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Playing too safe?

entertainment Updated: Mar 04, 2010 01:46 IST

In January 2009, buyers could choose from four Bajaj Pulsar models — the mainstream 150 DTS-i, sporty 180 DTS-i, powerful 200 DTS-i and the tech laden, fuel-injected 220 DTS-Fi. In 2010, things are different. The Pulsar 220 has spawned a cheaper carburetted variant. The 200 has been discontinued and the 150 and 180 have received cosmetic updates and extra power. The Pulsar family also has a brand new member: the 135LS.

The naked Pulsar 220 DTS-i is Bajaj’s latest but by no means its newest. While we were expecting fresh styling, we were disappointed to find that the new bike was almost indistinguishable from the Pulsar 200 DTS-i. The 220 DTS-i does away with the faired variant’s bikini fairing and sports a familiar Pulsar front visor.

Plastic tank extensions, a new Pulsar family trait, have found their way onto the 220’s shapely fuel tank. A split seat and split grab bars lead to the 220’s sharp LED-equipped tail. Paint lustre is impressive while build quality is satisfactory.

The new bike retains the 220F’s four-stroke, 220 cc, single-cylinder, air- and oil-cooled carburetted engine.
Peak power is 21.04 bhp at 8500 rpm, while the engine churns out a max torque of 1.95 kgm at 7000 rpm.
The 220 enjoys a crisp feel to throttle inputs. The bike will happily waft at city speeds but when given the stick, it changes character and thrills with its brisk acceleration.

Despite being 4 kg lighter than the 220F, the 220 is a shade slower than its faired sibling. The bike zipped from standstill to 60 kph in 4.31 seconds.


Price: Rs 69,425 (ex-showroom, Delhi)
On sale: Now
L/W/H: 2035/ 765/ 1115 mm
Wheelbase: 1350 mm
Ground clearance: 165 mm
Fuel tank capacity: 15 litres
Kerb weight: 148 kg
Engine layout: Single-cylinder, air-cooled with oil cooler, four-stroke
Displacement: 220 cc
Power: 21.04 bhp at 8500 rpm
Torque: 1.95 kgm at 7000 rpm
Specific output: 95.6 bhp per litre
Power to weight: 142.2 bhp |per tonne
Gearbox: 5-speed, 1-down, 4-up
Front suspension: Telescopic forks
Front brake: 260 mm disc
Rear brake: 230 mm disc
Wheels: 6-spoke alloy
Rim size (f-r): 17 inches
Tyre size (f-r): 90/90 x 17-120/80 x 17 inches

While the 220 performs well across most parameters, we feel Bajaj has missed a good opportunity. Save for the meaty exhaust canister, there is just too little to differentiate this bike — which is priced at Rs 69,425 (ex-showroom, Delhi) — from its cheaper 150 DTS-i and 180 DTS-i siblings.

Bajaj should stop playing mix and match with the Pulsars and instead focus on maintaining a long term and suitably distinct identity for each bike that is built on such a successful platform.

- Autocar India