Bajaj Auto has been ruling the hearts of Indian motorcycle enthusiasts with the launch of Pulsar series over a decade ago. The Pulsar twins followed the launch of DTSi version and (count along), the DTSi 200, 220 Fi and 220 Si fastest Indian. These machines revolutionized motorcycle industry with macho appeal, raw power and reasonable pricing.
With such a glorious heritage, there is a lot at stake for the upcoming Pulsar, the Bajaj Pulsar 200NS (Naked Street). While the engine sees a drop from 220 cc to 200 cc, the new sportbike by Bajaj has more to it than its subtle naked guise would tell you.
At the other corner of the ring, right out of European racetracks, is the KTM Duke 200. The first product of Bajaj’s venture with Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM, is the Duke 200. Battling in the sub quarter litre, street fighter segment, the KTM Duke 200 is arguably the most powerful motorcycle.
There is a sudden hype for street fighter bikes amongst Indian motoring enthusiasts. And why not? Both our motorcycles in comparison here are simply gorgeous to look at. They look fast, even on standing. With a masculine appeal and stance that even greatest SUVs fear, the two motorcycles are one of the best looking machines on Indian roads.
Starting with the Duke 200, it is flawlessly designed with styling right out of 2050. More importantly, there is a lot of think work done behind every aspect of the motorcycle. The pulsar inspired tapered handlebars, cast-alloy swingarms, blackened trellis frame and the glorious heart of the motorcycle, its long-stroke engine, just fuse together to create a sculpture on wheels.
Speaking of practicality, the swingarm features grooves for structural rigidity with weight reduction. The upside down forks on front have a larger diameter complementing the beefed up appeal of the bike. Top of all, the bold orange splash on the Duke 200, and the loud graphics make it look all the more sporty. The split-fork wheel alloy is not the favorite amongst youth, but it certainly is impressive with the overall appearance.
Other key features on the Duke are the high-flying shockups and the side-banked exhaust pipe. It gets instrument console with orange backlight, which is very functional even during daylight. However, the rev counter shows square blocks running horizontally that is not as tempting on the 25 bhp streetbike. The pillion seat looks a little shortened, giving the motorcycle a more aggressive appeal, but it is broader than other motorcycles and very comfortable too.
The Bajaj Pulsar 200NS is unlike any of its predecessors, in terms of styling or performance. It certainly is handsome and aggressive on the outside, and the styling will simply attract more Pulsar fans. There is the Predator-like headlights, broad fuel tank and high tail light. Though its not as muscular as the Duke, but it certainly gives a match when it comes to styling. There is also a ‘triple-spark’ sticker on the engine that gives the 200NS a sportier guise.
Performance and Handling:
While the Pulsar 200NS comes from Bajaj’s multi-spark technology, the Duke 200 has a racing heritage. Both have groundbreaking performance and flawless handling.
The Bajaj Pulsar 200NS has a 199 cc engine, which shares several components with the KTM Duke. Although its not as big when it comes to engine size, it is definitely more powerful than the fastest Indian, giving out 23.1 bhp peak power at 9500 rpm. The SOHC liquid cool cylinder has one of the best torque figures with 18.3 Nm at 8000 rpm, thanks to Bajaj Auto’s triple-spark technology that gives better combustion.
Mated to the engine is a six-speed gearbox that pulls the Pulsar from 0-60 kmph in 3.8 seconds. Push a little further, and the bike can do 100 kmph in 9.3 seconds. Top speed of the 200NS is rated at 136 kmph, which is a notch below the top speed of the Yamaha R15.
Powering the Bajaj KTM Duke is a 199.50 cc DOHC 4 valve per cylinder engine, that is good for 25 bhp peak power and 19 Nm torque. It has jaw dropping performance and superb handling. Moreover, the sound of the side-banked exhaust pipe is unlike any you have heard. Mated to the engine is a 6-speed manual gearbox that gives 136 kmph top speed with an electronic limiter.
It is arguably more powerful and torque-y than the Pulsar, and has better output at low rev ranges. However, the lightweight design of the Pulsar 200NS makes it a faster machine at stretches. The shorter wheelbase and crouching stance of the 200NS also give an extra edge on corners.
The KTM Duke 200 is arguably more powerful than the Pulsar 200NS, but the later has its own styling and practicality. We just adore both the motorcycles and it is difficult to choose one. The Pulsar 200NS is expecting a sub one lakh rupees price tag, while the Duke 200 pegs Rs 1.18 lacs (ex-showroom). Though the KTM is more expensive, it is a lot of fun on the go.
|Category||KTM Duke 200||Bajaj Pulsar 200NS|
|Price||Rs 1,20,000||Rs 90,000 (expected)|
|Type||Naked Sports||Naked Street|
|Top Speed||136 kmph||136 kmph|
|Engine||DOHC, Single-cylinder 4-stroke||SOHC, Single-cylinder, 4-stroke, Tri-Spark|
|Cooling||Liquid cool||Liquid cool|
|Power||25bhp @ 10000rpm||23.1bhp @ 9500rpm|
|Torque||19.2Nm @ 8000rpm||18.3Nm @ 8000rpm|
|Gears||6 speed||6 speed|
|Clutch||Wet Multi-disc||Wet Multi-disc|
|Valve per cylinder||4||4|
|0-60kmph||3.55 secs||3.8 secs|
|Ignition||Independent spark control through ECU||Contactless, controlled, fully electronic ignition system with digital ignition timing adjustment|
|Chassis||Steel Trellis Frame||Pressed steel Perimeter Frame|
|Ground clearance||165mm||167 mm|
|Fuel tank||10.5 litres||12 litres|
|Front suspension||WP Suspension 4357, travel Front 150mm||Telescopic Front Fork with Antifriction Bush Dia 37|
|Rear Suspension||WP Suspension 4618 EM, travel Rear 150mm||Nitrox Mono Shock Absorber with piggy back gas canister|
|Brake system Front||Disc brake with two-pot brake caliper, Dia 300mm||Petal Disc with floating caliper, Dia 280|
|Brake system Rear||Disc brake with one-pot brake caliper, floating brake discs, Dia 230mm||Petal Disc with floating caliper, Dia 230 mm|