Just the other day I stumbled on one of the old Pulsar ads and like every other time it made me sit and notice. Pulsar ads have always been classy and different and one can see them again and again. What started with stumbling on just one ad made me search and watch all the Pulsar ads from Classic days till date in one go.
I have never been a Pulsar fanatic like many others, true that I own a P220 Fi from the last 5years but then the purchase was made because it fitted my entire requirement at that point of time and nothing to do with Pulsar as such. But watching all those ads at one go gave me some goose bumps and I realized that Pulsar had taken some space in my mind but how big is that I’m yet to find it out!
2012 a new era of Pulsar is here and like everyone else I too was eagerly waiting to see the outcome of the next generation Pulsar. What came out was a true blue streetfighter design, personally I would have liked some tweaks here and there like the headlamp could have been placed slightly lower but as a whole the design appealed me and there is that distinct character in this new generation Pulsar like the original classic Pulsar. Not going into much detail of styling as we have already covered it during the xBhp first impression and my pictures will be there for visual appeal. This article will focus mainly on the ride part.
Since I have lived with the bike for quite some time now and have done a good 10k kms this article will be different from the usual test ride report. I will mostly share my experience here.
The initial experience
From the day I saw it for the first time i.e on 31st Jan 2012 I was waiting to lay my hands on P200NS. The day came sooner than expected. After riding the KTM I was even keener on riding the bike, the first ride experience brought smile on my face. It was a mere 20km ride but that was more than enough for me to understand that it is a very different from its sibling KTM200. Whereas the KTM is a “Hooligan” this one is more of a “Polished Assassin”.
Very few had seen P200NS on public road till that time and as expected road presence was pretty impressive and onlookers were captivated by the presence of the bike. We were chased everywhere and at traffic signals we could see the restlessness among other bikers who were taking their bike back and forth to have a glance of this bike.
Coming on to the ride part I was elated with the way engine was performing. Engine is a gem and was building revs very smoothly and there was no flat spot in the whole powerband. The vehicle was seriously quick and before I could realize I was hitting the ton mark. The important thing here was the effortlessness with which it reaches that mark. The vehicle has a pretty decent bottom end for city riding and will not feel sluggish at any situation. The upright riding position gives the rider better visibility across all riding conditions and for India visibility counts as tens of hurdles is waiting for you at every corner of road. Although the riding position is not that sporty but the handling is a revelation and it inspires so much confidence on your riding that you tend to go fast everywhere, my average speed increased by almost 15kmph as compared to my P220.
From the long ride experience
I did two long rides on this bike other than the numerous small rides of 500 odd kms
Trip 1 – Pune – Solapur – Hyderabad – Nirmal – Nanded – Ahmednagar – Pune
Trip 2 – Pune – Belgaum – Dandeli – Karwar – Ponda – Sawantwadi – Kolhapur – Pune
All my rides so far had brought smile in my face and I shared an exhilarating experience with NS so far. First thing is definitely the stance which is just spot on for long rides. Even after doing 500+ on multiple occasions I didn’t feel tired at the end of the day. Aiding the stance the seat provides very good support for long hours on saddle. Maintaining the pace is fairly easy on long stretches because of the nature of the engine keeping an average speed of 110km/hr is an effortless job when the engine is revved around 7k. This vehicle is more fun to ride on 2 lane highways than on a 4lane or 6 lane highways. Overtaking are effortless and you just zip through everything on way. Even with ample luggage the handling doesn’t suffer and with this bike you just wait for the next ghat section to come. Because of the naked design the vehicle feels slow on a windy day, more so on a 4lane highway. On a windy day with normal shifts vehicle only touches 125, for top speed one needs to redline till 4th gear. Tucking down is easy because of the handle bar plus tank configuration. Horn is pretty weak for highway riding and this seems to be the first mod which many tourers will make. Both the brakes are excellent but the bite front disc bite decreases after 250km of nonstop ride. Even after two back to back long rides the chain didn’t get loose even once. The 55W headlamp provides ample brightness for night riding and is quite close to P220 headlamp in terms of intensity.
The overall mileage that I got from Trip 1 is 36 and on Trip 2 I got 34 and this after heavy ripping and mostly keeping the speeds upwards of 115.
The cornering machine
A Pulsar which finally corners and how!
Other than the Pune-Mumbai clan there will be many who might know about a place called Lavasa. It is one of the most favourite destinations for Pune bikers for a quick spin on a Sunday morning. In the past 3.5years of stay in Pune I went there only 6 times while in the last 2 months I visited 8 times. Speaks a lot about the NS.
Cornering is seriously fun on this bike and even for a long distance tourer & novice in cornering like me it becomes addictive. The bike is very forgiving and lets you stretch your limits and learn new things with every single corner. The suspension setup is just about perfect and you can throw the bike in a corner the way you want. Seat being firm helps in side to side transition. The vehicle doesn’t shows its weight at any point of time and it helped in flicking it into and out of the corners very easily. Tucking the legs into the tank recess is fairly easy, although there are some intrusions from the end of the seat material but it is a minor thing and can be ignored.
An offroad bike?
Pulsar 220 used to fare very well on off-road condition. Is very stable and generally doesn’t get disturbed from its line and even if disturbed used to recover very fast and easily. One can do decent speeds even while sitting on the bike. P200NS on the other hand doesn’t fare that well if one is sitting on the bike. Because of the stiff suspension you can’t go very fast but that change once you stand on the footpegs. The handlebar is within reach and you don’t need to bend that much forward and one feels at ease. The bike is equally quick if not quicker than P220 while standing.
Key highlights - Engine
1) At 7.5k rpm vehicle can cruise at 115kmph all day long without putting any stress on the engine
2) The vehicle is very quick and overtaking is effortless. Is faster than all the other bikes in category minus KTM and CBR250
3) Willing and rev hungry, its smooth torque delivery and refinement is a revelation
4) Even after long hours of riding engine runs very smooth
5) At higher revs there is negligible vibration and no noise comes from vehicle parts
6) No noticeable power drop even after riding for longer duration at temperature as high as 44deg. Vehicle has been taken to places like Rann of Kutch and it was touching130 in 5th and 132-133 in 6th gear, sitting upright
7) The engine response and torque delivery is smooth. The gearing felt precise. The rush factor is lesser than KTM but it doesn’t hit the rev limiter as quickly as KTM and keep developing revs even after 10k rpm. The torque delivery is smooth through the whole rpm range making the throttle modulation work easier and adds to the smooth ride experience. In comparison to KTM this was not abrupt but smooth and firm
8) Post 7k rpm the exhaust note changes and its music to ears. It might be little overboard for many but to me it sounds like muted inline four engine post 7k
9) When one is not ripping mileage will hover between 35-40kmpl else it will be in the range of 30-35kmpl
10) Overall feel of the engine was far superior to the P220 and felt unlike a typical P180 or P220. Clearly this version has taken a big leap forward and one can easily spot the difference by riding this and P220 back to back.
Max Speeds in each gear as indicated by the speedo
1st gear – 51
2nd gear – 71
3rd gear – 93
4th gear – 114
5th gear – 132
Top speed – 149
Key Highlights - Other
1) The suspension is almost spot on for spirited cornering and helps you in exploring more by stretching your limits. The rear is not soft and doesn’t wallow around. The front too did not dive down at a rapid rate and is progressive enough
2) Riding position is a mix between KTM, CBR and P220. Clipons are widely placed and provides very good comfort and one doesn’t tire even after long hours on saddle
3) Seat is wide and provides good grip and support. There is a lot of space to move around your butt which is a plus while doing long rides.
4) Rider and pillion space is clearly defined and the gap between the rider’s seat and pillion seat was sufficient for both the person to move around
5) The rear brake needs a special mention. It is great revelation from P220 days, the brake is good and provides ample feedback and sharpness. The front brake is good and comparable to any bike in this class
6) Chain didn’t go loose even after riding the bike for almost 4000km since last service.
7) Handlebar grips are new and unlike the older generation Pulsars they give a soft feel.
8) RVM remains blur free even at very high speeds. Although after wearing a riding gear the usable visibility is around 60% of the total view
The not so good bits
1) Horn is weak for highways, on a slightly windy day bigger vehicles don’t get a clue that something is coming from behind
2) On a windy day because of the miniscule fly screen one encounters wind resistance which affects the top speed
3) Tyres are decent but not great. Better tyres will enhance the potential of NS even further. Pirelli MT75 for front & Sport Demon for rear available at similar spec in the market will be good replacement for the stock
4) Saddle height which everyone has already noticed can be problem for some specially the medium built guys who are of height 5’5” and less
5) The straight-line stability of P220 at speeds above 120 is better than NS. Sometimes weight helps
6) The vehicle is all about acceleration and how quickly you reach at that speed. If one is expecting that it will beat P220 hands down in top end then it will not happen it will fare almost equal although it will reach there much quicker than P220
The all new “Pulsar”?
The bike is unique in every aspect yet keeping to the core values of Pulsar in terms of styling and performance. “ A true next-gen Pulsar” as it is better or different from its predecessor in every aspect like ‘engine smoothness’, ‘linear power delivery’, ‘different exhaust note’, ‘exemplary handling’. Surely has the making of a winner and breathing fresh life into the potent Pulsar brand
From one of the tester who did testing on P200NS
The phase of NS testing may not have ended yet, with some of us still testing our beloved NS. But as I look at the photos posted on Xbhp and FB, just reminds me of... NS phase of life.
I may be sounding emotional.. But yes there are emotions attached to every good thing we do in life. And one of the rare good things ever happened to us was this year... Testing and riding the NS. When I look back and see how exciting the phase has been.. An incredible phase of testing and riding the bike for a reason. And I am sure we all loved it.
Now when I see the people drooling over the 836 pics on xbhp and FB.. I just look back and remind of the excellent times I have had with 836. A great learning experience too. Brought me back to riding.. Which I almost stopped for my other life.
I just keep recalling the vroooming on streets late night.. Early mornings.. 100+ constant speed fearlessly.. Just going out for ride in city for no reason.. Coming back from office just to pick up TOS and going and riding in dark streets of Pune... Revving it to show off at every opportunity thrown.. Those photo shoots for posing.. That filmy scene to get the keys of bike.. Just remember everything.. And will remember always. The sense of proudly telling some of my close folks that I am doing it for Bajaj auto.. :-)
Small phase of life.. But a great phase of life.. The NS phase of Life.
Note: Going by the initial euphoria and reading through various threads I see a lot of new guys becoming the owners of P200NS in the near future. My humble request to everyone will be to understand the bike and its capabilities before taking it to the limit. The vehicle is pretty quick for our traffic and can kill anyone if not taken proper care.
Location: Junnar, Maharashtra
Location: Kusegaon Dam, Somewhere on the outskirt of Pune
Location: Junnar, Maharashtra
Location: Somewhere around Bhimashankar, Maharashtra
Location: Lavasa, Pune
Location: Lavasa, Pune
Location: Malshej Ghat, NH222, Maharashtra
Location: Cabo De Rama, Goa
Locatrion: Sriramsagar Reservoir, Nirmal, Andhra Pradesh
Location: Majalgaon Reservoir, Beed, Maharashtra
Location: Pathardi, NH222, Maharashtra
Location: Windmill farm, Satara, Maharashtra
Location: Uran, Mumbai
Location: Harrison Folly, Panchgani,Maharashtra
Location: Nanded, Maharashtra
Location: Rajmachi the offroad heaven, Maharashtra
Location: Kusegaon Dam, Outskirt of Pune
Location: Mulshi Dam, Maharashtra
Location: Lavasa, Pune
Location: Sriramsagar reservoir, Nirmal, Andhra Pradesh