This year June, I was in Goa again. One of my favorite things to do in Goa is rent a bike and explore the roads of this beautiful state. This time I decided to rent a Bajaj Avenger much against my interest in cruiser bikes. After Yamaha Enticer disappeared, Bajaj Avenger (formerly Kawasaki Eliminator) is the only cruiser option one has if you keep Royal Enfield’s Thumderbird out of the picture. Recently Bajaj launched 3 models of Avenger, the Street (150 and 220 cc) and the Cruiser (220 cc). There is no mechanical change except the introduction of 150 cc engine (which is borrowed from Pulsar 150) and cosmetic difference. The street looks heavily inspired from Hardey Davidson 750 while Cruiser gets a lots of chrome treatment which I think is over done. Bajaj seems to be doing what Hero and Honda has been doing for ages…Stickering Jobs!
The bike that I rented was an older model with same specs as Cruiser 220. It was a perfect specimen to test as it had done 12000 km and must have been used by many tourists. Plus this would test Bajaj’s credibility for making lasting products which is still questioned by most of us.
As soon as I sat over the bike, I realized how different it felt to my Karizma that I am used to. The handle bar was easily accessible without the need of crouching ahead. I struggled to find the foot rests though as I am used to bend the knee and place the leg behind rather stretch the leg ahead. It took me couple minutes to get used to this position but as day the progressed I got comfortable with it.
You get comfortable with a bike when it feels as extension of your body and when you operate the controls subconsciously.
The seating position is certainly relaxed and is less aggressive. The 220 cc Oil cooled engine that is borrowed from Pulsar feels different on Avenger. With twist of the throttle, the bike doesn’t surge ahead with urgency but gains speed in relaxed manner. Same is the case with the handle, you can bend the bike in a corner but cannot attack one. It changes direction with ease but not quickly. This works great on highways when you are cruising with double-digit speed soaking the scenery around you.
The brakes work well and thanks to the long wheel base the bike maintains it line under panic breaking. However, I couldn’t lock my legs around the tank and there was no inner thigh support. Hence you cannot maneuver it or receive feedback from lower torso of your body.
I rode from Panaji to Ponda and was back to Panaji for lunch. Post lunch, my wife joined me as a pillion and we left for Chapora Fort riding along the famous beaches on the way. The first thing she mentioned is, how easy it was to get on the bike. The pillion seat with the back rest combination is super comfortable. All through the evening she didn’t complain about back pain even once. Neither I felt any discomfort, not even when I had to brake hard or riding down hill.
If your better half hates bike rides, you should seriously consider a short ride with her on Avenger. And of-course, female riders will surely find Avenger a good option as learn’s bike.
There is no serious competition to Avenger available yet. It is a surprises that no other manufacturer have thought launching any bike in this segment and I hope they do soon. Becuase Bajaj has gone in a comfortable mode with Avenger and there is a need of a serious competitor to make the scene exciting and beneficial to Indian buyers.
Everything on the rented Avenger worked fine. The engine was running smooth, the lever and controls performed well. I assume the renting company serviced the bike regularly and mechanic was good at his work. Which makes me think that if maintained and looked after well, the Bajaj bikes tend to do well if not great.
Bajaj has been hitting the nail right on its head with its advertisement. Take a look at the 2 commercials below:-
As the commercials showcase, Avenger is a bike that slows down your busy life and gives you sense of relaxation, relaxation that makes you realize how good the life feels at a slower pace.
With its ability to churn miles and miles it doesn’t even have to beg to be called a Cruiser. What it certainly does is, makes you “Feel like God” !