Bajaj Avenger 160 Street ABS: Road Test Review

Published On May 21, 2019 By Arun Mohan Nadar for Bajaj Avenger Street 160

Bajaj has played the value card perfectly with the new Avenger 160 Street. But, has the drop on displacement come at a cost?

Introduction:
Ever since its launch, the Bajaj Avenger 180 Street has been the most affordable cruiser bike on sale in India. But with the ABS norms coming into effect last month, an inclusion of the safety feature would have pushed the price higher. To counter this, Bajaj has ridden in the new Bajaj Avenger 160 Street ABS. Yes, Bajaj has gone down in displacement, as the new motorcycle replaces the Avenger 180. And despite the inclusion of ABS, Bajaj has managed to price it even cheaper than its predecessor! So, is the displacement tradeoff a right move? Our comprehensive road test review gets you the answer. 

Pros:

  • Aggressive pricing.
  • Easy to ride in the city.
  • Low seat height. 

Cons:

  • Mileage figures could be better.
  • Styling is exactly similar to the older bike.
  • Build quality could have been better. 

Stand-Out Features:

  • New motor is peppy and decently refined. 
  • Disc brake offers good stopping power. 
  • 730mm saddle height is among the lowest for any cruiser. 

Design:


The design of the new Avenger 160 ABS is exactly similar to the Avenger 180. In fact, if one hides the ‘Avenger 160’ sticker on the centre panel, it would be very difficult to distinguish the new bike from its predecessor. All body panels and the wheels, headlight, tail light, tank and even the graphics are exactly the same as the Avenger 180! And this is where we feel there had to be some distinction with respect to styling among the two cruisers. However, it also means that Avenger 180 owners don’t have to worry about parts and panel replacement for their bikes as the one on the Avenger 160 ABS will be a direct fit. Being the street variant, the bike is devoid of any chrome elements as seen on traditional cruisers, and we must say the blacked-out elements does make it look more urban. 

Ergonomics:


The riding posture is exactly similar to the Avenger 180 and so is the very low 730mm seat height. The footpegs are forward-set and since it’s an urban bike, the handlebar is pretty flat as well. But there’s one big problem. The LHS and the RHS footpegs are placed differently. This means that if you’re a tall rider, the left handlebar will brush against your knee while taking tight left turns, which isn’t the case when you take a U-turn on the right. And speaking about U-turns, unlike traditional cruisers, the Avenger 160 doesn’t have a wide turning radius, even with its rather long 1480mm wheelbase. Apart from the handlebar brushing against your knees, tall riders might find the riding posture a bit cramped. The softly padded seats are good for city usage, however over long rides, it could cause discomfort to the rider. The pillion rider has ample space and the long grab rail is easy to hold onto. 

Technology & Features:


The Bajaj cruiser has been equipped with a single-pod instrument console with an analogue speedometer and a digital readout for details such as the tripmeter and odometer. The fuel gauge and tell-tale lights have been positioned on the fuel tank, which means it’s off the rider’s field of vision. Also, the small mask on the headlight only adds to the aesthetics and has no functional use. Switchgear quality is average and reminds me of the Discover. The overall build quality, with lots of visible welds, ensures that you have no doubt that the bike has been built on a budget. Being an entry-level motorcycle, the Bajaj Avenger 160 hasn’t be loaded with many features. And speaking about technology, the bike gets a single-channel ABS and Rear-Lift Protection (RLP) sensor to avoid accidental stoppies, which seems a bit too farfetched for a cruiser. 

Performance:


The biggest update on the new motorcycle is the 160cc motor. This isn’t an all-new engine and is in fact a hybrid of the Avenger 180’s motor and that of the Pulsar NS 160. It still remains a fairly basic 2-valve motor with air cooling, unlike the Pulsar modern engine architecture. However, the impressive bit is that the new bike still manages to almost match the Avenger 180’s power and torque figures.  

 

Avenger 160

Avenger 180

Engine

160.4cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled

178.6cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled

Power

15PS @ 8500rpm

15.5PS @ 8500rpm

Torque

13.5Nm @7000rpm

13.7Nm @ 6500rpm

Transmission

5-speed

5-speed

The Avenger 180 feels at home doing urban speeds and the engine is very tractable for city riding. It isn’t the quickest bike off the line as seen in our acceleration tests; however, it does feel peppy to ride around town. In fact, there isn't any significant drop in performance in comparison to the Avenger 180. Out on the highway, the Avenger 160 does struggle. It can cruise between speeds of around 70-80kmph, beyond which the bike starts feeling buzzy. It did manage to cross a speedo-indicated 100kmph with my hefty weight, but one can feel harsh vibrations from the pegs at such speeds. The 5-speed gearbox does its job well and the clutch is also light.

 

Avenger 160

Avenger 180

Acceleration (0-60kmph)

5.80sec

5.62sec

Acceleration (0-100kmph)

17.19sec

16.39sec

Roll-ons (30-70kmph)

6.63sec

6.51sec

Roll-ons (40-80kmph)

9.09sec

8.85sec

And the big question: how much is the Avenger 160’s mileage? In our mileage test, the Avenger 160 managed 53.72kmpl on the highway and returned 46.83kmpl in the city. The numbers are a bit disappointing as we expected the new bike to be more frugal than its predecessor. The Bajaj Avenger 180 Street had delivered 52.18kmpl and 48.02kmpl in the city and highway run respectively. With a 13-litre fuel tank, the Avenger 160 ABS should have a real-world range of around 630km on a full tank. 

Ride, Handling & Braking:
The underpinnings of the Avenger 160 are nearly identical to the Avenger 180’s. This means the frame, dimensions, suspension and braking hardware is exactly the same and so is the 150kg kerb weight! 

Underpinnings:

Frame

Diamond type

Suspension (front/rear)

Telescopic fork / twin shock absorber

Brakes (front/rear)

Disc brake / drum brake

Ground clearance

177mm

Kerb weight

150kg

In the city, the Avenger 160 feels quick on its feet and filtering through traffic is an easy affair. And even around flowing corners, the bike felt natural. Suspension setup is on the softer side and the bike rides over minor bumps and potholes rather easily. However, over sharp bumps, the rear has the tendency to bottom out. Apart from the suspension, the thick seat cushion absorbs a fair amount of jolts as well.

A major addition on the new Avenger 160 is the inclusion of single-channel ABS, which should help riders in sticky situations. The front disc brake offers good bite, and the new bike stops better than the Avenger 180. However, we wouldn’t have minded paying a bit extra for a rear disc brake as well. 

Braking test:

 

Avenger 160

Avenger 180

80-0 kmph

32.16 metres

32.66 metres

60-0 kmph

17.62 metres

17.80 metres

 

Variants:
Unlike the Bajaj Avenger 220, the new Bajaj Avenger 160 Street is available only in one variant with single-channel ABS. 

Verdict:
The entry-level Avenger remains the most affordable cruiser bike that you can buy in India. In fact, with the Avenger 160, Bajaj has taken the bar of aggressive pricing a level up. Despite the addition of  single-channel ABS, the new bike is Rs 6,000 cheaper than the Avenger 180! And if that doesn’t sound tempting enough, the Bajaj Avenger 160 Street undercuts the Suzuki Intruder by a massive Rs 12, 400!

Apart from the value proposition, the Avenger 160 does everything that you expect from an entry-level urban cruiser. Yes, it doesn’t have the long legs to make it a proper highway cruiser, but for that you have the option of its 220cc sibling. However, we do feel that the Bajaj Avenger family needs a ground-up update as the cruiser bike has been on sale for over 14 years now. And we are sure that Bajaj engineers have commenced word on the next-generation Avenger a long time ago, and the new platform might make its debut next year as the BS6 emission norms is around the corner. 

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