What is the new Pulsar 375 going to be like?
Bajaj has confirmed that there will be a new Pulsar within this financial year that will be significantly larger than the Bajaj. Other indicators suggest pretty convincingly that this will be based. From the start of the KTM operation in India, Bajaj has said that the Pulsar and KTM R&D teams work closely together. The former are exceptional at cost-effectiveness and the latter at performance. This also means that future Pulsar development is linked to future KTM development to a great extent. The first confirmation came when the 200NS followed the 200 Duke into the market and we understand that this trend is to continue. The KTM is now only weeks from launch - we believe the production of the motorcycle has already started at Bajaj's plant in Chakan. And OVERDRIVE has learned that Bajaj is looking at finalising a launch date that falls between June 10 and 25, 2013.
Over the last few days a bunch of grainy pictures with artificially obscured backgrounds and all manner of 'artist's impressions' have been doing the rounds. Including one hilarious clip from a Bangla newspaper which shows clearly a grainy Ninja 250 in the frame with a caption that reads Bajaj Pulsar 375 that showed up on a social networking site. Regardless of the way the spy shots look, one thing seems to be clear: that the new Pulsar 375 is going to break new ground.
Let us speculate with a clear head as to whether this makes sense or not.
If you look at the situation with a weather eye, you come upon a few things that are obvious. Let us get them out of the way first.
Positioning: The Pulsar brand stands for value and performance
Bajaj has crafted the Pulsar brand into a clear, identifiable thing. The motorcycles are always sporty in nature, but also always affordable. Together it means that the Pulsar is expected to be a value for money motorcycle with its performance being a significant part of the value appeal. A good example is the nearly identical engine output figures of the P200NS to the 200 Duke but the yawning Rs 60-65,000 price difference!
Engine: making the 375 into a value proposition
If you extrapolate from here, I believe the Pulsar 375 will be positioned once again as a motorcycle that shadows the engine performance of the 390 Duke. We expect that this time the difference in engine performance will be more significant, and we expect the Bajaj Pulsar 375 to arrive with roughly 38-40PS of peak power. The 390 Duke is already significantly calmer in nature than the 200 so we believe that the Bajaj R&D division will give the Pulsar 375 an exceptionally smooth, unhurried feel along with highway friendly ratios to create a significantly more fuel efficient, highway friendly machine. With appropriate gearing this could actually mean that the Pulsar could actually boast a higher theoretical top speed.
2012 Bajaj Pulsar 200NS and KTM
Chassis: Cheaper need not mean inferior at all
The big factor that brought the price of the P200NS so far below the KTM was Bajaj's opting to scale back on the equipment. We believe that the Pulsar 375 will be vastly better equipped than the P200NS due to the far greater performance, but it will again, trail the 390 in this regard.
Our estimate is that the cylinder will have cast pistons as opposed to the forged units in the Duke, the Nikasil coating will probably be nixed, and Bajaj will use three or more spark plugs, four valves and a more economical fuel injection system, perhaps with a smaller throttle body to fuel the motorcycle. All of this falls neatly in line if the performance and compression ratio is scaled back and will create an effective, value for money, performance package. We do believe that the Pulsar will retain double overheard cams though, the extra degree of control over intake and exhaust valves will be critical to balancing economy against power output.
The external cases will probably be identical to the P200NS visually, but just like what happened between the D200 and the D375, there will be a new gearbox with completely new ratios for the new Pulsar.
On the chassis side, we expect to see a brawnier steel twin spar frame once again. A trellis would be too close to the Duke and an aluminium twin spar would escalate the price a bit too much. A similarly muscular, rectangular section, perhaps braced, swingarm will complete the chassis. We expect to see MRF or other Indian OEM radial tyres on the Pulsar in more or less the same size and profile spec as the Duke. But the Pulsar tyres will get a flatter, less rounded profile to allow less experienced riders to find confidence at full lean. The suspension will be a monoshock at the rear and a right side up telescopic fork up front. These units could be identical to the Pulsar 200NS but with different damping settings to handle the extra weight and performance.
2012 Bajaj Pulsar 200NS and KTM 200 Duke
Styling: Does the Fairing Matter?
Will the new Pulsar 375 have a fairing? The negative of adding a fairing is pretty obvious. It restricts the air flow to the engine, it is an added weight penalty and if the motorcycle isn't going to be used at 125kmph or more for significant amounts of time, and it serves little aerodynamic purpose. The flip side is that in India a fairing is considered a big factor in the perception of value for the premium motorcycle.
The toss-up between a sporty-naked or a faired bike is actually also a strategic decision because Bajaj intends to have the RC-series of KTMs coming next year and bringing out a faired Pulsar steals that thunder a little bit.
That said, we think it makes sense for Bajaj to add a fairing to the new motorcycle. The fairing doesn't affect the engine because it is now liquid-cooled, which is a far more controllable way to handle thermal stability in internal combustion engines. We also think it is a good idea to create a new voice for the biggest ever Pulsar with a strong visual differentiation, something a fairing will accomplish quite naturally since all of the bikes before it have been naked. The fairing would add Rs 15-20,000 at the maximum to the price of the motorcycle, but that should not be a problem.
Cost: the VFM proposition
The major manufacturing cost escalation factors for the Duke 375 are things like the cast pistons, Nikasil bores, Metzeler tyres, new ABS, new fuel injection system and so forth. Almost none of these factors will come to the Pulsar which means the actual cost difference between the Pulsar 200NS and the 'Pulsar 375R' (my coinage, not official) will be the plastics in the fairing (sides, mountings for the head light assembly, visor etc), new wheels (again, our anticipate), the stronger chassis components and la few other things here and there.
As in there should be enough head room to add the fairing and still have enough headroom to price the bike extremely competitively. We are guessing that the 390 Duke will arrive at Rs 2 lakh and in that event, we expect Bajaj to announce a price of around Rs 1.4-1.5 lakh for the Pulsar 375R.
Yes, this price will put it square against the 200 Duke, but our understanding is that despite the similarity in performance and spec, few Pulsar 200NS customers consider the 200 Duke before their purchase and vice-versa. And in that event, the danger of auto-cannibalisation should be minimal.
We must remind you at this point, that this is our reading of how the Bajaj Pulsar 375 might shape up. Which means we could be way off from the final shape that the motorcycle takes.
But if everything we suggest turns out to be true, then a naked Rs 1.3 lakh Pulsar 375 would be incredible!
Starts Rs 1,00,307
Starts Rs 1,72,749
Starts Rs 2,52,928
- Honda Drive to Discover 10: A new discovery with the City, WR-V, Amaze and Jazz
- Electric vehicles - Why they don't have a gearbox and how it's possible to go as fast backwards, as forward
- Government confident of local manufacturing of lithium-ion EV batteries by 2022
- 2021 Triumph Trident 660 first ride review
- Scrappage Policy - A crucial joint representation made to the government to save vehicles older than 30 years