Oct 23, 2013

10 5 Good and 5 Not so Good things about the Pulsar 200NS

5 things to like and 5 to dislike about the Pulsar 200NS..

The Pulsar 200NS has surprised me big time with its on road performance. This model is without any doubt the best product to have come out of Bajaj Auto's stables. Everytime I ride a Pulsar 200NS, it always impresses me with it on road behavior. It is one tight and sensible package. Among the many things that I like about this bike, I have listed out the top 5 that stand out for me. Also there is a list of 5 things that I wished could be better on this bike.

Wish the Pulsar 200NS came in White

Top 5 things that: I LOVE

1. Rock steady handling, thanks to the Perimeter Frame: The perimeter frame on the Pulsar 200NS is the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) among naked street bikes in India. No other naked street bike comes equipped with this modern frame. The effect of putting such a frame is evident by the manner the Pulsar 200NS rides on smooth roads, bad roads, potholes, corners and on highways. The bike feels composed in all conditions and feels like one solid piece of metal put together.

2. Impressive Brakes: The front and rear disc brakes on the Pulsar 200NS are excellent in their bite and feedback. Coupled with the strong perimeter frame, the brakes does an impressive job of dropping anchors and shaving off speed whenever needed. The brakes actually gives you the confidence and encourages you to ride a bit faster than you would normally ride.

3. Rev-Happy, 4 Valve Engine:The DTS-i, triple spark, 4 valve engine of the Pulsar 200NS is a gem. The engine shares its genes with the KTM 200 Duke's over square engine. Even the bore and stroke on both the engines are identical. This co-development between Bajaj and KTM has worked wonders and what we get is a rev happy, 4 valve engine that loves to spin effortlessly to its redline. The engine can hover around the redline of tacho and would still feel nice. Something that was/is missing from the older gen Pulsar engines.

4. Riding Position: I just love the upright yet "ready for action" riding position on the Pulsar 200NS. There is no hint of any forward lean, instead the riding position is kind of like Supermoto style of riding. Upright seating with comfortable reach handlebars and rear set foot pegs for that "in with the bike" feeling. Maybe there is an influence of KTM genes here too.

5. Perfectly Padded Seat:The seat on the Pulsar 200NS is perfectly padded. The foam is neither too soft to be uncomfortable over long distances nor too hard like the 200 Duke. Its perfect for short and for extended rides as well.

Top 5 things that: COULD BE BETTER

1. Tyres: The Pulsar comes fitted with Eurogrip branded tyres. These tyres are mediocre in terms of providing grip specially while cornering and during less than perfect road conditions. Thankfully there are a few after market options from good tyre brands like Pirelli and even from MRF. Recently I rode a 200NS fitted with the rear tyre of the R15 V2.0 (MRF, 130/70 x 17). I have to say the amount of confidence one gets from the extra level of grip makes it worth spending that extra and going for a tyre swap.

2. Seat Height: On paper the seat height of the Pulsar 200NS might be stated as 800 mm that is normal by Indian standards, but the wide front seat and the side covers that intrude with the insides of the legs, makes it difficult for someone like me (5 ft 4 inch) to get both feet on the ground. I guess for guys less the 5 ft 7 inches, the Pulsar 200NS’s seat height would be a bit intimidating.

But thankfully there seems to be a simple solution to the problem. Installing the rear tyre of the Yamaha R15 V2.0 reduces the seat height to an acceptable level for someone like me. The tyre of the R15 V2.0 has specs of 130/70 x 17 that it identical to the Pulsar 200NS OEM tyre. Maybe because the profiles of the tyres are different or maybe the rear tyre if the R15 V2.0 is a radial which makes the difference, but still surprisingly the seat height drops by a few mms.

3. Design of the Turn Indicator Switch : The current design of the turn indicator switch is not ergonomic. One has to make a conscious and extra effort to reach out and operate the switch. Also the tactile feel of push to cancel the switch is less especially while wearing gloves. '

4. Paint finish on certain areas : For most part of the bike, the paint quality and finish is quite decent. But then there are certain areas where it could have been better. For instance on the handlebars, which are in glossy black paint. The glossy paint tends to chip off over time. A powder coated matt black paint would have been more durable and also given a more premium look and feel. Also I have noticed the black paint on the engine chip off quite early on some bikes.

Interestingly the Pulsar 200NS that is exported to Indonesia gets's matt finish on the handlebars. "Why this Kolaveri Di" Bajaj?

5. Vibration damping : Personally this is a non issue for me. There are some tingling vibrations that makes its presence felt at some specific rpm range. The vibes are felt around the legs in the seat and the tank area. It is not severe and definitely much lesser in degree than what is felt on the TVS Apache RTR series of bikes. The fact that the engine doesn’t feel stressed is more important to me.

Even the KTM 200/390 vibrate and even the Hero Honda Karizma's vibrate. But KTM and Honda have successfully damped/masked these vibrations by spreading them over the rev range and not letting it localize at certain revs. A little bit of effort from Bajaj's end to eliminate/damp these slight vibrations would make the Pulsar 200NS a flawless package.

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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.


Sajal said...

Absolutely spot on I would say!! :)

Shreyansh Modi said...

The 200 NS is White Looks Wow!

Anonymous said...

nice review Satadal. another worth mentioning point is the headlamp. one of local blogger in Indonesia has noticed that the headlight is less bright than the projector-style belonging to Pulsar 220. Do you agree with this opinion after being with the beast several days?

Payeng said...

Yes Arif,

The headlamps on the Pulsar 220 is brighter than that of the Pulsar 200NS, but even then it is not so bad. The Pulsar 200NS headlamp is still adequately bright

Anonymous said...

One more Con : -

Personally, I would like closed / covered chain on pulsar 200 NS. No matter how sporty it looks, its not suited for Indian roads, I have seen many apache's and many other bikes making khat khat sounds in rainy season because of open chain. In spite of using O-ring , I donot think its suited to Indian climate or weather conditions. Closed chain reduces maintenance cost of the bike. lubricate rarely.

Anonymous said...

no need of clip-on handlebars,flat handle bar or semi flat handle bar i.e duke or fz gel with overall styling of naked bike...vibes r common for all single cylinder bikes

Prakash said...

Kick rod there or not

Anonymous said...

I want to fit duke 200 handle bar to my pulsar 200 ns. Can dis be done? Anyone suggest me

Laliz said...

can we make the seat more comfortable? with some padding or something? thx

Anonymous said...

Is it available in showrooms?

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