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I had been riding the Karizma for over 4 years now, together with the Suzuki SV650S that I had in the US for around a year – one hell of a beautiful machine that one was!
Why I asked myself, when I always felt that for the enthusiast the Karizma really lacked power on the highways. Yet there was no real alternative for so long. Yes, there was the Yamaha R15 which was considerably advanced and there was the Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi, but I did not feel they held a considerable advantage for me to upgrade from the Karizma, also taking into account the price.
And then Bajaj launched the Pulsar 220 DTSi which they proclaimed to be the ‘Fastest Indian’. At an on-road price of around Rs 80,000, it seemed pretty inviting. For a few thousand more, I could now get a liquid cooled engine, rear disc brake, split seats, clip-on handle bars, split grab rails, a tank pad, large tubeless tyres, great pick up and top speed quite a list!
So this time around, was it worth the upgrade?
The Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTSi now comes in an all black look in both the engine and transmission department. Even the clip-on handle bars come in Black.
The Ducati inspired headlights look awesome and the light is even better. It illuminates the roads like no other bike on the Indian roads. The widely spread 55W projector beam lights up the area like it’s daytime, nearly blinding those coming in front of it!
The letterings on the tank are raised and are now in metal, and you also get an ‘F’ on the front faring to distinguish it from the earlier Fuel Injected version. The rear mirror assembly that is housed on the faring and carried over from the earlier 220 though is rather puny and does not provide adequate rear view vision.
I took the 220 DTSi for a test-ride. Let’s see how it performed.
Release the clutch and crack open the throttle and the bike lurks forward with a fury. 0-60 comes up in less than 4 seconds and the three figure mark is reached in just about 11 seconds, beating even the Yamaha R15 by a long shot and also quicker than the fuel injected version.
The 220 DTSi’s top speed is over 135kmph (145kmph speedo read) which makes it the fastest production bike in India, apart from the recently launched Ninja 250.
The bike’s speed builds linearly and it achieves the 120kmph with relative ease and then to its top speed without much of a fuss. And yet with this kind of performance, lower speeds are also pretty comfortable with one not needing to shift too often in traffic, unless you wish to overtake the vehicle in front, for which all you need to do is shift down once and she’ll blast forward. Engine Knocking is virtually non existent due to Bajaj’s patented Exhaus-Tec technology.
The main reason for the bike’s outstanding performance, which beats even the earlier Fi version, is the Ucal UCD 32 venturi carburetor. This carb is the largest carburetor available on any bike in India.
Unlike the older Pulsars, the gearbox is extremely refined. The cogs shift precisely with the slightest of taps and there is no evidence of any false neutrals coming into play. Neutral is engaged quite easily from first or second gear with a slight dab at the gear lever.
Vibrations in the handlebars and footpegs are quite low even at top speed and the riding position is quite comfortable. The bike runs surprisingly smooth around the 4000 rpm but build up the revs and it growls and sounds quite neat.
The Pulsar 220 DTSi returns an overall average of over 40kmpl, which considering the performance it is capable of, is quite impressive.
Even with the ample amount of power at hand, the Pulsar 220 DTSi handles like a dream. Thanks to the latest soft compound tyre from MRF, the Pulsar feels glued to the road. Be it accelerating in a straight line or hard cornering, the bike never seems to veer offline.
It gives you the confidence to push harder and harder.
On the Pune-Lavasa road I was doing over 70kmph on tight corners and not once did the bike feel like it was losing its footing. However, the rear stand does tend to get in the way.
Finally, there is the front and rear disc set-up which brings this beast to halt in no time. The retardation is quite amazing. You can brake late and hard and be sure that the bike will hold its line and slow down in time to make the corner easily.
I tried quite hard but was still not able to lock the rear wheels.
The new Pulsar 220 DTSi delivers 21 PS @ 8500 RPM with max torque at 19.1 NM @ 7000 RPM.
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