Beast in Black
Haven't you wished your 180 looked a bit more exclusive than an `ordinary' 150? Yes, Bajaj took a positive step and added some minor, but clever bits to the 180 DTS-i for you.
While the picture may not reveal much, you have to see this bike in the flesh. It looks meaner and dare we say, even more macho. All components remain just the way there were, with a matte black theme extending from engine casts, silencer and bent pipe unit, snazzy six-spoke alloys to the crash- and saree-guards.
The new Pulsar retains the same engine and an identical gearbox with the only revisions being detail work on internals and timing. Needle roller bearings on the rocker arms now help the motor kill a little friction. Power output is up to 16.5 bhp at 8000 rpm and a 140 kg kerb weight means the new 180 DTS-i is good for a power-to-weight ratio of 117.8 bhp per ton. A throttle position sensing digital Capacitor Discharge Ignition (CDI) system offers accurate ignition and the engine breathes via a BS 29 CV carburettor. Torque has also been made more user-friendly thanks to the new Pulsar now using the same tuned exhaust system as first seen on the Discover. This unit uses a resonance chamber, visible under the bike, to alter back pressure for torque at lower speeds.
Our test ride revealed a new-found smoothness in throttle modulation and a welcome lightness in the clutch. Engine response and flexibility are available as always. The gearshift on this bike is thankfully the one-down, four-up pattern. Though one does not hit false neutrals, we felt there is room for improvement in terms of gearshift feel, which is a bit too smooth for our liking. The bike barrels its way to 60 kph, slightly slower at 4.41 seconds than the older 180 DTS-i, yet it is far faster to 40 kph and again posts faster times after 70 kph, rocketing past 100 kph in a flying 15.17 seconds. Top whack is now 117kph.
Superb handling credentials have been retained from the previous edition while ride quality has gone up by a notch. A robust, dual-cradle frame and box-section swingarm are retained in nearly the same guise, while major alterations to the dynamics are a lengthened wheelbase, smaller 17-inch, six- spoke alloy wheels and twin-gas shock absorbers at the rear.
Ride quality itself has become classy, to say the least.Bajaj has worked hard with the front forks and extracted fine character, while at the rear the twin-gas units have been perfected to their own specifications and nicknamed 'Nitrox.'
Though the Pulsar was always stable, cornered smartly and steered well, an improved ride has now elevated all these factors, allowing the rider to enjoy higher speeds on poor roads with safer control of the bike.
The brakes on the new Pulsar are as good as ever. While the feel through a Pulsar's brake lever has always been good and sharp, with the smaller rims, it is better. We managed a hair-raising stopping distance of 15.71 metres from 60-0kph on the new bike, this with the 180 DTS-i feeling absolutely planted.
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