Bajaj Pulsar 180 Review
Best Bike in its ClassTuesday, October 22, 2013
Design and Style
Bajaj has enjoyed great success with the previous models in its sporty and versatile “Pulsar” series, developed in association with the Tokyo R&D. In April 2009, in response to challenges to its dominant market position, Bajaj announced a new model of the Pulsar 180, one of its most successful models.
Design and Style
In 2009, the newly upgraded Pulsar 180 made its debut. It now featured wider tyres, a split seat, clip-on handlebars, a 3D Pulsar logo and tank scoops, all welcome features for this new generation of bikes. The Pulsar 180 is a well-built vehicle with plenty of bulk: its body is sturdy and muscular, yet surprisingly elegant in its appearance. It’s more refined and aerodynamic than its previous incarnation. While the previous form of the 180 featured a single-step seat, the new model has been updated to a split seat, much like the Pulsar 200 and 220 models. The split seat is nicely designed: it is firm, with just enough give to keep a driver comfortable on long journeys, and the leather is clean, sleekly moulded and high quality. The bike’s dominant black body color is strong and sharp. It sports a broad, bold looking fuel tank with aerodynamic fairing, and the overall metallic finish is classy and sleek.
The Pulsar 180’s instrument console has also been given a much-needed upgrade, bringing it up to date with the new generation of performance motorcycles. It now features a smart digital console with a neutral blinker, low battery dial, self-cancelling indicator switches and a low-fuel indicator, in addition to the standard speedometer, odometer and trip meters. All of the displays are clear and easy to comprehend.
Engine and Gearbox
The bike is equipped with an 180cc DTS-I, four-stroke, air-cooled engine. It’s capable of a maximum power of 16.8 Bhp at 8500 rpm, and a maximum torque of 14.2 Nm at 6500 rpm. Bajaj holds the Indian patent for its DTS-I technology – Digital Twin Spark Ignition. Its throttle-actuated control system for the ignition works in conjunction with its digital capacitor, chip-controlled ignition system to make the best of the engine’s load-bearing capacity. The engine is also equipped with ExhausTEC (Exhaust Torque Expansion Chamber) technology, another Bajaj patent, which modifies the bike’s swirl characteristics and its back-pressure, helping to boost the bike’s performance at low and mid-range revs. The gearbox that comes with the bike is five-speed, manual transmission, offering excellent engine performance.
Acceleration and Top Speed
Bajaj claims that the 180cc engine will push the bike to a maximum speed of 136 kmph, an ambitious claim for a bike of this kind. In practice, you’ll be able to push the bike up to a maximum speed of 122 kmph, showing that there’s plenty of power in this machine. The bike’s acceleration is very strong: it can accelerate from 0 to 60 kmph in 5.8 seconds, putting it at the top end of its class.
The new variant of the Pulsar 180cc has, Bajaj claims, an average fuel mileage of 58 kmpl for driving at a constant speed of roughly 55 kmph. Under testing, the bike provides a mileage of approximately 45 to 50 km/kmpl, falling to about 38 km/kmpl in city traffic, which is reasonable but not outstanding – for some drivers; this will push the running costs of the bike too high for it to remain a budget option. The fuel tank has a capacity of 15 litres.
Comfort While Driving
It is a surprisingly comfortable ride, given that previous Pulsar models have scored badly on driver comfort. The nitrox rear shock absorbers have a five-step adjustment setting that gives excellent riding comfort. On poor-quality road surfaces, the bike’s rear-based foot pegs offer a good knee-hold.
Like the other new and bigger models of the Pulsar, the pillion seat now has the rear grab rail for greater comfort and security. The bike also features a powerful, even aggressive headlamp (12 volts, full DC) that gives a good constant beam at all speeds of travel.
Like the other Pulsar models, there’s little on-board storage space on this sporty motorbike.
Suspension and Brakes
The Bajaj Pulsar 180’s suspension has also been overhauled following on from previous models. The bike borrows a 37mm fork assembly from its sibling the Pulsar 220. At the rear, it borrows the swing arm found on the 220 Avenger: a nitrogen-assisted gas-powered shock absorber, coupled with triple-rated springs, designed to cope with harsh terrain and poor road conditions. In practice, the bike’s suspension performs very well: it absorbs shocks consistently, even when at top speed on poor road surfaces, and reduces vibrations to the minimum.
The Pulsar 180 is equipped with large 260mm disc brakes at the front, and 130mm drum brakes at the rear. While the smaller drum brakes are a disappointment, given the prevalence of rear disc brakes on Bajaj’s other vehicles, the strong front brakes more than pick up the slack, offering even, dependable braking and short stopping distances, even from top speed.
Ride and Handling
The Pulsar 180 is a comfortable and stable ride. The refined engine generates little noise, even at higher revs, and it copes well with variations in road surface thanks to its strong front brakes and solid chassis. Handling is smooth and generally good, although it can feel a little heavy on leans.
The bike’s alloy wheels, stronger than those of the previous 180, are combined with a longer wheelbase (1330mm) to offer greater stability and agility. The new tubeless tyres are meaty 120/80 x 17”, easy to maintain and providing a strong grip on all road surfaces.
Bajaj Pulsar 180 is available in three shades: Cocktail Wine Red, Plasma Blue and Midnight Black. Bajaj India has introduced new speed line shades for Pulsar range comprising of Pulsar 150, Pulsar 180 and Pulsar 220. The new shades are blue with combination of black, red with combination of black and all-black shade. The new shades have given a fresh lease to life to the Pulsar models and have further enhanced the overall looks of the bikes.
Additional accessories for the bike, such as seat covers or bike covers, must be purchased separately from the standard bike.
The 180 comes in a single standard variant – there are, however, alternative variants of the Pulsar model, such as the 200 and 220.
The Pulsar brings plenty of unique features to the table, although some are seen on other Pulsar models: a stylish and well-designed L.E.D. tail lamp, muscular looking split seats, a split rear grab-rail, a powerful engine with patented DTS-i and ExhausTEC, plus TRICS 3 and smart CDI technology, and a kick-less, electric-powered start mechanism.
Reasons to Buy and Value for Money
Powerful and comfortable, the Pulsar 180 is a capable city bike piled high with smart technology for the next generation of consumers. Cheaper by far than many of its 180cc rivals, the Pulsar is excellent value for money as an outright purchase – but its poor fuel economy will put off many buyers.
The Pulsar 180’s new model is far from perfect. In particular, buyers have noted that the silence corrodes quickly, a fault that Bajaj have yet to correct. However, overall the build quality of the bike is good, performance is very strong, and it has some driver-friendly features that will appeal to many customers.