Just when you thought Bajaj had enough Discovers to go around, there's two more. Bajaj has just put on sale the new Discovers 150F and 150S which now form the top of the range for that brand in India. The motorcycles are on sale now and are priced at Rs 52,000 (drum brakes) and Rs 55,000 (disc brakes) for the S version. The F only comes in one variant - with disc brakes - and is priced at Rs 59,000. All these prices are ex-showroom Delhi.
The faired Discover twin, the 150F
The answer is actually pretty easy now. Bajaj explains that the last of the Discover 4G models (the original 100cc bike that tasted great success (here is the link to the bike in our Bike Buyer's Guide) are on their way out with the last of them in production now. These bikes are destined for the hinterland markets and should cease to be on sale sometime right after the festive season this year. That aside, all the various Discovers have been stopped except for the 100M, the 125M and these two new 150s.
In sum, if you live in the boondocks, you might still be able to buy a Discover 4G (100cc). Otherwise it is the 100M for the entry market (here is a link to the road test), the 125M for the 125cc segment intenders (here is the link to the road test) and the two bikes you see in the images on this page, the 150F and the 150S. What isn't in the pictures, to be perfectly clear, is the drum-brake variant of the 150S.
Bajaj are playing to their strengths with the 150cc Discovers. They've always been able to extract segment-besting performance, good economy from their engines while keeping the prices towards the lower end of every segment in practically every Discover they've rolled out. That core of the strategy remains the same even for the 150s. However, the prices are interesting because they're bang in the space below all of the other 150s and just above most of the 125s. Bajaj intends to pull customers from both the 150cc and 125cc segments to the Discover 150s. The premium bike crowd should naturally be attracted to the F with its half-fairing, digital meters etc while the 125 upgraders should be pretty kicked with the S which looks about right for a small commuter but comes with 150cc class power and near 125cc class economy. That's the theory of it. At the launch, Bajaj Auto MD, Rajiv Bajaj declined to discuss sales forecasts for the bike saying that the proposition was too new and in many ways, between segments, so numbers predictions could not be accurate.
Not a lot to be honest and yet quite a bit. Basically, the engine shares a fair amount of the 125ST in essence. But it has been worked on with a view to improve the noise, vibration and harshness (or NVH in autotechspeak) and produce a more refined output. Bajaj had experimented with a plastic head cover for the engine but have reverted to a metal cover for the 150F/S because the plastic cover doesn't dissipate heat as efficiently as the metal one and on an air-cooled engine, this is an important thing to keep in mind. Similarly, the gear ratios are different and all, but the gearbox design itself has been worked on for NVH improvements. Up top, obviously, the displacement change comes from bore and stroke. The 150's engine employs a longer stroke than bore - a good solution when you're looking to make more torque low down than power high up in the rev band. The result is an engine that produces 14.5PS at 8,500rpm which is nearly the same as the Pulsar 150. Peak torque is 12.75Nm at 6,500rpm which is at par with the lower end 150cc bikes like the Yamaha SZ, for instance, and actually more than what the Pulsar 150 makes. The catch in this is that Bajaj has been working on creating a package that works at low and mid revs and the top-end, which isn't that critical to a commuter, is relatively modest.
Again, the front of the chassis is almost exactly the same as the 125ST. But the subframe (the part where the seat mounts) has been lengthened and strengthened and the step in the frame (and hence the step in the seat) has been reduced so that pillions can climb on and off easily. Since we Indians are likely to have three people on the bike at some point or the other, the subframe is quite strong. Below, the bikes wear fatter rubber but since the weight difference to the 125ST is minor, the suspension tune is roughly the same as on the ST.
Functionally and mechanically, there is no difference at all. They're both solid little commuters in nature and role. But the F, as the flagship and being the more expensive motorcycle of the two, gets the half-fairing, a flashier set of instruments including a digital readout for fuel level, odo and trip meters, and a digital clock. Also additional is the service due warning and the tail lamp though externally identical to the S, is actually LED illuminated on the F. From the disc S to the disc F, there is a price gap of Rs 4,000 and most of that price is the cost of the half-fairing.
Images: Makarand Baokar