The Curious Case of Pulsar 200

This article is dedicated to all the people who either currently own a Pulsar 200cc, or had owned it sometime or like me a plain admirer of this wonderful motorcycle and last but not the least to people who hate Pulsars and consider them crap.

In 2007, while the whole India was waiting for the launch of Pulsar 220fi, which Bajaj displayed in the 2006 Auto Expo, Bajaj auto silently launched the Pulsar 200, at first it didn’t make any sense to me that why another 20cc upgrade over the Pulsar 180, but for the company it made a lot of business as this baby filled the gap b\w the 180 and the later launched 220 very well.

This Baby is a Looker

To me, Pulsar 200 remains the best looking Pulsar ever that came out of the Pune plant. The tank extensions that jelled very well with the trademark Pulsar tank, the split seats, the low handle bars, the rear set foot pegs, the meaty exhaust, the 120mm rear tyre, the distinctly styled headlamp, the tank protector, all these made it a hell of a looker.

Pulsar 200 showed us how a street fighter should look, a naked bike which was a drool maal, though FZ16 has completely redefined the term naked bike now.

The Pulsar 200 performed like a typical Pulsar, the engine grunt was similar to the other Pulsars in the family. The engine which was a bored out version of the Pulsar 180, was the first one to feature an oil cooler to provide better performance. The engine was tuned for amazing low end and mid range performance while the top end also had decent grunt. The major glitch that I had with the bike was the gearbox, no matter how much I tried I couldn’t get the neutral in 1 time, it always took me some time by either loosening the clutch or moving the bike to get into neutral. Another concern was the rear drum brakes, i never felt those were enough to stop the bike, it completely lacked bite. Apart from these issues the bike was a stellar performer.

The Bad Times Start

The year 2008 saw the resurgence of Yamaha in the country and the two motorcycles it launched took the whole motorcycle community by storm, the products were the awesome Yamaha R15 and amazing FZ16. The launch of these two amazing machines had the most adverse effect on Bajaj, for the first time in the history, Bajaj auto’s sales fell and the company lost market share.

The Younger One Grows

A response from Bajaj was inevitable, and it came in the form of the whole Pulsar line up undergoing through a face lift, the major being the elder brother 220 going back to the carburetor for breathing – to become cheaper and more value for money while the younger sibling 180 getting nearly everything that Pulsar 200 had, the tank extensions, the split seats, a 120 section rear, fatter forks from the 220 and the engine getting a power increment as well.

End of Road

This whole thing led to an overlap of prices b\w the 220 and 200, resulting in Bajaj stopping the production of Pulsar 200, a sad ending indeed. But, to me the new 180 never appealed, they tried to make it look like 200 but it lacked the character that 200 had, may be its coz of the silencer or the clip on handle bars or something else though its my personal opinion completely and no offence to any 180 owner.

The New Life

When the new Pulsar 220 was launched, the F on the fairing created a lot of hype and it was certain that a naked version will be around the corner. And bajaj did the same thing, a naked version of Pulsar 220 was launched in 2010, having the same bits and pieces as the faired version and same looking as the Pulsar 200 but with the goodies from the faired sibling.

Though the Pulsar 200 is back again in the form of naked P220, but it didnt get me as excited as the original P200. P200 still remains as the best looking Pulsar to me and it remains as the bike which gave a new meaning to the word street fighter in the country.

– Kunal