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A cruiser for a different crowd

Visvaksen P | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on December 17, 2015

Sofa, so good The Avenger will not threaten the Bulls and the Hogs of this world, it will occupy its own space S MURALIDHAR

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The Bajaj Avenger Street 220 is not your typical long-tail low-rider. But it has its own strengths.



The Bajaj Avenger has never been a bike for the hardcore cruiser crowd. While the story of the Bull and the Hog represents the battle between traditional values and upward mobility, the Avenger is merely a testament to Bajaj’s ability to distil aspiration into a two-wheeled form.

After a five-year run for the outgoing 220 DTSi model, the Avenger line is receiving an update that will spawn three new variants – the Street 150, Cruise 220 and Street 220. All three bikes have essentially the same body with minor cosmetic changes that are designed to appeal to different audiences. The only functional difference is the 150cc engine option on the Street.

We got our hands on the Avenger Street 220, the higher-powered, urban-centric variant and put it through its paces on what remains of Chennai’s battered roads. The results were hardly surprising, considering very little has actually changed in this bike.

Design

The Avenger is aimed more at office-goers who want a sofa seat on their commute to work rather than the weekend warrior who wants to conquer hills and highways. And the new 220 Street continues that proud tradition. The most noticeable change from its predecessor is the removal of almost all traces of chrome from the bike in favour of matte-finished black panelling.

Everything from the handlebar to the exhaust has gotten a dose of matte black, with the side stand, headlamp ring and fuel tank cover being the only hints of its chrome-heavy roots. The other deviation is the silver bar that runs through the length of the bike from head to tail. It is a look that is very reminiscent of Harley Davidson’s finest and is definitely more eye-catching than the Avenger’s previous avatar.

The sofa seat remains as comfy as ever and offers plenty of room for both rider, pillion and maybe even some baggage in between. Most of the other details are exactly as they were on the previous Avenger, including the wide fuel tank with inbuilt instrumentation, the solitary speedometer mounted on top of the circular headlamp and bog-standard switchgear. The handle bars are lower and flatter, but we also felt they could’ve been a bit fatter – the spindly units currently used felt a bit strange to grip. The back rest for the pillion is missing in the Street, replaced instead by a grab-rail, also finished in matte black.

Performance

The Avenger uses the same 220cc oil-cooled DTS-i engine that powers the eldest of the Pulsars. It is in a slightly lower state of tuning in the former though, producing 19.3 bhp of power at 8,400 rpm and 17.5 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm. The 150cc mill on the smaller Avenger Street makes produces about 5 bhp and 5 Nm less.

Despite its best efforts at playing cruiser, the engine – best described as typically frenetic Bajaj – gives away the game. It has enough grunt to eat up city roads, but it does not offer the same high-torque loafing options that other bikes of its ilk do.

On a short tear up the once scenic East Coast Road, our Street managed to get up to the 100 kmph mark easily and repeatedly, only stopping to catch its breath in the low 110s.

Ride quality

The Street has an improved suspension setup over its predecessor and in combination with the wide rear tyre, low seating position and long wheelbase, it offers an extremely planted riding experience. This cruiser can lean and actually inspires more confidence while doing so than the Pulsar 220. The footrests are way out ahead of the rider’s seat, inviting outstretched legs in maximum lounging position. In short, the Avenger is an extremely comfortable bike to ride around in. It also has a commanding street presence which ensures that people get out of your way even without honking.

Bottomline

The Avenger Street 220 is never going to satisfy the purists. But it is the ideal bike for the white collar worker who’s plagued by chronic back pain but still wants to make a statement with his ride. It packs enough power within its bowels for an occasional jaunt up the highway to a nearby hill station but most importantly it will serve you well on the unforgiving city roads – ferrying you over disfigured roads and earning you second and even third glances while it does so.

Published on December 17, 2015
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