The Bajaj Pulsar CS400 was without any doubt the most talked about motorcycle at the 2014 Auto Expo. This was purely because no one expected Bajaj Auto to bring a power cruiser to the biennial event. Auto Expos are usually cold affairs for Bajaj but this time around, the company took the motor show too seriously. Now we all have seen the Pulsar CS400 and we all have shared our views, some like it, some don’t, others find it a copy of the Ducati Diavel which it no doubt is. But let’s look past the cosmetics to see what the Pulsar CS400 has to offer.
On the styling front, a lot has been said already and we feel the motorcycle being in concept stage will lose some elements when it goes to production, like the 9 lights in the headlight but we expect projectors to be offered. No doubt the CS400 looks attractive (LED indicators et all) and those alloy wheels are surely something. The display bike had Metzeler tyres and upside forks, the production model will have neither for cost reasons of course. Telescopic forks are more reliable and are not prone to leaking unlike inverted forks and the CS400 being a cruiser needs to go the distance.
Observe closely and you will notice the wheelbase of the Pulsar CS400 is much longer than the Pulsar SS400 although both models share the same underpinnings and engine. A longer wheelbase helps in better stability and we expect the bike to be heavier than the SS400 even though the CS400 is a naked motorcycle sans a fairing. The tank is large and should be able to hold at least 15-litres of petrol, resulting in a long touring range. The all digital instrument cluster is a first for the Pulsar (has a redline of 13,000 RPM but the bike won’t go above 10,000 RPM) and so is the second display on the tank, which is very much a mandate for a power cruiser.
Coming to the heart of the matter, the CS400 and SS400 share the same engine but both will get different tuning, as evident by the different exhaust systems in them. The Pulsar CS400 being a cruiser will have a stronger mid-range with top-end power not being of prime importance. Many of the engine parts on the CS400 will be shared with the KTM Duke 390 and we expect the 375cc mill in the Pulsar to output a shade under 40 BHP of power while torque output being around 32 Nm. This is because the Pulsar’s engine won’t have similar hardware to the Duke 390 like Nikasil coating and forged piston, naturally for saving costs.
What we still don’t understand is why does Bajaj Auto use three spark plugs while KTM uses a single spark plug? With triple sparks, Bajaj Auto is able to extract better mileage and we expect the CS400 to return 35 km/l, making it cheap to run for a bike which can cruise comfortably at 130 km/hr. The gearbox is a 6-speed unit which should offer smooth shifts but not close to what the Japanese offer. For good stopping power, the CS400 gets petal discs and ABS as standard. The seat is very wide and looks comfortable while the wide and straight handlebar should give rider’s very good ergonomics to remain for long durations on the saddle.
The Pulsar CS400 is no doubt the best looking Pulsar ever but will it have takers in the market? We expect Bajaj to price the Pulsar CS400 at Rs. 2 lakhs, which might be more expensive than the SS400. The key question being, will Royal Enfield buyers switch to the Pulsar CS400 considering Bajaj bikes are more reliable than that of Royal Enfield? Or will Bullet riders still find old world charm in riding a heavy and slow bike which has a sound to please?