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Bajaj XCD DTSi - XCDing expectations

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Last month Shumi was in Goa to ride the XCD. So as part of his usual routine he came back to office and narrated a story of his ride. Six times over. All most of us caught was ‘125cc, 9.5 bhp, entry level segment, blah blah blah’. Huh? Come again? Entry level 125cc? How’s that? Ask Bajaj, he said, because they’ve managed to put together a 125cc motorcycle that competes in the entry level segment on price. A different 125, I thought, as I was handed over the duties of road testing it. 

To be honest, the XCD looks better in the flesh than I’d seen in Shumi’s pics. There are plenty of well thought of details on the motorcycle that are lost in photographs. The sticker job is perfectly executed. Bold and minimal, the graphics could be straight off a commuter motorcycle in Europe (I never thought I’d actually appreciate a sticker job on an Indian motorcycle). Ditto the plastic tank shrouds. The side covers, though, are a very Discover thing but are integrated to a small matte-grey plastic shroud that covers the chassis and the swingarm pivot. The XCD also gets a lunch-box-sized storage case above the rear footpeg, which also acts as the saree guard. And then there are some bits that need a little thinking about. Like the unfinished rear footpeg mount (see the flat plate that links the peg bracket to the exhaust) and the slightly undersized R6-style tail-lamp. 

But the screaming blue gloss that our test bike wore was really the highlight of this motorcycle. Any puns in there are intended. It’s the kind of paint job that makes you want to swing a leg over and ride. So I did.
The XCD is small, diminutive even, for a tall rider like me. But it is comfortable. Ergos are in place, but the tank was a little too slim for my liking and hugging the tank almost had my knees touching each other. The XCD’s got switch gear along with the ride control switch from the Discover and a very light throttle controlling the revs on the DTS-Si engine. This all-new motor is Bajaj’s latest on the technology front and puts out 9.5 bhp at 7,000 rpm and 1.1 kgm at 5000 rpm. A little too early, no? But that was Bajaj’s intention. Their sole purpose was to create a city slicker. The low down power allows you to filter through traffic with almost all of the torque at your disposal all the time. A higher gear and lower revs translates to less stress and higher economy. And we have our fuel economy figures to prove this fact. The city run stands at 75 kpl, beating the highway run by 17 kpl. 

An electric starter is standard on the XCD. The engine is very eager to get up to speed, with a 0-60 kph run clocking 6.9 secs. The evident lack of top-end power sees the speedo max out at a (still) class-beating 89.4 kph. The four-speed gearbox on the XCD is a big improvement on the Discover 125’s equivalent. Clicks finally replace the clunks. However, the all-down pattern still er... sucks.Braking’s good too. 60 kph becomes standstill in 4.2 secs over 26.6 metres – quite good. The drum brakes do their job well, but they don’t return much feel. 

An interesting thing that Shumi asked me to do while I was riding was to stand on the pegs and yank at the handlebars and... Whoa!... a wheelie. The XCD is amazingly light – it tips the scales at 113 kg. Weight loss was the theme, and Bajaj has shed all the extra metal on the motorcycle in the name of fuel economy. A little flab was lost around the engine head – the fins on the timing chain side being chopped off. Rather crudely I must add. They lost a further few kilos by incorporating a box-section chassis, using the engine as a stressed member. The other advantage with the light XCD is that it is as flickable as the pages of a boring book, with TVS’ Eurogrip tyres holding the road firmly.The guys at Bajaj have been able to set up the suspension just right to spring up one of the most comfortable rides, with myself and 80 kg of Shumi as pillion (sorry Shumi, I had to reveal the secret number)
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But the question that’s on my mind is will the XCD displace those Splendors, Platinas and Victors that fill up Indian parking lots? I think the proposition is highly probable. And given that there’s so much of motorcycle to be had for just Rs 44,361(Rs 5000 less than the 125cc Glamour Fi and on par with the Glamour) I definitely believe the XCD is a great buy. After all, big really is the new small, and nobody’s complaining.