2011 Bajaj Pulsar 220 Review
Small in scale does not always equal smaller in excitement; remember this should you see the 2011 Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-i motoring along piloted by a rider afflicted with 'perma-smile' behind the bars. If you were on that seat, you would experience that exact same sense of two-wheeled euphoria. And, truth be told, the company with the talent behind this tiny sporting machine has some experience making riders happy.
Bajaj Auto started out at the end of World War II importing scooters and motorcycles into India and selling them to a transportation-hungry market. In 1960 they began producing Vespa scooters under license for sale on the Subcontinent - now they make their own and are rated as the fourth-largest motorcycle producer in the world. This means a list of well-liked machines has rolled through their factory doors. That previously-mentioned nearly quarter-liter urban canyon carver stands as another dot on this corporate timeline; but, the Bajaj Pulsar 220 has a surprising manner which serves to elevate it beyond those which have come before it on that continuum.
The Pulsar 220 is powered from an air and oil-cooled four-stroke single sporting two valves and a bore and stroke of 67 by 62.4 millimeters, respectively. Bajaj has actually moved back to a CV carburetor for this model from the fuel-injection used on the bike carrying the same model designation before 2009. This reduced fuel efficiency but boosted horsepower to 21 @ 8500 RPM and torque to 14.1 @ 7000 RPM while smoothing the power curve noticeably, maybe even making it perfect for this machine. And, as can be seen in the full name, Bajaj has retained the Digital Twin Spark ignition hooked into a standard CDI module, keeping the Pulsar's spark strong and precise.
A five-speed transmission hooked to a chain drive handles laying that power to the roadway or track. Wrapping this powertrain on the Pulsar 220 is a very sporting double-cradle down-tube frame hooked to a swingarm suspended with twin shocks and connected to the front wheel using a standard telescopic fork. Supersport-sized 17-inch, five-spoke wheels are used front and rear and each has a single disc brake. Add a dry weight of only 326 pounds to the spec sheet, and Bajaj's intentions with the Pulsar 220 become very clear - this is a motorbike for those who see riding as an athletic endeavor involving precision and competence.
Approach the Pulsar 220 DTS-I from different angles and it is possible to see many sportbike influences at work in its design. Stepping up and climbing on board, thus, is very similar to any like-purposed machine; the seat is ideal for anyone over 62 inches in height, is comfortable and is in a rational location between the grips and the footpegs. Those much above six foot, though, might feel slightly cramped unless you commonly ride bikes in this displacement range. Turn the key, thumb the starter and the engine spins right up into a remarkably quiet idle; choking is automatic. Bajaj's Pulsar 220 wants to run and ride anytime you do.
Once the stand is up and the road in front is welcoming your presence, the Bajaj Pulsar 220 starts to become more than the sum of its stats, and it begins to work its magic on your senses. Steering is light and predictable, with exactitude unlike similar-sized 'beginner' bikes, and the transitions are swift and almost without any effort on the rider's part. Rivaling many of the mainstream Japanese four-stroke 250 repli-racers in power and weight, the Pulsar will beat many of them through any competition provided the rider is not too heavy. Should one manage to have the skills to handle being smooth, the Pulsar 220 becomes a pleasurable riding experience which one might want to keep secret so that someone does not make it illegal.