The cruiser-typical ergonomics of Avenger 220 DTS-i makes this Bajaj a comfortable motorcycle to use within the city

The low-slung Avenger was first produced as the Kawasaki Bajaj Eliminator back in 2001. Bajaj later went on to upgrade the cruiser to a 180cc, DTS-i powerplant in 2005 when it was re-christened the Avenger. It received another capacity hike to 200cc in end-2007. Bajaj Auto has just gone a step further, now having given the Avenger a 220cc DTS-i engine.

The Avenger 220 DTS-i looks identical to its predecessors. A recognisable, upmarket bike in India even today, it comes with cruiser-typical, long and low, chrome-laden styling. Smooth, classic lines flow the length of this graceful motorcycle, with a petite, chrome-encased powerful headlight sitting atop its outstretched front forks. The steering clamp region is alloy rich and mounts the Avenger's high and narrow handlebar.

There's a single, high-set circular speedometer, with inset trip and odometer. The fuel gauge and some warning lights are mounted at the head of the fuel tank. Switches are typical Bajaj — crisp to operate and easy to come to terms with. An engine kill switch, push-to-cancel indicators and pass-light switch are standard fitment. Grip feel is good and we've always had a soft corner for the Avenger's buffed alloy levers, as well as its smartly shaped mirrors.

The Avenger's teardrop-style fuel tank is really wide, tapering at the rear into a superbly padded seat and neat side panels.

One can spot its neat oil radiator and solid-looking crash-guard just ahead of the tank. However, Bajaj would do well to reposition this bike's ignition key slot, located painfully ahead and under the tank, hidden in a location that is tricky and uncomfortable to access when seated. Familiar aspects are a massive tail, pillion backrest, sheared silencer and exposed chain. The Avenger 220 comes with adequate quality, a good paint job and a high level of attention to detail.

The configuration

The latest Avenger adopts the same 219.9cc powerplant also seen in the company flagship Pulsar 220 DTS-i. The configuration is much the same — four-stroke, single air-cooled cylinder with oil cooler in place – but the cruiser engine runs an altered state of tune.

The bike is CV carburettor-fed, with twin valves controlling its combustion chamber. Bearings for the rocker arms, which are now the industry standard, are present as is twin spark plug or DTS-i technology for improved fuel economy. Peak power is elevated to 19.04bhp, developed at 8400rpm, with the Avenger 220 capable of 1.78kgm of torque built at 7000rpm.

The Avenger deploys a resonance chamber on its silencer, Bajaj's exhausTEC system to boost low-end grunt, and also thanks to the short gearing. Both these factors ensure the Avenger outputs healthy low- and mid-range performance.

But that's not to say the Avenger isn't smooth for the power delivery is linear and the engine runs vibe-free. This is a cruiser that also feels quite at home when riding around in the city. The Avenger has a well weighted clutch allied to a five-speed gearbox that shifts with adequate feel via a heel-and-toe shift lever in a one-down, four-up pattern. Performance is considerably faster than the outgoing 200cc Avenger – 0-60kph now takes 4.43 seconds instead of 5.08sec on the older bike, and 0-100 takes 13.41sec where the earlier model took 18.87sec. True top speed is 119kph.

Nothing much has changed in the ride and handling front, for the Avenger 220 DTS-i retains all dimensions and a 1475mm wheelbase from its ancestor, while tipping the scales at a virtually identical 154.5kg, a negligible half kilo up from the earlier model.

The 220 uses a twin downtube frame and an elliptical section steel swingarm at the rear. It rides on spoked, 17-inch front and 15-inch rear wheels and continues to use 90/ 90 front and 130/ 90 section rear tyres.

The riding position is rather laidback and comfortable with the seat offering a pampering feel. The rider sits low in the bike, thighs widespread around the motorcycle's massive fuel tank. Ride quality is acceptable.

While the Avenger offers excellent straightline stability true to its cruiser status, it sometimes feels cumbersome to steer in urban, slow city riding conditions. We've always noted the Avenger's excellent braking character, and the latest variant is no exception, taking 15.1 metres to come from 60kph to rest, while also offering excellent feel at the levers.

A larger engine doesn't seem to have made a really significant dent in the Avenger's fuel efficiency. Our test bike delivered 39.5kpl in city riding conditions and 33.8kpl on the highway when cruising at sustained speeds of around 90kph.

The Avenger 220 DTS-i looks and feels identical to the earlier 200. It's cruiser-typical ergonomics make this Bajaj a comfortable motorcycle to use within the city. Its larger 219.9cc heart delivers improved acceleration and a higher top speed. And sensible pricing makes it the best cruiser money can buy. The Avenger has grown to become a classic bike in India and holds strong appeal of its own.