Published by Karan Tripathi | March 20, 2015 in Bajaj Auto

Will the Bajaj Pulsar SS/RS 400 and CS 400 be able to outgrow KTM’s tall shadow?

Once the cherry on the performance biking cake in India, will the upcoming Bajaj Pulsar SS/RS 400 and the CS 400 be able to outgrow the KTM's tall shadow?

The Bajaj Pulsar ruled relentlessly over the Indian performance biking scene for quite some time. However, little did the definitely male ruler know that in its own backyard, there was another stormy future King practicing his warfare skills. A new King who was to be more powerful, focused and unabashedly ruthless. It has been a while since KTM has snatched the throne from the Bajaj Pulsar as the King of the entry level performance hill in India. Although the Pulsar still rules in a few tiny pockets, it is the Orange flag that now unfurls over many power lusting hearts.

On an aggressive march again to take those streets back where it once ruled, the Bajaj Pulsar SS/RS 400 and CS 400 are the new sword and shield, the iconic brand has readied for an assault on its own brethren. However, how easy would it be for these bigger Pulsars to outgrow and shine above the KTM’s shadow?

It was rather easy for the 200 NS to intrude into performance hungry nasal openings with its most power for a hundred thousand grand fragrance. Would someone on the lookout for a premium machine really spend about twice the amount for the Pulsar brand though? They might price the near half a liter fully faired motorcycle at a lower price point than that of the RC/Duke 390, but will that be enticing enough for someone to overlook the lure of an international moniker? Look beyond proper entry-level sport bike performance with the added appeal of modern bits and styling?

Agreed that the RC 390 is too focused and a little cumbersome for everyday riding or even long distance motorcycling for that matter. However, with the only draw of a more rider friendly motor and a relatively comfortable seating position that aids relaxed cruising, how many will settle for the larger Pulsar instead of the manic KTMs?

The CS400 on the other hand with its unique styling may win many hearts. But then again, if it doesn’t really turn out to be as much fun on the go like the Duke 390 and is priced almost similarly, how many would prefer a good looking Pulsar instead of street fighter motorcycle that sets your pulses glowing in an orange inferno?

It might or might not turn out to be a similar case like the Suzuki Kizashi and the Vitara, where although both were fairly good products, their popularity took a dent because of Maruti’s image in India as a maker of vehicles for the budget conscious. We aren’t rooting for the KTMs over the Pulsar, however, it will be interesting to see if a brand that was once Bajaj’s missionary in a foreign field, has managed to create a feud within the family. A feud that might witness the masses cheering for their new leader.

Will the old king resurrect his army and take back what is rightfully his, or is the old king dead and the only chant we might hear is, long live the new king? Their upcoming launch, the Pulsar RS200 will be a litmus test on how it manages to catapult the Pulsar brand back towards its lost throne. We’ve got our popcorn ready, bring the daggers, the swords and those shields out. Light the fire, let the games begin! Oh, only if Bajaj manages to find the matches in time. These days, being on time is as good as being late.