The Pulsar AS 200 was kind of a surprise from Bajaj. The reasons why it came into life revolve around the fact that people are still buying the older generation Pulsar 220’s in the plenty. Bajaj have wanted to slowly phase out the older generation Pulsars for quite a long time now and finally it looks like they have the right combo in the AS 200 and the AS 150. So what really is the Pulsar AS 200 capable of? Does it live up to the ‘Adventure Sport’ name? We answer all these questions and more below.
Engine and performance
The engine on the Pulsar AS 200 is identical to that on the Pulsar 200 NS. That means we have the 199.5 cc carburetted engine that produces 23.5 HP @ 9,500 RPM and 18.3 Nm @ 8,000 RPM doing duty on both. The engine is liquid cooled and comes with Bajaj’s Triple Spark technology and a 4 valve configuration. We are already fans of this engine as we have ridden the NS extensively. There is no doubt about its capabilities. It is a rev happy engine that loves to be ridden hard, it’s quite refined too. So the Pulsar AS 200 already has that going for it. The top speed we could manage was 148 kmph. We reckon it can do a speedo indicated 155 kmph on a good day. But more importantly the Pulsar AS 200 is most comfortable in the 110-120 kmph range, couple that with the new quarter fairing and you have a very capable touring motorcycle. 0 to 100 kmph timings were in the 9.5 seconds range and mileage returned after mixed and aggressive riding in the city and highways was 34 kmpl.
Handling and braking
The Pulsar AS 200 comes with a steel perimeter frame that has helped Bajaj shed the tag of ‘bad handling’. The new Pulsar range of the 200 NS, RS 200 and now the AS 200 all share the same underpinnings and behave very well during some enthusiastic corner carving. The high handlebars and the rather relaxed seating position all enhance the comfort of the Pulsar AS 200. The foot pegs are of-course a tad bit rear set and provide for a good overall rider seating triangle. The suspensions are a bit stiff but the overall ride quality is quite good.
Pulsars have always been good with their brakes and the Pulsar AS 200 continues this trend. The Bybre 280 mm discs at the front combined with the 230 mm rear disc offer plenty of support to stop in a jiffy. We really would have loved more feel from the rear disc brake though, right now it works like an on off switch. ABS takes a miss, considering the Adventure Sport tag; it would have made a lot of sense to have ABS at least as an option. And while the braking is pretty good Bajaj have shod the Pulsar AS 200 with Eurogrip tyres, which has quite the ironic name as they provide really poor grip. The moment you demand extra from the tyre be it on a tight fast corner or slight off-roading, the Eurogrip’s really diminish your confidence as they are quite twitchy. The MRF’s from the RS 200 would do wonders on this bike.
Look and feel
The Pulsar AS 200 is in our opinion the best looking Pulsar yet. The RS 200 looked overcooked but Bajaj has got it spot on with the AS 200. It’s quite classy looking with its rather tall stance, new quarter fairing and big prominent headlights. We almost are tempted to give it 10/10 for looks but what the AS 200 gains in the looks department it loses them in the fit and finish department. The bike we test rode had barely done 5000 kms and we already had some rattles and extra noise effects that were quite a let-down. While the plastic quality is decent the panel gaps and overall finish could have been far better. Another annoying factor was the side panels that come near the thighs, those keep interfering with the riders legs while at standstill especially for shorter riders.
Key features and value for money
The Pulsar AS 200 surely has a lot to offer. Digital instrument console, backlit switch gear, amazing headlights and if you list out the specifics one by one, you will be quite amazed how Bajaj has managed to offer so much value for money. Yes there are compromises but the core of the motorcycle is well built and at its current price point is quite the value proposition.
So, is the Pulsar AS 200 an ‘Adventure Sport’? Simply put, no. But what Bajaj have done is toy with the idea of one. It sure looks like one and in fact it is a very potent touring machine. Priced similarly to that of the Pulsar 200 NS down to the rupee, it is immensely tempting for someone who wants a reliable and easy to maintain motorcycle which can pretty much do it all. It looks good, goes fast, handles well and does not burn a hole in your pocket, need we say more?
You can also check out the video review here –