P200 review

The 200

As per my last post, we were at Chakan plant for riding their pulsars. We got to ride the 200 for a couple of laps each and here’s the upshot on that. Please keep in mind that it was only for 2 laps (or around 7kms ) that I was on the bike, so the reivew is based on that.

First Impressions

The first impression was based on riding Sid’s bike. It was a black bike, standing inocculously with the other bikes outside the dhaba where we met. Sleek, shiny and looking like a pulsar but not quite like a pulsar. Broader rear wheels, a 200 sticker, split seat and a different silencer are what are immidiately discernable to the eye. I had just reached there on nalin’s pulsar which is one of the first lot with a few changes for stability.

Took the keys from Sid (thanks man for letting me ride the bike!), took a few pics of me on the bike , and off I went. I guess it was not more than 2kms up and down on the pune bypass highway.

The first few things I noticed were:

  • Higher seating than the older pulsars
  • Rock solid feel of being planted while ripping, but feels kind of awkward while braking as your stance is more forward (like a racing bike, but your butt feels kind of a bit high).
  • Turning radius is smaller than the normal Pulsar because I can lean the bike more easily without feeling queasy.
  • Throaty engine sound (after riding a Zma , anything feels throaty!). more than the classic i felt.
  • Braking was ok, but since I was on public roads I could not really brake all that hard as: (a) I did not know the bike, (b) I did not want someone to bang me from behind, (c) It was not my bike or even a test bike.

So, this was a gentle ride on the traffic roads. I did get a feeling that the bike was not like the normal pulsars. Was looking forward to take it on the Chakan test track where I would not be bothered with uncles cutting across me, or dogs or cows parked on the road.

Riding on the track

Chakan Track from Google Earth

We got only 2 rounds 😦 , due to time constraints. The BAL test track is a fun one with a couple of straights, lots of bends and a shocker of a hairpin bend (see pic above). The first round was a test round. I did not exceed speeds. Tested the brakes. Tested the leans in the corners gingerly as there was quite a lot of gravel and sand on the roads. The next round was a bit faster one, crouching on the straights, braking hard at the end. What I felt was :

  • Bike brakes well. I was quite impressed. As per the BAL guys there, the front disc is smaller than the one in the ZMA. I tried some hard braking and did not get any fishtailing.
  • Leaning is ok, but still does not feel as comfortable as the ZMA. It could be because I was not used to this bike.
  • The bike accelerates fast till around 65-68kmph on the speedometer (which is digital btw, unlike the zma, where the odometer and trip meters are digital).
  • When crouching, I cannot go behind the front visor , unlike the Zma. I am peeping above it.
  • when crouching , I cannot easily read the speedo, I have to tilt my head down a bit to read it. I use a full face helmet and the lower jaw protection was blocking the view. No such issue in the ZMA.
  • Taking the curves was ok. I could not really test it out as much as I would like to due to gravel . So, no hanging off. Swinging the bike from side to side seemed easier than on a classic pulsar, which does not really want to change direction from straight.
  • The seats are split seat. I did not have any problems, but Nav , who is considerably heavier than even me, did have issues of fitting into it.
  • The bike seat is high. For me (5’8″) , I could not plant both feet properly on the ground.
  • Hanging on to the tank with the knees is a problem. The point of contact with the tank is the knee only, and not the thighs, so holding on can become a bit of an irritant.
  • The bike gives a viberation above 68kmph. Its not a resonance for that speed and which will then pass, but more of a viberation which keeps on increasing.

Comparison with the ZMA

So, the moot question, which got asked a lot to me from they guys and also from the BAL guys on track and later on in the evening – am I a convert ?

Unfortunately no. For a person owning a ZMA it makes not sense of moving to the 200, unless you are so desperate for a new bike or you want something with a better mileage (as claimed by BAL). Here are my reasons why I wont be going for it (unless I get it for free 😉 ) :

  • Differentiation value not high enough. The ZMA though not the best looking bike around (CBZ used to look better), stands out of the crowd. When I plonk down the money, I want people to know that I have a different bike. As a pulsar I get no such feel. Also, I am sure people will say to the 200 owners – ‘modification accha hai’.
  • Its not that fast. Acceleration kind of loses out in the middle. Going above 100 is slow.
  • Electricals had a problem. We faced another of the gremlins with one of the bikes speedo console going haywire and the LCD panel displaying gibberish.
  • Handling through corners not as comfortable as on the ZMA. But i may be biased here as I did not ride this bike long enough. But I remember taking low speed banks on the ZMA when it was new without second thought. Here, I had to feel out how things were.
  • The grunt though good for short stretches will probably not be so nice on long rides. For this reason I really like the stress less feel of the ZMA engine.

Should you get it ?

50-50 kind of answer.

Here’s the thing:

  • If you already have a ZMA – no point.
  • If you have a p180 – no point. Why would you want to upgrade by a teeny-weeny 20cc ?
  • If you have a 150cc bike, then you can think about it. But then why not wait till June for the 220cc pulsar to come out ?
  • If you have no bike at present, and want to get one right now – best value for your money.

Other links & Blogs

– brick bats, comments welcome –


~ by Vibhu on March 27, 2007.

2 Responses to “P200 review”

  1. [Its not that fast. Acceleration kind of loses out in the middle. Going above 100 is slow.]As you say above, Do you know any India motorcycle that still accelerates after 100kmph except for the RD, I really don’t think so

  2. …The ZMA though not the best looking bike around (CBZ used to look better), stands out of the crowd. When I plonk down the money, I want people to know that I have a different bike. As a pulsar I get no such feel. Also, I am sure people will say to the 200 owners – ‘modification accha hai’….Agreed on second point since I have been asked the same question a few times when I was on the road on my P200.About differentiation value not being enough – apart from cost price , the running costs and maintanence also have to be taken into account . I am getting a mileage of 40kpl consistently . My bike has completed 1300km. The spare parts are considerably cheaper compared to HH – especially Karizma . These two factors combined with the much lesser price tag make it a better pick than a ZMA . One more thing – I personally considered the new black ZMA-R for quite some while but lets face it , the new ZMA-R is just a sticker job and the model remains the same since 2003….four years old . The P200 is fresh and while it retains its links with its predecessors , it is not a rehash of an old bike . Why pay so many thousands for a 4yr old model which was given a <1k sticker job to update its looks ? Finally – There used to be a time when ppl stared at ZMA owners but it is no longer the same – at least not to the same degree. ZMA is common enough these days and even with a new sticker job , it doesn’t exactly stand out .. As I said , its been around for 4 years and no longer has the same kind of bling bling about it .The P200 is so very much like the P180 and most ppl don’t realise its a new model .ON the basis of that , I don’t think that the presence of either bike is a point to be taken into consideration while purchasing either.

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