Undoubtedly one of the most awaited motorcycle of this year, the Pulsar RS 200 was launched couple of weeks back at a rather interesting ex-showroom price of Rs. 1,18,500/- for the standard version and Rs.1,30,268/- for the ABS version. At this price point it takes on several motorcycles above and below its capacity range. For starters there is the R15 V2, then the CBR 150R, the Duke 200 and surely the RC 200. A comparison between all of these with the new Pulsar RS 200 would be rather complicated. So in this first ride report lets not even go there and totaly concentrate on what the Pulsar RS 200 is capable of. Mustansir and me got to ride the Pulsar RS 200 on Bajaj’s Chakan test track, a track that has been extensively used to develop this very motorcycle. Conditions were hot and track temperatures probably at the best it could be for this test.
This was not the first time we were seeing the Pulsar RS 200. We saw the bigger 400 SS at the Auto Expo last year and then again couple of weeks ago at the launch. In the photographs that you see floating around on the internet, you tend to get the feeling that the motorcycle is quite big and visually complicated but in the flesh the Pulsar RS 200 is actually quite a compact machine. This compactness immediately brought up a question in our heads, the last time we were here it was for the RC and both Mustansir and me are 6 feet tall, with Mustansir been taller at 6 feet and 2 inches. We found it a bit difficult to crouch down fully because we could not move back on the seat. But then the Pulsar RS 200 seemed to have plenty of room to move around and we just could not wait to hit the track.
Visually, I do not need to tell you that the Pulsar 200 RS has this ‘transformer-ish’ look and to be specific the Bumblebee transformer, especially in yellow. Having spent a lot of time with the Pulsar 220 and its half fairing that used to nag a lot in terms of the odd vibe. I was really surprised to find that the plastic on the RS 200 very sturdy and did not move around at all. There are a lot of things going on design wise in the front half of the Pulsar RS 200. Lots of lines and curves and with the sticker job on top of that, your eyes keep wandering until you end up focusing on the twin projectors up front. These are powered by halogens and look to be very promising. The handle bars are quite high, I would say almost similar height to that of the NS and that is quite the good thing, why? I will tell you in a bit. The seat as we told earlier is quite roomy and comfortable and so is the pillion seat. The pillion has a rather uniquely designed grabs that are nicely integrated into the tail section. The tail section is not as high as say the R15, just a couple of inches higher than the rider seat. I personally would have loved it if the tail light was integrated into this tail section rather than external lights.
Okay off we go, time to ride.
Hop on and press that starter and you are now reminded of the NS. Now something that I really wanted to see was how the fuel injection had affected the Pulsar RS 200. Surprisingly though, the change was not that apparent immediately, someone riding the NS and the RS back to back just around the street would probably never know. It was only after couple of laps that I could really see the difference. The fuel injection has made the Pulsar RS 200 quite rev happy. You hit the limiter in almost no time. Change gear, whack the throttle and bam! you are at the limiter. On the first lap it almost caught me by surprise and also the limiter as such kicks in rather smoothly and it took me a second to realise. From then on I really had to time my shifts and keep a constant eye on the RPM meter. Lap after lap, the Pulsar RS 200 delivered oodles of fun and I discovered something really interesting. The third gear on the Pulsar RS 200 is probably the most fun. Keep the revs high in the first two and slot in third and the bike just darts forward, almost jumps. Really enjoyed that sudden burst. It was only about after seven hot laps that the radiator fan kicked in, audible but not the high pitched whine as that on the RC. Top speed we achieved on the straight was 146, although other journos reported seeing up to 152 kmph on the speedo.
The Pulsar RS 200 is agile and easy to change direction on. The pegs are placed rather high as well, so you would not be scraping it that easily. Also like we said, being a hot day the stock MRF’s were doing their duty really well and were super sticky. The riding ergonomics with the high handlebars really are best of both worlds. On the track it was comfortable enough to push hard. But then a lot of Pulsar RS 200’s will never see the track, almost all of them will surely become the choice for commute and some of them will go touring. And that’s where the Pulsar RS 200’s comfortable handlebars will be a win over at least one of its competitors.
Now coming to the ABS. The Pulsar RS 200 has a single channel ABS system. There was a lot of confusion around the various forums as both the wheels have the ABS ring. Let us clarify, the ABS on the RS 200 is only for the front wheel. The ring that you see on the rear wheel is just to identify the speed of the rear wheel and use that data along with the data coming in from the speed sensor at the front wheel to match the speeds while applying the ABS. Now some ABS is better than no ABS but with a dual channel system already in Bajaj’s kitty it would have been good to go all the way. The brakes otherwise are pretty much the same as that on the NS, which means that they are quite sharp. The front brake lines are steel braided though. And oh yes, the disc on the Pulsar RS 200 is of 300 mm in diameter, up 20 mm from that of the NS basically to accommodate the bigger calliper.
From an enthusiast’s point of view, The Pulsar RS 200 looks to be a good motorcycle, a good touring companion that can do the daily grind well. Now to give a report on how the bike performs in real world conditions with mileage, real world performance and other specifics like how well do the twin projectors work just after this short stint on the track would be rather difficult. We are working on getting the bike for a detailed review where we will go in depth as to what living with the Pulsar RS 200 will be all about. Till then here are some high resolution HD wallpaper photographs of the Pulsar RS 200 along with images of some key parts. High resolution link right below each photo once you open the gallery.