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The most debated question in recent times is, which bike is better? Pulsar 200 NS or Pulsar 220? I have ridden both the bikes and I can say it without a second thought, that the Pulsar 200 NS is leaps and bounds better than the Pulsar 220. The only thing better in the Pulsar 220 is the headlight, which offers much better visibility. The Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS is faster, smoother, more refined with a better gearshift, way better handling and insanely better brakes. Even if you don’t ride either of these bikes, just looking at the hardware of the Pulsar 200 NS on paper, you can say the Pulsar 200 NS will be a better bike. Still many come up with questions, which one to buy? 200 or 220?
Now this whole confusion in the minds of prospective buyers has been created by Bajaj Auto themselves. Prospective buyers sadly don’t look at how good a bike is based on its handling, brakes or quality, but instead they choose to reply solely on the top speed to come to a decision. Firstly, the Pulsar 200 NS has a higher top speed than the Pulsar 220. Bajaj claims a top speed of 136 km/h on the 200 NS, while the 220 has a claimed top speed of 144 km/h. Truth to be told, the Pulsar 220 has a top speed of 133 km/h, while the rest is thanks to the speedo error. The 200 NS has speedo error too and will hit 149 km/h.
The KTM Duke 200 has a top speed of 138 km/h. So this leaves us in a cloud of utter confusion. The Duke 200 has 1.5 BHP of more power, 0.7 Nm of more torque, fuel injection and 10 kgs lesser weight and the Pulsar 200 NS is faster? Thus the 200 NS has a big speedo error or probably the bike does do a true top speed of around 140 km/h (aided by the triple sparks). If it indeed does 140 km/h, why does Bajaj Auto claim the top speed to be 136 km/h? Simply because the company wants to sell the Duke 200 too and doesn’t want Duke owners to feel they pay more for a slower bike. Also Bajaj might want people to believe that the 220 is still the fastest Pulsar and thus the top speed seekers will opt for the 220 (no wonder the 220 hasn’t been discontinued).
Why do I believe that the KTM Duke 200 shows a true speed of 138 km/h, when the Pulsar shows a speedo error? Both bikes are manufactured by Bajaj Auto in Chakan. The Duke is a more expensive bike. It is sold as the Duke 125 in Europe and quality levels are more strict there. So obviously KTM can’t afford to sell a Duke 125 which has a optimistic speedometer (the Duke 125 has to be restricted in top speed as it is a beginners bike). The Duke 125 and Duke 200 share all their parts except the engine and thus the Duke 200 has a more accurate speedometer.
Realistically speaking, the Duke 200 is the fastest of the three, with a top speed of around 138 km/h. The Pulsar 200 NS should have a true top speed of around 136 km/h, while the Pulsar 220’s true top speed is 133 km/h. These top speeds don’t matter at all and shouldn’t be a criteria in your buying decision. Its not how fast you go, its how fast you reach there and that is where acceleration matters and the Duke 200 is the fastest to 100 km/h, followed by the 200 NS and the 220. If top speed is your sole criteria, close your eyes and get the Honda CBR250R or the Kawasaki Ninja 250R.
We get a lot of questions of which bike to buy between the Pulsar 200 NS, Pulsar 220, Yamaha R15, KTM Duke 200, etc. So I am going to sum it up below (personal opinion) –
220 or 200 NS – Any day Pulsar 200 NS, no second thoughts.
Duke 200 or 200 NS – If budget permits, get the Duke 200, else the Pulsar 200 NS will give you almost similar kicks at Rs. 32,000/- less.
Yamaha R15 or 200 NS – If budget permits, get the R15. The R15 has fuel injection, full fairing, better headlights, proven engine, sharper handling, better high speed stability and stunning looks which kind of justifies the additional Rs. 20,000/-. However the 200 NS is faster at a cheaper price, offering the buyer bang for their buck.