Bajaj’s second coming in the modern 200cc streetfighter segment. When it was first launched in 2012, the Bajaj Pulsar 200NS (no, that isn’t a typo) offered striking looks, hair-raising performance and impressive handling at a sweet price point. Now, the Pulsar 200NS has made a comeback in a new BS IV-compliant avatar and an inverted name.
The 2017 Pulsar 180 is nothing but Bajaj’s attempt to meet the upcoming emission norms and to keep the bike relevant and stylish for the next year or two. So the 178cc engine is now BS-IV compliant and the power and torque figures continue to be 17bhp and 14.2Nm.
The Pulsar 150 is the highest-selling 150cc motorcycle in the country. So when the time came for Bajaj to update the range to meet BS IV norms, the company decided to go a step further and give the Pulsar 150 something more than a facelift. Now, apart from adhering to the new emission norms, the Pulsar 150 also gets a change in character.
At the outset these might not seem like rivals. After all, one is selling you the ‘GS’ dream while the other is marketing ‘Diavel’ like chutzpa. But there is a common thread that binds them, a thread that has got us out of bed before sunrise with the promise of a sunset at the other end. We are talking Touring. But, we will get to that in bit because there are other similarities between the two that need highlighting.
This is the battle of the most researched bikes on BikeWale – the Royal Enfield Classic 350 and the Bajaj Dominar 400. The former ruled our charts almost all of last year, whereas the latter took away the Classic 350’s throne in December.
While the Bajaj V15 has had a good run, the mental block among customers that a 150cc motorcycle is more performance-oriented and less fuel efficient than a 125cc bike has given Bajaj’s rivals an edge. To counter this, Bajaj introduced the V12 to slot in between the Discover 125 and the V15. While the Discover 125 is a conservative and no-frills motorcycle, the V12 is targeted at customers looking for something which stands out.
The words ‘cruiser’ and ‘sporty’ might have been mutually exclusive till a while ago, but times have changed. Associated with low-slung and muscular styling, a torquey engine and a fat rear tyre, ‘power cruisers’ have introduced a degree of performance and charisma in a segment where it simply didn’t exist before.
What we have here are two obvious players in the affordable and performance centric commuter class, and one outsider of sorts. The TVS Apache 200 4V – one of the obvious players, given it has nearly 20bhp – is the newest entrant. And though it is available both with fuel injection and carburetion, we have the latter for it is lesser priced.
Two bikes. Two different body styles yet we’re doing a comparison test. Why? Because, both get almost the same set of features, technology and also the same set of buyers. And these bikes are easily the most accessible and affordable performance motorcycles under Rs 1.5 lakh.