Bajaj Pulsar N160 Review
By Preetam Bora
5 mins read
Published on July 17, 2022
The all-new Bajaj Pulsar N160 is a motorcycle which Bajaj Auto says will become the entry point into the premium sports segment, although it's still a premium commuter in the 160 cc segment. The Pulsar N160 will share the Bajaj Auto line-up with the Pulsar NS160 launched five years ago. The Pulsar N160 has nothing in common with the Pulsar NS160, and is built around a new engine, new frame, new gearbox and an edgy new design shared with its bigger sibling the Bajaj Pulsar N250. With the new Pulsar N160, Bajaj hopes to take the fight to established rivals in the segment.
Design & Features
The design of the Pulsar N160 is familiar, almost identical to the bigger Pulsar N250. Up front is the aggressive, and futuristic face, with LED DRLs and projector headlamps, and the small bikini fairing flanking the fuel tank. The split seat is wide and is nicely padded for comfort; it also has a low height to suit riders of different heights and build. The part analogue, part digital speedometer console may look a generation or two old, but it offers all necessary read-outs, including distance to empty and a gear position indicator. The top of the fuel tank also sports a handy USB charging port.
Engine & Performance
The new 165 cc engine cranks up with a bassy note from the underbelly exhaust. The single-cylinder, two-valve air and oil-cooled unit puts out 15.8 bhp at 8,750 rpm and 14.7 Nm of peak torque at 6,500 rpm. The new engine is smooth, probably the smoothest in any entry-level Pulsar ever! Gear shifts are slick and precise, and the 5-speed transmission complements the engine's refinement. There's enough low- and mid-range grunt to keep things interesting in traffic, and the spread of torque of the engine is nice and wide, so there's plenty of shove till the mid-range.
Acceleration in city speeds is quite impressive, and the Pulsar N160 will get to 70-75 kmph effortlessly, and actually impresses with the engine's refinement and the smooth-shifting gearbox. The riding position also is fairly upright and comfortable, with slightly rear-set footpegs. Coupled with its relatively light kerb weight of 154 kg, refined performance and agility, it's an impressive motorcycle while filtering through traffic. Low and mid-range grunt is adequate and more, the gears slick and precise, and the free-revving unit complements the meaty exhaust note.
According to Bajaj, the Pulsar N160 is the fastest in the 160 cc segment in the 3rd, 4th and 5th gear from 30-70 kmph. With my 75 kg body weight, it reaches the ton and holds it quite nicely too, but if you're looking for top-end performance, that is an area where the Pulsar N160 leaves you wanting more. Sure, it will hold 100 kmph, and will go slightly beyond when prodded, but 75-100 kmph acceleration is a little lethargic, if top-end performance is what you seek, although being a 160 cc premium commuter, there will seldom be many takers looking for outright top-end performance.
Ride & Handling
And when the going gets rough, the Pulsar N160 can take on everything in its stride, broken roads, potholes, speedbreakers, quite effortlessly. The Pulsar N160 is the only motorcycle in its segment to offer dual-channel ABS in the top-spec variant. It also gets 37 mm telescopic front forks, and a bigger 300 mm front disc. The single-channel variant gets 31 mm front forks and a smaller 280 mm front disc. The wide tyres (100 mm front, and 130 mm rear) on the 17-inch wheels offer more than adequate grip, even in the wet. Braking performance from the dual-channel ABS is superb, and the Pulsar N160's handling and ride quality certainly leaves a very positive impression. The road-oriented tyres only lose some traction when you decide to venture off tarmac, and into the wet grass and mud. But if you're going to be primarily using it in the urban jungle, the N160 is light on its feet, has great road manners and is a delight, with its grunty and refined engine. The only negative I could think of is the slightly wide turning radius.
Variants & Pricing
The Bajaj Pulsar N160 is available in two-variants, with the single-channel variant priced at around Rs. 1.23 lakh (Ex-showroom), while the top-spec, dual-channel ABS variant is priced at Rs. 1.28 lakh (Ex-showroom). At those prices, the Pulsar N160 competes with the likes of the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V, the Suzuki Gixxer and the Hero Xtreme 160R, but offers the only motorcycle in the segment with dual-channel ABS. It's offered in four choice of colours, Brooklyn Black, Racing Red, Caribbean Blue and Techno Grey.
The Bajaj Pulsar N160 certainly makes an impression. It handles well, ride quality is very good, brakes are superb, and the engine offers a level of refinement not seen in any entry-level Pulsar till the Pulsar 250s. For anyone looking for a motorcycle in the 150-160 cc segment, the new Pulsar N160 should certainly be on the list of considerations. Yes, it may not have a feature-rich digital instrument console, or may not wow you with top-end performance, but the new Pulsar N160 makes for a well-rounded and refined package in the premium commuter segment, and now has all the qualities to take the fight to the very best in its segment.
Last Updated on July 17, 2022