No Replacement for Displacement!!
As you read these words, I might be forcing my dad to buy me a bike. Was I this prodigally impressed by this low slung commuter-ish tourer? Was I so impressed with the heart transplant that the already ‘famous-for-its-riding-posture’ bike had gone through? Well, lets just say, read on –
Delhi has been experiencing unexpected (read lots) of rain in the recent days. There was muck and slush all around and to add to my woes, the traffic was berserk. Even with all these good enough reasons to make me reluctant to ride, I was enthusiastically standing and watching the guy from Bajaj cleaning the bright red AVENGER 220. DTS-i.
I was excited for two reasons; one, I was badly itching to ride since my studies didn’t give me time to ride in the past few months. Two, I had never ridden the Avenger before!
I grinned cheekishly as I saw the last part of the cleaning being done.
The first thing that made me smile was the low, long and wide tank. Even after more than 10 years of existence, one cannot be bored of the looks. The side panels, seat and the rear seem like a niche fit. The bike hasn’t changed visually since its first launch, in 2001 as the Eliminator. Not even the engine has gone through the black treatment like the other products from Bajaj, owing to the true blue cruiser spirit of shiny metal. I swung my leg and relaxed(yes, not sat) on the wide seat. Boy, finally a bike with a nice comfy seat, I thought. The positioning of the lock and ignition were new to me and although I found them cumbersome, they weren’t a reason to avoid riding.
The first few kilometers were consumed in realizing the handlebar-footpeg-seating geometry and I soon got used to the riding position. The bike weighs 154 kgs which didn’t really bother me while moving but a standstill ‘here-and-there’ was a bit difficult due to the long wheelbase and the turning radius. It is shod with a 17” front tyre and a 15” rear with grippy MRFs. The rear is a 130 section tyre and add to the beefy look of the cruiser. The rectangular rear view mirrors look good and perform even better.
The advancements over the previous models include a low battery indicator and a full DC lighting system. I would have also wanted a large footboard styled footpeg (eh la Enticer style).
Once I got used to the bike, I started riding it the way it would be expected to ridden – some casual city riding, few speed bursts and a high speed stint. Maneuvering through traffic was not exactly easy but one can do away with it. The midrange, thanks to the new mill, is better than before. The heart pumps out 19 horses with 17.5nm of torque, which is less than the similar engined p220. The torque helps to easily pull the bike from low speeds in high gears and one can happily cruise at 80-90 kmph all day long. But, vibrations above 80kmph can be easily felt and becomes irritating after some time.
Another thing that made my smile, slightly less happening, was the low intensity horn.
The bite from the front brake is precise thanks to the 260mm disk. The 60/55W headlight bulb does its duty well in delivering good amounts of light in dark. Although it shares its engine with the p220, it also houses a manual choke, near the carb.
I wouldn’t really call the Avenger a cornering bike but it surprised me by not scraping the main stand like its brother, the p220.It handled extremely well and the smile on my face rose back again! I was already a couple of hours down riding the bike and was largely impressed by the seating posture. I had expected it to be a guzzler and it answered my doubts by returning a mere 35kmpl. We stopped for a photo session and I could admire the bright red machine, again.
The Avenger has gradually evolved from the time it was initially launched in 2001 as the Bajaj Kawasaki eliminator. Bajaj finally decided to throw in the 180 DTS-I engine in it to make it more reliable, and more importantly, much more affordable. Then in 2007, they plonked it up with the 200cc engine from the P200 and installed an oil cooler. So when the P220 was launched, it was sure that Bajaj would play the A220 card too!! And frankly, it has no competition in its class, whatsoever.
Our A220 did not come up with the large transparent windshield, which I sorely missed. I have seen one with the windshield and the whole appearance changes. It looks classier and more dynamic than without the shield.
So the big question arises – Who should buy this bike? And why?
I would say, anyone who is looking to shift from the daily dose of back crunching machines. He necessarily shouldn’t be a mid 40s, long hair and foliage, beer bellied guy. A normal guy who wishes to ride casually in the city with some ‘thing’ for nearby touring should be more than happy with this purchase. Also, an urban youth who wants a soft cruiser. But if you want some serious touring, then please look elsewhere. It sure has the heart from the P220 but lacks the punch. That being said, I wouldn’t mind one!!
So I am still forcing my dad to buy me a bike. An Avenger 220 you ask? Lets just say – I’ll re-read the above text a couple of times!!!