After writing the article on the need for cruiser bikes in India, I thought of evaluating an Indian cruiser bikes. Luckily my good friend Ifti had bought a Bajaj Avenger a few days back and it couldn’t have been a better opportunity for me to evaluate this bike. So I pocketed the keys to his bike for one day and the turn of events err..turned out to be enjoyable. Here's what I observed in this bike.
You can't explain its looks better than this - It got everything that a typical cruiser has.
The design of the bike is fluid and flawless. Low-rise seat, wide handle bars, forward foot riding, nice positioning of the rear view mirrors, wide rear tire and the overall chrome styling of the bike all of this adds to the cruiser's uniqueness.
The foot pegs are pretty ordinary and if they could have been in finished in metal, that would have enhanced its look, or should I say masked its ugliness? Overall the motorbike has all the looks to turn eyeballs you definitely get the attention of people when you are cruising along, feeling like god.
Tech specs -
Before I break out the riding experience let me throw some light on the technical specs of the bike. The bike comes with a 198.8cc oil cooled DTS-i engine capable of generating 17.51 ps @ 8000 rpm and a torque of 16.78 Nm @ 6000rpm. This mighty motor is married to a 5 speed gear box.
Another feature of the bike is its wheel base of 1475mm which is the longest in the crop of Indian bikes. This undoubtedly enhances the stability and balance of the bike. The bike has a 14-liter fuel tank with 3.4 liters of reserve and the kerb weight of 154 kg. The bike is fitted only with electric start.
Initial impressions -
So I was all set to experience the Avenger, it took me some time initially to adjust to the seat position as I’m used to riding my Yamaha R15. I started the bike and shifted into 1st gear effortlessly. The bike has decent pickup and it takes off quite smoothly.
The bike accelerates very well and has nice low to mid range response. The engine is very smooth without many vibrations initially but as you begin crossing the 80 kmph mark, you feel the vibration factor coming into picture. I was able to achieve the maximum speed of 110 kmph but at this speed the engine felt like it was being choked and gave out a lot of vibration.
Since it’s a cruiser bike and is meant for cruising long distances, the bike performs best between the speed range of 50 to 70 kmph, beyond that the bike is very shaky and I would stick my head out and say it is dangerous to do speeds higher than that.
The seating position for the rider is quite comfortable and you get the posture you would expect from a cruiser bike. The wide saddle is very comfortable and provides adequate cushioning. The rear view mirrors are also placed in accordance to the open-chested riding posture enabling the rider to have a wider viewing angle.
However the pillion might not find the seat as comfortable as the rider since the seat is not wide enough. Also the pillion seat seems to be a bit small and if you are a big guy with a sizeable belly (which describes my passenger) then I’m afraid you might feel like being stuck in between the rider and the back support.
The riding experience -
This bike has one of the smoothest gear shifts I have come across in recent times. I was really impressed on the ease with which I was able to switch between the gears.
This bike has a 260mm front disc brake and a 130mm rear drum brake which accomplish their jobs very well. The grip provided by the tires is also good but I was a little disappointed by the suspension. The experience is not good while riding over a bumpy road and its as if the bike is throwing you off from it.
One other thing which I didn’t like is the difficulty while locking and unlocking the handle of the motorcycle. It’s a kinda tedious job and requires some practice before you perform without any hassles. Before you start the bike, first you unlock the bike (the handle lock is located at the right side below the console), take out the key. Then you have to bend all the way down to the left side where the bike’s ignition is located (which is a bit difficult to locate while you are sitting on the bike or when its dark) and insert the key in there.
The entire process irritated me. I'm firing up a motorcycle, not a space shuttle.
Another thing which I would like to see improve is the meter console, which looks dated. It is ordinary and consists of the speedometer, odometer and the trip meter. I would like to see the tachometer incorporated in it with a dash of colors.
Naz' verdict -
In the end I would say that with not so many options available for cruiser bikes in India this is one of the best you can hav. It gives you the feel of a cruiser bike considering the fact that the bike only costs Rs 67,167 (on-road Delhi), its good VFM.
The low to mid range response, the pickup, the smooth gear shifts are some of the key features of the bike which I really liked. The bike is available in colors of red, blue, black and grey.I would choose black, what about you?