It’s a well-known fact that Bajaj keeps working on their products after they’ve been launched, to release revised versions of the bikes few years down the line. Although there is currently no competition to the Avenger in India and was selling in decent number even without any major promotional campaigns, the bike had started showing its age and was in dire need of a comprehensive makeover. The manufacturer has been updating its range with the Platina, Discover and Pulsar getting facelifts.
The last form of change that the Avenger witnessed came solely in the shape of a slightly bigger capacity motor. Now, there’s a little more to it than that. First of all, Bajaj has two style versions of the motorcycle to choose from the 220 Cruise, the bike pictured above, which sports a little more bling with all its chrome-finished oil-cooler cover, headlamp, exhaust, backrest and bars, and longer, laid-back cruiser style handlebars. And then, there’s the 220 Street, which gets an all-black treatment, a flatter handlebar and a grab rail.
There are quite a number of changes that have been carried out on the new Avengers, but it won’t take too long to tell what’s new. The handlebars on the Cruise, for starters, is totally new, but the rake and reach angle remains the same as the older bike. The Avengers now get new single-pod readout, which consists of an analogue speedo, a digital odo and trip, while the rest of the indicator lights are on the tank mounted housing, and remain a bit out of sight when wearing a full-face helmet, just like before. The new motorcycles get an all-new Avenger logo on the 14 litre tank, however, the switchgear and buttons are the same as before, and could have been a bit better this time around.
Swing a leg over the bike and you’ll notice the seat gets better cushioning, while the riding stance is just as comfortable as before, with you having to place your feet and arms forward. Thumb the electric starter and the bike sounds more refined than before with very little vibes at idle. The vibes increase as you pick up speed, but overall, there’s an improvement in the NVH levels. The 219.9cc single-cylinder engine, that’s bolted on to the same chassis as before, is more refined and so is the five-speeder. With 18.7hp and 17.5Nm of torque, you’ll notice that the delivery isn’t brutal-quick, but it builds up momentum in a smooth and gradual manner. And though it’s not the most precise, on a series of long bends, the bike allows you to casually flick around as you please behaving just as you would expect from a motorcycle of its kind.
The rear suspension has been altered a bit, preventing it from bottoming out, as it did before. And even when it does, the new setup coupled with the better seat doesn’t jar your spine like before. In the city, the tight turning radius helps you get past tight spots rather easily, while out on the highway, you would find both 220s to be comfortable and composed around 80kph even with a pillion aboard. Mechanically, both the 220 Cruise and the Street models are identical. It’s just the visual aesthetics, the riding position and 5kg of weight in chromed bits that sets them apart.
Overall, the refreshed 220 Avengers come as a definite step-up over the older model, in terms of visual appeal and riding comfort. A few things to mention in the negative column would be buttons could have been better and the lights could have been LEDs. With a ₹84,000 price tag both the Avengers are attractive.