Performance: Whipping up a storm, effortlessly!
I have suffered the disappointment of many an Indian bike
flattering only to deceive. While I myself ride many big
capacity machines, the nature of my job sees to it that
whenever I have to test new Indian motorcycles, I have to
consciously stay away from my big bikes for about a week
and then jump on to the 100cc or 150cc tiddlers. Unfortunately
I didn't adhere to this operating credo for the Pulsar because
the last two months had seen me out of India for long, the
rains had prevented me from wheeling out my Honda VTR1000
and I was fed up of being cocooned in cars, great cars and
even more cars. So when the first week of November beckoned
with clear blue skies, I was revelling in the VTR1000 and
enjoying every bit of it. When Bajaj Auto called on the
10th of November and informed that I could come and meet
the Pulsar team I rode to the Akurdi plant and back on the
VTR. When we got the Pulsars the next day, I was told to
first hop onto the 150 so as not to get too disappointed
with its Performance vis-a-vis
the larger 180, and here I was thinking about the VTR and
such! I did as suggested but in regular Pune traffic there
was nothing to worry me on any count. But this had more
to do with the riding position and the buzz free nature
of the bike.
only thing which I detested on the 150 was its five-speed
gearbox with its all-down shift pattern. There is some logic
to this detail because the 150 is slotted in a price band
where the daily commuter long brought up on various Hero
Hondas and the like can take to it without being unsettled.
But there is no getting away from the fact that the Pulsar
150 outperforms any and every Hero Honda, the CBZ included.
And I don't mean it in just sheer straightline Performance but that is what we will elaborate on here. The Pulsar 150
blasts to a top whack of 108kmph, does the zero to 60kmph
sprint in 6.5 seconds and can run the quarter mile in 21.2
seconds placing it in a class where very few bikes reside
in. The power delivery is most pleasing and credit this
to the lazy torque spilling over in large measure. The throttle
response is pleasant and many coming over from Hero Hondas,
Boxers and Calibers or for that matter any other lesser
bikes will positively revel in the power and driveability.
If the Pulsar 150 sets the tone and the tenor to enjoy,
then prepare to be blown away, at least in the present realm
of Indian motorcycling. Nothing prepares you for the Performance the 180 can deliver and in such a strong and linear manner.
Our resident road test expert Aspi Bhathena did the Performance tests on the 150 first and was already happy with the way
Once our data acquisition gear was bolted on to the red
180, we were all expecting higher figures for sure. But
when the Correvit began spewing print out after print out
with quicker and quicker acceleration runs, higher and higher
top speeds and the strongest roll-ons in the top cogs of
any Indian bike to date, the smiles were writ large on all
our faces. As is the norm we first start out on our acceleration
runs. Depending on the bike and its perceived Performance capability, we programme the acceleration run to record
from zero to 60kmph or from zero to 80kmph. It is only when
we have a large capacity machine on our hands - few and
very far - do we programme for a zero to 100kmph acceleration
run. The Pulsar 180 demanded this and so it proved us correct.
Aspi had to get his act reworked because the Pulsar 180
has the one-down, four up gear shift pattern, something
which everyone of us is most familiar with. But because
he had spent an hour Performance testing the Pulsar 150 meant he had to snap out of the all-five
down shift pattern. One needn't have worried on this count.
Within three runs he had begun setting hot times and on
the fifth run the Pulsar 180 set a zero to 60kmph time of
5.2 seconds, the fastest accelerating time of any Indian
built motorcycle we have tested to date. The zero to 80kmph
time was achieved in 10.5 seconds and the zero to 100kmph
barrier was bested in 20.7 seconds. With every passing run
Aspi was really hammering away trying to chip the times
lower and lower and the bike was a willing ally, coming
on strong without petering away in any way.
quarter mile run was next up and the Pulsar flashed away
to a stunning 20.1 second time run, its terminal speed at
the 400-metre mark being a fantastic 97.2kmph. And then
on to the big one - the one which really has everyone bragging
during bench races; the top speed. The Bajaj engineers had
told us that their riders had achieved a 110kmph top speed
with the 180 but Aspi had already got close to that on the
150 itself. So we were expecting a big leap and on the third
run Aspi had clocked a 113.9kmph top speed which wrote the
Pulsar into the record books as the fastest Indian production
bike. But what happened on the next three runs was amazing:
Aspi rattled off speeds of 119.3kmph, 119.7kmph and 118.6kmph!
Not only does it make the Pulsar the quickest accelerating
bike available in the country, it also is the fastest bike
in the land! It was mindboggling stuff and if there were
any Bajaj Auto boffins around us then I am sure they would
have done a jig in pure delight. And deservedly so for here
is a stunning creation from a predominant scooter maker
which has aimed for Performance from its motorcycles as the raison d'etre, an USP many have
dreamed about but not delivered. Both Aspi and I were thinking
about trying to best the 120kmph barrier but we had other
tests to do and also run the machines through the rest of
our test schedules so we let go.
But wait for a complete six-bike shootout next month and
maybe we will have a new set of figures for you! I must
also lay the record straight on one very important count.
The bikes we picked up on the 11th November morning from
the Bajaj Auto showroom were spanking new machines with
7 and 9km on their odometers. We ran them for around 110km
before we gave them the stick and they delivered stunningly.
Just think what a fully run-in Pulsar can achieve! This
thought alone should sound warning bells for the competition.