The Bajaj Avenger is something of an outlier in our commuter filled motorcycle market.
Designed as a cruiser, it appeals to a group of enthusiasts that are otherwise barred from having their desired bike thanks to our stringent engine displacement law. And despite lacking the large, low compression motor traditionally associated with cruisers, Avenger Street does a decent job of providing the cruiser experience.
Bajaj introduced the Avenger to the Bangladesh market in the 150CC segment in 2017 and saw widespread success. They recently replaced the now venerable Street 150 with the new Avenger Street 160, and we got our hands on one to see if it is a worthy successor.
Compared to its predecessor, the Avenger Street 160 design is much more angular. The round headlamp now has a LED DRL "chin" and has been fitted with a small wind deflector on top.
The fuel tank has been reduced to 13 litres and now spots new tank graphics and a more aggressive "Avenger" badge. The rear of the bike remains mostly unchanged, except for a streamlined tail lamp and a silver "ring" over the rear drum brake.
Overall, the new design blurs the line between a traditional cruiser and a street rod, which is apt since most Avengers in our country will likely end up being used as commuters.
With more power, comes better safety
As the name suggests, the 160 Street is equipped with a new single-cylinder carbureted 160.37CC air-cooled engine, making 15PS and 13.5Nm of torque. The new engine is BS-IV compliant and provides around 10 percent more torque over its 150CC predecessor.
Besides the engine, the 160 Street features a plethora of new safety features.
The front disk brake has been enlarged to 280MM and fitted with single-channel ABS for better braking. Tires are now tubeless and have a split of 90/70 at the front and a much wider 130/90 at the rear.
For night driving, the headlamp now features a 55/60-Watt bulb, a significant upgrade over the 35-Watt typically used by most other bikes. The switchgear is illuminated, allowing users to see them at night.
All of these upgrades make the Avenger a much safer bike to ride on long journeys, particularly on our poorly lit highways.
The riding experience
One pavement, the Avenger rides like a dream. Given throttle, the bike accelerates gracefully, with the engine revving up with a pleasant low hum.
The engineer who designed the bike somehow managed to add a vague resemblance of the distinct "po-ta-to" sound to the exhaust note, further enhancing the cruiser experience.
Slowing down is not really desirable, but if the need arises, the ABS ensures the stop is fast yet gradual. The suspension is very adept at smoothing out all the bumps on the road, while the massive cruiser seat gives riders the sensation of sitting on a couch.
Given a wide-open road, one can cruise on this bike for hours and end up forgetting that they have places to be.
For city riding, however, there is a bit of a learning curve.
Being a cruiser, the Avenger has a longer wheelbase compared to most motorcycles on the road. This means the bike has a larger turning radius, something one must actively keep in mind when wading through heavy traffic.
The longer turning radius also makes lane filtering a bit of a challenge, even though the bike is surprisingly stable at low speed. The recliner footrest, while very comfortable, is hard to quickly disengage from in stop-and-go traffic and will take a bit of practice to get used to.
That said, all of these issues can be addressed by simply riding the bike for a few thousand kilometres. Until then, we recommend new users take full advantage of the comfy seat while stuck in traffic.
The new Avenger Street 160 is a perfect choice for someone looking for an alternative to a coach-bus seat. The bike is very well suited for long drives and has the equipment necessary to safely ride at night.
If your job involves a lot of highway travel, this bike is for you. Additionally, with a bit of practice, the Avenger can be easily made to adapt to the role of a commuter, making it a decent choice for city folks looking for a taste of the cruiser lifestyle.