R15 Vs Karizma R Vs Pulsar 220cc
Comparitive test drive report
In 2007, we made India’s largest 150cc challenge by pitting the apache RTR against the pulsar, cbz xtreme, Hunk, Unicorn. You readers welcomed it with much enthusiasm. That made our job much harder to come out much exciting one than the last year challenge. But the advent of bikes like R15 and apache RTR FI gave us a little hope that we can make yet another stunning challenge.
The criteria for this 2008 challenge is simple, the bikes must make your adrenaline rush. You might have got the the idea, yes, for the 2008′s challenge R15,Apache RTR FI, Hero Honda karizma and Bajaj Pulsar 220cc FI fight for the crown. All these bikes are special and made the indian biker to realise the true biking. Except for the Karizma all the bikes made us to wait for months and tested our patience like anything. From the manufacturers point of view, these are the benchmark bikes and demanded a lot of money and time from them. For Bajaj and TVS the pulsar 220cc FI and apache RTR FI are meant to show their technological prowess to the customers and to tell them they are second to none especially to the Japanese makers. For Yamaha, R15 is its last bid to turnaround its Indian fortune. Hence our 2008 year’s challenge is not just a competition between machines, its a challenge for the manufacturers pride. These machines are built not just to commute but to make your adrenaline pump up. Let’s go for the adventure……
Design and Styling:
Unlike other segments, this segment is not known for regular launches. Karizma was introduced in 2003 then the pulsar 220cc came in 2007 and we got the R15 only few months back. Atleast in the short or medium term we do not expect any major launches in this segment other than Bajaj – Kawasaki Ninja 250cc. But a karizma customer still loves exclusivity he dont want to hear words of praise for CBF Stunner from his girlfriend. That’s where the Yamaha’s R15 comes in. Inspired by the iconic R1 this bike is truly a gem and cannot go unnoticed even if Yamaha sells 10000 units every month. GK Dynamics the firm behind the V-Max and R1 created this wonder R15. The full fairing, conical windvisor, aerodynamic cowls, low stance and skinny tyres are more inviting to steal the bike and ride away.Most of these features are first among the Indian bikes and are tough to imitate.
While the R15 is inspired from Iconic R1, Hero Honda engineers borrowed styling cues from VFR800. But remember VFR800 came into the world way back in 1998. Karizma is clearly showing its age and it shy away to take even the baby Karizma (CBF Stunner). The cosmetic facelift which it received last year does not help matters. The styling is not that electric but still it looks cool. The half fairing, crystal glass trapezoidal headlamp,curved panels, and mounted triangular indicators still holds appeal. But the gaping panels that accommodates the telescopic forks are outdated and leads to distraction. However i still believe Karizma has best tail-lamp cluster even though its has no LEDs. The second filament of two large bulbs blink alternately upon application of brakes.
While the other competitors are a stripped down version of superior bikes, Pulsar 220cc is a evolutionary. Bajaj engineers carefully collected the customer’s response and came up with the Pulsar 220cc.It’s bigger and bolder than its siblings. The projector beam headlamps and half fairing gives the p220cc a muscular look. But the rest of the profile is more common and it fails to stand out in the crowd.
Engine and Transmission:
engineering vs volume
It must be unfair to compare these bikes, have a look at the specs. While the engines of the R15 and P220cc are Fuel Injected karizma still sucks charge through carburettor. Two of the mills have a displacement of 220cc and R15 features a 150cc mill. Strange isn’t it? but happened to be competing with each other in India biking arena.
Yamaha’s 149.8cc (we are going to specify exact figures) liquid cooled, four valved mill is really a gem. Switch on the ignition key, a hum sound and the starting engine signal tells you i’m ready to race. Yamaha has indianised lot of its globally proven technologies. The forged piston and aluminum DiASil Cylinder not just reduces weight but also enhances the combustion characteristics. It zooms past 60kmph in just 6 seconds and 100 around 16seconds.The race bred R15 is really addictive and it makes you drive faster and faster. Drive till the redline the power never wades. The carefully spaced six speed transmission is also boon for the bike. Take the bike to the highway and slot into the sixth gear it effortlessly pulls all the way upto 132kmph. But a little more ccs and more horses would have done justice to its design. R15 develops 17bhp at 8500rpm and the redline is at 10500rpm.
If R15 is racy, Pulsar 220cc FI mill is the most drivable. 20bhp mill offers enough power at all speeds and it proves Bajaj understands Indian market perfectly. The five speed one down four Up transmission makes the P220 most drivable. This reflects in the mileage department too. While the R15 manages to give just 33kmpl pulsar 220cc returns around 38kmpl. Also signal to signal races can be easily won with the p220cc speedo hitting 60kmph mark in just 5 seconds. The engine lacks punch at lower speeds but the mid thrust and top end performance are impressive. Out on the highway, p220cc hits a top whack of 125kmph. Absence of full fairing deters us from pulling beyond that.
The 223cc mill is least hi-fi and it churns 17bhp and 18.7nm of torque. Five cogs shift through a toe-shifter and the ratios favour the highway driving than the city. It takes almost 7 seconds to reach 60kmph and the top speed is at 120kmph. Karizma also loves to drink more fuel, it manages to return only 31kmpl. Put that on the highway karizma mileage increases significantly.
None of these bike have any distinct exhaust note. Bike makers in India except the TVS is yet to make headway in sound engineering.
Ride and Handling:
sports Vs sport -touring Vs Touring
The rear set foot pegs, sporty clip-on handle bars and crouched riding position of R15 is hard to adapt for a newbie. But once you used to it, you would start loving it. However the day to day commuting is not desirable with R15. Our city roads and traffic are sure pound your wrist hard. Take the beast out to a race track or a highway on weekends and showcase the bike skills to your friends. The superior steel deltabox frame is 200% more rigid than the other Indian bikes. The linked motocross suspension and twin pod calipers aids stability even under hard cornering. Result, you tend to lean still your knee touches the tarmac. Easily the best handling machine of the lot and sets new standard for other Indian bikes.
The generous wheelbase and Handlebar span gives you a near upright riding position. P220′s substantial forks, twin-member tubular frame, an elliptical swingarm mounted on needle roller bearings and gas charged shock absorbers offers plush ride even at high speeds. But the pulsar 220 handling is not impressive. Blame those 260mm/230mm front and rear disc which fails to bring confidence especially at emergency conditions. Steering response is also relatively poor to pull down the
Similar to other two bikes, the ride position in the Karizma is also slightly stretched forward but the wide handle bar and seats ensure you sit firm on the seats. The upright riding position and superb braking never makes you feel tired even after riding for 100′s of kilometers. Also the stability at any and every speed is top notch. But never try to put the bike into the corner a gear high and pull away in haste.
While the R15 is racer, Hero Honda’s Karizma is a perfect tourer. If you don’t like the thump of the Bullets yet loves touring Karizma is the one to settle. But beyond that Karizma has nothing to boast about. The real fight is between the pulsar 220cc and Yamaha’s R15. Pulsar’s oil cooled 220cc mill is pleasure to ride on and the bike proximity to its sibling easily makes it a logical destination for the pulsar (150cc,180cc & 200cc) customers. P220cc is the bike for everyone and it offers a excellent value for money. But that doesn’t mean p220 is the champion, race bred styling and uncomparable handling chractertics will make the R15′s customer satisfied like any other and forgot about the price difference of Rs16000 he shelled out for R15. For compelling performance and turning heads R15 is the one to go.