Bajaj Pulsar 220F: Myths Vs Reality

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With an experience of more than 44,000 kilometers of riding in every possible condition, we will tell you what you can expect out of your new Pulsar 220F.

Motorcycle

What!! This motorcycle is around since 8 years, why we should even bother reading about it? Well, don’t be surprised, even my reaction was also similar when I owned this motorcycle and saw the myths breaking one after another.

Here are a couple of myths one will easily get to learn about this brute of a motorcycle (oh yes, did I mention ‘tremendous value for money’ too?):

  • It won’t go more than 25-30 kilometers in a liter of fuel.
  • It is anything but comfortable.
  • It will burn a hole in your pocket in terms of maintenance.
  • It’s a highly unreliable motorcycle with a dirt low life of mechanical components.

And many more which aren’t even worth discussing.

Here, we bring the truth behind the ownership of a Pulsar 220. First of all, this is what numbers have to say:

Statistics

Now, let’s start busting the myths one after another.

Myth 1. It won’t go more than 25-30 kilometers in a liter of fuel:

During my ownership, I have covered more than 44,000 kilometers. Maybe my instantaneous fuel economy under different riding conditions has fallen even lower than the figure mentioned, but we do take the fuel economy for the entire route; don’t we?

Throughout my ownership report, I haven’t ever recorded such low numbers for my entire routes of say 50, 100 or even 500 kilometers. Don’t get me wrong; I have wrung this engine to redline numerous times and have even reached some magical numbers on speedometer too. Still, we don’t recommend one to go above permissible speed limits because “someone is waiting at home”, ride safely with complete safety gears. For the mean time, here are the numbers I have obtained till date:

Review

Myth 2. It is anything but comfortable:

Well, I hope you guys are aware of the fact that Pulsar 220 is not a track-focused sports category motorcycle; Yamaha R15 and KTM RC siblings are enough for that job. Pulsar 220 falls in the category of sports tourer, and this is where it does its duty really well. As a sports tourer, you expect the motorcycle to have a sporty performance and handling with a dose of the comfort of a touring motorcycle. You sit quite upright on the wide and comfortable saddle with your feet pushed slight backward giving you a sporty seating position.

At the same time, you have an accommodating riding as well as pillion saddle which is well sized and padded and a suspension setup which is tuned on the softer side for providing a comfortable ride on our roads. Has it been a sports category motorcycle? Then the riders would have been gifted with paining arms, shoulders and a back breaking suspension. In fact, it’s a roomy motorcycle that brings comfort and confidence altogether.

We have been to places on this motorcycle and sometimes even day long rides, very less to complain, definitely you will be disappointed if you expect the comfort of say a Honda CBR 250 or Hero Karizma/ZMR on this motorcycle, still there is not much to complain about. Here is the view and room available ahead of the rider:

Upper View

In fact, despite having a softer set suspension, the motorcycle still is confident as well as agile enough that one can have some true cornering fun on this motorcycle; only the main stand plays a spoilsport here though by striking the road surface under hard cornering (notice the low set main stand in the picture near the rear tyre):

Riding

Myth 3. It will burn a hole in your pocket in terms of maintenance:

I purchased this bike in 2013 and it’s already around 24 months that I have crossed the 44,000 kilometers mark. Till date, every service and maintenance work was being carried out only at the Bajaj Authorized Probiking service centers (people call them expensive) and following is the total maintenance costs I have paid till date:

Statistics

With the amount paid for maintenance, it comes out at around 0.67 rupees per kilometer for maintenance and that is quite acceptable for a motorcycle of this size, price and performance. In fact, that is a well acceptable amount for keeping this motorcycle in a pristine condition.

Myth 4. It’s a highly unreliable motorcycle with a dirt low life of mechanical components:

Well, I won’t buy this one at any cost. During last 44,000 kilometers, all I faced was a failure of the electronic ignition system and that was also rectified after fiddling a bit with a couple of wires; 10 minutes of time to be precise.

My motorcycle is still running on the engine which is still untouched and the clutch is still in a situation that it will easily last 15-20,000 kilometers more. Regular consumables are replaced on time and are required in every vehicle.

People claim low engine life of 25-30,000 kilometers; mine has already covered more than 44,000 and there is no sign of giving up in engine and the service center guys safely assume that it is good for next 20-25,000 kilometers at least. The motorcycle never gave up even in the harshest of the weather conditions or riding conditions and, in fact, has held well till date.

Myth overruled, Sarcasm noted!

Myth 5. And many more which aren’t even worth discussing

Let’s put this one aside without even discussing the things which aren’t even worth a discussion.

Nothing on this earth is perfect and so is the Pulsar 220F, the motorcycle has a couple of cons which will keep bugging you time to time:

The center stand loves scraping on high-speed breakers or bad roads

Pulsar Review

The most annoying bit in my opinion, this low set center stand loves scraping the surface on bad roads, speed breakers and what not. In fact, once it got stuck at a ditch causing the rear wheel to lift in the air; as a result this guy of 50 kilos was left with no other choice that pushing a motorcycle of 150 kilo; bahut na insaafi hai re!!

Also, this stand will hit the road surface under hard cornering and hence forcing you to back off in the mid. What to do? Remove the stand as soon as possible, else ride normally like me and live annoyed.

  • The ‘Rear View Mirrors’ will show you everything but not rear?

Rear Mirror

Look at the picture and only the part between the thumb and the finger is the one which shows the rear view; even for a light built rider like me. People with heavy build will look at their own tummy only in this mirror, I guess. Adding more to the woes, the rear view mirrors vibrate like every shock from the road is being transmitted to them only. What to do? Under the rubber is the screw, loosen and adjust the mirrors again with increased coverage or go for TVS Apache mirrors.

  • The Ghhrrr-Ghhrrr Sounds!

Vibrations and rattling sounds coming from here, there and everywhere is an inbuilt feature of the package. The fairing vibrations can be dealt by using some rubber pieces being inserted between the fairing and windscreen.

Tail lamp cluster rattling can also be dealt with some jugaad and chain noise can be dealt by frequent oiling of the chain. What else? No worries, it will still have some other part rattling so better is to learn to live with some hidden rattling noises.

Final Verdict

Buy it to believe it! This is one very value for money motorcycle that just requires a bit of care. You give it the required care and it will reward you with some brilliant experiences and some travelogues of the lifetime. Just provide it the periodic maintenance at some good service center or have a mechanic to take care of your Pulsar 220.

This motorcycle is very sensitive towards riding style, fuel quality and maintenance; you take care of all three of them and you will see all the myths getting busted by yourself. All the best and Ride Safe!

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Vipul Kumar

Electrical Engineer by Degree, Automotive at Heart and Biker by Choice.

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