbers found on the P220. This lends the Pulsar 200 NS a more consistent handling and braking along with better ride quality. Most importantly, mono shock offers the rider with more confidence to push the machine to the maximum.

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Dimensions – The Bajaj Pulsar is grown but has it? If we compare the dimensions of the Pulsar 200 NS to the Pulsar 220F, we can see that the next generation Pulsar is wider (804 mm vs 750 mm), taller (1195 mm vs 1140 mm) but slightly lesser in length (2017 mm vs 2035 mm). The reduced length is due to headlight but the P200 NS does not look short unless you see the spec sheet. However the Pulsar 200 NS does look quite tall, which will offer more comfort for tall riders. The P200 NS has lost 5 kgs from the P220 and this could be due to the weight reduction obtained in the exhaust and the use of a smaller tank. The P220’s 15-litre tank is replaced by a 12-litre tank on the P200 NS, which is the smallest we have seen on a Pulsar till date.

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Conclusion – Now comes the crucial question, should you buy one? Definitely yes! The next generation Pulsar has everything going for it. Bajaj claims a mileage of 58 km/l at a speed of 55 km/h. Even if we take realistic conditions, we can expect something around 35 km/l from the bike in spirited riding mode. The Pulsar 200 NS might not be as fast as the Honda CBR250R in terms of top speed, nor would it be as sharp as the Yamaha R15 Version 2.0. But at the price (Rajiv Bajaj said less than Rs 1 lakh when it goes on sale in April) which the Pulsar 200 NS will be offered, nothing can come close to offer the thrill at that price the 2012 Pulsar can. Indeed, one leap for Bajaj Auto, is a giant leap for the Asian motorcycle industry.

Disclaimer – The authors opinions are personal based on his own experience and judgement.

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