The Pulsar brand is easily the most recognized motorcycle brand in India. Started a little more than 12 years ago, it has grown to become the most influential brand in the Indian motorcycling scene, with everyone, from a 4-year-old person to an 80-year-old person recognizing a motorcycle under the Pulsar brand name, as it was that distinctive. But recently Bajaj made a move which will make the Pulsar more recognizable to the 4 year old than the 80 year old. Bajaj Made a Transformer.
Yes, “it looks like a transformer” is one of the many sentences used to describe the new Pulsar RS200’s manic looks. After making biking enthusiasts in the country wait for more than two years, the Pulsar RS200 was finally launched by the end of March this year and boy has it drawn a lot of attention. Most of the attention drawn was, due to the design language and aesthetic features used on the motorcycle.
Bajaj has gone completely radical with the styling on the Pulsar RS200. Up front, it looks like there is way too much going on with the design. Bajaj has provided twin projector headlamps, with LED parking lights or Daytime running lights just above it. The LED Parking lights are not a great piece of design, as it just comprises of 3 LED matrixes on one side. Bajaj has made space for a proper, big visor up font and this will definitely reduce the windblast faced by the riders at higher speeds.
This is as we all know, the very first fully faired Pulsar and the styling of the fairing too is very funky, exactly like the front end. There is a faux air dam near the tank recesses, while this gives the rider’s thighs a very comfortable place to rest on, it does expose a bit of the fairing and the exposed screw heads do not look very nice on a flagship motorcycle like the 200RS. The motorcycle sports aggressive and LOUD decals all over, including the front end and the tank, and the fairing on the sides.
The side mounted exhaust too lends a lot of character to the side profile of the Pulsar RS200 and so do the alloy wheels, which are the exact same as those on the Pulsar 200 NS. The rear of the motorcycle has drawn a lot of attention, especially from critics and it looks like it has been designed to draw such attention. The unique tail lamp and indicator setup which has been made part of the registration number plate mounts have drawn a lot of criticism for being an eyesore on an otherwise good-looking motorcycle, but I feel it is a personal choice, as many who have already bought the RS200 love this setup. It is a matter of personal tastes and preferences in the end and it appears that Bajaj has got it right with its customers. The Pulsar RS200 does manage to turn a lot of heads while out on the road and in the end, it is this kind of attention that really matters.
Though the RS200 gets an all new outer body design, underneath, it is based on the Pulsar 200NS. It uses the same perimeter frame as the 200 NS and the same suspension setup too. The handlebar too is the same clip-on handlebar one can find on the NS and while it did a pretty good job on a naked motorcycle like the 200 NS, I personally felt that the RS200, being a fully-faired motorcycle needed the handlebar to be at a lower position in order to give the rider more feedback from the front end. The underbelly exhaust seen on the 200NS has been ditched in favour of a side mounted exhaust system, but we must say that this exhaust makes the RS200 look a lot sportier.
The RS200 feels a little too light at the front end and the front wheels gives very little feedback compared to its rival, the KTM RC200. While the RC200 is tuned more towards handling and cornering, the RS200 is tuned more towards comfort and highway rides, is what we feel. That said however, I must add that the RS200 is not bad at all at cornering, considering the weight of the motorcycle, it feels pretty nimble indeed.
The Pulsar RS200 is powered by the same liquid cooled, 199.5cc single cylinder motor found on the 200NS, but the engineers at Bajaj have changed a few things on this engine. The motor feels smoother and refined, thanks to the Fuel-injection system which has been added to the mix. The fuel-injection system, along with some fine tuning has given the motor more power, 1 PS to be exact. This also means that this is the most powerful Pulsar ever made, with a maximum power output of 24.5 PS, but it doesn’t really feel all that powerful, and it definitely is because of the extra weight gained by the RS200 compared to the 200NS.
The RS200 weighs an additional 20 kilos over the 200NS and adding just one unit of additional power to supplement the extra 20 kilos is not going to work really. That said however, the throttle response on the fuel-injected RS200 feels way better than the carbureted 200NS, the engine is just that much crisper in response to the right wrist.
The riding posture isn’t as sporty as Bajaj claims it to be, as the RS200 is more of a Sports Tourer than a Super Sport motorcycle, and it is a good thing that Bajaj dropped the SS moniker for this motorcycle. The padding on the seat feels pretty good and despite all the criticisms about having less feedback from the front end, the RS200 is fun to chuck around corners. It is pretty good in a straight line too and will definitely be in its elements out on a highway instead of a race track.
The RS200 will do the 0-100kmph stint in about 10 seconds and will go on to touch an indicated 147-148 KMPH, which after considering the speedo error margin, translates to just above 140 KMPH which is really impressive considering the weight of the motorcycle.
The RS200 rides on new rubber, provided by MRF which is very responsive and grips much better compared to the Eurogrips earlier provided on the 200 NS. The RS200 gets the addition of an ABS system which is a first in its class, but it is a single channel ABS and is only available on the front wheel.
The RS200 has been on-sale for more than two months now and is selling at a fast rate, and it should, because it has so many goodies and it retails at such a low price compared to its rivals. The Pulsar RS200 retails at INR 1,18,000(ex-showroom, Delhi).
Checkout more pictures and a video, after a jump.
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GALLERY: Bajaj Pulsar RS200