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Road Grip:


Rs. 93,466 (Ex-Showroom)


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Avenger 220 - A Cruiser?
Dec 06, 2013 01:20 PM 374876 Views
(Updated Dec 06, 2013 07:28 PM)




Road Grip:


The story starts when I was in my late teens. A blue coloured mammoth bike is stuck in a traffic jam and I was watching it from by bus window. Due to the jam, traffic was at a standstill and I got to drool over the bike for long. The bike was short in height but had a long wheelbase and ultra broad tyres and had a massive road presence. Adding to that was the smart rider wearing a half face helmet with dark shades. India's first cruiser, the Kawasaki Eliminator 180cc had arrived!

'Eliminator'. The name was so cool and was sounding like terminator. It was THE bike to buy for the youth. And 10 years ago, it was selling with a massive price tag of Rs.88000 on road in Delhi! That was way way costlier than anything else available. Price was the only deterrent.(Just so that you understand, CBZ was costing around Rs.55000 then.)

As time passed, due to the end of the technology sharing agreement between Kawasaki and Bajaj, the bike was renamed Avenger. As time passed by, it adopted the DTSI technology. Later it graduated to 200cc and in the current iteration, it is the Bajaj Avenger 220cc.

Now, enough of nostalgic history. Lets get to review the bike. I have owned this bike for 2 years now and my experience is based on 40000 KM of riding on all kind of terrain.

Looks - It is the poor man's Harley. It is one of the most beautiful bikes you can buy in India. Some people who are not hardcore bikers even confuse the bike with Harley Davidson. And it comes in 4 nice colours. Black, blue, red and silver. All look cool. It has a speedo meter, odo meter and a trip meter incorporated into a single round chromed meter console. The indicator lights, neutral indicator and the high beam indicator are mounted on a chromed console mounted to the tank of the bike. This is what gives the bike a Harley feel. The chromed spoke wheels go perfectly with the bike

Comfort - This is THE most comfortable bike if two people are travelling on the bike. No other Indian bike has a sofa seat like this. Women love this bike due to the soft and low rear seat and the padded back rest. But if you ride alone without any pillion, there are other bikes which are equally or more comfortable. I personally do not find it very comfortable probably because I am short at 5'5". Some tall riders find it comfortable. Comfort is very subjective. On a bike like this, the seat - handle bar - foot peg geometry might not suit everyone. It depends on your body type. So before buying it, go for a long test drive to find out if it suits you. Some riders have complained about back pain over longer rides. But due to the low saddle height of the bike, many short riders prefer it. If you are a family man with a wife and a kid and want them to be comfortable, and don't want to ride a gearless scooter, then this bike is for you. Of course you wont be able to carry your gas cylinder on it like you can on a gearless scoot.

Engine - The engine is 220cc based on the pulsar platform. It is actually the same engine found on the old Pulsar 220 but slightly detuned and comes with an oil cooler. The engine is NOT refined. It you're looking for refinement, look elsewhere. It runs fine but has tall gearing, which means you cannot ride the bike at low speeds in high gears. So riding in the city means frequent gear changes. Don't expect the engine to last for more than 60000 KM or 5 years AT MAX. The engine easily gets stressed at high speeds. Ideal speeds for this bike between 40 to 70 Kmph.

Power - The bike is decently powerful with 19 Bhp on hand. But due to the tall gearing, you don't feel all that power transferred to the rear wheel. So the ride isn't as thrilling as it sounds on paper. The pick up is good(something which you do not expect from a cruiser bike). It can touch speeds in excess of 100 Kmph but it is EXTREMELY dangerous to ride this bike at those speeds. Read further to know why.

Handling - This is the spoiler. In an attempt to make it a cruiser bike, the wheel base is unduly stretched with a higher rake angle(means the front forks are stretched out). It does not inspire any confidence while riding. You'll be scared to ride it fast or turn it into corners. At speeds beyond 40 Kmph, if you brake hard, the front wheel skids and you will kiss the road. Many of my friends have Avengers. Everyone of them except me learnt their lesson the hard way by falling from the bike in the first week of their purchasing the bike and damaging the fuel tank which needed a denting and repainting(Cost Rs.5000+). Risk of an accident is 4 times more than any other bike. So, buy this bike if you are a slow rider. You need to ride slowly and very cautiously. It is an ACCIDENT PRONE Bike. In our garage, we have many bikes. Avenger is the most accident prone bike having at least 1 accident per year and R-15 is the zero accident bike. Don't ride this bike beyond 70 Kmph.

Mileage - The eternal Indian question. Get prepared to get disappointed with the answer. The bike at its best gives 35 Km per liter of precious fuel. Ride it harshly and the mileage can drop till 28 Kmpl. So it is a king's ride. It drinks a lot of fuel.

Maintenance Issues - Most common issue on this bike is that the rear drum brake sometimes get jammed and doesn't let the rear wheel move. You will have to replace the rear brake shoes to repair it. Happened twice in 2 years. some other friends also complained it. Bad news is that you won't find Avenger brake shoes at local mechanics. Good news is that you can use the Pulsar 180 brake shoes instead.

Price - The most important aspect. At 92K on road Bangalore, it is indeed a very good deal. For comparison, Pulsar 220 costs 96K, karizma R costs 98K, P200 NS costs 1.02K.

The Verdict - An awesome looking and awesomely comfortable bike with good power, but not very safe and drinks lot of fuel. If you're a cool and slow rider who wants loads of style, go buy it.

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Bajaj Avenger 220