I really hate this weather because it makes riding a bit of an undignified affair. There’s nothing as horrible as arriving at a client’s office with a wet crotch. Nobody takes you seriously as you stand there, trying to greet people and later in the boardroom, the women will be sneering as you make your presentation. So if you are huddled at your desk right now with wet trousers, let me give you a story to warm your loins and perhaps speed up your trousers drying up.
The story today is that of an Indian made motorcycle called the Bajaj Pulsar 200NS. NS for Naked Sport. I have been riding one for a couple of weeks now and I’ll let you into some of the things I’ve discovered.
It is a good looking bike. I mean, really good. A few bigger cc riders have stopped me to walk around it while making interesting noises. An old man raised a thumbs up and almost everyone I pass turns around for a second look. Yes, I too know how to check for approval on the mirrors.
But I know none of this matters to you until I tell you that yes, I have made several new friends in the neighbourhood. They say they like the bike very much and it would absolutely make their day if I were to take a ride with them. I will not say who these friends are for fear of Mrs. Queen, but just know that it’s their dress their choice.
The 200NS has a one of a kind single cylinder, triple spark plug, water-cooled, 200cc engine. And this is amazing in several ways but there’s something you need to know at this point. Bajaj went into a joint manufacturing venture with Austria’s KTM and so in the same factory in Chennai, India, the KTM Duke 200 is produced side by side with the Bajaj Pulsar 200NS.
The two bikes share the same engine short block and that is a testament to the quality of the 200NS engine. If you have no idea what a short block is then check out the diagram down here. Basically, it is the heart of the engine.
Bajaj enhanced the short block by fitting a head that carries three spark plugs in a single cylinder. This means that the fuel is ignited at various stages depending on how you are riding giving maximum power and amazing fuel efficiency.
It is a very clever engine that gives really good power. Perfect for city riding and the occasional long distance trip.
Gearbox and Speed
A six speed gearbox for a bike this small is something of a novelty. I owned the Pulsar 180 for several years and if there’s one thing I was always desperate for then it was a sixth gear for long distance cruising.
As a general rule, I always subtract 20kph from the quoted top speed of most Indian bikes in order to get the true top speed. But not this one because it gets beyond 120kph with amazing ease. I didn’t break out the timer but it certainly gets there in under a minute. I still had a few thousand rpm to go so it is an educated guess that it truly gets to 136kph.
Tyres, Brakes, Wheelbase and Ergonomics
This to me has got to be the best part. I love the width of the tyres; they make cornering a joy. I love the brakes even more, the rear disc brake especially. It still surprises me how fast they bring the bike to stop. If you have been riding a bike with a front only disc brake (say the not so magnificent Apache RTR160) then you should try this, you’ll feel much safer.
Compared with the Bajaj Pulsar 180, the 200NS has a shorter wheelbase. I didn’t think I would notice the effect of this but it is glaring. It makes controlling the bike a lot easier and with the help of the rear disc brakes, it flicks into corners in ways that can only be described as amazing.
The handlebars are slightly higher and the mirrors are more tucked than most street bikes so riding in between cars in traffic is a lot easier. The split seat gives an enhanced riding position but like all previous Pulsars, the seat is as hard as a church pew.
The Bajaj Pulsar 200NS is the best 200cc motorbike in the world in terms of value for money. For what it costs and what it gives and stacked against its reliability, no other bike can match it. Spare parts are cheap but honestly all that you ever have to do for years is to service it right.
It might be slightly more expensive than other similar cc bikes available in Kenya but it certainly is a much much better and modern bike that will exceed your expectations and make you proud and happy.