Nithin has submitted this review in our Ownership Review Contest No 13, ensuring himself an assured prize. The contest also offers a chance to win Riding Jacket, Helmet and more…Here are all the details.
Hi guys, my name is Nithin. I am currently doing my second year in mechanical engineering. I hail from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. My obsession for bikes started when I was in my fourth grade. The obsession for bikes was instilled in me by a bubble gum, yeah, I know it sounds funny but that’s the truth!!
One day I happened to buy gum and got a trading card which had the mighty HAYABUSA on it with the specs written on it and I was like “what the hell!!! A bike that can go at a speed of 300kmph!!!!??” from that day onwards bikes got a special place in my mind.
Everyone at home knew about my obsession for bikes so when I was in 12th my grandfather promised to get me any bike below 1 lakh if I scored good marks in my board exams since I was performing below average in school exams. I got inspired by my grandfather’s words and started studying really hard for getting a bike and at the same time I started searching for a bike that suited me.
Initially I zeroed on TVS Apache rtr180 since it was one of the best handling bikes below 1 lakh. I never wanted a pulsar as they were not the best bikes when it comes to handling but on the November of 2011 I heard that a new pulsar with all new engine was coming. And when I saw the first spy pics I liked it, but I wanted to know about the technical details and was waiting for Bajaj to release the specs.
Am not going to start a lecture the technical specifications of the bike as by this time everyone would have come to know that it’s a liquid cooled 199.5cc 4 valve engine which uses triple spark plugs for efficient combustion and the only bike under 1 lakh to use a twin spar frame which is called as perimeter frame by Bajaj.
By June the bike was officially launched and by that time my friend and I started to visit all the showrooms in our city and the showroom guys didn’t have a clue about the NS. The waiting for the bike was killing me and I was cursing the idea of Bajaj for launching the bike in Delhi and Mumbai first as it was taking time to reach my city. By that time my exam results came and I scored good grades and had a good percentage thus I really started eagerly waiting for the bike as I know I was going to get it for sure.
The bike came to the showrooms of Trivandrum by July only. And by that time I had finished reading almost all the reviews and was following the xbhp thread on pulsar 200NS religiously and became a regular visitor in the pioneer Bajaj showroom. One evening they called my friend and told him that the first lot arrived and we can see it tomorrow morning, me and my friend Midhun got damn excited!!!
Finally we are going to see the NS!!! Next morning Midhun came to pick me up and we both went to the showroom at 9 o clock in the morning, and there, a yellow NS stood in front of the showroom, for the first time I saw the NS in flesh and I were spellbound!!! The yellow looked stunning!!!
I booked for the yellow NS from the kallingal Bajaj showroom and had to wait for 2 weeks as the new lot was taking time to arrive, all the yellow NS from first lot got sold!! “2 weeks”, the slowest 2 weeks!! days never really went and at last the 2 weeks got over and the day came for me to lay my hand on my NS aka BUMBLEBEE. So finally on the 15th of August, yes on Independence Day, I got my bee delivered!!
THE FIRST RIDE
I took the delivery of my bike from Kallingal Bajaj. When I sat on the NS for the first time I felt the seat height to be too high but within 5 minutes I was comfortable with the seat height. I rode the bike for 20kms before I took it home after taking the delivery. I was smiling inside my helmet while riding because as each moment passed I was falling more and more in love with my BUMBLEBEE.
I was on cloud 9 when I first pressed the starter and it was just me and my bike, BUMBLEBEE, and nothing else mattered to me at that moment. I felt like a celebrity because all the people on road were staring at me and my bike, the yellow colour really grabbed their eyeballs and at signals people started asking me all types of questions. The most asked question was “which bike is this??” and they wouldn’t believe me when I told them it’s a Pulsar!!!
- The height seat felt a bit high and one will get used to it really fast.
- The riding position is comfortable yet sporty with slightly rear set foot pegs and raised handle bars.
- The bike had vibrations but is negligible.
- The gear shifts were super smooth
(I couldn’t test the performance at that time since it was a new bike but it was willing to rev)
THE RUNNING IN PERIOD
The running in period proved to a really tough period because it’s really hard to control the urge to whack open the throttle. For the first 1000 kilometers I controlled myself and did not exceed beyond 60kmph and 4000 rpm but occasionally I crossed 4k rpm and went up to 6k rpm. When I took the bike there were only few NS’s in our city and I used to get a lot of stares at signals.
Since the bike was in running in period I couldn’t really enjoy all that 23.5bhp of power but the ride was smooth. The tires performed decent since I was riding normally which tells that the tires are good for people who wish to commute on the NS. The brakes impressed me a lot, they offered excellent bite. My first 1000kms were mostly in the city and I completed my running in period in one and a half month.
POST RUNNING IN PERIOD
As soon as my odometer showed 1000kms, I started shifting down and redlining it in every gear. Finally I started to enjoy the true nature of the NS, the bike proved to be deceptively fast, that meant I had to look at the speedo to know at what speed I was going. This is mainly because of the taller gear ratios of the NS as compared to the duke. The NS had an oversquare engine layout which resulted in much more gear shifts in city compared to the 220, NS proved to a rev hungry machine unlike 220, the NS always raced to the redline but not like the duke but in a mature way. . The brakes are just awesome, they can haul you down from high speeds to standstill in no time and it gives you a sense of confidence.
But the tyres are a big let down and do not compliment the brakes and chassis well. The tires tend to skid very early under hard braking. Some times I feel the bikes ability is limited by the tires.
I have gone to Ponmudi hill station 2 to 3 times. There are 22 hairpins and the bikes cornering ability can be put to test there and I enjoyed every corner. The stiff suspension combined with the perimeter frame provided a lot of confidence to get my knees down. I had experienced this kind of confidence only while cornering in my friends R15. The cornering ability was only limited by the stock euro grip tires and some times I could feel the tires giving up when I try to push it to the limit.
But the stiff suspension does not provide much help in really bad roads. The pillion seat is not that comfortable but the front seat is comfortable for long distance and provides ample room for the rider but for a person like me who is 5.6 feet tall the wide seat doesn’t allow me to get both my feet properly on ground. The bike does vibrate above 5k rpm but its does not vibrate like the older pulsars. Even though the bike is carburetted I did not face any cold start issues. I can assure you one thing it’s the best performance bike under a lakh.
The bike returns me around 36-38kmpl in city and around 42kmpl in highways. The turning radius is quite large and initially I found it hard to manage it in the city but now am used to it. The plastic quality is way better than older generation pulsars but it still has to improve and I find it hard to operate the turn indicator switch while holding the clutch.
MY VERDICT- THE PRO’S AND CON’S
First of lets start with the pro’s of the bike (this is based purely on what I felt)
· The biggest upgrade of NS over the older generation pulsars or even any bike below 1 lakh should be its handling. The bike turns and cuts through any place with a thought of your mind and holds well in corners and never scares you. Thanks to the stiff rear monoshock and perimeter frame
· The new engine based on the ktm duke is a gem. Even though it’s a ktm derived engine both the bikes characters are poles apart. The 4 valves reduce engine’s stress at high rpm and the triple spark plugs ensure better combustion. Due these changes the the catalytic convertor is fixed inside the header pipe and reduces the overall weight.
· 23.5bhp of power is just awesome!! Even while you try to extract all that power it does not intimidate you. The bike accelerates really well and I have seen above 130kmph so many times. Till 7k rpm the exhaust note is not that audible but once you cross 7k rpm the exhaust note makes your hairs stand in attention. The bike’s character really changes once you enter the power band
· Linear power delivery, the older pulsars were known for the strong bottom end and mid range but in the NS it’s linear. In simple words the power is available through out the rev range
· The brakes are simply awesome and give you total control of which ever situation you are in.
· The seating position is comfortable yet sporty with rear set foot pegs and raised clip ons handle bars. Really suitable for long distance touring. The seats are well padded.
· For a bike which produces 23.5bhp of power it offers good fuel efficiency.
· The bike sure makes you popular among girls especially the yellow one. Once a girl told me she finds the yellow NS cute…
· The bike didn’t stall even when I rode it in knee deep water.
The saying “nobody is perfect” can also said for bikes as no machine is 100% perfect. Even though it has a lot of pros it also has some con’s. so now I will state its con’s
· The tires are a big let down. The stock tire doesn’t allow you to exploit the full capacity of the perimeter frame. So if one wants to ride, fast change the tires to a softer compound like mrf revz or Pirelli sport demon. Once I got a chance to ride a NS shod with revz and I could feel the difference in handling.
· It does vibrate beyond 5k rpm and increases significantly when you reach 8k rpm. But I do not vibrate like the old generation pulsars.
· The stiff suspension does not help you in really bad road, a price one had to pay for the superb handling. It doesn’t matter to me but if it matters to someone they can always adjust it.
· The paint quality on handle bars and grab rails is not good. The paint from handlebar tends to chip off with time.
· The rear seat is not as comfortable as the front and small vibrations can be felt on the rear seat.
· The horn is weak and the fuel gauge is highly inaccurate.
For all those who are out there who wants to buy the NS, you won’t be disappointed and it is the best bike under 1 lakh category. My dad was against the idea of me getting a pulsar even though my grandfather agreed to buy me one. My father stated that Pulsars are unreliable machines and I had to convince him that NS was not like the other pulsars and believe me it never had any problem till now and had never let me down in spite of frequent ripping. But if you have extra cash in hand after purchasing the bike exchange the stock tires for better ones to extract the full potential of the bike.
If anybody wants to know more about the bike please feel free to comment below and thanks for reading my review as this is the first review I am writing!!