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Old 14th October 2008, 00:30   #1
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Default Bajaj Avenger- Took A Test Drive, Need Buying Advice

Hello,

I have been riding Suzuki Fiero 2001, which is maintained in excellent condition. However, on the long trips (e.g. Pune - Mumbai), I get a little tired with a strained back...as a result the bike usage has gone down (got a car 4 years ago and that's of course another reason for not using the bike much).

However, last week, did a marathon service to get my Fiero back in original condition and once again did a Pune - Mumbai trip (for old memory sake). The engine is ultra-smooth - just like it was seven years ago, but once again my lower back felt the strain.

Also, the Fiero is known for skidding on occassions (under heavy brakng) and this has made me nervous. I have also changed the rear tyre on the Fiero to 100/90 x18, after which the stability had improved a lot, but not entirely to my liking.

I don't want to give up my biking life, so the thought of buying another bike. As mentioned - the priorities (in the oder of importance):
1. Ride Comfort (no backaches whatsoever) for me and pillion.
2. Safety (no skidding whatsoever), good stability - on straight lines + corners.
3. Engine (smooth and reliable - just like my Fiero which has not given me single problem related to engine)

I looked at:

1. Yamaha R15, but the riding position is too uncomfortable for me.
2. Honda Unicorn: Must be a good bike, but somehow I don't feel like going for it. I have heard a lot of the mono suspension, but other than hat I don't see any value proposition compared to Fiero. Also, a new Unicorn can not be compared with a 7 year old Fiero. What's the assurance that Uncorn's ride comfort and handling will not deteriorate just like the Fiero?
3. Bajaj Avenger: Love the looks, the riding position and the comfort.

As the official test drives are not happening (unless you haggle with the dealers), I could not TD R15.

But I did a TD of friend's Avenger 180 (3 year old).
Here is what I felt:
1. Very good ride comfort for the driver (much better than Fiero). I loved the streched leg position, and the ultimate driver's seat!!!
2. Good suspension (better than Fiero).
3. Very unrefined engine (I would be sorry to switch to such an engine - would be a step back from the Fiero).
4. Poor seating comfort for the pillion (was a disappointment as I was hoping that pillion comfort would also be top class looking at the back rest and all, however I think 2 issues spoiled it - rear suspension bottoms out with the weight of 2 people and the pillion seat in narrow! Even narrower than my Fiero!!!
5. Poor fit and finish: Pathetic rear view mirrors, key position, some of the buttons gone faulty, etc.
6. Could not find neutral even once in the 30 minute long test drive!
7. No kick start!!!!!!!
8. No Fuel Injection!


Guys, please let me know your views on this.
1. Is the new Avenger 200cc engine much better than the 180cc that I tested? Is it very refined and reliable?
2. What's this "oil cooled" business? Why not "water cooled"? Did a lot of research on "oil cooled" engines but did not find any convincing reason for using this technology (it's good in extremely cold winters where water may freeze and it may improve lubrication (as an added advantage) as the engine oil is cooled via radiator, but water is a much better coolant, isn't it?)
3. Why no fuel injection?
4. How is the reliability of the engine?
5. What's the max speed?
6. Does it come with tubeless tyres?
7. How is the stability and skidding? (On MOVIE Review, HOTEL Review, MOBILE PHONE Review, BOOK Review, CAR Review, CAMERA Review - MouthShut.com, I read that it skids a lot, but the 180cc that I tested, did not skid. Of course, the speed was never above 70).
8. How is the ownership experience?
9. Is there a way to create some storage space? It really helps on long trips and also on short trips for some errands.

And, do you know if a better version is about to be launched?
Or, if any other comfortable and powerful cruiser is round the corner?
Or, if Honda/Suzuki/Yamaha are going to get such a bike here soon?

Please advise.
Cheers,
Anand

Last edited by anandpadhye : 14th October 2008 at 00:35.
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Old 14th October 2008, 00:52   #2
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well the oil cooling business is that the engine oil is cooled through the small radiator.its used in bikes in which the oil heats up to a very high temperature leading to various problems like engine sludge etc.
for example in case of high performance bikes.the zx-12r does not have it.where as the busa has it.
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Old 14th October 2008, 07:35   #3
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I don't know if this is your cup of tea but do take a look at what Enfield has on offer.
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Old 14th October 2008, 07:56   #4
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Anand, take a long hard look again at the unicorn. The unicorn and the Karizma have the best comfort from my experiece. Seats are wide and supportive, riding position is spot on. The ride on both the bikes esp the Unicorn with its monoshock is great. My dad once rode as a pillion on a friends Unicorn and I still remember him coming back and saying that 'I should have bought you a Uni rather than a Pulsar'!
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Old 14th October 2008, 12:46   #5
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Anand....some of your answers..

1)the engine picked from the p200. The p200 engine felt torquey and slightly lazy...I can imagine that it would suit the avenger well. But as you have been used to the fiero's engine, the DTS-i engines would seem quite crude to you.

2)The engines is technically air cooled, just like any other engine but the oil in the engine is cooled separately using a small radiator. I dont know if it is just a marketing gimmick or does it help..

Remember the engine is not oil cooled but the engine oil is cooled.

3) if the rumours are right, Bajaj is in the process of plonking a FI unit in the P200. They could do the same to an Avenger too..

4) ??? I havent owned any Bajaj bike, let alone an avenger. So cant comment

5) ???

6) AFAIK ...nope...

7) I have ridden the avenger 180..and felt it was supremely planted. The disk up front gave a lot of confidence and this was on a bike that was very porly maintained.

IMHO i think it is stable

8)???

9) Cramster luggage??

I hope I have helped you atleast a wee bit...
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Old 14th October 2008, 12:53   #6
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Among the 3 bikes, I would rate the unicorn as the best. Not because I own one, but because I was convinced after taking test rides from friends' bikes. I test rode, the CBZ Extreme, Achiever, ZMA, unicorn, Avenger, Pulsar 150, Shine, Discover and RTR 160. The unicorn, apart from the mono suspension, has an undoubtedly ultra-smooth engine, great posture for long riding, and comfortable for the pillion as well. The engine is its hallmark, and u just need to take it for a longish ride to really understand what engine smoothness is all about. Its cruising capability is quite good, it can hold up at 75-80kmph all day. The bike is extremely stable, although, u might need to change the tyres from the stock MRF Tuffup tube for better grip on the wet and gravel roads.

The only other real contender would be the ZMA. Both the bikes are extremely fit for long cruises and are quite hardy too. I am sure if u ask some of the experienced tourers, u would get similar suggestions.

Prajwal
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Old 14th October 2008, 13:22   #7
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Anand I am wondering why have you excluded Karizma from the list, it fits the requirements that you have.
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Old 14th October 2008, 15:58   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anandpadhye View Post

I don't want to give up my biking life, so the thought of buying another bike. As mentioned - the priorities (in the oder of importance):
1. Ride Comfort (no backaches whatsoever) for me and pillion.
2. Safety (no skidding whatsoever), good stability - on straight lines + corners.
3. Engine (smooth and reliable - just like my Fiero which has not given me single problem related to engine)
Reading this just makes 2 bikes come to my mind, the HH Karizma and the Honda Unicorn. Comfort and refinement go hand in hand with these two bikes. With the Unicorn being slightly more refined, more so coz its not delivering the kind of power the Karizma is.
Have serious look at these two bikes, as they are the only options currently in the market that fulfill your 3 criteria 100%.

My replies are inline.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anandpadhye View Post
Guys, please let me know your views on this.
1. Is the new Avenger 200cc engine much better than the 180cc that I tested? Is it very refined and reliable?
As compared to the 180, this is just the Pulsar 200's engine. It is not refined and reliability is not something the boys at Bajaj are good at, yet! Moreover to get a relaxed kindda feel you need a long stroke motor (Karizma), which the Avy 200 ain't.

2. What's this "oil cooled" business? Why not "water cooled"? Did a lot of research on "oil cooled" engines but did not find any convincing reason for using this technology (it's good in extremely cold winters where water may freeze and it may improve lubrication (as an added advantage) as the engine oil is cooled via radiator, but water is a much better coolant, isn't it?)
Well, oil cooled is certainly not the same as liquid cooled. The primary function of the oil cooler is maintain viscosity of the oil under higher operating temperatures (read: long distance high speed touring). Well this certainly helps to a certain extent in keeping the refinement levels in check as oil is of an almost constant viscosity always.Also, as a by product the engine does run cooler due to a relatively cooler engine oil. So its not really a marketing gimmick

3. Why no fuel injection?
No need in the market yet, and no people willing to pay for the added cost. And Fi will appear on this engine, but not anytime soon, and 'when' is anyone's guess.

4. How is the reliability of the engine?
Bajaj engines have improved tremendously on the reliability front over the past few years, but still need loads of catching up to do when compared to TVS or the Japs. I would rate the overall reliabilty from bad to So-So.

5. What's the max speed?
No idea about this one, but you would definitely do a speedo indicated 120+ but that would have enough vibes from the engine forcing not to do those kindda speeds.

6. Does it come with tubeless tyres?
AFAIK, nope.

7. How is the stability and skidding? (On MOVIE Review, HOTEL Review, MOBILE PHONE Review, BOOK Review, CAR Review, CAMERA Review - MouthShut.com, I read that it skids a lot, but the 180cc that I tested, did not skid. Of course, the speed was never above 70).
Skidding is well subjective, I'd say if you know the limitations of your tyres, brakes and road you'll never skid. Its only when one tries to push the envelope a bit that skid's happen. Just a personal opinion, but I think its pretty stable.

8. How is the ownership experience?
I own a Pulsar, so can give you a Bajaj perspective of ownership rather than a Avy one. You have parts that need to be changed fequently, you'd have frequent service visits, but don't worry spares are really cheap so you won't be seeing huge service bills!

9. Is there a way to create some storage space? It really helps on long trips and also on short trips for some errands.
Cramsters Saddlebags and Cramsters tankbag. Other option would be have custom made panniers.

And, do you know if a better version is about to be launched?
Yes, but not anytime soon.

Or, if any other comfortable and powerful cruiser is round the corner?
For long Hero Honda is rumored to be launching a 300+cc cruiser, but its HH rumor, how true/when/what is anyone guess

Or, if Honda/Suzuki/Yamaha are going to get such a bike here soon?
Give up the hopes here!

Please advise.
Cheers,
Anand
I'm sure you have more questions now, so shoot!

Last edited by praful : 14th October 2008 at 16:00.
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Old 14th October 2008, 18:00   #9
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Hello All,

Thank you for the suggestions. I really appreciate the inputs.
Here are my thoughts on some of the points:

1. Karizma: Well, I was not aware that Karizma is a comfortable cruiser. In fact, after having bought the Fiero in 2001 (and then the car), I never followed any developments in the bikes market...But my heart says "whay buy a Hero Honda when you can now buy a real Honda?". But, I will check out this one (somehow the HH range never excited me)...

2. Unicorn: Well well well...I know it's going to be the best choice (you can't go wrong with a Honda - I can tell you from the ownership experience of my car the Honda City...). But whenever I look at Unicorn and then at my Fiero, I think "what's the big difference? Why not try and tune the Fiero suspensions properly?"...But I think Unicorn will provide me the best ride comfort (all you bike guru's can not go wrong).

3. And thanks for the data on the DTS-i and the info that it can never match the quality/reliability/smoothness of the Suzuki engine (let alone Honda). You are right, in that case, I can't enjoy the long rides very much. Even if I decide to live with this, the pillion comfort (or the lack of it) on the Avenger means I have to use this bike only on the lonesome journeys :-(

So...there goes my whole-hearted decision of buying the Avenger for a toss - a problem created in my life by T-BHP. Life was so simple when I was not a BHPean...Ignorance was bliss :-)

I don't know what to do now...
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Old 14th October 2008, 18:09   #10
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Simple.... go to your nearest HH and Honda showrooms, get a TD of the ZMA and the Uni. Better if you can get a TD from an existing owner, coz that will give you a realistic feel of what the bike feels like.
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Old 14th October 2008, 19:04   #11
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i would suggest you look at another option as well.
royal enfield bullet might fit your requirements pretty well.

riding comfort is good.
the new bullets with disc brakes are more stable than the old ones.
its very much reliable as well.

i have an electra and am more than happy with it.
i would suggest an electra or the machismo for you.

plus the feel that you get when riding the bullet is totally different to the fiero or others on the list.

hope this does not confuse you. cheers:
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Old 14th October 2008, 20:39   #12
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Bullet and reliable???
Are you sure?

I was attracted to Thunderbird but was put off by the reviews (from friends and mouthshut, etc). Piston and cylinder head breakdown, oil leakage, and what not...
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Old 14th October 2008, 23:01   #13
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Anand, I know everyone here will kill me for this. But, have you ruled out the option of putting in new seats on your fiero? May be possibily wider seats, which give good comfort?
This is just a thought - i have not done it, and i don't know if such seats are available too.
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Old 14th October 2008, 23:24   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deep_bang View Post
Anand, I know everyone here will kill me for this. But, have you ruled out the option of putting in new seats on your fiero? May be possibily wider seats, which give good comfort?
This is just a thought - i have not done it, and i don't know if such seats are available too.
In the 7 years of ownership,I did change the seat once - that is - replaced with the OEM seat...


If there is a way to go for a larger seat, I would like to try out immediately.
And then if it works, then may be - buy an Avenger and then go for a wider seat for the Avenger.

What say?
Is this possible???
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Old 15th October 2008, 08:54   #15
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bullets are pretty reliable.
dont wanna talk about the thunderbird as i dont consider it to be in the same league as the std's, electra's or machismo's

oil leaks are a major problem area in the old ones though.
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