BikesIndia, has managed to do an early First Ride Review of the latest Adventure Sport Pulsar AS200. However, the bike looks different but essentially it is Pulsar 200NS targeted to different audience which are more inclined towards touring and adventure riding. Although, Bajaj is projecting the latest Adventure Sport duos as "Alpha Male" adventure bikes, lets check it out the capability of the real Alpha from the Pack- AS200.
Style & Design: When the naked Pulsar 200NS launched with its contemporary rugged looks, it was either love at first sight or hate, there was a group of riders who particularly did not like the "Hornet" headlight of the naked 200NS but I believe hardly anybody could dislike the high revving 200cc liquid cooled engine. Now with the half fairing mounted on the body of 200NS with Projector headlamp on board even those who were not having affection towards the naked 200NS would love to stare the new AS200.
Apart from the aesthetic value the fairing is featured with important for touring elevated wind screen which will protect the rider from the wind-blast while cruising at high speed. The Projector headlamp is also very useful for night riding as the high voltage projected beam of light is a boon while riding in pitch dark roads. Apart from the front half fairing there is another visible change in the latest AS200 is rear big mudguard, which is also very useful in riding on wet surface and specially in the muddy marsh. There is no rear tyre hugger is provided on the motorcycle but since the base of the bike is same there is mount present on the box swingarm where if you want, you can add the hugger anytime.
Instrument Cluster & Switchgears: The AS200 shares the instrument console and other switchgears from the naked sibling as the Race Sports Pulsar RS200. The meter console is partially digital and partially analog, there is big Tachometer present right in the center of the console with digital fuel gauge. The digital meter has provision for Trip-meter, Odometer, Clock, Speedometer and side stand indicator.
The Switchgears are also direct lift from the NS200 and are of good quality, the engine kill switch is being provided on the right side and it is proved very handy. The blinker switch is not self cancelled one and there is also a pass beam flasher featured on the left side. The hand grips are soft and are shared with the premium RS200.
Ergonomics: The Pulsar AS200 is also featured with high raised clip-on handlebars as of the Pulsar 200NS, split seat and rear set footpegs, there is no change whatsoever in this department also. However, I believe that justifying the "Adventure Sport" tag there should be additional features included into the package.
For example, the seat is split into two, that looks good as well as comfortable for riding on straight and maintained roads but if you take the bike on the rough terrain, as we did, every-time I landed on the bike after jumping on the hump I landed somewhere in between and that hurts, because there is difference of height between the two seats and when you land half on the rear and half on the front seat it hurts badly. Had it been provided with a single seat it would have been better.
The high raised clip-ons are just fine but the rear set footpegs are real pain in *ss, a bike either made for long journeys or for adventure biking should have come up with comfortable forward set footpegs or at least a neutral footpegs position is desirable.
Performance And Gearbox: In this department the AS200 is gem of a bike, the high revving powerful engine is fun to ride in both tarmac and on the rough terrains. The 199.5cc liquid cooled engine is capable to churn out 23.5 Ps of power and it is mated to 6-speed smooth transmission gear. I did not find single false neutral for the entire ride, virtually in both the Worlds. The carburated engine is also borrowed from the NS200 and returns absolutely same performance figure. The growling of the engine, revving at high Rpm is absolutely delight and this rev loving engine has lots of torque available evenly spreaded at all the rev range. However, despite of the liquid cooling the engine tends to heat up a lot and I could literally smell it when halted for a while after revving it at high speed. I could wonder, what would happen with the smaller sibling AS150, which is not even liquid cooled and revs higher than the AS200, that we would be able to tell you when we will bring the Test Ride Review of AS150.
Riding Dynamics: The additional weight of the half fairing aids to the over all balance of the bike, which is now tend to shift a little towards front from the center. However, as I mentioned it earlier also, it would have been better if elements like rear set footpegs and twin split seats are replaced with more adventure sport inclined units.
The suspensions are top notch and when thrown into the troubled areas they performed quite well, the meaty front telescopic forks are capable enough to handle tough situation but if the travel distance of the front suspensions would have been increased a little, that would not only add to the character of the Adventure bike but also proved practical. The AS200 is featured with standard disc brakes at both front and rear wheels and the stopping power of the brakes are great and impressive specially on loose gravel. The bike I rode was featured with MRF Zapper Tubeless tyres and are effective while cornering on the roads as well as on the offroad maneuvering. However, this has come to me as a pleasant surprise as the bike which was unveiled yesterday was featured with "Eurogrip Tubless Tyres" and on asking to the company officials on featuring Eurogrip tyres on AS200 they said it all depends on the availability, as due to difference between demand and supply they have to take tyres from different vendors.
Verdict: The bike looks stunning with half fairing and projector headlamp but had it been treated a little differently to compliment its Adventure Sport tag it would have been a milestone for Bajaj. I personally think that paying extra for aforementioned features wouldn't be a problem for adventure touring junkies. The bike finally proves to be a potential tourer with some vital shortcomings, which could have been overcome and make this product a perfect alternative for affordable touring machine. Anyways, the AS200 is an eye catcher and at a price tag of Rs 91550 (Ex-showroom, Delhi) which is in fact Rs. 3 (three) cheaper than the naked Pulsar 200NS is a very good bargain.
- Aerodynamic Half Fairing
- Projector Headlamp
- Powerful Engine
- High Raised Windshield
- Attractive pricing
- Lack of dedicated suspensions
- Lower Ground Clearance
- Lack of underbelly engine guard
- Engine Overheating
Motorcycle Courtesy: Sanghi Bajaj, Bhopal (M.P)
By: Farhan Kashif