Hello everyone, my name is Anand. Most of you who regularly follow bikeadvice might recognize me. I had written an ownership review of Bajaj Pulsar 200NS a month back. But that seemed more like the story of how I got the bike and a overview of it. This time I’m here to point out each and every feature of the bike, all of its plus and minus points so that it could help anyone get an overall idea before making his decision to take a bike.
Those who want to know how I had shortlisted it and started my rides with it can refer to my older review which is here:
Thanks to Deepak Raj to give me one more chance to provide an insight of the bike.
A decade back when Bajaj introduced the brand Pulsar, It changed the whole scenario of motorcycles in India. It was the dawn of sport bikes in India. People started considering sport machines which were catalyzed even more with the introduction of the YZF R15 to the Indian streets. But Pulsar has always been a product which is affordable, fuel efficient and somewhat powerful to its competitors too.
Bajaj has always designed their bike keeping affordability of Indian masses in mind. The cheaper parts, lots of stickering on the bike, less paint job, etc. makes its price less; But that doesn’t mean it’ll be good for nothing in a few years. Remember that the mighty Ninjas and KTM’s duke are also manufactured by Bajaj in India. A bike reflects its rider’s personality, and it stays as the rider wants it to be. The better it is maintained the better it stays.
Anyways now coming to the bike, Bajaj has changed pulsar entirely with the introduction of 200NS, where NS stands for “Naked Sport”. Every element of the bike has been changed which makes the NS stand apart the older generation of Pulsars. It was designed by Edgar Heinrich, who is now the head of BMW Motorrad design.
Looks and Styling
At the first glance of the NS, you’ll feel that it has tits and bits of many bikes in it. From a distance it looks like a muscular version of Pulsar 135LS, its headlights will look like the one on Honda CB1000R with the pilot lamps positioned as the Ducati Streetfighter and its body will look somewhat a mixture various naked superbikes which is of course skinnier rather than boasting huge muscles like them.
But of course it’s a small 200cc bike which looks muscular than almost every street bike present in our country. On the first look it appears as a heavy muscular bike standing in front of you, which along with its perimeter frame looks gorgeous. Headlamp provided in the bike is of 55/60W, and its pilot lamps are positioned below the main headlamp unlike its predecessors.
It’s got a 12ltr tank which is covered with a big muscular tank cover which is the main attracting element of the bike. Everyone who watches the bike for the first time surely falls in love with the tank. The reserve knob is also designed nicely and also looks good over the design, but it’s not smooth and always seems to be jammed.
The bike along with the big tank has got a sleeker tail. It looks good and also shows the fatter 130/70 rear tyre, half covered with a rear tyre hugger. Now, the rear tyre hugger on rainy days splashes mud below rear seat and pillion’s legs. Many people have removed it, which not only makes the bike look good but also shows the fatter rear tyre completely.
But that only looks good, while riding, the mud will be thrown directly on the bike or the car behind you as well your back. So my suggestion, don’t remove it unless you’ve got a better option of fixing any other tyre hugger. A few more changes that have been made to the bike in styling segment are the rear LED tail lamp and the new stylish digital console with an analogue tachometer at the center and digital speedometer on its right.
The digital speedometer also provides information like time, low fuel, low battery, low oil pressure, service reminder and has got an odometer along with two trip meters which can be seen one after another by pressing mode on the bike and the trips can be reset to zero by pressing set for 10-15 seconds. The left space of the Tachometer has an all-time lit Bajaj logo, a neutral display, side stand alarm, hi-beam indicator and turn indicators; making it look even sportier.
Engine and Performance
Performance is one of the things in which Pulsars have always tried to excel. To a normal commuter it may just look like an affordable bike but to us enthusiasts it looks like more power at less price. The older Pulsar 220F meant the same thing until the 200NS was launched. The 200NS boasts of a KTM inspired Triple spark, 4 valve, and liquid cooled 200cc engine.
Now what Bajaj has done is they’ve put a carburetor instead of a fuel injection in this bike to make its cost almost 10,000 less. It produces 23.5bhp of power@9500 rpm and 18.3nm of torque@8000 rpm. The bike achieves 60kmph within 3.61seconds and 100 within 9.83 seconds and has got a top of 136kmph (company claimed, differs from person to person). The bike’s top speed achieved by me was 154 on speedo and 146 on GPS.
And that’s a quite impressive figure for the bike which returns almost 40kmpl of fuel efficiency on an average (on mixed conditions of revving hard and city drives). If ridden under 60kmpl, it can even deliver a better figure (depending on the riding style). Surprised? Well this outstanding Fuel efficiency is achieved by the better combustion of the fuel by the three spark plugs. Result? More power, More Mileage.
The engine is very smooth in the 200NS. Plus the vibrations are so low that it can be considered almost negligible. The engine doesn’t feel stressed even at 120 kmph. For long distance touring too one can easily cruise at 105/110kmph at 7000/7500 rpm. The power delivery has been made very linear as well.
This doesn’t get you the raw power feel, like one used to get in the Pulsar 220 but it is quicker than 220. This is a very good thing for the new bikers who are trying to get their first bike after setting their hands on low powered bikes like me. The power surge is very easy to handle and the new rider gets accustomed to it in a matter of days.
Handling and Suspension
This is a segment where Bajaj has made a difference. The 200NS comes with an underbelly exhaust. This in turn helps a lot in mass centralization. The bike is so easy to handle that one doesn’t even need to put his/her leg down much at low speeds. But it has got a problem with the height. I with a height of 5’ 7.5” can’t touch my leg to the surface completely; even the ones with a height of 5’9” can’t do the same.
Now this along with huge weight (kerb weight is claimed to be 145 kgs but trust me even a CBR250R seem to be lighter than it) of the bike makes it really hard for some people to ride it. This makes this bike unsuitable for short heighted people. And the last thing which is a downer in handling part is the huge turning radius. It proves to be problematic in those clumsy parking lots, or while cutting through heavy traffic.
Coming to the suspension, the new gen pulsars are now equipped with gas charged nitrox monoshocks. The suspension is somewhat stiff but can be made soft at the service centers. But the stiff suspension along with the rigid perimeter frame has transformed the bike to almost a track machine.
If the old gen of pulsars made you somewhat doubtful to take a corner, this bike motivates you to do so. One won’t feel the scary enough to jump into a corner. If a person wants it to be a perefect cornering machine he/she can make the suspension stiff, else for a potholed or off roading kind of environment one should soften the suspension.
Tyres and Breaking
These components are also changed in NS. This time Bybre’s Roto-petal shaped (somewhat like the Apache’s) are introduced in this bike. But this change has made Pulsar even better than what it was. Now while speeding one doesn’t have to constantly worrying whether the breaks are potent enough to stop the bike at such high speeds.
The breaks work beautifully and stop the bike irrespective of the speed you are in. But are the tyres good enough to be at par with such great braking system? Well you’d be a lil disappointed with them. The Eurogrip tyres don’t have such a good grip on the road while breaking and sometimes skids.
This gets worse with the people who rely on their rear disks more and balance using the front break. Normally one should use 70% front break with 30% rear (if needed). This can minimize those wheel lock skidding moments. But those looking for a replacement can change their tyres to Pirelli’s MT75 for front and Sport demon for rear or MRF revs.
Common confusion generally faced while choosing a NS.
Pulsar 220F or Pulsar 200NS
This confusion has been a big problem, especially to those who are taking a big Pulsar for the first time. Some of the differences between the two are,
- The 220F has got raw power in it which a rider can feel, whereas in a 200NS one won’t feel it due to the linear power delivery. Instead the rider would be amazed if he looks at the speedo and will wonder for sure how it came to this speed and I can’t even feel it.
- 200NS is faster and quicker than the 220F and leaves it far behind in a straight line drag but the 220F has got a better top end and is stable in highways as the 200NS literally shakes when at high speeds due to crosswinds. However the ergoes of the NS like the upright seating position along with the liquid cooling makes it a better touring machine.
- Cornering is a scary thing on a 220F rather than a good experience. 200NS can provide you that pleasure.
Duke 200 or Pulsar 200NS
This rivalry also confuses a lot of people. Well lets make that simple. In general terms for an enthusiast, “Those who can’t afford the duke, NS is for them” (one factor is the cost other you’ll come to know). Normally the 200NS inspired a lot from the Duke when it was made, but still they are very different machines.
- The Duke is fast, very fast I should say. When sitting on an NS it looks like a mini rocket to you. But at higher speeds and a long stretch, NS beats the Duke as it is restricted to go above 136/138kmph by a rev limiter unlike the NS which keeps on going all the way up until it can.
- Performance wise we all know Duke is better than NS, But when it comes to fuel efficiency it delivers around 30-33kmpl where a 200NS (another factor for affordability).
- Bajaj has got way cheaper spare parts where KTM’s are highly priced.
- Height and weight of Duke is less which makes it a fun to ride bike. It won’t be correct to assign it this title.
Now ask yourself the question which machine you want and the answer is with you.
Few more things regarding the NS
- The riding position is upright hence making it comfortable for long rides.
- The seats are spacious and soft. And provide good space between the rider and the pillion.
- A smooth rev happy engine. It kind of demands more when you stop after revving it, and one can rev it for long hours on highways.
- The exhaust note of the NS is somewhat of dual nature. Below 5000 rpm it sounds like a silent engine. But when revved above 7-8k rpm, It sounds like a throaty sport engine.
- The bike is damn good at corners and inspires the track rider in you while taking a corner.
- The breaks are really very good, works beautifully and put stops the bike without any struggle.
- There has been confusion with the underbelly exhaust in some people whether the exhaust will be good in knee deep water or other flooded conditions. Well, you need not to worry about that cuz if you even start after keeping the engine off after a few time (In knee deep water) it work the same as it does in normal conditions.
A few more downers in the bike which aren’t discussed above,
- The clutch of NS isn’t like the forged ones on CBR or Apache, which causes false neutrals while putting the gear from 1st to 2nd, and downshifting problems sometimes. But this isn’t a problem which can’t be resolved.
- Bajaj has provided 200NS with a very weak horn. In city, it sounds very weak and is almost catches no attention & in highways one can’t even hear it. One can attach addition horn of Pulsar 220F, or remove the stock horns and put dual horns of any one of 220F, R15 or Apache.
- The “Euroslip” tyres need a special mention though. These tyres are composed of hard rubber unlike the soft rubber of MRF Revs (R15’s) or Pirelli’s. It doesn’t provide much grip on the road but is more lasting than those soft rubber tyres.
- Paint quality on 200NS (Yeah there are at least some parts which are painted not stickered) also isn’t up to the mark. Even a scratch can take it off. It is recommended to keep a polish (if you intend to take the bike to remove the small scratches at least).
- This bike comes with only side stand as stock, the center stand can be added separately from Bajaj’s accessories shop (costs in between 500-600 bucks)
- The bike’s handle can be only locked when the handle is placed leftwards doesn’t lock when the handle is placed rightwards.
- Lastly, some people often wonder whether it will cause cold start problems. The answer is No; it won’t, until one has the right engine tuning and idling rpm.
With this bike, Indian motorcycling has undoubtedly gone to a different level of biking. It’s an outstanding machine and does deliver what we young enthusiasts want from a bike. Power, unbelievable fuel efficiency, stunning Streetfighter looks which makes heads turn on the road, the bike has it all.
Yeah it still has a list to cover to become a perfect bike, but hey, which bike in India can be called perfect. I can call it an underdog, because it is actually something which people don’t really expect from it at first. All I could say with this bike is, great work done by Bajaj, and we really expect a lot from the upcoming Pulsar, since they have really delivered an awesome package.