Bajaj Avenger 150 Review
Bike Tested: 2016 Bajaj Avenger Street 150; Road Test No. 629
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 86,110/-
The Avenger Street 150 is the cheapest cruiser in the country with adequate city performance
When one talks 150cc motorcycles, there is such a variety of body styles that are available, right from mass market commuters to premium commuters and even tourers like the Yamaha Fazer and Pulsar AS 150. In a move which comes as quite a surprise, Bajaj Auto has just launched a 150cc Avenger. Offered in a single Street trim, the Avenger 150 is targeted solely at city users but shares almost everything with the bigger Avenger Street 220. But does it make sense for a cruiser to come with a puny sized engine?
Motor Quest: Bajaj Auto first launched the Avenger in 2005 which was powered by a 180cc engine, the Avenger 200 replaced the original model in 2007 while the Avenger 220 was launched in July 2010. The Avenger 150 is the second engine option on the Avenger after the 220 and was launched in October 2015.
Styling – The Street 220 and Street 150 in the Avenger range look the same as they use the same parts but what differentiates them is the colour, the bigger 220 model gets a matte black finish while the Street 150 comes in Midnight Blue shade only, at least for now but there are appealing pin stripes on the tank. There are of course differences underneath, like the engine and thus the lower capacity model is 2 kgs lighter. That said, for a layman, other than the badging, there is nothing to tell this is the smaller of the Avenger Streets.
The Avenger Street 150 looks rich despite being an entry-level cruiser
The Avenger Street 150 gets white hue headlamps, flexible indicators for higher durability, rubber bellows and the all black treatment. In fact, the bike will remind people of the Harley-Davidson Street 750 as this desi-cruiser too gets black finished engine, exhaust and alloy wheels (12-spoke on the front and 9-spokes on the rear). The Bajaj logo isn’t visible unlike earlier while the focus is on the Avenger brand name with the new logo. The cruiser stance and the sporty finishing does make the Avenger stand out although a projector headlight (the current lamp is 55W which offers decent illumination) and black levers would have been a nice touch.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – The instrument cluster is a simple unit but carries the basic information which one would seek. So there is a single-pod meter which carries the speedometer and an illuminated Bajaj logo in it. There is an LCD screen for the odometer and single trip meter while the fuel meter is on the tank. Indicator and tell-tale lights are on the tank, next to the fuel meter. The speedometer gets a chrome surround for that premium feel while the handlebar too gets the Avenger logo on it. Switchgear quality is good but the buttons feel a bit small and the pass light switch is a bit different.
Ergonomics – Being a cruiser, the seating position is comfortable, as expected. One sits upright, the handlebars being in easy reach and the seat height is low enough to easily accommodate even short riders. The footpegs are front-set but not extremely so and get a new design for added comfort. The single-piece seat is contoured and gets an increase in seat height by 15 mm due to the increase in foam thickness, resulting in more comfort than earlier. The pillion doesn’t get a back rest but there is a new grab rail and pillion comfort is good but not great. The mirrors aren’t of much use as they don’t show a clear view of what’s behind.
Performance – Bajaj Auto has plonked the same 150cc, 2-valve engine in the Avenger Street 150, the said motor powers the Pulsar 150. The company has worked on the motor heavily to improve low and mid-range performance and the Street 150 delivers on that count by being quick off the line, power delivery being linear. Just like the P150, peak torque comes up at 6500 RPM but Bajaj claims that close to peak torque is available right from 3500 RPM, up to 6500 RPM. The company also claims that the Avenger 150 has up to 10% higher torque than the Pulsar 150 in low and mid-range of the powerband. To this effect, a 38 teeth rear sprocket has been used for better ride-ability.
The Avenger Street 150 has ample performance for daily city riding
The Avenger Street 150 uses a large air filter (from the 220) for improved breathing and bottom-end performance. Bajaj does improve its engines with every launch and the same can be seen on the Avenger 150 as the mill feels so much better in terms of NVH (thanks to the improved CDI), the refinement levels being quite good but some vibes can be felt on the pegs and the mirrors. Even the way the bike redlines is a bit different from old models as there is smoothness in the top-end and the bouncing off the rev counter has also reduced.
The Avenger Street 150 has a smooth shifting gearbox and the clutch is light too, thus this cruiser is quite city friendly with ample city performance. But post 80 km/hr, progress dulls drastically and the Avenger 150 doesn’t pull with much enthusiasm. With a long stretch of road, one will see a speedo indicated 120 km/hr but true top speed is around 105 km/hr. The bike screams when you give it the beans but in a nice way and the exhaust note sounds very similar to the Pulsar 150. There is no kick start on this Bajaj motorcycle and a maintenance free VRLA battery has been used. The motorbike also gets a new drive chain which Bajaj claims has up to 20% higher life. Real world mileage is between 42-47 km/l.
Riding Dynamics – The Avenger Street 150 shares the same underpinnings as the bigger 220 models but has a 10 mm shorter wheelbase resulting in improved flick-ability but doing it quickly does tip the bike too much. It also is less wide and shorter in height, making it slightly more compact for city use when compared to the Street 220. The company has made tweaks to the second spring rate in the rear suspension to improve ride quality and also prevent bottoming out over speed-breakers, this works well as the improvement can be felt. The ride quality is good and the Avenger absorbs bumps without any fuss, the tube tyres offering good grip too.
The balance between ride and handling is very good for an entry-level cruiser
The chassis is stiffer and there is good front-end feel from the Avenger Street 150, enabling quick turn-ins by cruiser standards. The rear is a bit soft for comfort reasons but the motorcycle remains composed at speed and doesn’t feel nervy, offering good stability when you hit the ton. The 150cc model being offered in Street trim only, gets a lower set handlebar which Bajaj likes to call ‘Street Control’. Braking performance is good but not excellent and the braking unit comes from Endurance (for cost reasons) and not ByBre as one would expect. The 150cc model gets 20 mm smaller front disc brake over its elder siblings.
Verdict – A 150cc cruiser might sound like a ridiculous idea but there is some method to this madness. The Avenger Street 150 is aimed squarely at urban users and in that regard, it has plenty of performance on offer. But engine aside, this motorcycle borrows everything else from its elder sibling, the Avenger Street 220, making it an enjoyable ride at an attractive price. Sure this Avenger could have done with more power but given the price tag, it makes for an attractive buy for cruiser aspirants.
Bajaj Auto is using its tried and tested Pulsar formula with the Avenger by turning the motorcycle into a brand. The 150cc model might not be a cruiser in the real sense as it lacks highway punch but it does offer the snob value of a cruiser.
* Sporty looking cruiser with good attention to detail
* Ample city performance and frugal engine
* Good handling and ride balance
* Priced attractively and makes for a great alternative to other 150cc bikes
What’s Not So Cool
* More powerful engine would have made this 150cc highway friendly
* Only one single colour on offer, no matte black for the Street 150
* No tubeless tyres on offer
Alternatives: Yamaha Fazer, Suzuki Gixxer SF
Bajaj Avenger Street 150 Specifications
* Engine: 149cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, twin-spark, DTSi
* Power: 14.5 PS @ 9000 RPM
* Torque: 12.5 Nm at 6500 RPM
* Transmission: 5-speed
* 0 – 100 km/hr: 16.07 seconds
* Top Speed: 105 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 45 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Diamond
* Suspension: Telescopic Forks (Front), Twin Shocks (Rear)
* Tyres: 90/90/17 (Front), 130/90/15 (Rear)
* Brakes: 240 mm disc (Front), 130 mm drum (Rear)
Bajaj Avenger Street 150 Dimensions
* Length x Width x Height: 2177 mm x 801 mm x 1070 mm
* Wheelbase: 1480 mm
* Ground Clearance: 169 mm
* Seat Height: 725 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 14-litres
* Kerb weight: 148 kgs
Picture Editing: Sri Manikanta Achanta
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