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BAJAJ PULSAR RS200: THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

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Let’s take a trip down memory lane to a time when one name redefined motorcycling for the masses. More than a decade back when the Pulsar series were launched, the bikes took the Indian two-wheelers market by storm. The Pulsar twins were a big hit, catapulting the sales of the company while defining and transforming the sports motorcycle market of both India and Nepal. Clean, extremely fast and purposeful– the Pulsars were popular in the very truest sense of the word.

While the rivals glued their product towards ugly names and fancy cosmetic upgrades, Bajaj constantly innovated to ensure that the Pulsars stayed ahead-on performance, technology, styling and class-leading features. Bajaj was among the first to bridge the gap between the hugely popular 150 cc and more desired quarter-litre segment. A plethora of products joined the ranks – Pulsar 180, Pulsar 200, Avenger 200 and the Pulsar 220 that the youths loved to own. These bikes set the benchmark for motorcycles manufacturers in India from the day they rolled off the production line.

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Now, back in the limelight is Bajaj’s latest super sport offering – the Pulsar RS200 where the acronym ‘RS’ stands for ‘Race Sport’. The RS200 is the company’s first fully-faired offering and a far cry from other Indian bikes the customers were expecting. So, how does it measure up? We find out…

STYLING:

Bajaj has done it again and made the RS200 a certified head turner. Having fashioned this new model around Bajaj’s SS400 concept model showcased at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo, it should come as no surprise that the RS200 styling is impressive. This particular RS200 might as well make a cameo in the next ‘Transformers’ movie as Bumblebee’s alter ego. Bajaj has dramatically styled their fresh offering with intricate attention to details. The twin LED headlights with projector headlamps, floating split LED rear tail lamps and a stubby can-exhaust along with the typical 10-spoke alloy wheels add to the RS’ sporty appeal.

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Even if the styling looks chunk and overdone at some fronts, Bajaj has actually put some effort into this one and the result isn’t bad at all. The company has done a tidy job by going the extra mile and making the bike look very sporty. Overall quality and fit-finish are all satisfactory; the Bajaj bike feels well built.

PERFORMANCE:

You could accuse the RS of being a bit generic with the engine. The engine construction remains the same with the P ulsar 200NS. But that’s not the full story. The RS gets fuel-injection which makes the bike capable of producing a bit more power and torque. Under the fairing sits a 199.5cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder and liquid-cooled engine that now makes slightly more power, 24.2bhp at 9750rpm, and 18.6 Nm of torque at 8000rpm.

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At 165 kgs, the RS200 is agile, dynamic and perhaps even better balanced. Its engine is smooth, enjoyable and exhibits deftness in all quarters. The bike is torquey, well-mannered and has enough edge to cruise past the city traffic and open roads. A dynamic, flexible motorcycle that copes well with our tattered roads, and for a motorcycle with such sporty nature, that’s a big step forward.

The petal type single rotor 300mm disc up front and 230mm disc at the rear, coupled with grippy MRF Zapper tires lend the RS200 good braking power. This is also the first Bajaj motorcycle to offer the added safety of ABS brakes, although this is via single channel, working well but only for the front wheel.

ERGONOMICS:

The RS200 has a pleasant sports character, but with a slightly upright riding position dictated by its slightly raised clip-on handlebar. Bajaj also provides handlebar-end weights to reduce vibrations as much as possible. There is a well-padded, roomy split saddle, which is comfortable enough for a bike as sporty as this one.

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The chassis is massively competent, as the bike is enclosed in a perimeter frame which should put a smile on your face while conquering the road. It delivers this without punishing the pillion. The mirrors provide an excellent rear view when astride. The bike gets a pair of 37mm hydraulic, telescopic fork upfront and an eight-step adjustable, gas-filled monoshock absorber at the rear.

VERDICT:

Does the RS 200 live up to the tag of being the fastest of all Pulsars to date? Yes, the Bajaj Pulsar RS200 is the company’s fastest bike ever. Quicker than a 200NS, quicker than a Pulsar 220. Hushed, fast and surprisingly comfortable, the Pulsar RS200 is everything the acronym ‘RS’ or ‘Race Sport’ stands for. It is evident that Bajaj have put a lot of effort into this one and the result isn’t bad at all. The Bajaj Pulsar RS200 is more cohesive than all of the Pulsars that we have had the pleasure of becoming familiar with. Riders, both new and experienced, will enjoy the refinement, the comfortable saddle and soothing ride. The RS200 is by far the most refined Pulsar we’ve ever ridden….

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