Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Majestic Volt: a brief affair with the Avenger

Vikram was leaving town for a week and he decided that our place with a dedicated parking would be the best place to leave his bike. Also, since his battery was new, would we start and run it periodically?? God bless him!! He called me up and I headed the very next day to pick up the 'Volt'- as he fondly calls his Avenger.

I have many wonderful memories circling around Avenger as well as the Eliminator. Back in school a friend bought the 180 cc Eliminator and he surely managed to graduate to become a chick magnet. Hence, you may imagine the kind of admiration and envy that bike managed to grab. Fast track to college days- when the gang went to Goa. Gogo and I hired Eliminators/ Avengers. Eventually, Gaurav finally bought the bike when he started earning while I went ahead and bought a bike which carries the same engine. The time we had in Goa: the sun, the place, the people and the bikes is perfectly imbibed in our memories. The next time I went to Goa with my family, I hired an Avenger yet again and my cousin & I cruised all of the Goa state in one day!! (160 Kms- touching Maharashtra and getting back to south Goa again).

Thanks to Gogo, I have also driven his Avenger through some picturesque roads.

The two Avengers of our fleet:

Now sitting on Vikram's 'Volt' those memories surfaced again. The relaxed ride posture, legs resting on the distant pedals- just puts you in a different world. I had a comfortable ride home. A couple of days later, I took it to office for the usual 'show-off'. Vikram has put up a mammoth windscreen and it surely makes it a head turner. My friends at work were visibly impressed.

So having had quite a driving experience on the Avenger, I can't help pointing out some facts about this monster. Monster?? Well that's what it is! Try parking it at trying places or wading through narrow gullies and you’ll know. It can make some of us (particularly Gogo) look like a Columbian drug lord. Good thing to keep the trivia on the road away from you. Yes, it does intimidate a few on the road and they won't want to mess with a rider loaded with attitude on an Avenger/ Eliminator. It's been a long time since I have left 0-60 figures, I look for the purpose and the bigger picture. Yet, the acceleration is superb. Anyway, acceleration and top speed come later. What this bike is meant for is comfort. You can just sit and ride forever. Having clocked a lot of miles on my Pulsar 200, this is the first thing to hit me. Arms stretched out, legs relaxing comfortably, the superb soft suspension and the trunk size rear tire- all build up this incomparable driving experience. This is also undoubtedly the most comfortable bike for a pillion.

The motor is directly taken from the Pulsar-200 and it does a magnificent job. However the top gear (which happens to be inadequate for the pulsar 200 itself) does not suit the tire with smaller circumference. The engine peaks at around 90. It provides quite a sight when you are following it. I love following Gogo's bike. You can see the suspension working in a rhythm; the spring folding up and unfolding gradually as they eat up the potholes on the road. Other bikes have their suspension responding as a 'thud' to absorb the shock.

The chassis of this bike though letting you sit like a king poses a lot of problems at the same time. The noise-vibration level of the Eliminator was known to be quite high. The bike used to age pretty soon developing a number of squeaks and rattles at various places. When they got out the Avenger, they put the new engine on the same frame bothering only to tighten a few screws here and there. Avenger was a big improvement over the Eliminator no doubt, but it more or less failed to address the major shortcomings of its predecessor. The result is: though the Avenger is a lot more refined than the Eliminator thanks to the new heart, it still is a high maintenance vehicle. No the engine is superb, no need to bother about that. But one has a tough time fixing the mysterious noises and vibrations that eventually come up. The 200cc power plant is fairly reliable and packs a lot of punch. The transmission is pathetic. Will Bajaj ever learn? It's been 7 years!! The first cog of this kind was put on the Pulsar 180. To date, all the subsequent versions come with the same set of problems. False neutrals and slipping gears- they should mention it in the brochure. The motor is prone to the environment and needs regular servicing and cleaning of spark plugs. Unfortunately, I couldn't allow the local mechanic to touch the Volt's sparks as it is still under the company maintenance program.

Comparing it with the Pulsar 200? Both are built for a different purpose. The Pulsar is bred to be a maniacal street machine whereas Eliminator/Avenger are the mature classy kind with lots of chrome. Riding in the city, nothing better than the pulsar 200 but again nothing more God-like than the cruiser on the highway. If you have a pillion, an Avenger can win you a heart but the Pulsar will invite hell lot of criticism. Maneuverability of the Pulsar and the thrill while accelerating on a single ride is something Avenger can't match but it makes up for it on longer drives. Fully loaded, the bikes perform equally but single ride is a different story with the P-200 leading the way.

In one sentence:

Riding the pulsar is like riding a wild mustang .

Riding the Avenger feels like heading for war in a regal chariot.

I bid goodbye to the Volt yesterday when Vikram came to pick it up. I miss it? Definitely! I was considering pushing Vikram off the balcony!!


  1. haha.. you should've tried pushing him off..

  2. loved the comparison .. u stole my dialogues !! ;)i really enjoyed sitting royally laid back on the avenger, but love it more when sitting on the pulsar 200 to go against the wind sitting high up the rider !!