While Indiandrives visited the 2011 Surat Auto Expo, every one of us was as fascinated with the Kawasaki Ninja 250R as we were with the Pulsar 220F model. Now this model is no spring chicken and it was only last year that it was launched with a new carburetor and the Fi moniker was dropped. Now, the fuel injected version of the Pulsar 220 has taken a beating and is no longer available. Bajaj have resorted to having the traditional carburetor back on. It is said that the older fuel injected version had a problem with its electronic control unit and many bikes were reported with starting problems. The current Pulsar 220 version does away with it and now gets the original 220 frame with the carburetor. We had already reviewed the Pulsar 220S version a few months back and now comes the turn for the Bajaj Pulsar 220F in India review.
Like discussed earlier, Bajaj have retained the look of the fuel injected bike and hence the 220F wouldn’t have a problem grabbing eyeballs. Speaking of eyeballs, the head lamps or rather projector of a head lamp lights up the roads at night very efficiently. So much so that it can be said that it is one of the best bikes to be taken for long night rides. The all black 3 piece handle bars are also exclusive to this bike however my test bike came with white handle bars. Infact the all around black theme which has been adopted from other Bajaj bikes fits this bike perfectly. The head lamps also have black inserts and blue pilot lamps. Continuing from the earlier bike, this new bike, the Bajaj Pulsar 220F in India gets an exposed chain which is maintenance free. On the side cowls, the bike gets the F moniker. Instrument cluster has undergone a small change with the tachometer now in black color instead of the white that was available earlier. The instrument cluster still remains crisp and highly functional. The backlighting for the switches is something which Bajaj still gets exclusive rights on. The split seats were an Indian first when the Pulsar 220 was launched 2-3 years back. The tail lamps are two layers of full LEDs. Brake calipers have also been given the dull golden treatment.
Ride and handling
The Bajaj Pulsar 220F in India employs 130 mm stroke telescopic front suspension whereas the rear one employs Nitrox gas charged rear suspension with 90 mm travel. The ride quality that the Pulsar 220 fuel injected version was known for earlier is still carried over to the new Pulsar 220F. It is all absorbent and rarely did I feel any bumps filtering through. Just to check how good the steed would hold its line, instead of avoiding potholes, I actually rode through them and never once did the 220 lose its composure. Infact, now I am planning on buying a 220F. Handling however seems to have taken a hit. Though, I couldn’t find any extremely curvy roads to check the handling, it felt a bit nervous on the city roads. However like the problem which the bikini faired Pulsar 180 and the rest of bikini faired Pulsar clans have with the 3 piece handle bar, the 220F seems to be exempt. Whilst taking a turn, the 220F’s handle bars don’t hit the knees. The 220F is also fine with making sudden lane changes. Best part is the induction noise which the engine makes. Mind you, the test bike came with only 13 kms on the odometer. The engine seemed to be fitted with a free flow exhaust as the induction noise just egged me to push the bike harder. The employment of discs at both the ends was also a Bajaj initiative in the Indian affordable biking scene. The brakes do the job well of stopping the bike within no time. Infact shedding speeds comes easily to the disc combo and brake fade wasn’t also experienced inspite of repeated high speed stops. The 90/90-17″ tubeless tyre in the front plus the 120/80-17″ tubeless in the rear are MRF Nylogrips and do a wonderful job of maintaining the stability of the bike.
Engine and fuel efficiency
The Bajaj Pulsar 220F in India comes with the single cylinder 220 cc 4 stroke engine with Bajaj’s patented DTSi technology. This particular engine makes 21 Bhp of power at 8500 rpm whereas the peak torque of 19.12 Nm comes in at 7000 rpm. The bike employs a universal one down and 4 up gear shift pattern. The clutch action is smooth however changing the gears was a bit hard as compared to the other Pulsars. This I am sure would change after the first service and the gear shifts would become smoother. Now, the engine noise isn’t something which can be actually compared to a Honda however unlike Honda, the exhaust note is very addictive. However inspite of some race track inspired driving, this carbureted version returned 38 kmpl in the city and 46 kmpl on the highway. I am sure that with some restrained riding, this bike can achieve the 50 kmpl target that Bajaj claims that this bike will deliver. The top speed is a claimed 144 kmph by Bajaj however the one that I achieved on a bike which is still completing its run in was 128 kmph. However unlike other Pulsar’s, this engine seems a bit not to rev happy. Its engine is sort of sedate performer. I remember the 220 fuel injected version having a much more eager engine tuning. However this all black engine heats up pretty soon and only safter 15 minutes of sedate riding, the engine was directing all those hot fumes towards my thighs. Oil cooling is present on this bike however as I had experienced with the Pulsar 200, it doesn’t seem to be working right. I may be wrong on this count though.
Well, I am no stranger to Pulsars having owned two of them and still having one with me. My opinion about Pulsars haven’t changed much and I would still maintain that they are really fun to ride machines. Build quality is also now upto the mark than what it was 10 years ago. With the advent of DTSi technology, riding the bike hard doesn’t compromise much on the fuel economy. Moreover, Bajaj have always being known for pricing their products just right. The Pulsar 220 is available now only in two variants and those are the Pulsar 220SF and the Pulsar 220F. The former is the street bike version of the 220cc engine whereas the latter is the one which I reviewed in this article. The Pulsar 220SF is priced at Rs 85781 whereas the Bajaj Pulsar 220F price in India is Rs 88,752. For the Metallic Orange color on both the editions, there is an extra charge of Rs1k. I am booking one in the red color this weekend.