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Is Bajaj The Best Single-Cylinder Bike Manufacturer?

Pulsar 200 vs Duke 200 Shootout

The Japanese are known for making the best in-line four engines. The Europeans (mostly Italians) strive hard to make V-Twin and V4 engines better and better. Then there is Triumph, they have unparalleled knowledge and skill in making parallel three-cylinder engines (sorry for the rhyming, it was necessary). Coming to parallel twin engines, those too are best shaped by the Japanese. Markets are changing. Yamaha has made an in-line triple and twin and Europeans have started making in-line fours too.

Yet again, Japanese made single-cylinder engines and it’s been more than 20 years since the making. The crummy air-cooled, 2-valve engines ranging from 99cc to 150cc, when it comes to Indian prospect. Let’s consider the fact that we are all enthusiasts here and we look for something exciting and with character, despite the character may end up good or bad, we need something to thrill us. When Bajaj Auto came in the market with motorcycles, the very first engine was the 150cc motor, which spawned the 180 with a slightly bigger bore. The engine character is what according to us captivated the hearts and minds of biking enthusiasts in the country. Till date and its been 12 years, people swear by the machine and now its christened as the “Classic”.

Time passed and Bajaj kept on going and gave the best and the most amusing engines we had ever witnessed. Yea sure they were not that great when it comes to making engines last long, but over time that was solved by a surplus extent, there is no denying that now. All this pretty much started with the new series of engines Bajaj made which were seen on the Pulsar 200 and 220. The 200 was the peppiest engine of the lot and a real star in the lineup. The one which took the limelight was the faired and fuel injected 220 which had more power too. Obviously it was bound to steal the show.

However, Bajaj made a strong move and discontinued both and came up with a one man army, the carbureted Pulsar 220. High lift cam, revised gearing, eye opening goodies and oodles of top end torque made it earn the tag of the “fastest” too, short lived terminology, but totally working till date when it comes to sales. Yea  yea, we know there was always the Hero Karizma and later on the Yamaha R15. Both machines had a purpose (Karizma = sports tourer, R15 = track scorcher) but the Pulsar had none, because it had and has to do it all for the aam junta, that is being everything they need when they need it.

With time comes money and for sustaining it, you need technology. Bajaj yet again made a motorcycle which was small, yet totally the best in class offering above class performance. The 4-valve, 13.5 PS, 122 kgs, Pulsar 135 LS. Underrated at the time of launch and till date, the motorcycle is best when it comes to dynamics and engine package from Bajaj’s stable. A motorcycle that smoked its elder sibling and competition as well. This forced Bajaj to up the game with more power for the Pulsar 150. The Pulsar 135 LS showcased other 150cc motorcycles that you don’t need displacement to kill your opponent.

Bajaj took the technology and the ladder down to the basement and created the brand new Discover platform with this technology used as the root. The Discover 100 and 125 have the right balance of power and fuel economy which is pretty much visible through by just looking at the specifications. The 100T is by far the most potent 100cc engine in the market today. Fuel economy as usual with twin-spark, 4-valve engine is been on the top. No compromise seems to be the mantra here. In Bajaj ideology we think it’s called the new “satya” now.

Don’t worry we are coming to the KTM part. It’s pretty much the reason you are here reading this. The Duke 125, 200, 390 need no introduction. Worldwide acclaimed technology and quality with jaw dropping performance all through single-cylinder motors is just scintillating when you consider the cost benefits to both the customer and manufacturer. The Duke 390 has ignited so much passion that the motorcycle can’t even burn so much fuel in its life time period when compared. Now KTM has helped Bajaj create another platform on which the new generation Pulsars are based on. The Pulsar 200 NS is something which changed everything when it comes to biking in the Indian scenario and we don’t need to tell what the motorcycle is all about.

Arch rivals you may think of? Royal Enfield guys don’t get angry, you are in a class of your own. TVS? It seems they are doing something but who knows when they are going to come up with something exciting because its TVS who is close to Bajaj when it comes to product supremacy. What’s next then? Pulsar 375/400 is what’s on Bajaj Auto’s mind. Faired 200 NS is next as well. What about the future you may start to wonder. Well, as with the case with the Pune based manufacturer, who knows what comes out next!

Pulsar 200 NS Owner Review

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{ 15 comments… add one }

  • kp December 28, 2013, 6:37 pm

    bajaj showed gradual improvement but calling them best single cylinder manufacturer is huge statement to make.let the new discover 4-valve stay in the market 6-8 years without any complaints thn we say tht…pulsar-150 which is highest selling 150 c.c commuter because of looks not becoz engine/clutch/gearbox…XCD 125 and 135 failure is big concern which are made to kill commuter segment bikes of hero honda…and pulsar-180 which priced close to fz/fz-s failed miserable still youngsters opt fz series on other hand apache 180 won the hearts of enthusiasts…

    • Mohit Soni December 28, 2013, 6:48 pm

      Like we said KP, its not about the motorcycle this time. Its about the heart which powers it, the Engine! Pulsar 135 has a strong engine in its category and whatever you are saying about the product is relevant but the matter and the story here (this time) is very different

      • kp December 28, 2013, 7:01 pm

        i knw mohit ur gona reply me hehe…even heart need to prove for years and bajaj always praised for mileage and innovation and hope thy ppl like me on engine front

        • Mohit Soni December 29, 2013, 10:55 pm

          Reliability is truly where work is needed to be done. But then we see the best of vehicles catch firing and bogging down because engine failures. It is simple funda…people dont maintain their vehicles in India!!! Hence all the drama. Japanese engines are over engineered and they can sustain heavy damage but in the end? for how long?

          A oil change under 3,000 kms is what a motorcycle truly needs!

    • vijay December 29, 2013, 1:05 pm

      hey you a misconception…dont know about other states but atleast in maharashtra pulsar 180′s are sold in much more numbers than rtr 180 ….and their sales are comparable to fzs too…

      • Mohit Soni December 29, 2013, 10:49 pm

        Vijay is right here. TVS lacks presence in Maharashtra which is only problem. Or else RTR 180 over Pulsar 180 anyday!

      • kp December 30, 2013, 9:49 am

        dont waste your time on my comment and ask motorbeam team or any automobile site thts all..

  • suyash December 28, 2013, 7:21 pm

    Mohit bro.. Dnt knw abt technology that bajaj fits in but frm my experience 3 years ago i had put money on undrstated 135ls.. With its 4valve engine n light weight i smoked p150 fz fazer owners n even a enfield tbts 350 on xpressway.. And u know what i got at 12000kms my bike’s engine blown up.. Started emitting black smoke n when i checked that whole piston block got damaged with rings timing chain clutch plates n ol..:( paid 5000 to repair it aftr 2000 kms again same story.. Also funny thing happened the bikes frame screws below the engine started to drop aftr loosing.. That day i decided not to buy any indian manufacturer bike ever.( aftr that i even don’t trust KTM) at last bought a cbr. Even aftr some rusting issues i am very happy that at least i doesn’t face engine n frame nuts loosening issues ( that’s just a HUGE thing that if i didn’t checked that the engine of the bike wud fall on the road) :D uff..

    • Someassar December 28, 2013, 10:38 pm

      My bike has done 25000kms and it still runs as brisk as ever. I guess it is all down to strict maintenance schedule and pulsar family seriously needs this kind of maintenance to put it at top notch condition.

    • Mohit Soni December 29, 2013, 10:51 pm

      I had a Pulsar 135 too. Agreed with performance figures and everything but my engine was rock solid at 35,000 kms when i sold it for a huge sum because the engine was spot on. I agree it had oil leak issues but then again once changed the gaskets (only once) for the rest of time i did not happen ever again! Its soley how you maintain your vehicle!

  • crazywheels December 28, 2013, 7:50 pm

    I am glad about an Indian company achieving those heights, but i dont consider the Bajaj engines to compete with the refinement and reliability of the Japs . But Bajaj is continuously updating their bikes with more futuristic design language eventhough they have many similarities with the Motorcycle giants. The problem with Bajaj is that they will not stabilize their product in the market for more than 6 months; they will launch new updated ones with new technology labels out-marketing the old ones. But in India they can strongly challenge the Japs and Europeans with all manners.

  • Chet December 28, 2013, 10:23 pm

    NO……engine is OK but not the best, gear box, is one the worst we could say.

    • Mohit Soni December 29, 2013, 10:57 pm

      Its about the thrill here refinement levels need to increase, no doubt about that! Gearbox.. we can vouch that gearbox on Bajaj motorcycles have gotten a lot better over yesteryears! Its people who “soften” their clutch face shifting issues and a premature blown clutch

      • kp December 30, 2013, 9:57 am

        we read so may comments against honda/hero not providing basic engine kill switch on the bikes like cbr150 r or trigger which cost above 80k same goes with bajaj and tvs for not improving quality of gearbox and smoother clutch on above 80k models…compare 200 ns gear box and clutch with fz or trigger one can get the answer

  • Ben January 2, 2014, 9:29 pm

    Even I was once a frustrated owner of a discover 135dtsi and pulsar 150. Its not that Bajaj cannot make good quality bikes. The good old chetak was a gem. But now they make only use and throw bikes which are the most unreliable in India.


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