Bajaj Pulsar NS160 – The ultimate budget sports bike?
One of the first motorcycles in the country to have created the performance 150cc bike category is the Bajaj Pulsar 150. It was known for its powerful engine, sporty looks and above all, its affordability. And Bajaj, even after all these years, hasn’t pulled the plug on it. But there’s no denying the fact that this is a segment that has witnessed evolution for years now and the bike currently features sharper styling, better dynamics and an enhanced cubic capacity. Just to give buyers something a little fresh, the brand has introduced the Pulsar NS160. The Pulsar 150 however, will continue to soldier on since it sells pretty well, but will now serve as more of a commuter bike. The NS160 targets those looking at a sporty, more premium alternative.
Same look, same sharpness
As far as the styling is concerned, Bajaj Bikes have nailed it with the Bajaj NS160, which is basically the NS200’s twin. It brought with it an all-new look in the Pulsar range and it drew inspiration from high-capacity naked bikes sold in overseas markets. Even as of today, the Bajaj Pulsar NS160 manages to stand out. For those who couldn’t stretch to NS200 money, NS160 was offered with the same looks. Everything, from the bikini fairing, the body panels, to the fuel tank and the distinctive tail, all remain. What has also been retained are those clip-on handlebars, split seats, footpegs, a number plate holder and a digital instrument cluster with an analogue speedometer. You can barely spot the differences between both Bajaj Bikes. Even the riding position is the same. The subtle differences can be spotted in the form of the skinnier front forks, swingarm and tyres. It also has an air-cooled engine, because of which the radiator shrouds are empty. The motor also looks smaller, sports cooling fins but the Bajaj Pulsar NS160 does not feature a rear disc brake. Unlike the NS200, there’s a kick-starter on the right side of the engine. The NS160 is one good-looking motorcycle; there’s no two ways about it.
The seating posture is the same, and that means the rider’s triangle is too. It somehow feels like a larger motorcycle the moment you swing a leg rover. The seat is the highest in its segment and won’t prove to be a bother even for short riders. In fact, low saddle height tends to be appreciated quite a bit.
We want more
Mention must be made of the engine on the bike. Bajaj has clearly learnt from their past and this 160.3cc, air-cooled, twin-spark engine features a four-valve head and cooling too. The engine develops 15bhp and 14.6Nm of torque. Performance is reasonably good and the engine likes to rev, while the acceleration is quite strong. The engine impresses even more with its tractability and because of its long-stroke configuration, the engine has lots of grunt in the low and mid-range. Even when pushed hard, the motor can handle speeds of up to 110kph. It feels best ridden in the fifth gear at a speed of about 80kph. Paired to the engine is a 5-speed transmission and the ratios seem to match the engine’s power delivery well. Refinement levels have improved too, but still isn’t at par with its rivals. Also, the vibes that filter through aren’t much.
The tyres seem to perform well in the wet, and even around a bend, the bike stays planted and the MRF tyres are always up to the task. But we thank the cleverly tuned suspension and the excellent twin-spar frame that’s used from the NS200. The frame was designed to handle more power than this bike has on offer and it handles the Bajaj Pulsar NS160 with aplomb. The bike changes directions quickly, and with the wheelbase being the longest in the segment, stability is great too. Also, grab the latest info on the upcoming bikes, only at autoX.