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2017 Bajaj Pulsar 220F BSIV Review, First Ride

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2017 Bajaj Pulsar 220F continues to get Bajaj huge sales despite the much advanced and powerful NS200 retails from the same showroom

Let’s face it, the Pulsar 220F is now an iconic motorcycle. The motorcycle that took all trophies, awards home, had a subtitle for itself called ‘The Fastest Indian’ once upon a time with a commercial which bought smiles to everyone’s face regardless of their age or hobby they had. The Pulsar Mania then sealed the deal and pumped adrenaline into the youth like never before. The 220 is responsible for a lot of things in the country. It bought affordable sport touring, sport motorcycling, adrenaline rush at every traffic light what now Bajaj calls ’10 seconds of adrenaline’, a motorcycle that reached 100 km/hr under the 15 second mark was a big deal back then in 2007.

Bajaj kept on improving on the idea ever since and today has refined the 2017 to such an extent, you can hear the refinement from it. Does that mean the character has gone? 220F has been updated to BSIV but promises to be same fun on paper as it boasts of IDENTICAL specification. However, what are the changes? We are at the Chakan test track sampling all the Pulsar’s including the 220F to tell you what has changed and what has not.

Design

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When it comes to the design, all the panels are the same. The half fairing, the front headlight pattern, the side and tail-piece panels, the all black scheme in the lower half all are identical as before. Exhaust canister is now wrapped with matte black color. What has changed is color options which includes the usual and iconic black, but now there is a blue and red on offer, but with laser edge graphics which are just streaks that add a bit of adrenaline into the chunky muscular design that the motorcycle has. Overall, fresher, sharper and muscular as before, the Pulsar 220F continues to age really well even after a DECADE!

Speedo and Switches

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The RHS switch is devoid of the headlamp as the headlamp stays on. Apart from that everything remains the same. The switches are backlit and it offers an engine kill switch. The speedo has revised background with new fonts used in the speedo as well as around the tachometer. Carbon fibre faux version has been used in a larger scale in this speedo unit. There are tell-tale LED lights below and warning lights seen in the speedo which includes air filter choked, engine check light, temperature gauge, two trip meters, odometer, fuel gauge and a side stand warning indicator.

Engine and Gearbox

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When it comes the engine and gearbox, there isn’t a single change in numbers. The motor continues to churn 21 PS and 19 Nm of torque from its engine. The 2-valve air/oil-cooled motor is thoroughly smooth and refined now. The motor spins faster, still has the torquey feeling and is now linear, free revving. The motor has good low and mid range torque and has the ‘pick up’ you need. The taller gearing then helps you extract all that top-end power and you see speeds upto 140 km/hr on the speedo quite easily.

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The motor does all of this while it has a superb intake and exhaust note which is exactly how it should have been since day one. We can go far to say that, if and only, enthusiast remember, It sounds far better than the original Fi equipped motorcycle. The soundtrack is far more pleasing, bassy and just right and it continues to retain character of the Pulsar 220 had since day one, which is thrashy at the top-end, but sporty and throaty sound track in the low and mid range. The clutch is light and progressive and gearbox offers smooth shifts. The 220F also runs 5 maps on the CDI instead of two and is now BSIV compliant with the help of changes to exhaust and secondary air system.

Dynamics

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Dynamically, the 220F comes with fat suspension at the front which includes large 37mm front forks, and dual sided rear shocks which are gas charged and adjustable. The dual cradle frame continues and it has been stiffened over the year along with the suspension to deliver a good ride quality and provide highway stability at the same time. In the corners, it has improved as the center of gravity has been lowered.

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The turning into corner is quick enough but not that fast, but it remains poised and balanced through long sweepers and even at top-speed the bike stays rock solid, but this time with even more assurance and feedback. Cornering clearance continues to be a sore point as the main stand scrapes when the lean is high. Brakes are good at both ends with good bite and provide ample stopping power. MRF tyres do their job well in reassuring all the aspects mentioned above.

2017 Bajaj Pulsar 220F BSIV Review, Verdict

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Pulsar 220 remains the motorcycle which is a lot of nostalgia, drama and filled with character that is the exact need of a street-fighter. Refined yet raw and somehow, even after 10 years, the motorcycle has the same magic left. The torquey feeling, the initial rush and now a sound track that is perfection makes it a enjoyable motorcycle. The comfort, touring and other aspects continue to be the same as it offers projector lamps, half fairing and well cushioned seats and enough space for your luggage to take you anywhere you want.

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Optional ABS would have been great, but then it robs it of the value for money tag it offers and the ABS is available with the RS200 which also all of these, but in a ‘modern’ way. 220F is now an iconic motorcycle, despite the fact that it isn’t the best motorcycle in the stable of its own. This is a hard fact for some to digest, but a motorcycle that has done everything right for everyone over a decade and clearly deserves a special place. A place which should also include in your ‘list of bikes to look for’ when you go start hunting your entry level performance motorcycle.

Price: 91,346 ex-showroom Delhi

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