Ravi Chandanani meets the Avenger 220 after a heart transplant
Photography: Ravi Chandnani and Sanjay Raikar
Ten years ago, no one in India would have thought that a manufacturer like Bajaj would come up with a bike that defied the typical characteristic of the company, which was making fuel-efficient and small-capacity bikes and scooters. Bajaj pulled a nice trick later and fitted the Pulsar 180 engine into the Eliminator frame. This combo was christened the ‘Avenger’ and Bajaj were able to bring down the price considerably, which proved beneficial to the company. Later still, in 2007, the company decided upon a second heart transplant for the Avenger and gave it a bigger heart, that of the Pulsar 200. The 200 engine worked its charm on the Avenger and once again it attracted a new bunch of customers, who wanted greater power coupled with the already sassy design.
Aesthetically speaking, the bike remains similar to its previous version. The sticker on the side panel now announces that this machine is powered by a bigger motor. Now the company has gone a step further and has re-launched the Avenger with an even bigger heart.
This new power plant has already proved its mettle on the highly successful Pulsar 220, tagged as the fastest Indian bike. The Avenger has now truly become a cruiser meant for the open highways. The power and torque from the 219.89-cc motor are adequate to pull the bike easily even with a heavy rider astride it. Hence I wasn’t able to resist the temptation of a small ride on the beautiful NH4. I must say here that, hitherto, the one thing that had bothered me about the Avenger was its handling within the city. The raked-out front end tends to make one nervous as the front tends to slide a bit under hard braking. Besides, maneuvering the bike in thick traffic is painful due to its long wheelbase. Now, however, though its city handling remains as poor as before, the bike exhibits better handling and straight-line stability on the highway thanks to the long wheelbase and a fat rear tyre.
As I said earlier, the Avenger is meant for the highways and not the city. As I got on to the highway, where the Avenger and its rider feel truly at home, I realised what a comfortable ride it was. All the worries of city riding vanished soon and I was cruising at a constant 90 km/h with great ease.
This was also when I noticed the stability of the cruiser. It was darting through the wind like a bullet and yet was quite stable. The huge 130/90 section rear rubber provides more than ample traction, which really inspires confidence in you. The power and torque delivery are quite linear and the bike does not feel sluggish even in the low revs, thanks to the smooth, five-speed transmission that channels the power from the crank to the rear wheels. Although the 219.89-cc motor is the same unit that does duty on the Pulsar 220, Bajaj have de-tuned it for the Avenger. It now develops 19.03 PS of power and 17.5 Nm of torque. This output is enough to propel the bike from standstill to 60 km/h in just 4.83 seconds, which is just 0.13 seconds longer than the Pulsar 220. Nevertheless, do not expect the Avenger to post a top speed similar to the 220’s. Despite having the same power unit, the output is different, which makes the Avenger’s top speed comparatively lower than that of the 220. The fuel efficiency, on the other hand, has gone down by three km/l to 34 km/l overall, compared to its earlier 200-cc version, which is quite all right considering the increase in performance. The most striking feature of the bike after the engine is its price. The Avenger 220 is priced at Rs. 76,876. In other words, you get a bike that is quicker, punchier and still looks the part and is just Rs. 4,000 costlier than the 200, which makes it a perfect value-for-money cruiser.