Earlier, if you wanted a fully-faired sportsbike under Rs 1.5 lakhs, you either had the option of the Yamaha R15, or the Honda CBR 150R. There’s no doubt that these two are excellent bikes, but the problem is, they aren’t really that powerful. If you wanted a sports bike that’s more powerful, well, then the KTM RC200 was it. Not only is it faster, it is substantially more expensive as well. Now, what if there was a bike that cost as much as the R15 or the CBR, but has almost as much power as the RC200? There is, and it is called the Bajaj Pulsar RS200. We put it through its paces to find out what it hides!
Styling & Build Quality
The Pulsar RS200 styling has been a subject of debate ever since its launch - some like the way it looks, some don't. We think that while the tail section looks clean and neat, the fairing seems overdone, abound with numerous details that seem to have been done purely for the sake of styling, which doesn't appeal to us. Nevertheless, it looks unlike anything else in the market, and the unique design does turn quite a few heads. Build quality though isn’t what you’d expect on a premium bike. There are quite a few panel gaps, and in a few areas, the fitment of panels seemed unsatisfactory.
Although the riding position on the RS200 seems sporty, with its rear-set footpegs and clip on handlebars, it is quite comfortable, even after riding for long periods. Pillion comfort isn’t as good, due to a small rear seat and an ill-designed grab space.
The Pulsar RS200 uses the same engine as the naked 200NS, save for a few crucial changes. The 200cc liquid-cooled motor now employs fuel-injection, which boosts the power up marginally to 24.1 bhp. The underbelly exhaust makes way for a really neat side-mounted unit, which not only looks good, but also sounds nice, especially at high revs. The bike delivers stonking performance, despatching the 100 kmph mark in under 10 seconds. Power and torque are spread evenly throughout the rev range, and the throttle response is excellent. This means that regardless of whichever gear you’re in, there is always power on tap. The RS200 recorded an indicated top speed of 147 kmph, which should translate to at least 140 kmph after taking into account some speedo error. The bike feels quite relaxed at around 85 – 95 kmph in 6th gear, which should bode well for touring.
We can safely say that the RS 200 is the best handling of all the Pulsars made till date, the 200NS included. While the chassis components are the same, the steering rake has been reduced, while the wheelbase has been shortened. This makes the bike sharper and quicker to react to inputs. Coupled with a firm suspension setup and a set of grippy tires, the RS200 allows riders to corner at high speeds with precision and confidence. The RS200 will be a delight to ride on twisty back roads and on hill climbs.
In the urban setting, despite the presence of a bulky fairing, the bike is actually pretty agile, being able to tackle gaps in traffic with ease. Ride quality though, is on the firmer side, as the suspension is set up for handling rather than ride comfort. It can be adjusted to make it softer, although that would mess the excellent dynamic characteristics of the bike.
When it comes to dropping the anchors, the RS200 gets a set of disc brakes that perform admirably to reign in its rapid turn of speed. Our test bike came equipped with the optional single-channel ABS. Unlike regular dual-channel ABS, the single-channel system works only the front wheel, preventing it from locking up under hard braking. This allows the bike to come to a halt from 60 kmph in 15.84m, in a calm and controlled manner.
Features on the RS200 include projector headlights, LED indicators, and tail lights, a digital analogue instrument console with backlit switchgear, and ABS as an optional extra.
The best part of the RS200 is its sticker price. At Rs 1,18,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), and Rs 1,30,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the ABS variant, calling it a steal would be an understatement. Not only is it cheaper than its closest rival, the KTM RC200, by nearly Rs 40,000, the non-ABS variant costs lesser than the 150cc Honda CBR 150R!
Controversial styling aside, the Pulsar RS200 is an excellent motorcycle. It is very quick, feels refined, and handles like a charm. It is abound with numerous features that the package all the more sweeter. The cherry on the top is the pricing. At this price point, no other manufacturer offers as much performance and as many features in a sports bike as Bajaj does. If you are looking for an entertaining motorcycle under Rs 1.5 lakhs, your answers stands right here.
|Engine||Triple Spark, DTS-i Engine|
|Power||24.1 bhp @ 9750 rpm|
|Torque||18.6 Nm @ 8000 rpm|
|Suspension||Front:Telescopic Front Fork
Rear:Nitrox Mono Shock Absorber
|Fuel Tank Capacity||13|