A Pulsar for the track: RS200
Bajaj Auto has been very busy in the recent weeks, first launching the sporty Pulsar RS200, and then broadening the range to the adventure line with the AS200 and AS150.
This week we take a look at the RS200, an out-and-out sportster. RS stands for Racing Sport - a step back from the SS or Super Sport that Bajaj showcased at the last edition of the New Delhi Auto Expo, but more realistic.
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To call a 200cc bike Super Sport would be a stretch!
The RS200 is a true-blue Pulsar. We got to spend a few hours with the machine, and came away impressed.
The Pulsar line has always had an aggressive appearance. The 200NS took things one notch up, and the RS rounds things off. It is an extremely good looking machine, complete with a comprehensive cowl, twin projector headlamps, ABS (only for the front brake, alas!), bug antenna mirrors and an overall lean and mean attitude.
The fuel tank, while a tad less chunky than the NS, is still a big part of the geometry. The clocks are a mix of digital and analog and have all the bells and whistles such as Trip Metre and fuel distance-to-empty indicator. The stocky sidestand is convenient (and it has an indicator on the meter).
The tail light is a completely new unit, and lends a new dimension to the bike. It has to be seen to be appreciated.
The overall sloping stature, the seating, the footpeg position all scream "performance". The looks promise a lot. Now to find out how it does perform.
The KTM Duke showed us that a 200cc engine can surprise. The Pulsar 200NS too has been a peppy bike. With the RS200, Bajaj takes all that into a racing package. The bike is about 20 kgs heavier than the NS, thanks to the ABS, the plastic cowl, the new muffler and the projector unit.
However, the addition of the fuel injection system means the bike has actually added a horse in terms of power, and is just half a horse short of the Duke 200.
Like all forward leaning bikes, the RS200 is tough on the wrists, though not as much as the popular R15. On long rides, though, it would tell.
The engine itself responds very smoothly. The six gears are bunched together so that one can extract the best revs. This is a rev-happy bike, and Bajaj has electronically regulated top speed at 141 kph. Rather a puzzling figure, that. Apparently that is the speed the company things this bike can 'comfortably' handle.
Figure it out yourself!
So the trick in extracting the best from this bike is to maintain the revs in the top band, without hitting the redline — just a question of getting familiar. Around curves it is beautiful, and on the straight one can really let it rip.
The 250cc space belongs to Honda's CBR, though things are hotting up there. Yamaha has the 150 cc space. TVS lords over the 180cc with its Apache RTR 180, which was the first small bike to see ABS.
The 200 cc, really, has been the Pulsar's space. With the NS, the RS and the most recent AS, Bajaj seems to be consolidating it. At this price, you cannot go wrong with the RS200 — it is loaded with goodies, gives a great ride, and is value for money. A deadly combination.