Bajaj Pulsar: A valuable legacy & the way forward in India

Even though the 200NS was a world-class product when it came out in the year 2012, that's when Bajaj encountered the problem of discontinuity.

BHPian pranavshet recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Pulsar is an emotion for me. I was just a 7-year-old schoolboy when Bajaj released the pulsar twins in late 2001. The blue-colored pulsar 180 was my favorite. That round headlamp, muscular 16-litre tank, and huge angular exhaust gave it an imposing presence. It was like a cat among pigeons.

It single-handedly revived the fortunes of Bajaj Auto.

From 2001 to 2010 the products were originally built on the OG pulsar platform. Even with their reliability issues, people still loved it because it had a character of its own. They stood apart. They were not developed as a response to any other product but were developed to create a segment of their own.

Bajaj was at its best when it came out with 220F carbureted and the OG pulsar 200. Those bikes looked crazy. They were products that were truly aspirational for middle-class youth. Also, credit should be given to Bajaj for improving the quality and reliability of the original platform by leaps and bounds.

According to me,

Even though the 200NS was a world-class product when it came out in the year 2012, that's when Bajaj encountered the problem of discontinuity. It didn't look similar to the previous generation pulsar. Ideally, Bajaj should have developed a new-generation air-cooled engine. People didn't find 200ns as the spiritual successor of the legendary 220.

Then Bajaj committed mistakes that only Bajaj can do. They repeated all the mistakes that they made with their Discover brand. The launch of 125 cc pulsar for me was the biggest blunder that Bajaj committed in terms of brand imagery. They converted a sporty brand into a commuter brand in a single stroke. All the volume gains that the 125cc variant did were at the cost of 150cc variant.

Now they have 3 generations of brand coexisting with one another. There are so many variants of pulsars that even an ardent fan of pulsar would choose another brand out of sheer confusion. For example, there is NS 125, 125 based on the OG platform and now there will be N125. What is going on? They have the exact same story or even worse story in the 150 to 160 cc category. So many variants with little or no differentiation.

This is the pathetic level of Brand extension. They are spreading the Pulsar way too thin. I'm very much disappointed by their approach.

Even there are rumors that the recently launched 250 cc platform would be axed. How can people place trust in a brand if there is no certainty as to whether his motorcycle will be in production in years' time?

I really hope the upcoming 286cc rumored successor to P 220 will stay true to the brand ethos.

Guys, Would love to know your thoughts on this brand situation.

Till then ride safe guys.

Here's what BHPian Vikram8891 had to say on the matter:

Ok we all know and hate Bajaj for the following 2 things:

Confusing line up which blurs the boundaries Discontinuing bikes left, right and centre.

I had purchased the first gen NS 200 in 2013 and it was the first bike I bought with my own hard earned money. It was INR 96,000 back then! I loved the bike. It delivered everything I had hoped it would. Mind you it was an upgrade from the OG CBZ which I had ridden for 10 years. The NS was the first bike which got me into touring and I started reading up on good riding habits once I got it. I sold it off after 4 years to a friend who rides it to this day and it has clocked over 60,000 kms without any issues except for regular wear and tear.

The liquid cooled engine, relatively light weight and amazing acceleration were the highlights. Sure it was derived from the Duke 200 but it was very different.

One thing you notice is that whenever Bajaj goes off the script and designs something totally new under the Pulsar brand name, it flops. The only exception is the RS 200.

Other than that the Pulsar 220 still does good volume and had to be brough back from the dead because people rejected the new 250 just like the did the NS200 a decade back. Its like we keep asking for better quality Bollywood movies but then the Box Office collections clearly show that the mindless idiotic flicks make the most money.

This is not to demean the OG bikes but somehow and I have no clue why, Bajaj's success with the OG Pulsars have also become a bane for them now as any major design deviation from them results in flops. I could bet that even if they put the age old 220 cc engine in the new 250 body, it wouldn't change the sales figures but if they put the new engine in the old body it will sell.

Here's what BHPian ashis89 had to say on the matter:

You. Me. Even Bajaj might agree that Pulsar brand has been destroyed and needs to be resurrected with a strong strategy.

Three months later, Bajaj would relaunch Pulsar Lemon Matte 150cc edition and everything else would be water under the bridge.

Here's what BHPian GTX+ had to say on the matter:

I had joined my first job after graduation when dad bought me my first bike (had a hero puch earlier), Pulsar 150. The year was 2003. As you rightly said, it had awesome looks and looked quite muscular. Still does.

The young generation then was simply in awe. It was a runaway success.

I still drive my pulsar, 21 years later, though I do not dare to take it far away from house in case the cops get a wiff.

This pic was taken about a month ago. Apart from couple of external parts which I had to replace, filters, battery & tyres, everything else is original.

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