Jul 28, 2012

24 DTS-i Triple Spark Engine: Is it just a Marketing Gimmick

Is there a tangible benefit of the the spark plug used in the DTS-i Triple Spark engine of the Pulsar 200NS?

Who knows? Just one spark plug could be working; the other two might just be a marketing gimmick.”

I recently came across the above sarcastic comment which was made for the "DTS-i Triple Spark" technology that Bajaj currently employs on the Pulsar 200NS. The Pulsar 200NS sports an engine that has the world’s only 3 spark plug for its single cylinder. Seriously, 3 spark plugs on a single cylinder engine? Is it taking things a bit too far? Is it really necessary? Is there really a benefit for the customer/biker? Or is it really just a marketing gimmick?

Bajaj was the first Indian manufacturer to pioneer twin spark plug engines way back in 2003. Twin spark engines apparently have a benefit over single spark engines as the “air+fuel” mixture is burnt more efficiently. Branded as DTS-i (Digital Twin Sparkplug Ignition), it certainly made a big impact. The proof of which is that a few years later both TVS and Royal Enfield also came out with its own versions of the twin spark technology. TVS put it in its 125 cc Flame model and currently all Royal Enfield models come with twin spark plug engines.

The third spark plug actually has a tangible benefit

According to the official video posted below, the 3 spark plugs make for efficient burning of the “air+fuel” mixture which benefits and enhances [1] fuel efficiency, [2] engine performance and in [3] adhering to pollution norms. Although I do not doubt the veracity of the official claim, it still leaves a window of opportunity for sarcastic comments. For the normal customer/biker, it hardly matters to him if all the above stated benefits are achieved by a single spark plug of by two or three.

But even if one might gloss over the fuel efficiency and engine performance part as marketing blah, the third spark plug is not a gimmick and there is a tangible benefit for the customer/biker. And here it is:

Thanks to the third spark plug, one will save around Rs. 6,000 if one has to replace the silencer assembly of the Pulsar 200NS.

Here are the (Pune) prices of the silencer / exhaust system of the following bikes (collected by me on July 26, 2012).

Model Name Spare Part Cost for the Exhaust Assembly (as on July 26, 2012)
Pulsar 200NS Rs. 3,000
Pulsar 220F Rs. 8,800
KTM 200 Duke Rs. 9,250

I once had to replace the exhaust system of my Pulsar 220, and it really hurt to spend about 10% of the bike’s cost for the exhaust. Compared to that, Rs.3,000 for the exhaust system is nearly unbelievable. How did Bajaj manage to price the exhaust system of the Pulsar 200NS so ridiculously low?

First let me explain why does exhaust systems on most bikes are costly. The exhaust gases contain byproducts of the combustion process which if released directly to the atmosphere is harmful for the environment. To control the emission of these harmful byproducts, government has set pollution norms according to which manufacturers have to ensure that their vehicles don’t exceed the set limits.

Photo Source: www.importcatalytic.com

These days all manufacturers install a “Catalytic Converter” in the exhaust system to convert the harmful gases into harmless ones. The catalytic converter is made up of a honeycomb structure that has "catalyst" substances like palladium/platinum sprinkled over the structure. The harmful byproducts gets “converted” into harmless gases as it pass through the catalytic converter.

Catalysts used in the catalytic converter are precious & expensive metals and therefore it is the presence of this catalytic converter which adds to the cost of an exhaust assembly.

According to what I know, Bajaj has incorporated the third spark plug to improve on the combustion process and reduce the amount of harmful byproducts that leave the exhaust chamber. As a result the catalytic converter required in the exhaust system is comparatively small in size. It is for this very reason why the cost of the exhaust system on the Pulsar 200NS is low.

How can you be sure that the catalytic converter on the Pulsar 200NS is minimal?

Anyone who owns/rides a modern motorcycle must have noticed the clicking / “tick-tick” kind of sound that comes from the exhaust system of the vehicle when the engine is switched off after having run for some time. This clicking/ticking sound occurs as the exhaust system and the catalytic converter structure inside it cools down at different cooling rates (as different materials are used in construction). Pick any Indian bike with a catalytic converter and this clicking/ticking sound will be present.

On the Pulsar 200NS I couldn’t’ hear this clicking/ticking sound even after extended riding. This proves that the catalytic converter used in it is really very small. The triple spark technology is NOT a marketing gimmick but actually serves a purpose and there is a tangible benefit to the customer/rider.

“Desi” ingenuity for you. Hai na amazing..??

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This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.


gunawanspurs said...

You just learn everyday, another great article by you fella, keep it coming. :thumbup:

Rahul Devnath said...

Its sad to few Idiots making nonsensical comments. The best part is even without having any knowledge about the topic people make baseless comments. This article should enlighten their mind, but then ignorance is bliss!

Anonymous said...

really, it is good to know more about triple spark tech... worthy info... really appreciative

Anonymous said...

bajaj pulsar always critisised for vibes and engine longevity or lifetime..hope 200ns overcome...but we hav wait and see engine remains in gud condition even after 3-4 years lik unicorns,cbrs or r15,fz

JK said...

Guru, great....article... I've always had that "Tick tick" sound query for a long time.... you've cleared it :)
Thank you bro

Srijith Ramachandran said...

thanks to BAJAJ we are enjoying biking in the country...else we would have been milked by HONDAs and Yamahas.......look at the state of pakistan they still ride on those old 1980s honda and yamahas....

Anonymous said...

PAYENG DAA ! yes it is amazing indeed , a very informative article . And i am sure people who think 3spark plug is a joke now have a answer slammed on there face.

Had a small question - will there be any problem if a KTM duke 200 is run on NORMAL petrol and not the 91OCTANE one..??

-vijay bhuyan

Anonymous said...

3 spark plug why cant they for ktm too..becoz they collobrated with each other mr.payeng any news full faired version 200ns?

Vivek4mJH said...

Very informative! Never gave it a thought from this angle. Thanks for the R&D work, SP.

LUTHFIE said...

thanks for this information about p200ns
i will share on to my blog

Anonymous said...

Hi Payeng...
It was really good info!!

but my question here is :-
if this "Triple Spark Technology" was so good then why KTM or any other manufacturer didn't even tried to implement this technology in their bikes?

Samarth 619 said...

I'm pretty sure that in the 2nd decade of the 21st century, the manufacturers don't have the guts to sell premium products with useless gimmicks. Its too risky to do it anymore...
So, first thing I say is, just trust them to an extent.

Secondly, if one has to be a critic, why not be one after being a customer or test rider? I'm sure majority of the critics I see online haven't even touched the machine, leave alone owning it.

Purchase a highly rated product, test it, evaluate its claims against the actual results and then complain, is what I sincerely believe.
Give the product a chance to prove itself...

Veerendra Giddaluru said...

hey Payeng, this was a very good read.

Crash said...

Guys the exhaust system in Pulsar 200ns costs less as the size of the exhaust system is very small compared to other bikes in its class and while the duke may cost more as it is a premium and highly priced bike, honestly the truth is bajaj is bringing up lame reasons to cover up it's inability to produce a proper fuel injected efficient motorcycle...note: this is my personal opinion and i mean no offence.

Sajal said...

Wow that's some serious gyan download man!! But don't worry, I've full faith on the critics, they will read this article and still ask the same dum questions :)

Hats off to you man

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Sajal and everyone..

It's nothing great technical gyan.. just some observation, interest and reasoning from a biker's angle

theslayer said...

Hey Payeng, a completely different yet enlightening insight! Thank you!

Veerendra Giddaluru said...

Hey Payeng, is it possible for you to look up catcon sizes of both P200NS & Duke 200. Since both of them sport similar looking exhaust, this will put an end to lot of loose talk if the catcon sizes are different.

ranggantengblast said...

mr payeng
does Pulsar NS emission exceed euro 3 ?
and again, about its compression ratio?

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


for financial reasons its not possible for someone like me to do that.


I think the comression ratio for the Pulsar 200Ns is around 11:1

Aamir Jamal said...

I always had this query regarding the tick tick sound in my bike after riding it somewhat hard... Now I know that there's nothing wrong with my bike :)

Thanks clearing it out.

indrajeet said...

awesome article :) thanks

Anonymous said...


Anyone may explain, why Indian motorbike manufacturer are not launching twin cylinder bikes. They are increasing diameter of cylinder and increases CC. Like Bajaj started from 100 then 115,125,135,150,180,200 and 220. Why not twin 200,230,250,270,300,360 ?
Besides that Bajaj is keep on increasing number of spark plugs where on other hand Honda, Yamaha etc are still surviving with single spark plug with excellent performance. If one spark plug produces sufficient spark to burn air + fuel mixture then why 2 or 3 spark plugs :)

We desperately need one Ratan Tata in bike manufacturing industry who can launch one twin cylinder affordable motor bike because legendary RD 350, Kawasaki Ninja 250 or Hyosung 250 are beyond a lower middle class bike lover.

Naveen Kapoor

Anonymous said...

how do you know they didn't .In car , ferrari were using triple spark plug for some of theirs model, (not sure).but not all other brand follow suit. i don't why .but there should be an explaination for this.

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