Just imagine what fight it is to draw comparisons between two hot, sexy and fast bikes, one from Bajaj and one from Hero Honda — the Bajaj Pulsar 220 cc and Karizma R 220 cc – two bike giants, unhesitatingly every youngster’s dream to ride at least one of them in their lifetime in India. And to choose one between the two is sure a battle for the bike lovers.
Both Pulsar and Karizma have overwhelming capabilities that will just confuse the buyer in his decision making process. It seems that the new Hero Honda Karizma R 220 cc that has had a cosmetic make over from its predecessor is likely to give Bajaj Pulsar some tough time, although that only time can tell.
Looks and the styling
The Hero Honda guys have left no stone unturned when it comes to reviving the brand image of Karizma R, and that has been a bitter pill for the Bajaj camp to swallow. Bajaj Pulsar 220 S is sure to take some beating (if only looks are taken as buying guideline), as Karizma R gets new paint shades, fresh sticker job on the fuel tank and half-front fairing. The all black theme where engine gets black cowl, the chain cover comes black apart from the alloy foot peg side set and the rear swing arm which are all in black. Although the Pulsar makers did everything under the sun to recreate the Pulsar variant “Street Fighter” or rather the new Bajaj Pulsar 220 S (Street Fighter) it falls a few steps behind the new Karizma R.
The Street Fighter was the naked variant of the Pulsar 220 series. Pulsar did not try too hard to in terms of looks with the Street Fighter; everything looks the same as the Pulsar 220 F other than the front fairing that Street Fighter got. Similar to the Pulsar 150 & 180 the Pulsar 220 S maintains all-black look, which includes the forks, swing arm and the engine are shrouded in black giving the bike a meaner look. The 3D graphics, tweaked console background, naked chain, cool body panel, 6-spoke alloy wheels and the slightly modified clip-on handlebars may give few brownie points to the Pulsar 220 S.
Engine and Performance
The Bajaj Pulsar S is powered by a 220 cc oil-cooled, carbureted engines that gives a power output of 21 bhp @ 8500 rpm and torque of 19 Nm. To keep the carbon formation at bay the Pulsar makers have given a new valve coat material, there is a new combustion chamber inside the engine and the other changes include optimized thermodynamics, new camshaft and the oil cooler is 33% larger.
The Karizma R on the other hand runs on a 223 cc engine that generates power of 17 bhp @ 7000 rpm and torque of 18.35 @ 6000 rpm. The power description of the two bikes obviously gives huge thumbs up to the Pulsar S; despite the fact that Hero Honda is the world’s best manufacturer of bike engines, Pulsar S does run on a more powerful engine generating larger power (torque doesn’t differ much though), which takes home a handsome score.
The shift lever is similar to that of sports bike in the Hero Honda Karizma R and the bike just does not seem to tire. One can have an endless smooth ride at all power levels, which means that even at 100 kmph the rider will feel that there is still a lot of power to extract. Gear shifts and acceleration are silky smooth in the Karizma R. The Pulsar S makers have achieved optimized gear ratio implying it gives a top speed of 144 kmph, making it the fastest bike in India. The main motto of Pulsar S was to deliver superior performance on the Indian roads and that seems to have been successfully achieved with the addition of a 32 venturi carburetor. But the good-looking Karizma R has not made decent attempts to outrun the Pulsar 220 in this regard although one cannot side line the bike for this reason ALONE because it still maintains good performance and scores great if not the better.
Handling and Mileage
The Pulsar with the highest power and lesser weight is a just darling to handle on the Indian roads. The bike can be easily maneuvered on mountainous terrain as much as the straight roads. It handles very well on long drives too as compared to its own predecessors. But long distance rides on Karizma R could cause a slight discomfort because of its sporty seat design. There are mixed reviews while handling Karizma R; the handling of the bike in corners and straight roads have been given good points but the handle bar, foot pegs seem to play a spoil sport.
As regards braking too Pulsar is super sharp and with wider profile in the rear coupled with broad tyres both sides, the stability is outstanding.
Karizma R can give a fuel economy of 40 kmpl on the lower side and the best can be around 50 kmpl (should you ride around 40-45kmph speed). While the Pulsar 220 S gives a little less or about the same mileage figures.
Karizma R is available in the following colors: force silver, white, yellow, red and power black and you can own the bike for Rs 88,000.
The Bajaj Pulsar Street Fighter is available in black, blue, gray, red and metallic orange for a reasonable price of Rs 80,900.
The Bajaj Pulsar 220 S outscores Karizma R in terms of power, performance and comfort and of which coming for a decent price. But that is all Pulsar will give you. Maintaining the bike for long years could upset you and even the performance may irk after running it for a couple of years.
Karizma R can be a good bet to own it for a long time without many hiccups. This outscores Pulsar in terms of durability.