Bajaj Discover 150 DTS-i uses its strong-performing engine along with good ride and light handling to lure commuters

Bajaj Auto has never shied away from going against the grain and taking the road less travelled. Constantly rethinking its models to break the mould, the Pune-based manufacturer has made a habit of shattering every product and segment stereotype.

The story continues as Bajaj has pulled out its value trump card with the new Discover 150 DTS-i. Here's a 150cc motorcycle with all the bells and whistles, priced like a 125.

In line with the modern trend, black encompasses this 150's lower cycle parts with a unique feature on the bike being a plastic front disc brake cover. The Discover's familiar and friendly-looking headlamp is battery-powered and provides a good spread of bright light. Shrouded under its bikini fairing, an all-analogue twin-pod instrument console relays information from a rider-friendly speedometer, and also features an odometer and tripmeter along with a bold fuel gauge. Just below lie beacons for the indicators, high beam, neutral and battery low warning. The mirrors are wide, giving good rear view up to 70kph (beyond which they get fuzzy) and sit atop a chrome-finish handlebar that comes with weights on both ends. All switches work crisply and a pass-light switch is standard. Also on offer is a blue ride-control switch to help riders maximise mileage by preventing excess throttle openings.

The Discover 150's eight-litre fuel tank offers little support to a rider's thighs and long-legged riders will find their knees often connecting with the ridges on the tank. But the rubber-covered gear and rear brake pedals are comfortable and offer excellent grip, even when riding in the wet.

As with all Discovers, past and present, the 150 also shows off its tubular section frame around the swingarm pivot region. A lightly stepped seat leads to the slim tail fairing and ends in a bright LED tail-lamp. As on the Discover DTS-Si, the 150's rear mudguard runs the circumference of the wheelwell; it looks a tad unsightly, but serves to provide good grime protection during the monsoon.

Overall build quality and fit and finish are satisfactory on the latest Discover, and we also liked the level of attention to detail on the engine crankcases.

A maintenance-free (MF) battery helps the Discover 150 DTS-i button-start effortlessly every morning. This is a new twin spark-plug equipped four-stroke engine, not a clone of the Pulsar 150. The air-cooled, single-cylinder motor displaces 144.8cc, with long-stroke proportions of 56mm x 58.8mm. Twin valves reside within its alloy head, and the piston comes with a molycote layer that aims to enhance reliability.

Power output

The carburettor-fed Discover 150 DTS-i engine draws upon Bajaj's ExhausTEC system for good low and midrange power delivery. Maximum power output is 13bhp at 7500rpm, with peak torque of 1.3kgm available at a useable 5500rpm. The bike's 121kg kerb weight is good for an Indian 150cc bike, undoubtedly contributing to the Discover 150's peppy feel.

The new Bajaj leaps off the starter blocks with a light and zippy feel, its engine remaining smooth and completely knock-free all the way to its 10000rpm limit. All the five gear ratios are relatively short, further aiding the new model's quick acceleration. While we enjoyed the Discover 150's well-weighted clutch and acceptable gearshifts, we would have preferred a one-down, four-up gearbox instead of its all-down shifting box.

A highlight to this engine is its tractable feel, the Discover 150 is able to cleanly chug away from speeds as low as 25kph in fourth, even fifth gear at a pinch.

Our acceleration test results prove the Discover is fast to 60kph, taking 5.38 seconds, which is a fraction less than the Pulsar 150. It cracked the 100kph barrier in an impressive 18.25sec, and enjoys really quick in-gear acceleration too. Top speed in fifth gear is a respectable 108kph.

The Discover 150 DTS-i rides on 17-inch rims front and rear, deploying a single downtube steel tubular frame that splays apart just ahead of its engine to reunite again at the swingarm pivot.

While telescopic forks are used for the front suspension, a sturdy rectangle section swingarm works with dual gas-charged (Nitrox) shock absorbers at the rear.

The Discover's upright riding posture is comfy, easily accommodating all but a very tall rider. The riding saddle is nicely padded, giving no cause for complaint even after a long stint. Ride quality is good, neither too firm nor overtly soft, with the Discover easily able to soak up potholes without losing too much composure.

The new Bajaj enjoys an appreciably light feel about town, with nimble handling that is a big boon for our city riding conditions. At speed, the 150 is really quick to turn-in while still able to retain a sure-footed, smartly poised demeanour through the corners.

Re-assuring brakes

Braking is a combination of a 240mm front disc and 130mm rear drum. While brake feel is reassuring under normal circumstances, the Eurogrip tyres do let out protesting yelps when coming down through the gears under emergency braking. Our brake tests proved the Discover can come from 60kph to a halt in a decent 17.91 metres.

A low kerb weight and Bajaj's DTS-i technology come together and allow the Discover 150 to beat most of its 150cc rivals in the mileage stakes. Riding through Pune's slow-moving traffic, the bike stretched each litre of fuel 53.4 kilometres.

On the highway, the Discover returned a creditable 54.2kpl.

The Discover 150 DTS-i lacks the glitz and glamour but its strong-performing, yet smooth and frugal engine along with good ride and light handling are tools the Discover 150 aims to use to lure buyers from smaller-displacement bikes.