Improved styling and ride make Bajaj Discover 135 DTS-I good value for money, says Shapur Kotwal
Be quick or be dead seems to be the mantra in the fiercely competitive Indian two-wheeler market. With manufacturers burning the midnight oil to dish out a slew of hot bikes, competitors simply cannot afford to sit back. However, Bajaj Auto is a manufacturer which seldom falls prey to the ills of complacency.
Bajaj has acted swiftly to smoothen out the wrinkles on this bike, implanting a pair of new tank panels besides trendy new decals. There are also other detailed touches. Among the smartest changes are strips that run the circumference of both alloy rims. Still in place is a black theme that encompasses the lower section of the 135.
The new Bajaj now shows off a smart contemporary fairing for its bright headlight, with a raised lip visor stretched tautly across the top. Digital instruments replace the earlier analogue bay, a large tachometer with an illuminated pointer set to the left, while an amber backlit display relays information which includes speed, odometer and trip readings as well as fuel level.
A rubble-tray guards the 135’s engine belly while its Discover trademark exposed swingarm pivot section can still be found. Palm grip feel is adequate, the bike’s switches work crisply, and the powder-coated clutch and brake levers are up to the mark. Wide and useful rear-view mirrors are retained from the older model.
The Discover 135 fuel tank comes with a boring chrome cap, and really should provide better housing to a rider’s knees. The new tank cowls fit neatly and house the front turn indicators, but we’ve grown to expect more adventurous styling from Bajaj’s attractive bikes. Yet, that’s where our complaints conclude. The rest of the bike remains a swell looker. The new Bajaj uses a fully enclosed chain replacing the earlier O’ ring sealed unit.
No changes have been implemented on the Discover 135’s four-stroke, Digital Twin Spark-ignition, or DTS-i engine. This short-stroke engine displaces 134.2cc and continues to churn out the identical peak power of 13.1bhp at 8500rpm as found on the first bike. Bajaj’s patented exhausTEC technology is present on the silencer bent pipe to help the new Discover achieve a torque-laden feel low in its power band.
This twin-valve unit remains among Bajaj’s smoothest engines. It started easily every morning during our test duration, and revs stoutly with instantaneous throttle response and minimal vibrations to pull across its power band with a healthy growl. While the all-down shifting gearbox on the new Discover could certainly improve in shift quality and feel, its four gear ratios are perfectly spaced for stress-free riding in chaotic city traffic conditions.
Performance stays identical on the new Discover 135 due to the gearing, weight, power and torque remaining constant factors. The bike can dash from 0- 60kph in 5.48 seconds, easily faster than most 125cc models, while its top speed is 105kph.
The Discover 135 DTS-i deploys a rigid dual downtube frame. The front suspension on this bike is conventional, with dual twin telescopic forks, while the 135 uses dual gas-charged shock absorbers and a rectangle section swingarm at rear.
This is a comfortable motorcycle, with its knees tucked back, yet upright riding posture. The gas-cushioned rear suspension works magic to provide back-pampering ride quality, while 17-inch rims aided by wide 100/ 90 section rear rubber translate into decent handling. Turn-in is quick and the bike feels light. The 135 uses a progressive, yet potent, disc brake in front, supported by a drum brake at the rear.
The Discover 135 with its twin-plug DTS-i technology manages to stay nearly as fuel-efficient as most 125cc rivals. Tackling city riding conditions with aplomb, the latest Discover delivered 52.6kpl. This improved to 55.4kpl when it was run on traffic-free highways.
The Discover 135 DTS-i is a cleverly positioned motorcycle with little competition to speak of. Hero Honda used to sell the Ambition as a 135cc model, but gave up on that a few years ago. The new Discover 135 has an ample specification list, plus improved styling that complement a front disc brake, gas rear suspension and a squat rear tyre. This means the revamped Discover makes excellent value for money, given that it offers a quick turn of performance close to 150cc territory, light handling and is priced to thrill, even at par with premium 125 models.
Layout: Single-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke
Displacement: 134.2 cc
Max power: 13.1 bhp at 8500 rpm
Max torque: 1.21 kgm at 6500 rpm
Power to weight: 98.4 bhp per tonne
Type: 4 speed, 4-down
Front: Telescopic forks
Rear: Gas shocks, rectangular swingarm
Front: 240mm disc
Rear: 130mm drum
City: 52.6 kpl
Highway: 55.4 kpl
Overall: 54 kpl