The new Bajaj Avenger Street twins, with their significantly new ergonomics and visual elements, are aimed luring younger audience to the world of cruisers. The new Bajaj Avenger Cruise 220 on the other hand continues to concentrate of the type of customers that the original bike served to. So if you’re a traditional cruiser fan, the Cruise 220 is here to cater to your requirements. Here is our first ride impressions of the most relaxed variant of the new Avenger range.
The Avenger Cruise 220 opts for a textbook chrome enriched cruiser styling which isn’t any different from the older model but the freshness comes in the form of a top-notch dual-tone paint job called as Divine Black. Like the Street 220 and 150, the Cruise 220 sports the new Avenger logos on fuel tank.
The chrome treatment covers headlamp, instrument dial (gets digital display for odo and trip meters), fuel tank trim, indicators, spoke wheels, rear view mirrors, crash guard, radiator cover, handlebar end weights, rear coil springs and silencer. The saddle has a contoured surface and the pillion gets a comfortable back rest with cushion. The motorcycle also receives revised foot rests and a new bracket for mounting a windscreen.
The overall build quality is pretty much a same but a few tacky elements like wires and fuses are well hidden from the plain view. To sum it up, the changes certainly go a long way in enhancing the cruiser’s aesthetics without altering its overall appeal.
Engine and Transmission
Like the Avenger Street 220, the Cruise 220 retains the older motorcycle’s 219.9 cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled carbureted engine which is mated to a 5-speed gearbox. The motor puts out 19 PS at 8,400 rpm and 17.5 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm. The drive chain’s durability has been enhanced by 15-20% by making it harder and improving lubrication.
It terms of powertrain characteristics, the Street and Cruise are absolutely identical, which is to say that the motor packs a strong punch in low- and mid-range but feels uneasy as the revs build up. NVH is well within acceptable limits as long as the motor doesn’t venture into the higher end of the rev range. That said, vibrations on the rear view mirror creep in even during relaxed cruising, making it tricky to keep track of things that are going on behind you.
The engine feels reasonably relaxed at a cruising speed of 90 kmph and could hold on to that pace for a long time. The gear shifts are smooth and offer good feedback but finding neutral is quite a task. The bike managed a indicated top-speed of 120 kmph.
Ride, Handling and Braking
This is where the new Bajaj Avenger Cruise 220 differs from its Street sibling. The Cruise 220 receives a new slightly higher handlebar compared to the old model while the Street gets a much flatter unit. As a result, the Cruise offers a much more relaxed riding posture which is ideal for long highway stints. On the flip side, it’s not nearly as agile as the Street when it comes to maneuvering through tight city traffic or making quick U-turns.
Though the riding posture is not as sporty as Street, the Cruise employs same suspension geometry and tyres so it approaches the corner with same confidence level as its sibling. The motorcycle feels slightly better damped than the previous version, thanks to the tweaked rear second spring rate and there is a wee bit of firmness in the way it soaks up the road imperfections. The increased foam thickness improves the overall comfort level.
The Avenger Cruise 220 is shod with 90/90 x 17 front and 130/90 x 15 rear MRF Zapper tyres (tube). Deceleration is courtesy of 260 mm disc upfront and 130 mm drum at the rear. The bite and pedal feel are good but the front locks up quite easily when braked hard.
Though the new Bajaj Avenger Cruise 220 doesn’t have several mechanical changes, it does emerge as a rejuvenated product with heightened appeal and desirability. It looks more attractive, feels better finished, employs a time proven motor and behaves in a manner which will satisfy cruiser fans. At INR 84,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), it offers a good value for money too. Above all, it offers an exclusivity in it’s displacement segment by the virtue of its body style.
If you’re looking for an affordable motorcycle to feed your wanderlust, the Avenger Cruise 220 should definitely be on your shortlist.