Monday, March 29, 2010
Bajaj Pulsar 135 LS Ownership Review
As we all know that choosing the first bike is never an easy task, therefore it took me a lot to decide which bike to go for. I always wanted to have a bike with power, performance, mileage and looks at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, one cannot have all these above mentioned features in a single bike. Therefore, to aid my decision, the first basis to choose the bike was budget.
Since I had a well defined budget of 50-60k on-road prices, therefore, keeping the range in mind I short-listed Bajaj Discover 135, Honda CBF Stunner, Yamaha Gladiator RS, TVS Flame Dlx and Hero Honda Glamour. Meanwhile, I came to know that Bajaj has recently launched an all new Light and Sport Pulsar having world’s first and only 135cc four valve DTS-I mill. Hence the all new baby Pulsar was also added to my list, making total of six bikes and much more confusions.
The Comparison: As one can easily interpret that all the short-listed bikes have somewhat similar price tags and mileage. Therefore, to relieve my confusion, I made comparison based on the technical specs related to engine, power, torque, power to weight ratio, top speed and performance.
The comparisons helped me a lot to make my decision. As it is evident from these data only Pulsar and Discover have 135 cc engines as compared to others. This means both the bikes have much more power in comparison to others and hence are the only bikes, to produce more than 13PS.
In addition, the torque produced by them is also on a higher end. Since the chosen bikes belong more or less to the executive commuter segment where weight plays an important role in handling of the bikes, therefore, the kerb weight was also compared.
A low weight enables ease of steering while zipping through the busy traffic or taking sharp turns is easy. As it is clear from the table, it is the baby Pulsar which is the lightest among the rest. Next parameter to compare was the power to weight ratio. Here also the baby Pulsar won the battle by delivering a staggering 110.65 PS/ton, leaving others far behind. But the question arises, what is the importance of power to weight ratio of a bike? The answer is simple, a fat man cannot run as fast as a thin man because both of them are producing the same power but the fat man is wasting much power in carrying his body in comparison to the thin man and hence he is slow.
This is true in the case of automobiles also. This can be further understood by comparing the performance specs of Pulsar with others. The top speed of the bike is 110 km/hr, which is much higher as compared to others. Moreover, the pickup of the bike is also higher, be it 0-60 or 0-100 Km/hr sprint, Pulsar is the quickest in achieving both the marks. Unfortunately, bikes like Honda CBF Stunner, TVS Flame Dlx and Hero Honda Glamour don’t even touch the 100 Km/hr mark. One thing that I find worth mentioning is some people use to misunderstand the term ‘Top Speed’. It is not the speed which your vehicle’s speedo is showing rather it is the actual speed of the vehicle. As a rule, actual speed is always low from the speed shown on the speedo. This is due to speedo errors and is universal in all automobiles. The only criterion in which Pulsar lags was the braking, defeated by Discover 135 and Gladiator RS. Nonetheless, Pulsar has a decent braking as compared to rest.
These observations clearly indicate that Pulsar is a sure shot winner among the rest and is having the right blend of power, performance and mileage. Apart from the conclusions based on the above mentioned observations, the bikes were also compared on the basis of my last criterion that is looks. Among the selected bikes, Bajaj Discover 135, Yamaha Gladiator RS, TVS Flame Dlx and Hero Honda Glamour were plane Jane and didn’t appeal me much. Hence these were removed from the list.
Why Pulsar 135 LS was chosen over the CBF Stunner?: I was very much confused between CBF Stunner and Pulsar 135 LS mainly due to two reasons. First, both are priced too close and second, both have very fresh, appealing and sporty looks. So, I decided to go for the test ride of the bikes prior to decision making. Both the bikes have good built quality and the big bike like feel. Power delivery of both the bikes was linear, but it was the Pulsar which had minimal vibrations even at high speeds.
However, the sound of the baby Pulsar’s engine was different from bigger Pulsar but in my opinion was better than that of Stunner. Although gear shifting of both the bikes was smooth, I found Stunner to be better than the Pulsar in terms of gear shifting. Handling of the bikes was good but pulsar had a more comfortable riding position as compared to Stunner, owing to the rear set foot pegs and the new set of handle bars.
Moreover, the ride quality of both the bikes was stiff but I felt that the Pulsar had less stiff ride even on bad roads due to the nitrox shock absorbers. These settings along with the low kerb weight of the bike make riding fun on this smaller Pulsar. Throttle response of the Pulsar was better than that of Stunner, because of the 135 cc four valve engine. In terms of braking also, Pulsar was better than Stunner, may be as a result of the 240 mm front disc brakes and grippy tires.
Again coming back to the looks of the bikes I found Pulsar to have a somewhat mature look as compared to Stunner (Stunner because of more graphics and big fairings, looks much younger), and hence in my opinion the overall looks of Stunner was better than the Pulsar. However, the all new Pulsar looked much fresh and sportier than the Stunner, thanks to the all new headlamp, fuel tank and the superbike type rear. Moreover, goodies like clip on handle bars, split grab rails, digital clocks, back-lit switches and LED tail lamps were the added advantages of Pulsar, which were absent in the Stunner. Hence after taking test rides of both the bikes and this much of analysis I was sure that it was the Pulsar 135 LS to go for.
Is baby Pulsar better than 150’s in terms of Performance?: During the analysis and test rides, I read some reviews about Pulsar 135LS, which stated that due to its four valve engine and low kerb weight, this bike has got the performance specs that can challenge many 150 cc bikes. Therefore, in order to ensure this claim, I decided to go for another comparison before booking the bike. I choose some popular and reputed 150cc e.g. Yamaha FZ 16, Hero Honda CBZ Xtreme, Hero Honda Hunk, Suzuki GS150R, Bajaj Pulsar 150 and Honda Unicorn. For the comparison, parameters were the same as the previous one. When I was done, I was amazed that this bike really had specs comparable to or higher than many 150 cc!!
The little Pulsar delivers the highest power to weight ratio, much higher than any 150s, hence manages to be the quickest in 0-60 Km/hr sprint, shaming all the 150’s in comparison. When the top speeds were compared, it was only the bigger Pulsar which took away the show from the little one by a mere difference of 1 Km/hr. Moreover, in 0-100 Km/hr sprints, Pulsar 135 LS was defeated only by Suzuki GS150R and that too by a very little margin of 0.1 sec. However, Pulsar 135 LS is still better than many 150s in terms of top speed and 0-100 Km/hr sprint. As observed earlier, the baby Pulsar was defeated by fair margins in terms of braking.
Nonetheless, the bike proved itself in many aspects and its class demolishing performances were just like icing on the cake. The Pulsar 135 LS was a complete package for me, delivering segment smashing power, performance, mileage and looks, with a decent price tag. Therefore, I booked this technical beauty and that too in the vibrant and sporty passion red color.
Arrival of the Beautiful Beast: At the time of booking I was told that if I book the black Pulsar it will take around 10 days to come whereas the red Pulsar will take 20 days. I went for the Red because in my opinion the two-tone color looks much better than the black one. Moreover, the Red color of P 135 suits much to its light and sports theme. Therefore, after waiting for almost 20 days I got the call from the dealer that my bike has arrived and I have to come for the payment of balance amount and to do rest of the formalities.
I went there and made the payment and formalities, and the bike was delivered to me in around an hour. The Red beauty was looking just magnificent and this was the only one which I have seen, because at the time of booking or test ride there were no Red P135 on the display. I was very happy to have P135 as my first bike and that too on my own (I bought the bike from my fellowship, which I get regularly from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Govt. of India.). I had just got a bike which is fast, fun, eye-catching & fuel efficient, all this for Rs. 55K only. Even after one month I used to see people staring at my bike like anything.
Performance: I have already dealt this aspect of the bike and only like to say that it is ‘out and out’ a Pulsar. Its overall performance is no doubt, more than its capacity. The initial pickup is very good, with/without a pillion and the acceleration is seamless and without hiccups. The bike attains 50 Kmph effortlessly.
Moreover, it tempts to go beyond that. Since my bike is in ‘running in period’ therefore, I use to ride in speed limits. But as the bike feels very spirited, it is very difficult to do so. Once I’ve taken my bike to 80 Kmph, it reached this speed very quickly and that too at 7K rpm. I could feel much of the power still left unused in the engine. Furthermore, the bike gathers speed even at low revs and the 5th gear can be used from 25 or 31Kmph with solo or pillion rider, respectively, without engine knocking. This is a boon while commuting in the city.
Handling: I feel after performance, handling is the strongest point of this bike. As I mentioned earlier, it handles extremely well in any condition. I have checked its handling in city traffic, in busy market streets where anything is possible and in crowded and congested gullies, in all of these situations the bike handles effortlessly making riding fun even in such situations. Moreover, the bike is very balanced as I rode it at speeds as low as 5 Kmph without placing my feet on the ground.
Furthermore, the bike is quite stable at high speeds as well. At 80 Kmph I was feeling that I’m still riding at 50 Kmph. Because of the good suspension, the bike doesn’t give much jerks to the rider, be the Kuccha roads or on potholes of the roads. The brakes provided are really good but in my opinion could have been better. The front disc brake is very good but I was a little bit disappointed by the rear brake as the braking was not uniform as compared to the front one. While the first servicing I told the service person about the brake and he fixed it. Now the rear brake also performs well. Moreover, in any case, I haven’t felt even a half inch skid of the bike in case of emergency braking.
Mileage: The mileage which I got under normal city riding condition is 58-63 Kmpl. Anyone can really be amazed with this figure of fuel efficiency in city ride conditions delivered by the bike which is not less on the performance. I haven’t checked the mileage on highways as the bike is new. As soon as it does 1000 km, I will take it for a ride and this time a longer one.
* Good value for money.
* Class demolishing performance.
* Extremely good handling.
* Offers a very good mileage.
* Comes with goodies which are not found in the segment like clip on handle bars, split seats & grab rails, digital clock, back-lit switches and LED tail lamps.
* Built quality is top notch.
* Fresh and distinct looks.
* All new and super-bike style rear.
* Engine is much refined and produces less noise as compared to bigger pulsars.
* Gear shifting is very smooth, and shifting from first gear to neutral at standing is not a big deal, which in case of bigger pulsar or other Bajaj bikes, is a big fuss.
* Very good set of rear view mirrors.
* Has got a kick lever too.
* Auto-choke has no starting problems in winter or morning.
* The shape of the exhaust and the welding impressions on the pipe is not good.
* Shape of the turn indicators which have been taken directly from XCD.
* Rear tire hugger.
* Fuel tank having capacity of only 8 ltrs.
* Available in only two shades (Red & Black).
* Tires are tube type.
* Engine color.
* Foot pegs (could be a little more rear set to give more sporty riding position).
* Full covered chain (half covered chain looks much sportier).
That’s all for now, I’ll write more about the bike in the future, after it goes more than 5000 Km or so. Till then, wish you all, a happy reading and safe riding.