BAJAJ PULSAR AS SERIES: ADVENTURE UPGRADE

Bajaj has always gained traction in any segment it enters thanks to its products’ tremendous appeal and power-packed performance. While the current breed of Pulsars are capable of everything from city commuting to long-distance riding, their all-round ability didn’t extend beyond tarmac. But, Bajaj tweaked this into a completely different direction, not only giving us a new series of Pulsars but also emphasizing on what’s next in the pipeline. After the NS (Naked Sport), and Racing Sport (RS), Bajaj has now launched the Adventure Sport (AS) series, which is the company’s subtle attempt into the dual-purpose segment, and if it gets established, the company will launch few more products in this segment.pulsarasnepal3Although listed as ‘Adventure Sports’ model by Bajaj, the AS twins rather look touring-friendly than proper adventurers. However, where other companies never quite amaze us with their products, Bajaj’s AS series has got what is takes we’ve come to expect from this series of Pulsar bikes – appealing styling, keen performance and agile handling. But, does this latest series of Pulsars turn the brand into more of an all-rounder? We find out…pulsarasnepal2STYLING:

The AS twins borrow heavily from their normal siblings, but in the transformation to AS, they have certainly become more appealing. The imposed half-fairing with the projector headlamp and a visor, in a medley of overly fussed rivals, was one of the many reasons why we liked them so much. The visor provides high-speed protection while the 55W projector headlamps provide better visibility in the dark. The bike’s rear end is strengthened by a Nitrox mono suspension, a cleverly integrated saree-guard and an easy-to-hold black grab bar which is perfectly blended into the design.pulsarasnepal4An engaging instrumentation cluster and illuminated switchgears are other bonuses. If only Bajaj had provided these bikes with hand-guards, panniers and dual-purpose tyres, the AS series could’ve been a serious contender to beat. Overall, the design integrates practicality as well as style.

ERGONOMICS:

The seating position is similar to the 200NS. The chassis is updated with a steel-fabricated perimeter frame for both bikes, for sharp handling and agility. The suspension set up and riding position is better suited for city riding than proper touring. The bikes incorporate telescopic front suspension and rear mono shocks. The AS150 gets smaller profile MRF tyres compared to the fatter Eurogrips on the AS200. pulsarasnepal7There are petal rotor-equipped front disc brakes on the AS 150 and AS 200, and a rear disc brake for the AS200 with a drum on the AS150.ABS  isn’t offered with either of the two new AS Pulsars. Combined with 17-inch wheels and 10-spoke alloy wheels, there’s 170 mm (AS150) and 167mm (AS200) of ground clearance. The bikes measure 2070 mm long, 804 mm wide, 1205 mm high, with a similar wheelbase of 1363mm. The AS150 is 143 kg dry while the AS200 stands at 153kg.

PERFORMANCE:

The AS200’s engine is the same old 199.5cc, carbureted engine that has worked so well for Bajaj. It’s a decent power-unit with 23.2 bhp at 9500 rpm and 18.3 Nm at 8000 rpm. The AS150 gets an all-new 149.5cc, single cylinder, air-cooled engine. It’s also one of the most powerful 150cc mills making 17 bhp at 9500 rpm. The AS 150 uses a five-speed gearbox while the AS 200 comes with six-speeds, both shifting in one-down, all-up patterns. The only difference between these two engines is that the AS150 is air-cooled, whereas the AS200 is liquid-cooled.pulsarasnepal5Both bikes are powerful for their class. They accelerate in a lively fashion, steering ahead with a pleasantly natural feel. The AS200’s pickup and acceleration are ideally maintained, while the note from its grunty engine means the AS200 always feels playful while the refinement and performance level of the AS150 has gone up as compared with the older-gen Pulsar.pulsarasnepal6The engine is quite refined in terms of vibrations. With so much grip and performance, both bikes disguise their weight effectively. The bikes without doubt will cope well with light to medium off-road use. There’s plenty of ground clearance for both of them. Both bikes have a 12-litre fuel tank with a reserve capacity of 2.4-litre, respectable enough for a good economical range of well over 500 kms. With so much grip and performance, both bikes disguise their weight effectively.

VERDICT:

The Pulsar AS series is an interesting proposition. It offers performance levels that best just about every other bike in the segment and when stretched on light off-road, it delivers almost the same levels of comfort and handling. The Adventure Sport twins are both capable and surprisingly fun.pulsarasnepal1The AS series might not necessarily appeal to the hardcore adventure enthusiasts, but they are likely to win over buyers who have become accustomed to light touring and city riding. It looks like the AS series will spearhead the sales of the company, given that Bajaj is the most visible two-wheeler brand here in Nepal.

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