Cruiser motorcycles have been gaining popularity in the Indian two-wheeler space at a fast pace in the recent times. But that has more to do in the premium middle-weight & high-capacity segment and not in the mass market. What’s been a constant in the cruiser class of motorcycles under Rs. 1 lakh has been Bajaj’s Avenger. Right from the day when Bajaj launched the Eliminator jointly developed the Eliminator with Kawasaki; the bike has been attracting a decent number of buyers. It’s been over a decade, and the bike also got rebranded as the Avenger after Bajaj & Kawasaki parted ways, but the bike continued to march ahead. Till date, the avenger manages to sell over 3,000 units easily in the Indian market. Not that too many people were complaining, but with time, one has to introduce some change to keep a product fresh in the market. Bajaj conducted riding clinics and came up with this – the Avenger 150 Street.
Call it a poor man’s Harley-Davidson, and it is the best way to describe it. Even officials at Bajaj claim that this sportster like design inspiration has been taken from the American manufacturers most affordable offering, the Street 750. Forget just the design inspiration, even the name ‘Street’ has been lifted off. Almost like a cut-copy-paste job here.
The Avenger 150 Street has been launched in India at a price tag of Rs. 75,000. At this price, there is 0 competition in the form of a cruiser, but it slots in against the naked sportsbikes such as Yamaha FZ, Suzuki Gixxer, etc. which are very popular. But the reason for them to be popular apart from the performance factor is the looks department as well. And with the 150 Street, Bajaj has got it right to appeal to the younger or funky audience. If cool & unique is what you want, the Avenger 150 Street fits the bill, COMFORTABLY.
So more than a decade, nothing much has changed with the Avenger’s styling. Nothing anything was significantly flawed, but there’s not too much to write home about. The bike continues to be sold as an old wine, in a not so new bottle.
One look, and the Avenger 150 Street impresses with the dark theme. It sure looks young in this avatar with almost 0 chrome treatment. The 150 Street is painted only in a blue shade with yellow decals on either side. This should make it easier to recognize this particular model. No other colour option is available, at the moment.
At the front, typical of cruisers, there’s nothing much. The Avenger continues with a small round headlamp with a chrome surround. Below, the bike get’s 12-spoke black alloy wheels with white rim stripes and houses a disc brake. The front mud guard is a full size unit and it also gets silver stripes on top to add a sporty touch. Front fork is painted in black and it also gets rubber covers over the suspension travel area. The bike gets clear lens turn indicators and the back side of these indicators is not seen in matte black, and not chrome. The rear view mirrors on top and the handle bar is also painted in black. The levers however are forged, and hence, not black.
Come to the side, and the body work remains unchanged. The tank & the panel on top of it remains unchanged. However, the tank panel which was previously seen in chrome, is now matte black on on the 150 Street. Also, Bajaj now has made the Avenger a brand of motorcycles and hence, there’s minimum Bajaj branding. Instead of Bajaj, you will find the Avenger decal on the fuel tank. The yellow decals on the bike break the monotony well. Below, the engine is also seen painted in black The cylinder head is however left out in silver, odd. Side panel gets the ‘150 Street’ branding and is also painted in blue with yellow decals. The seat is wide & carved well for the rider and also gets some texture to it. The exhaust pipe is painted in matte black and gets silver accents.
At the back, the most prominent change is the replacement of the pillion seat back with a grab rail, in all-black. Pillion seat remains the same, but is now a little carved out towards the end. The grab rail around its mounts gets a silver plate to break the monotony. Rear wheel is also a multi-spoke, black-painted alloy wheel which houses a drum brake setup. The rear shock absorbers are also painted in black. Bajaj should have at least given the new Avenger’s an LED tail lamp instead of simply carrying forward the older unit. The panel above the tail lamp also gets silver stripes. Rear mud guard is cut flat from the bottom. Seems like Bajaj doesn’t see the pillion rider sitting sideways on the 150 Street as they now don’t offer a footrest coupled to the saree guard.
Replicating the Harley-Davidson sportster lineup wasn’t too difficult it seems, and Bajaj is claiming that this is working well already.
Instrumentation & ergonomics:
Instrumentation on the Avenger is the same old. The bike continues with a single small & round instrument cluster mounted on the handlebar. This time however, you get a digital display for the odometer & trip meters and a blue coloured Bajaj logo in the centre. The handle bar clamp also gets Avenger branding. Switch gear remains unchanged and the quality of plastics is also the same. Which is nothing bad at all. The tank panel houses the fuel gauge and a couple of tell tale lights. Rear view mirrors offer a decent range & view of what’s happening behind.
Typical of cruisers, the Avenger 150 Street also has a feet forward seating position. To make things a little less boring, or say conventional, Bajaj now offers a relatively flatter handle bar on this model. Coupled with the comfortable and carved rider seat, one feels easily at home on the 150 Street. Positioning of the rider foot pegs hasn’t been touched. But the foot pegs are new.
For the pillion rider, thing’s aren’t as comfortable as on the Cruise variant with a seat back rest. But overall, it’s a decent place to be.
Ergonomic quirks include the position of the keyhole for ignition which is placed below the fuel tank, below your right thigh. The position of the handle bar lock is on the RHS, below the handle bar. Always remember to unlock the handle before simply sitting and wringing the throttle.
Engine, performance & Handling:
Powering the Avenger 150 Street is a 149cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, DTS-i, 4-stroke, carburettor-fed petrol motor producing 14.3 BHP of power @ 9,000 RPM and 12.5 Nm of torque @ 6,500 RPM. This engine is not an all-new motor, but is a reworked version of the Pulsar series. Bajaj claims that the engine has been retuned to deliver better torque lower down the revv range, at around 3,500 RPM. Engine is matched to a 5-speed gearbox. The bike also gets a larger air intake from the 220cc Avenger siblings.
Fire up the motor, and as always, we reiterate that Bajaj have worked on the NVH levels of their new motors making them sound and feel a lot smoother than before. The Avenger 150 Street doesn’t really have a prominent exhaust note, but what’s good news is that the engine whine & induction sound is now well contained. The clutch is light and even the throttle feels a lot smoother with a crisper response. Gearbox isn’t as slick as the Japanese rivals, and did get stuck a couple of times which shifting gears.
Within the city, the engine feels relaxed and the availability of torque lower down the revv range is noticeable. It is easy to move out of traffic situations and the bike continues in 2nd gear with minimum clutch slipping even if the speed drops below 20 kmph. Ground clearance is also acceptable and the bike doesn’t scrape easily over speed breakers. The lowered handle bar adds a sporty feel and hence zipping through the traffic is an easy task.
Out on the highway, this reworked Pulsar engine on the Avenger 150 Street pulls nicely up to 80 kmph. Up to this speed, the engine feels relaxed and shows no signs of vibrations or buzz. But beyond 80 kmph, the progress is slow and the bike struggles to cross 115 kmph on the speedo. This is a 150cc motor and anything above 100 kmph for a bike in this class & with so much weight will be tough.
Bajaj has reworked the suspension setup of the Avenger 150 Street, given that the older model used to bottom out easily. The rear spring has been changed and given a little more travel + stiffness. Changes to the chassis are limited to the new engine mounts.
The bike rides on 17″ front & 15″ rear MRF tyres which offer decent grip. Of course, the Avenger is no corner carver, but the tyres hold up well.
Braking performance comes from a 240mm front disc & a 130mm rear drum brake. While the front is decent, the rear brake feels more sharper than the older Avenger. Brake bite was nice and sharp along with being confidence inspiring.
Overall, at the given price, the Avenger 150 Street is a very well rounded product. If you’re planning to take a bike to college and want something different compared to your friend’s naked sportsbike; the Avenger is quite competent to turn heads. Also, not to forget it will be a comfortable option for your girlfriend as well. If you’re young and planning to use this as a daily commute for work, it works in that case as well. Bajaj is confident that in this range, this particular model will particularly bite into sales of similarly priced models across all segments. And we resonate this feeling too. But if you thought that for almost Rs. 90,000 on-road, you will get a modern cruiser from the Bajaj stable as per 2015 standard, then you must look elsewhere.