Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-i review
- Published On: 10 April 2017
- 4 min read
Bajaj’s 220cc beast puts sportsbike performance in the hands of the average Indian bike buyer.
Launched back in 2007, Bajaj’s flagship, the Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi, was the defecto choice of sports bike for enthusiasts across India. But once Yamaha launched its YZF-R15, the Bajaj faced some serious competition and even saw customers switch loyalties in favour of the baby R1. Not one to lie back and surrender market share, Bajaj has promptly upgraded its flagship with some clever touches in a bid to reclaim its former glory. So, how much of an improvement is this updated Pulsar?
On the outside
The company has left most of the 220 unchanged, focussing purely on boosting power – it looks exactly the same. The only major visible change is a black theme that coats much of the new 220’s lower section. The 220 retains all its stylish and decal-free body panels.
The bike’s voluminous front fairing houses a familiar set of stacked headlights that provide good all-round illumination. The fairing-mounted mirrors still don’t provide adequate rear view vision though, that is until you move your elbows out of the frame.
The bike’s switch gear offer a perfect tactile feel, and come alive with subtle backlighting at night. Contact-free and crisp to operate, they also come with self-cancelling turn indicators.
The digital instruments sport a speedometer, bold rev-counter, digital fuel gauge, engine revs red-lining indicator as well as trip-counter. There are warnings for a choked air filter, low engine oil and fuel levels, side stand down, as also a ‘battery needs charging’ indication. The fuel tank retains its original form and the bike’s split seat and LED-embellished tail section are the same too, as are two-piece alloy grab bars. Overall quality and fit-finish is decent for this class.
A key change is the step away from fuel-injection technology. The new 220 adopts carburettor, while otherwise retaining a four-stroke, twin-valve engine in slightly tweaked guise. This is still among the few motorcycles in India to use an oil-cooler to help its air-cooled single cylinder stay cool, and continues to deploy twin-plug DTS-i technology for good efficiency. Power has gone up – the Pulsar now makes 20.93hp at 8500rpm, and 18.55Nm of torque maxing out at 7000rpm. Power is sent to a one-down-and-four-up, toe-shifted gearbox, which works in conjunction with a smooth clutch. Throttle response continues to be good, with a strong surge of power available through the bike’s power band. It’s not as creamy smooth nor as linear as the first fuel-injected 220 but it does provide good riding pleasure. It’s flexible too, effortlessly pulling away cleanly in the higher gears without calling for excess play with the transmission.
This bike is faster. Rev it hard and the bike rewards you with a good helping of performance. It now goes from zero to 60kph in 3.77 seconds and 0-100kph in 12.15sec, with top speed also slightly higher at 133kph.
Riding posture, with its low clip-on handlebars and rear-set riding pegs, retains its sportiness. Kerb weight is up two kilos to 152kg, while the wheelbase remains constant.
The 220 remains a stable bike to pilot, its cornering abilities and nice ride quality remain. Braking feels just the same — strong and good bite. The company claims this bike is not only faster, but more fuel efficient too.
Sure, it’s disappointing to see that the new Pulsar 220 looks the same, and it’s a letdown to see it not be fuel injected anymore. But, the latest Bajaj sees a significant power and performance gain. There’s no massive loss on refinement and the price-tag is still unbeatable, making it good value for money.