The next Pulsar is the faired 200SS
It isn't official yet but it is now more or less confirmed that the next Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle will not be the Pulsar 375 ? though a Pulsar based on the 390 will definitely come later ? but a faired version of the Pulsar 200NS. Our sources say it will be called the Pulsar 200SS or Super Sport.
Under the new skin, and we will come to that, will be the same engine as the Pulsar 200NS, a potent four-valve single that in the NS offers just over 23PS and performance that comes very close to that of the KTM 200 Duke. For the SS, we aren't expecting a significant change to the engine's state of tune, though Bajaj might see fit to alter the gearing to ensure the added weight of the fairing doesn't affect performance. A more significant change, like raising the sixth gear a la 390 Duke to allow fuel efficient long distance cruising might work very well.
What would be interesting is that Bajaj gains power for the SS from some other source or additional equipment. A faired product is by definition a more expensive proposition, which also allows room for more expensive equipment.
Pulsar 200NS and KTM 200 Duke. Bajaj Pulsar 200SS is likely to get the same engine as the 200NS and a performance that comes very close to that of the KTM 200 Duke
For example, consider fuel injection. Bajaj was working with Delphi on the 220 before backtracking and creating the carbureted version. But now, they have a new partner in Bosch, who supply the fuel injection systems for the Duke as well as ABS. Given Bajaj's extremely impressive record at maintaining their profits while tightly controlling aggregate costs, would it be impossible for Bajaj to source, say, ABS for the SS and make it standard? The bigger sales volume of the SS, added to the 390 Duke and the RC390, should be more cost efficient. Similarly, if Bajaj is already sourcing fuel injection systems from Bosch, would it not make more business sense to move all platform siblings to fuel injection raising the order volumes and cutting per unit costs?
I suspect that we will see the SS get either ABS or fuel injection, and whichever system arrives on the SS, it will migrate quickly to the NS as well. Why not both systems? I would assume that would be a price issue. Both systems are expensive components and the price point of the NS and SS may not permit Bajaj to include both.
In which case, the one that makes more sense to us is the fuel injection system, especially if it allows Bajaj to extract more power from the engine without a drastic change in economy.
Unlike the powertrain, though, we are not expecting significant changes to the chassis. It will wear the same twin spar steel frame as the NS with right way up telescopic forks and monoshock rear suspension. The added weight of the fairing may just be enough to make the SS feel stiffer and sportier than the NS. Bajaj will obviously have tested the prototypes to fine tune suspension settings and we expect the finished article to feel sportier and more stiffly sprung.
The big surprise and the current unknown is whether Bajaj will give the SS sharper steering geometry or not. The RC390 has been revealed to have a forged triple clamp as well as less trail and sharper rake. Given that this generation of Pulsars and Dukes are being co-developed, it is possible that the SS might get updated front-end geometry in keeping with its sportier, more focussed role. We expect no significant changes to the tyre and other chassis specs.
In terms of styling, we expect to see a finished fairing that is busy like the NS' design is, but it will look sharp and arresting. This will be Bajaj's first faired product, and you can be sure that this fairing was validated along with the RC390 fairing during development, and we don't expect any long term rattles and shakes from the factory fitted fairing.
We have read the reports that the bike is coming in the near future, but this is probably optimism rather than fact. We were given to understand that the next Pulsar, which has turned out to be the SS, was due at the end of the year. But we now think that the launch timing has inched very close to the Auto Expo as well. So while aren't sure when exactly ? the motorcycle will certainly be production ready by mid-December, we expect the launch to be either in January, or more likely, be part of Bajaj's Auto Expo announcement lineup in February 2014.
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