Bajaj brings “PIP” to biking with its new offering
Words: Savio Tavadia
Pictures: Saad Khan
After much aplomb and fanfare the apex offering in the Discover series was launched by Bajaj this very month. Everything that looks good on a spreadsheet or a canvas need not be so. It all comes down to the tarmac and concrete after all. We decided to blip the throttle and find out for ourselves how do these machines fare in the real world scenarios.
Our Editor Saad and I took the faired Discover 150F and bikini faired 150S respectively for a fairly good spin around Pune to understand and present this road test review to you. The Discover 150S which I was riding was the one with disc brakes.
First Impressions to make a lasting impression, do they??
While the “S” has a plain Jane analogue display, the F’s semi-analog display was reminiscent of it cousin, the pulsar with it digital clock, trip, fuel and service indicator and felt like a cockpit of a competitors vehicle. The dual start options (self start and kick start) brought the bike to life with relative ease. The rider stance is well balance for riders of almost all heights, so is the position of the foot pegs, RVMs may take some (minor) getting used to though.
Design and Build Quality:
As shared in our 1st ride review earlier (before the launch), both the Discovers donned the metal as well as the fiber bits of paint with a uniform glow. The downer in sight, however, was the finishing of the switch gear and matte finish plastic bits, which were more evident on the 150F.
With the help of a few pics we have tried to explain this later. The other issue which we both feel may crop in with a little abuse is the rattling of the semi-fairing of the 150F. Apart from this, the speedo needle on our 150F was faulty. Not that it showed any irrelevant speeds but it was dancing around vibrating at different numbers. Apart from that the overall build quality was ‘fairly good’ for a sub 60k 150cc bike.
Moving to the design, the Fs cowl does have an uncanny resemblance with a few other semi-faired motorcycles we already have in the market. With its twin parking lights neatly tucked above the main unit it does not fail to make a style statement of sorts. And let us tell you that a few by-passers did get contemplated to ask us about the 150F, a few others did turn their heads as well.
The 150F does bring with it a nice little change from bikini fairings and in fact is the only motorcycle in the 150cc segment to feature a half fairing. The 150S, on the other hand, is just about any regular Discover, over 50,000 of which Bajaj sells every month.
Comfort & Convenience:
Being powerful (but) commuters we expected both these motorcycles to be fairly comfortable and they did pass the test with relative ease. The Nitrox setup made the moon craters seem like a walk in the clouds. While the setup of the seat bears a more family oriented one, the whole package hints at the prospect of this being a tourer of sorts, specially the 150F.
All that pressure coming down both the suspensions can’t be appraised with the build of rubber courtesy the tubeless MRF Nylogrips (thankfully, both our machines sported MRF). As far as the convenience goes on both bikes the humble HUDs light up to the expectations of the occasion, be it rain or shine (we actually faced both). The switchgear indeed is mediocre, considering Bajaj’s standards but, functionally it is as good as others in this price segment.
The pass switch is one thing we thought could have been horizontally placed for ease of use. Another bit that we noticed was that the fuel cap on our 150S seemed to need a little bit more than normal effort to open. On the 150F, it was working fine!
Engine and Performance:
This is where all the change is! This is being pitched as NEW Discovers with an all-new engine, which takes both these bikes to a new segment. Both these Discovers are powered by a 144.8cc single cylinder 4-valve engine which churns out 14.5PS of peak power at 8500 rpm and 12.75Nm of maximum torque at 6500 rpm.
True to its specs, keep that throttle gunned in the right direction and let the grunt do the talking. Grunt? Yes indeed those 14 horses powered stagecoach’s exhaust note does grunt into others of its class. It has a tiny bit of hint of Pulsars’ when at higher speeds.
And as far as hitting a century goes on the highway, in this department the bikini fairing F sliced through the winds a tad quicker than its sibling the S while on a full crouch. Given the fact that most tourers maintain a sane speed limit and take time to look around the countryside, its power to weight ratio may be a good reason to take selfies at places where only the “Bigger Boys” [Pulsars] are able to otherwise go.
The short gear ratios allowed for quicker bursts of power, it did take a lot more foot work while navigating through rush hour traffic, but it was fun! Against their claim of 110 kmph, we managed to clock slightly over 100 kmph on both these machines (on the speedo), but with a little fun (throttle play) left.
And quite surprisingly, the refinement of the engine is worth mentioning. At all ‘economy’ RPMs where they will live most of their lives, the engine is fairly smooth and the vibrations are well contented! Yes indeed, this is a PIP [power in pocket] bike.
Handling & Braking:
In an event of orchestrated panic breaking it seemed to hold the road. On both the bikes the disc and drum combination brings the beasts to a standstill while still holding the line on the road with a minor sway observed at higher speeds. This gets higher at wet roads, expectedly.
Riding through village like conditions of dew laden grass paths and light patches of slush on the stock setup of tyres was one thing we enjoyed. Its lighter weight also helps matters!
And while we are at this, let us share that these bigger Discovers carry widest tyres in the complete Discover family. We will give them for fairly good grip on regular roads.
The launch of the New Discovers sends out a clear message to the masses that “Hamara Bajaj” factor is back in the reckoning. Though at the outset the urban masses would come to a consensus that there may be a wee bit of room for a bit of nip and tuck, these new chips off the Discover line up could score with the rural and semi-urban public as far as the overall look and feel are concerned [be it to the extent of the economics].
With a rated mileage of 72kmpl (we expect at least 55+ kmpl on actual conditions), a weekend getaway trip not too far away from home can be done on a single fill and with a refuel every 400 odd kilometres, the journey ends when you want it to. Yes indeed the commuter segment has come of age and with this new offering Bajaj could strike a chord with the novice class as well as those old timers who want to take a walk down memory lane without the burden of too much dry laden weight.
Summarizing it: if you want power of a 150cc, mileage of a 125cc and have a flair for looks and at very competitive prices, the new Discover 150 is possibly your best bet at these prices…! Obviously it is made for a price and it may be evident at a few places!
Peppy and refined engine
Very light weight for ease of handling and maneuverability
Very competitive Price
150F ‘big’ looks
No engine kill switch
Plastic build, fit and finish at a few places
Fuel Cap took extra effort on 150S
Speedo needle vibrations on 150F
Discover 150F & 150S Pictorial Review:
Both the bikes are same sans that fairing on the 150F
All-analogue Console of the 150S
As you can see, the riding posture is straight and comfortable
The gear lever is one thing we felt was placed a few grooves higher. However, you can always get it to your preferred setting easily
When double seat, the bike does loose out on power and the soft shock-ups mean that the bike appears front-high
Thats the top view. You bet you have seen this before!
This pass switch is what could have been horizontal
Thats the semi-digital console of the 150F. It looks simple and good. That battery signal did irritate us a little.
A view of the saree guard
The tail from the rear!
Tail from the sides
Seat is a little too soft, but fairly decent in width
That is the meat of the matter! The 150cc motor is grunty, fairly refined and peppy!
The fairing has a few of these air-inlets. Wonder what purpose do they solve!
Exhaust is simple and without any silver tip which the smaller Discovers come with.
If not an exact gel, the fairing is fairly decently laid out.
Thankfully, both our bikes came shod with MRF Nylogrip Zappers and no Eurogrips!
A view of the red monoshock!
That plastic joint looks ugly and it is!
Another one at the chin, which could have been better!
Wonder if this ‘ring’ wants to show us the Air level!
And we leave you with this fairly imposing stance!
For a 78 Pic Mega Gallery of Discover 150F and 150S, Click here!
Discover 150F vs 150S vs Achiever vs Unicorn vs SZ-S vs SZ-RR: Price COMPARO