Hello everyone, this is Sachin from Davangere, a small city in Karnataka. I’m a student & a hardcore bike lover. I own a Bajaj Pulsar UG4 which has done over 2300 KM. I have done a review on the bike, my experiences with it and its pros and cons.
Initially I used to ride my father’s HH Splendor. I hated it a lot (though at heart I loved it, since it used to serve me quite well). I used to ride it to the college. But it looked like a toy for a tall guy like me (I’m 6ft 2in) also I was totally unsatisfied with its performance & looks. Dad wouldn’t let me change its handle bar, grab rail, or anything on it. On the other hand, when I used to read news about the new bikes in the market, It used to give me some relief. I always asked my parents to get me a new bike but I always faced rejection. Finally after a few years, I successfully persuaded my parents to buy me a bike within a budget of Rs. 80,000, the Pulsar Pulsar 220DTsi was what I had in mind though I did not mention its name to them. When I got the 220’s quotation, dad rejected going for it since he had a fear about its power, mileage & my safety.
Then with a little disappointment, I went on to book a Pulsar180. I wanted to go only for the Pulsar because of its beauty, attitude & many other reasons which I’ll explain below. The moment I entered the showroom there stood 2 pulsar180s, a black one and a titanium-silver one. As pre-decided I went for the Titanium-silver because personally I think that the two tone color looks much better than the black ones. Also I wanted my bike to stand out from the crowd due to the large numbers of these black Pulsars on the roads today. Also Black, in my opinion, would it lose its beauty as it gets old and T-silver isn’t completely gray or completely silver but a perfect mix, but one should avoid it parking excessively in sunlight(or else the colour lightens).
I was no more disappointed for not getting 220. When I laid hands on my bike my heart was pounding with joy, I had just got a bike which is fast, fun, killer looking & fuel efficient, all this for Rs.72.5K. Following are the features I’ve found to be different from the older 180.
The new visual features: Clip-on handle bar, step seats, thicker front shocks, toe only shifter, greater exhaust pipe angle, removed kick start lever, all DC setup, 120 section rear tire (tubeless both front & rear), tubular section swing arm, pulsar200/220’s chassis, removed chain guard & included O-ring chain-All taken straight from the P220, tank scoops from P200.with all these I believe the new P180 looks as good as the P200.
Even though the bike is heavy (140+Kg) it handles in a very rider friendly manner. I can easily ride it in city’s bumper to bumper traffic at speeds as low as 5Kmph without placing the feet on ground, as well as cruise comfortably at speeds of 80~85Kmph on highways. Even after crossing 100Kmph mark, it doesn’t show any sign of vibrations. I felt like I’m riding it 70Kmph but with a higher wind friction & higher motor rev. It is highly ‘aerodynamic’ & cuts through the wind quite nicely. I have felt that its weight is what helps in its stability. The brakes are really awesome, some say there should have been a disk brake at the rear but I feel the drum brakes are just fine. One can use both the front & rear brakes even at top speeds with confidence. Suspension is good, it’s neither too soft nor hard. One can ride the on kachcha roads without huge bounces. On roads, it tackles potholes in a quite good way. The MRF tubeless zapper tires provides excellent road grip, I managed to take the turns at greater speeds without skidding (only on tar/concrete roads but tar roads with soil upon them seem dangerous for any bike), the rubber sticks to the road while leaning at corners/turns. However the bike may seem difficult to zip through heavy traffic due to the increased bike length(or wheel base) but one can manage to do so. The same bike length is also one of the reasons for the bike’s stability at high speed riding & also adds to the macho looks of the bike(which I & many of us like). One more feature is the greater seat height which is a boon for tall guys like me, it also enhances looks. But guys below, say, 5ft 6in may find it too high.
Overall it performs up to its capacity no doubt. The initial pickup is not that good at low RPM with/without a pillion, I think it is because of the increased bike weight, though soon after crossing 10Kmph, it’s a Beast, be it any gear or RPM. This is because along with the extra weight, the number of teeth of both the sprockets is also increased (bigger the sprocket OR higher the number of teeth at rear sprocket, greater is the pulling power, lesser is the top speed). Don’t assume that the top speed is hurt though, it can go all the way up to 129Kmph(my friend did it his same model pulsar180 at NH4,I was riding beside him on a Karizma) which can threaten some of the bigger bikes.(but don’t often take it over 115~120Kmph for the engine’s long life). I’ve taken my bike to 105Kmph max as its still in the ‘running-in’ period, it reached 100Kmph at 7.2~7.3K RPM & I could feel the plenty of power still left unused in the motor. The exhaust note when you rip the bike is A-w-e-s-o-m-e. It sure pumps the adrenaline out of the glands. I feel that pulsar180 is the best in the pulsar range for a commuter cum speed lover like me. The engine feels more refined at higher speeds.
The 5th gear can be used from 31Kmph without engine knocking. Commuting in the city, streets at 45~55Kmph is comfortable as the RPM is not high(RPM @45Kmph is 3100) & hence it saves the fuel unlike 100cc bikes at similar speeds. The engine specifications are power-17.02PS@8500RPM and torque-14.22Nm@6500RPM. The torque is reduced by 1Nm compared to the previous model. This is a bit disappointment but not to worry about.
The mileage which I get under normal city riding is 42~45Kmpl, it varies with your riding style. My friend manages to get around 50Kmpl on his similar bike. These are very good numbers for a bike of this capacity. I was lucky enough that I chose the P180 over P220dtsi (21Hp) whose mileage ranges from 25-40Kmpl which would have been heavy on pocket for people with limited pocket money like myself. This is where the P180 scores again.
I think one cannot judge whether a specific company’s service is good or not as it depends upon the service advisers. One must rely on the service adviser no matter they are good or bad because the bikes are serviced by them own but keeping an eye on what the service adviser is doing to your bike is a good habit, like checking the oil grade that is being put in the bike’s engine. I’m stating this because of the following incident that happened with me- during the second service, the service guy had put 150cc pulsar’s engine oil to my bike. Later when I find out this, he replaced it with the Bajaj recommended P180’s engine oil after I asked him to do so. The funny(as well as the serious) part is I’m the first person in the whole city to ask them to put the correct recommended grade engine oil to the bike and they always pour in 100/135/150cc bikes’ engine oil to 180/200/220cc bikes engine & vice versa! I think this is where the engine’s life is reduced & the bike owners don’t even know about it. Following the ‘running-in’ instructions carefully & periodic servicing of the bike is a must do for any new bike.
- Lots of new features as mentioned above,
- Beautiful cockpit & electronic tit bits.
- Personally I like the clip-on handle bar of P180 more than the P135’s or the apache’s,
- Sports bike performance + good mileage,
- Good value for money,
- Full DC electrical- the lamps provide maximum lighting at all RPMs & the pilot lamps, rear lamps, Speedo lights can be switched ON even when the engine is OFF which is useful,
- Sometimes the gear mis-shifts to neutral & makes thud noise when you shift from neutral to 1st gear, old design-
- The body design has remained basically same for all pulsars since the 1st pulsar model but it’s not a letdown for me as the P180 can be easily distinguished from the P150,
- The main stand is located quite low that it grazes the ground if you try to pass big potholes, as mentioned earlier the bike may seem heavy(it’s useful too) &difficult to maneuver the heavy traffic(I don’t find it as a problem though)
WHY DID I CHOSE PULSAR 180 OVER THE APACHE 180 (My Opinion):
The 4th generation pulsar180 is a tried tested bike & hence it is more refined than ever before where as the Apache, though a good bike, is relatively new and also a little small for tall people. Again when you compare the pulsar 180 ug4 and the other competing bikes such as the FZ16/FZS, the Pulsar still manages to stay on top in the looks department.
I’m not an expert to judge this but I’ll try to justify the term. There is a myth among the Indian bikers regarding the reliability of Pulsars. Being its rider for 3 months & having a few Pulsar riding friends, I politely disagree that pulsars are unreliable. Every other bike has complaints even in bikes made by Hero Honda, Honda or Yamaha, minor defects are common. This was told to me by an Auto journalist (I should not disclose their identity here). Also He told me in a reply to my email that every bike has some problem or the other but they do not publish them in their articles because the bike manufacturer may file a defamation case against the journalists.
I’ve heard that pulsar needs more clutch plate changes than other bikes; I think it’s only because of the incorrect or rough usage or bad maintenance. As an example, how many of us Indians don’t have license even though underage? How many people actually follow the traffic rules? .Personally I never doubted its reliability when I chose this bike. There are many people who still ride pulsars with 2lakh+ Kms clocked on their odometer with minimal expenditure and consider them as one of the best touring bikes available in India today. I think it is pointless to call the pulsar ‘unreliable’. I completely rely on it & I’m sure it’ll serve for decades.
Thanks for reading my review, if you don’t agree with any part of this review or have any feedbacks, you can put them in the comments which I’d appreciate