Bajaj is getting things right with the Discover brand.
Is the new Discover 150 ready to live up to its brand image?
Adhish Alawani finds out
Photography: Sanjay Raikar
Bajaj is on a roll to capture the two-wheeler market. The company has decided to go about achieving this target by introducing sensible machines in an organized segment wise classification of motorcycles. Instead of introducing a machine randomly, the company has defined certain segments of customers and is launching bikes that are targeted to specific consumers. They started doing this sometime last year with the Discover DTS-Si, the one with a 100cc motor purely for the efficiency seeking soul. They reformed the Pulsar brand as well by introducing the streetfighter class within the Pulsar imagery. The Pulsar 135LS opened the avenues of low capacity-high performance bikes. Continuing their philosophy of targeting these specific needs of the consumers, Bajaj has come up with their latest iteration of the Discover – the Discover 150.
Bajaj has realized two things. Firstly, the brands Pulsar and Discover work for them. And secondly, nothing else really succeeds well. The Discover 150 is thus an attempt to carry on the ‘Discover’ brand and get rid of the ‘XCD’ name that didn’t bring the much-needed success to the company when it came to the sales figures. So what does the Discover 150 do? It practically wipes out two models from the Bajaj line-up (XCD135 and Discover 135) and promises to deliver more single-handedly than what these two could do collectively. Let us get the facts straight here – the XCD wasn’t exceptionally great and failed to generate enough sales. However, the Discover 135 was a good machine. For the price and the job it did, there wasn’t an issue with it. But surprisingly, it didn’t do well for Bajaj. Reasons? It neither had the punch that a 150cc would boast of nor did it have the efficiency of a 100cc commuter or for that matter even a 125cc. Bajaj says that it has packed in the right mix of power and fuel efficiency in the new Discover 150. Thus, it is expected to do the job of a commuter in a punchy manner. Sounds too promising? Well then, let’s see if it actually manages to pull out what it promises to do.
To start off with, this Discover looks exactly like the Discover DTS-Si (the 100cc model). No tank scoops like the ones on the 135cc version and the rear fender is broad and commuter-esque, like the one seen on the 100cc Discover. Bajaj continues to maintain its all-black treatment to the engine, alloys, frame, forks, etc. The bike that we got for the test even had its body panels painted in black along with blue graphics. We like the black and blue combination, but find the bike way too monotonous as a complete package. The seat continues to be rock solid (and it isn’t a good thing for God’s sake. It starts troubling your bum within a few minutes of riding). Bajaj has been the pioneer of featuring gizmos on every new product and of course, the Discover 150 is no exception. Alloy wheels, electric starter, auto choke, ride control, Nitrox suspension, ExhausTEC, disc brake, LED taillights, digital console and a wide rear tyre are all standard fitments. These are the things that matter to the Indian customer (though I don’t think they make any difference to the real potential of a motorcycle) and Bajaj knows how to deliver them perfectly. Full marks to the Discover 150 when it comes to the features’ list! But what about its ‘punchy’ 150cc motor?
Yes, it does deliver more punch than a 125cc or a 135cc motor. With a 0-60km/h timing of 5.78 seconds, it is marginally (0.15sec) quicker than the Discover 135 and about 0.27 seconds slower than the Pulsar 150. These minute differences anyways don’t really matter in real world riding, do they? Plus if you see the power output figures, the Discover 150 is rated at 13PS of peak power while the Discover 135 is at 13.1PS of max output. However, the 150 accelerates quicker than the 135. Credit for this goes to the 121 kilo kerb weight of the Disco 150 as against the 133 kilo kerb weight of its 135cc sibling. Also, the max torque on offer is much higher at 12.75Nm in the Discover 150 as against 11.8Nm in the 135 model. Agreed that the 150 is better than the Discover 135, but how does it fare against the other 150cc competitors? On paper, the Discover 150 doesn’t really outshine its rival 150cc bikes on the power and torque front, though it surely manages to keep up as far as acceleration and top speed figures go. Well almost! However, on that note, we would like to mention that it doesn’t even qualify for the streetlight GPs (as per the press release). Nonetheless, the roll-on figures have a fantastic story to tell. The strong torque in low revs delivers a great commuting characteristic to the Discover 150 and makes overtaking maneuvers much more comfortable.
The other and the most important thing that Bajaj promises from the Discover 150, apart from better performance, is the fuel efficiency. With 60kmpl in the city and 72kmpl on the highway, the overall real world efficiency translates to 63kmpl. That is a fantastic efficiency figure from a 150cc motorcycle. And it also proves the motive behind the detuned state of the engine in order to produce lesser power output than the Discover 135 – better fuel efficiency. In fact, going through the efficiency figures of all the 150cc motorcycles available in India, the Discover leads the way by a good margin. Mission accomplished! The icing on the cake comes in the form of the price tag of the Discover 150 – Rs 46,000 (ex-Delhi). Whoa! Does that put this 150cc motorcycle in competition with the price of a 125cc bike? Or maybe even cheaper than that? Yes. In fact, the Discover 150 is almost Rs 5000 shy of the Discover 135’s price tag. For this price and the amazing fuel efficiency, the Discover 150 is the best bet. Though its 150cc motor is something that you can’t boast of for street racing, it at least saves you from being looked down upon for using a meager commuter.