Words: Ajinkya Nair
Images: Rohit Mane
What goes around, comes back around. The first generation of the Avenger, launched back in 2005, was the 180cc variant and it had no real competition back then. Throw Bajaj Auto’s killer pricing into the cauldron, and in no time the Avenger name was carved in stone. Post the 180, the displacement subsequently increased to 200 and then 220. With sales hitting a ceiling, Bajaj Auto recently further branched the Avenger out into two variants, namely the Street and Cruise. With a proper monopoly on the affordable cruiser motorcycle market, things were going well for Bajaj Auto. Recently however, the Suzuki Intruder 150 intruded (sorry) into this territory and locked horns with the segment leading Street 150. The company however played its trump card and threw the ball back into its competitor’s court by plonking a 180cc engine into the frame. Yes, the Bajaj Avenger 180 is back! And it replaces the Street 150 from the Avenger line-up.
The engine obviously. The Avenger 180 Street follows suit and borrows its engine from the Pulsar range albeit in a detuned form. It now makes 15.2bhp and 13.7Nm of maximum torque. The 180 comes equipped with a new headlight and visor, as seen on the Street 220, with fresh new graphics too. The wheelbase is 10mm shorter than the 220 variants but the ground clearance stands at a tall 177mm, compared to the 220’s 169mm.
Well, no. It misses out on 220’s fully digital console. And when compared to its closest rival, ABS gets a miss too along with a rear disc.
How does it ride?
One can instantly judge the sprightly nature of this motor especially if you’re coming from an Avenger 150. Bajaj Auto has done a commendable job of keeping the NVH levels in check with the 180. Vibes don’t creep in unless you’re scurrying across the limits of the rev range. The biggest problem with the 150 was that comfortable highway cruising speeds weren’t easily achievable and hence the bike was majorly limited to the city. But now, with the 180cc motor, the bike seems to be relaxed sitting at 90kmph and can go further without losing its breath. The low and mid-range still remains the motors strong points, following the family’s footsteps.
Now the Avenger was never one for corner carving and that still isn’t its forte. It tackles curves with a certain uncertainty. The MRF rubbers shod over the 17-inch front and 15-inch rear wheel provides sufficient grip. Bottoming out the bike over bumpy roads was something I was expecting, but the suspension tuning of this bike made sure that never happened, even with a pillion! The ride quality left me impressed on bad roads as well. With a 260mm disc upfront, there’s a 20mm advantage over the motorcycle it replaces. Paired with a 130mm drum at the rear, braking is sharp and offers adequate feedback to the rider.
Bajaj Auto seems to be on a resurrection spree, and hey, we aren’t complaining. Because all the new products are spot on with the market read just right. The same goes for the 180. It’s better in every way to the motorcycle it replaces with just a premium of Rs 3,000, while also undercutting the Suzuki Intruder 150 by a whopping Rs 15,000. What this translates to is that the Avenger 180 Street is the most affordable cruiser money can buy, costing just Rs 85,498 (ex-showroom Delhi), yet what you get is a more lively motor, fresh looks, and a comfortable ride.