Can fresher colours inject some youthfulness into the Pulsar NS200?
The Pulsar NS200 was no less than a revolutionary product from Bajaj at launch, back in 2012. It shone the Pulsar family in a new light with its refinement, affable road manners and performance. Nearly a decade later the NS200 soldiers on as Bajaj’s challenger in the important 200cc segment. Not much has changed over the years except for minor tweaks and the manufacturer has just given it a fresh lease of life in the form of paint schemes.
Red and white always make for a racy stance – look at the older Honda CBRs or Yamaha’s iconic red and white racing livery. The combination works well on the Pulsar as well. The new colours help the NS200 look fresh and more youthful. The liberal use of white on the frame and wheels besides the satin finish for the red also found favour with the young folks. The styling is getting long in the tooth though and the NS200 looks like it went to the beauty salon but missed out on gym sessions.
Lack of features in today’s day and age is baffling too. The NS200 still does not get an LED headlight or fully digital instrument cluster. The semi-digital instrument console looks dated, especially in comparison to the competition. The NS200 finally gets fuel injection in BS6-compliant guise, something the Pulsar RS200 always had. The 199.5cc liquid-cooled motor offers 24.5PS and 18.5Nm now, 1PS and 0.2Nm more than the BS4 version. The NS200 thus feels slightly quicker, but you have to make the motor work. The bike feels like it could do with stronger bottom-end grunt, but the peaky delivery means wringing the throttle yields good results.
What I like is the engine’s quick-revving nature. Refinement has improved with almost no vibration, except for a slight buzz from the tank at high revs. Bajaj has also retained that bratty exhaust note, which is in sync with the bike’s intended nature as a streetfighter. The frame and underpinnings remain unchanged but that’s not a bad thing, as we have always liked the NS200’s dynamics. The firm suspension aids handling, without upsetting the ride quality. ABS isn’t too intrusive and there’s good bite from the brakes along with a progressive feel.
The NS200 has a strong foundation and the ability to plaster a smile on your face with its performance and handling even today. Take it to the hills and the bike will not disappoint around corners. A lot has changed in the segment though, especially when you look at rivals like the tech-laden TVS Apache RTR 200 4V and the fresher Honda Hornet 2.0. The NS200 feels dated and basic in comparison, especially when it comes to equipment levels. At Rs 1.32 lakh ex-showroom it is also more expensive than the TVS and Honda both, making it a bit of a hard sell. We believe the all-new Pulsars are not too far away though, which should set things right.
Bajaj Pulsar NS200
Engine: 199.5cc, SOHC, Liquid Cooled
Power: 14.5PS @ 9,250rpm
Torque: 12Nm @ 8,000rpm
0-100kmph: 10.2 seconds(claimed)
Price: Rs 1.33 lakh ex-showroom, New Delhi