It was all evoked in 2001, when the Indian motorcycle manufacturer Bajaj introduced the legendary line-up of ‘Pulsar’. By birth, Pulsar got some sporty stance in its DNA with the distinctive round headlamp and a muscular body, and yes how can we forget that big tummy of the bike? – the main lure. Firstly, Bajaj introduced the 150cc and the 180cc Pulsar, which were air-cooled performance machines, churning out 13 BHP and 15 BHP respectively. Both bikes were similar in terms of design but different in terms of performance. Bajaj did not just introduce a versatile range of motorcycles but it also introduced a modern performance biking range, which makes the Pulsar series unique. The Indian youth accepted these machines due to affordable cost and the aesthetics of its front disc brakes, which were rare at that time. Pulsar 150 was triggered ahead of the Hero CBZ as an entry level sports bike. Also, there were other bikes at the time but, Pulsar has had its own personality. That’s the main reason that created a hype for this bike.
In the second phase of Pulsar, in 2003, Bajaj introduced a new technology christened as DTS-I (Digital Twin Spark Ignition). It improved the performance of the power pawns and increased fuel economy. By that time Pulsars became the most affordable performance bikes in the country. In 2003, Pulsars were becoming too popular for the competition. When time elapsed, these machines got modern and advanced day by day. After a couple of years, these two-wheel beasts got one more update – 17” alloy wheels, making them the second Indian bike to offer alloy wheels following Hero Honda Karizma.
The most significant cosmetic upgrade was received in 2006, both bikes were blessed with a fresh looking front fascia also known as the ‘Wolf Eyed Headlamp’ and sharpened rear cowl, which poured some more in its sporty stance. In terms of technology and electronics, it was fitted with the back-light switchgear, auto-switch off turn indicators, which turned off according to the movement of the handle bar. All these goodies were a piece of cake for bike riders, who really wanted to own a sports bike. Bajaj then introduced a new wolf to their line up –the Pulsar 200 DTS-i in 2006, with LCD display cluster, powered by a 200cc air-cooled engine churning out a maximum of 18 BHP power, but it didn’t gain much success and discontinued in 2009.
The main evolution came when Bajaj launched the 220-DTS-Fi guise of the Pulsar with a semi-faired body, rear disc brakes, nitrox suspension and an aggressive look. It was propelled by the 220 cc single cylinder, four stroke, liquid cooled engine generating 19.5 BHP power. How can we forgot its long and lowered sporty stance, which made every youngster fall in love with it? It was fitted with fairing mounted mirrors, which were a first in the Indian market. And clip-on handle bars, split seat and split-hand rear grab rails. All this stuff made it a very iconic product.
Some other factors, which made the Pulsar very popular – TV Commercials. Yes! Bajaj had also used the basic marketing strategy by doing advertising, but what the difference was, they had actually shown that what the bike can do, yes I am talking about the stunts, and doing stunts on performance bikes is still a dream of every bike fanatic. People literally started stunts on the Pulsar, and the bike was also displayed in some TV shows as a winning price. This all because the Pulsar had a well-tuned and power throbbing engine, perfectly suitable for stunting. The power-torque tuning in these machines were unmatched. Apart from stunting, the Pulsar was very popular for modification as well. We can find a bunch of modified Pulsars on the internet, some of which are really good.
The Pulsar was the first Bajaj bike which was equipped with projector headlamps. After all these good performance models, the Pulsar 135 L was launched. This was different than its older siblings. Throughout the years, these machines got advanced at every stage to prove themselves unbeatable.
As we mentioned, time is changing. So the bikes are also changing, and the new Pulsar has massively changed. In 2012, again Bajaj launched the 200cc Pulsar but this time with a naked look, named the Pulsar 200 NS (NS for “Naked Sport”). The bike is still in the Indian market and doing its best with a powerful 23.4 BHP engine and a high ground clearance. 200 NS is the most popular Pulsar after the 220 DTS-Fi, due to its looks and refined engine which creates a different exhaust note compared to previous generations. Bajaj then expanded the bike lineup with too many new models like the Pulsar 150 AS and the 200 AS. The Pulsar RS 200 is the first full-faired product from the manufacturer which came featured ABS. The RS 200 is powered by the same engine used in the 200 NS. The difference dual projector head lamps and ABS.
Bajaj’s latest offering is the Dominar 400. The first 400 cc bike from the Indian manufacturer. Also, it was the most awaited bike in the country. First it was showcased in the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo, and was launched in December, 2016. The Dominar is powered by a 373.3cc single cylinder, liquid cooled engine. The most exciting part of the bike is its power-torque ratio, wiz 1:1. Yes it means the engine generates 35 BHP and the same 35 Nm of torque. Apart from this it is also equipped with a dual channel ABS (optional), LED headlamps, slipper clutch, 6-speed transmission, and much more at the cost of only Rs. 1.38 lakh to Rs. 1.52 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi), which makes it the most affordable 400cc Indian sports bike.
The Pulsar has seen a lot of change in design and technology since its first launch, but the tail-lamps have maintained a legacy. People can easily find the Pulsar in the crowd by its long LED tail-lamps. One thing is clear that after 17 years Bajaj is still standing with all its performance bikes or ‘the Pulsar crew’ proudly. Yes there also are a lot of people who hate the Pulsar, they might be right in their point of view, but we can’t deny that the Pulsar has been a key contributor for introducing the sports bike trend in India. And for the youth of India, it is still making dreams come true.