Bajaj Discover 150 – Pint Sized Powerhouse: A Comprehensive Road Test

Bajaj has tried almost every permutation and combination with the Discover brand with engine sizes ranging from 94cc, 112cc, 125cc, 135cc and now the entry in the 150cc segment. With sales hovering over 1 lakh units per month, current Discover stable, comprising of Discover 100 in the 100cc segment and Discover 150 in the entry level 150cc segment, seems to be the most settled and has also earned the distinction of being the second largest selling brand in India only after Hero Honda’s Splendor which sells nearly 2 lakh units per month.

The major contributor to the complete sales tally is, obviously, the smaller 100cc variant of the bike but the 150cc sibling is also making its presence felt, more after a pan India presence now, with monthly sales of over 20,000 units per month. So, does the Discover 150 packs in enough juice to become one of the most successful entry level 150cc bikes in the country especially after the competition tightening its grips. Let’s take a ride to yield out the truth.

Engine And Transmission:

Discover 150 comes equipped with a 4 stroke air cooled, single cylinder, 2 valve engine along with Bajaj’s trademark DTS-i technology, displacing 144.8 cubic capacity of volume. The engine, as we heard is based on the XCD 135 platform, is capable of producing 13PS of power output peaking at an early 7500 rpm. Maximum torque available for use is an impressive 12.75Nm at 5500 rpm. Just for the sake of comparison, the 135cc version produced 13.1PS @ 8500rpm with the twirling force of 11.88Nm maxing at 6500 rpm. Company’s own 135cc engined Pulsar 135 produces 13.5PS of maximum power @ 8500 rpm and peak torque of 11.4Nm @ 6500 rpm.

If observed closely, the displayed numbers reveal a lot about the characteristic of Discover 150. The bike produces slightly lesser power output than both the above bikes (which is nulled by 121kg of weight compared to 133kg of Discover 135 and 122kg of Pulsar 135) but the torque output is greater by around a complete Nm. More importantly, Discover 150 produces both its peak power and torque at 1000 rpm earlier to bless the bike with fantastic pulling power. Both the power and torque are concentrated towards the lower and mid range to enhance the in-city riding characteristics of the bike. With a lower weight, it is ensured that Discover doesn’t feel a laggard in any way despite it sporting a cheaper price tag.

The engine is mated with an all down 5 speed gearbox which is just decent. The gear change feel is nothing off beat but doesn’t disappoint either. Clutch made us remember the old Pulsar’s feel. Though it was not hard on the new bike but we expect it to adorn the slightly stiffer feel with time. But the impressive part was the very good spacing between gears. Gear ratios have been designed to concentrate and enhance the city driving aspects of the bike.

Truly speaking, we were a little surprised to see so much juice in the engine. The gearbox has been mated decently, but the torque (which works on a low weight) made us smile all the way. The bike pulled decently in 25kmph in 5th gear and with aplomb in anything over. Along with a pillion also, Discover 150 would be (we go to the extent of saying) one of the best bikes to be driven inside day to day traffics under this price tag. Power starts pouring in at early 2.5k rpm and the sweetest spot is the 5-7k rpm where the bike rides on its own tune. On the longer roads though, Discover 150 feels a little running out of breath at high rpms.

Engine & Transmission: 7.5/10

Styling And Instrumentation:

Discover 150 carries over the same looks of the smaller 100cc sibling and not the discontinued 135cc version, which is a little disappointing (and surprising) to see. Tank extensions which lend the bike sporty aggression also housing the side blinkers are no more along with a different looking silencer. Visual resemblance of this bike with the 100cc version is so much that only after seeing the ‘150’ decals at the rear panel ensure that the bike is the bigger version of the series. Apart from these and slightly different graphics (which go unnoticed), the bike looks absolutely similar to Discover 100.

The front remains the same bikini fairing with a bulged black colored visor. Side blinkers are tagged to the forks rather than forming a part of the fairing. Bajaj has placed a disc brake cover on the disc plate which is generally seen on moto-cross bikes, which however, remains a cosmetic add-on on this bike rather than a functional one. All black theme is carried forward with a good finish to the engine exterior. Alloy wheels, Electric starter, disc brakes, auto choke, ride control switch, DC electricals and LED tail lights are very welcome standard features on this bike which clearly reflects the seriousness of Bajaj with this bike. Rest all on the visual front is pretty plain jane and what one can expect from a budget 150cc bike.

Apart from simple styling, the bike sports a tachometer-less analogue console. Speedometer is calibrated till an optimistic 140kmph and is again basic in looks. Traditional speedometer and trip meter are housed in this console. The second dial, which generally houses a tachometer, accommodates a huge fuel gauge. Neutral ‘N’, battery charge indicator and side blinkers form the complete cluster. Battery is maintenance free 12V 7Ah along with 35 watt headlamps which provide near sufficient illumination in dark nights.

Switchgear has ample amount of buttons from horn, turn blinkers, upper-dipper and pass switch on the left side and electric starter, light switch and ride control switch on the right. Though, the buttons are slightly pointed, quality of plastics used is better than the competition and the feel from the buttons is also pretty good. Build quality of the bike is nothing out of the world but considering the price at which the bike is available, decent enough! Fit and finish is also typical Bajaj.

Style & Instrumentation: 7/10

Comfort And Handling:

Discover 150 sports a reasonably wide and commuter alike non-contoured seat which did accommodate our twin butts with ease but the problem with almost all Bajaj bikes is the hard seat which they come laden with. The compound used is hard enough to nut crack your buttocks under longer duration of continuous rides. Reasonably comfortable, we would say the bike is, on highways and pretty good inside cities. The bike comes equipped with a 100/90 wide rear tire. Ride quality is very good with very acceptable handling characteristics. The bike which we rode came equipped with 17 inch Eurogrips which, by no means are very sticky. Zappers from MRF might have aided to our confidence on road. Having said this, the bike due to its feather light weight feels very sprightly and alert inside stop-go traffic. And the complete geometry does support this responsive nature of the bike. Bajaj bikes have never been great at corners and Discover 150 keeps up with the tradition.

Ground clearance of 165mm also helps in keeping potholes and heavenly speed breakers away from kissing the bikes bottom. Feedback from the suspension is also pretty good on general rides but does sway the bike when put into hard corners. The commuter oriented rider-handlebar-footpeg geometry ensures that fatigue is kept at minimal without tiring your arms and thighs (sorry BUTTS!). Knee recess is again where Bajaj lacks, Discover being no exception. Due to lesser weight and ‘not so high s peed friendly design’, the bike doesn’t induce a very good level of confidence and feels a little nervous under anything over 90 kmph.

Comfort & Handling: 7/10

Performance And Braking:

This is one section which Bajaj boffins and fans would love to read. Engine’s agility and tendency to move forward is what we liked in particular about this bike. Such a low weight implies fantastic power to weight ratio of 107.43 PS/ton which along with handsome torque figures makes it feel as if the engine doesn’t have to lift anything and is always at ease. The concentration of both power and torque towards the low and mid range helps immensely in cities. A greater displacement also helps in running the engine unstressed and at ease, at all times.

The bike hits 70-80 kmph in no time but after that the rate of acceleration drops and takes its own sweet time to reach the 3 digit figure. From what we can accumulate from other sources, Discover 150 reaches 60kmph from standstill in lesser than 6 seconds and also goes onto clock a speedo indicated top speed of 115 kmph. The true story is echoed by the bikes in-gear roll ons which display the true use of good torque and power. With so much of torque to play with and so well sorted powerband, it just needs a gear change to carry a sudden maneuver successfully. Overtaking a huge truck also needs a little flick of the throttle and here you go zipping past. Impressive…definitely impressive!

Loaded with standard 240mm ‘covered’ disc brakes upfront and 130mm drums at the rear and with a kerb weight of 121kgs, the stopping distance is also kept minimal. Feeling from the front disc is also reasonably sharp and accurate. Brakes on Bajaj bikes tend to become a little spongy with time but we hope Discover 150 remains an exception.

Performance & Braking: 9/10

Mileage And Pricing:

Bajaj seems to have perfected this art of extracting fantastic mileage and competition killing pricing. A 150cc bike with regular specifications returning anything over 40kmpl is less, over 45kmpl is a norm, over 50kmpl is ‘let them coming’, over 55kmpl is ‘Ohh My God!’ and over 60kmpl is ‘are you insane!’. Discover 150 easily could be called as the most efficient 150cc bike in the market currently beating both GS150 and Unicorn by a fairly good margin, which till now enjoyed the cult status.

Discover 150 promises to be a very frugal companion and we expect the bike to return anything over 58-60kmpl for all what it does! However, there is a flip side to it as well. The tank capacity for this bike is only 8 liters which translates into a range of 460kms before the bike would completely go dry on fuel. Nonetheless, this bike is a city warhorse and such a range would ensure a complete fortnight of peace considering an average running of 30km per day.

Price to cc is this bikes forte and with an on road Pune price of Rs. 52,115, it doesn’t really get a bigger bumper than this. In the world where commuter 150ccs start from 64k and go all the way to 69k, Discover doesn’t find itself many competitors currently.

Mileage & Pricing: 9/10

BikeAdvice Verdict:

If you read our last section carefully, Discover 150 isn’t really placed as a competition to the existing 150cc bikes, in fact Bajaj wanted to target something else here. That ‘something else’ is the smaller segment ‘by cubic centimeters’ by offering a larger heart and all its characteristics along with fantastic fuel efficiency figures all at an on road price of 52k. Discover does just that at a price which sets new benchmarks in VFM preposition.

Discover 150 is offered in two colors, rather color tones: Black is standard as the base color with a difference of red and blue graphics. Black-Blue combo looks a little better than the Black-Red combo. We tried to find out which bikes really stand as its competition in the current market according to price, since it (price) is what decides ‘segment’ in India. Passion Plus Pro (@52k), Super Splendor (@ 53k), Glamour (@ 55-57k) from Hero Honda, CB Shine (@51-59k), CB Twister (@49-56k) from HMSI and the very recently launched SZ (which includes SZ 150 and SZ-X) from Yamaha. Ironically, Discover beats all the mentioned bikes in the engine specifications department by a big margin. So effectively, what you get by paying 52k is a bigger heart, much more power to ‘fun’ around, much more torque for that hassle free ride, almost similar fuel efficiency figures, a bike which would be better than all of the above mentioned bikes on almost all rides, be it the congested city zips or long highway runs.

Considering that Bajaj’s spares are also cheaper than the competition, the equation becomes even more one-sided now. To balance; things which you would not get are: exclusivity (and when did Bajaj offer exclusivity), great looks (ahh…same as the 100cc brother) and a big bike feel (seriously missing). We are also little skeptical of the typical niggling issues which Bajaj has been infamous for, more so, after considering the price point at which this bike is selling, inadvertently signaling cost cutting ‘somewhere’. We expect that ‘somewhere’ is not in the quality department. However, what it offers at 52k is really never offered in India till now. Though, its too early to predict anything since the bike is brand new in the market, but we do expect this bike to be a revelation and set new benchmarks in the market.

Around 16-17k cheaper than Pulsar 150, Discover 150 is for those who can’t afford the high sticker prices of 150cc bikes, their mileages are a big concern due to limited monthly pocket money but still want a high powered bike. Discover 150 will also find buyers from the 40 and above age group simple because of the simplicity in design which adheres to Indian mentality, plus a feather light weight will add a lot to the ease of handling, plus now the bike will also aid in pulling a 80 kilogram pillion wife.

Bikeadvice Overall Rating: 8/10

– Saad Khan