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Bajaj XCD135 - Big deal?

What’s the point? Do you really need a 135 when you already have a 125? There. Now that I’ve pre-empted any attempts at this question, I’d like to say once and for all that more power is always welcome. Especially when it doesn’t cost you a whole lot more. Hence, the new XCD 135 DTS-Si is completely welcome. Like me, you might have trouble remembering the number of variants in Bajaj’s lineup, but upsizing seems to be the new mantra at Bajaj. The XCD has gone from 125 to 135, and I suspect we might soon see a Discover 150, the Pulsar 150 will become a 160 and the 180 will become a 190. The M80 Major might even become the M90 Colonel and I can’t wait for the Pulsar 233.5. Okay, okay, now on with
the XCD 135.   
So what’s different, you might ask. A lot, is the answer. The new XCD is meant to look bigger and it does, starting right from the headlamp. Initially, it might look too big for the bike, but after some time, it doesn’t look so bad. The tinted part of the bikini fairing looks like someone broke the top part and decided to leave it that way, saving customers from the agony of broken fairings. After the last Batman flick, we’d heard Mr Wayne complaining about missing indicators from his Batcycle. We’ve found them now, on the XCD 135. And they’re rather unusually mounted too, somewhat like
clip-on handlebars. Tank extensions seem to be the next thing that’s poised to be done to death. Their increasing propensity to reach for the front wheel might see them evolve into front wheel shrouds even! The 135 gets extensions that are faithful to the trend mentioned above.
 The rear pillion footrests now get a subframe of their own, while the rear
tyre gets a plastic hugger. The XCD gets 150-sized rubber to strut around on, which adds to the overall big look. The side panels and the tail section are slightly different, but the LED tail lamp is definitely one of the best I’ve seen on an Indian bike, though some don’t agree with me. Also, the XCD 135 gets a digital instrument console along with an analogue tachometer, which is
a bonus point for sure. Smart alloys, a comfortable seat and matt black everything round off the package and I think it is fair to say that the XCD 135 is the best looking bike in its segment. It’s well-built too, and even flogging it over rough terrain and our even worse roads didn’t rattle its bones. It even survived the punch and kick test that vehicles have to go through at BSM. Kidding. Really. 
The motor grows by 10cc to 134.6cc and makes 10.06 bhp and 1.18 kgm, compared to the 125’s 9.39 bhp and 1.10 kgm. Minute changes, but noticeable nonetheless. The Digital Twin Spark-Swirl Induction motor, barring niggling vibes at idle, is smooth up to its 7200 peak power revs and beyond too. It revs freely and sounds quite rorty too.  However, the gearbox isn’t quite as refined as the engine; it is better than previous Bajaj ‘boxes, but it’s not Honda-smooth, you see. The chap at the dealership was pretty confident that the bike had four cogs. Imagine my surprise when I prodded the lever beyond fourth and it slotted into fifth! But I do have a bone to pick with the daft
all-down shift pattern. Shifting into third after redlining in fourth is not funny. Yeah, I know, my fault and all of that, but why on earth can’t we have a universal gearshift pattern
on our bikes? At least it’ll stop making us
look funny. 
 The XCD 135 gets gas-filled rear shocks that endow it with a really good ride quality. And handling doesn’t suffer either, thanks
to 17-inch wheels and fat rubber. The 135 remains stable in a straight line and is quick to turn into corners where it’ll stay true to its line. Bumpy corners make it bob around a bit, but there’s never any need for worry. I had my reservations about the Eurogrip tyres, but they aren’t bad at all, provided you don’t ask too much of them. The quick turning reflexes and surefootedness make it as suited to your daily commute as rear sets on a race bike. This reminds me, that though I’m not a big fan of upright riding positions, I found this bike’s riding position to be extremely comfortable. It played a big part in me enacting dirt bike type antics, leaning the bike into corners while I stayed more or less upright. Commuters going back home after a long day at work won’t suffer from lack of comfort on this bike. Our test bike suffered from a drum brake (which Aman called a dumb brake) which didn’t inspire any confidence whatsoever. A day’s worth of
hard riding was all it took to make it useless. Disc brakes should be mandatory on ALL motorcycles above 100cc. Period. And Bajaj do have a disc brake equipped option, so make sure you ask for it.   
At Rs 48,917 (ex-showroom, Mumbai),
the XCD 135 makes a good case for itself. It comes loaded with 150cc spec features like a tachometer, digital meter, gas-filled shocks, fat tyres and a front disc, and it is more economical than the ‘15cc more’ crowd. Despite thrashing it around town and on the highway, it returned around 55 kpl, which is very good indeed – lenient riders will only get more km per litre. I didn’t really feel any lack of power in the city, while out on the highway, it acquits itself quite well, thanks to the extra cog and its stability. So if you have a long-ish commute and need a stable and efficient steed, the XCD 135 is a good buy. Still don’t get the point? Sigh.