Bajaj has stripped down the 220 DTS-I, bringing down the sticker price and in the process presenting a terrific VFM performance proposition for the enthusiasts. The ‘new’ naked Pulsar 220 makes it clear as to why the production of the Pulsar 200 was stopped a few months back.
The bikini faired naked 220 inherits the mechanical and chassis genes from its elder brother, the Pulsar 220 F. For Bajaj it made immense sense to launch this motorcycle. The new 220 fills in the void created by the 200 in its product portfolio in a profitable way. The manufacturer now boasts of two same models catering to two different segments, albeit with only minor differences.
In terms of styling all design cues have been directly adopted from the Pulsar 200. With a reasonably big displacement motor surrounded by muscularly shaped body panels, this motorcycle surely will appeal to young hearts. The naked 220 will find many takers among motorcyclists who believe in ‘bigger the cubic capacity, the better it is’.
With respect to ergonomics, the naked 220 suffers from the same gripes as its original iteration as it’s a ‘carried-over’ design. The front seat is not adequately padded and the fuel tank does sometimes harass your family jewels when you press the lever on the right handlebar abruptly. The hard seats require one to take continual bum breaks on even moderately long rides. The rear seat comfort doesn’t fare any better. If you are a ladies man or a committed guy who goes out on rides with your girl, then it’s better to look elsewhere.
The 220cc mill is the soul of this motorcycle. In fact, a Pulsar 220 is a recommended buy solely because of its straight-line performance. Most owners buy one mainly because it can out accelerate an R15 in a straight line. It is around three kilos lighter than the 220 F, which makes it slightly quicker than its more expensive sibling. During our acceleration runs, the motorcycle took less than 5 seconds to reach 60kmph from standstill.
Be easy on the throttle when riding over a non-tarmac surface or wet road if the naked 220 that you are on, is equipped with the Eurogrip tyres. They aren’t really good enough for the kind of performance the motorcycle offers. The faired Pulsar 220 rides on softer compound MRF Nylogrip tyres which stick to the road surfaces really well. Owing to the workers strike at the MRF plant production of tyres had completely stopped. As a result, Bajaj had to resort to an ad hoc measure to ensure the 220s rode on rubber.
The nocturnal capability of the naked 220 is not in the league of the 220 F. Nonetheless, the illumination provided by the lamp is at par with the rest of the bikes. At an on-road price (Pune) of Rs.73,000 the new 220 is roughly six grand less than the 220 F. That definitely makes the 220S the most potent performance tool in the country at a bargain. So for those who are looking for a fast machine with limited budget, there is no looking beyond the 220S.