In the last one year, there has been much talk of Chinese and Korean motorcycle manufacturers ramping up their technical expertise and getting ready to take on the Japanese and the Europeans in a few years’ time. While that will certainly happen – especially with smaller motorcycles – another country which could soon make its mark on the international scene is India.
More than seven million motorcycles are sold in India every year, and three Japanese majors – Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki – are present in the Indian motorcycle market. Most motorcycles are bought for commuting, and price and fuel efficiency are the top concerns for most motorcycle buyers in India. ‘Sport’ was not really a factor till recently, but that’s gradually changing.
And the one Indian motorcycle company that’s heading this change, and pushing ahead with newer, sportier bikes, is Bajaj Auto. The sharply-styled machine you see here – the Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi – is their latest effort. The bike, which went on sale in India last month, is fitted with a 220cc, air-and-oil cooled, four-stroke, SOHC, fuel-injected single-cylinder engine, which is fitted with a counterbalancer to iron out the vibes. The engine makes 20.6 horsepower, making the Pulsar DTS-Fi the most powerful bike currently sold in India!
The 150kg (claimed kerb weight) bike is fitted with a five-speed gearbox, double-cradle downtube chassis, beefy front forks and preload-adjustable rear shocks. Disc brakes, alloy wheels, LED taillamp, projector-style headlamp, digital instrumentation and tubeless tyres complete the package – a complete revelation for the Indian market, which is used to dull, dumb, very old and very slow bikes from the 1970s and beyond!
But now that the high-tech Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi is available for a rather reasonable US$1,900 we suppose it’s only a matter of time before the second-largest (after China, which is the largest) motorcycle market in the world catches up with bigger and better machines. Will you see a Pulsar 600 DTS-Fi go head to head against the Honda Hornet 600 in the next five years? Stranger things have happened…
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