2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS160, NS200 first ride review: Minor changes, big impact?

The 2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS160 and the NS200 have been recently launched in India. These naked streetfighters have got some minor updates but do they result in any big impact in real-world riding scenarios? Read along to find out.

2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS160 and NS200 Review (11)
The Bajaj Pulsar NS160 is priced at Rs 1.35 lakh while the NS200 is priced at Rs 1.47 lakh, ex-showroom

Bajaj Auto recently introduced the updated Pulsar NS160 and the Pulsar NS200 in the Indian market. They have been priced at Rs 1.35 lakh and Rs 1.47 lakh, ex-showroom, respectively. These naked streetfighters have got some minor updates but do they result in any major differences in real-world riding scenarios? We rode them on a go-karting track and on the roads of Gurugram to answer the same. 

2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS160, NS200: Design and colours

In terms of design, the Pulsar NS160 and the Pulsar NS200 remain largely unchanged. Bajaj’s Pulsar NS range is a timeless motorcycle series and the design of these motorcycles hasn’t advanced much ever since their debut in 2012. However, with the latest overhaul, they finally get USD front forks. Their colour palette has also been updated. Both these motorcycles are now offered in Metallic Pearl White, Glossy Ebony Black, Satin Red and Pewter Grey paint schemes.

2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS160, NS200: Engine and performance

Powering the Bajaj Pulsar NS160 is a 160.3cc, single-cylinder, oil-cooled engine that develops 16.9 bhp and 14.6 Nm of torque, paired with a 5-speed gearbox. The Pulsar NS200, on the other hand, gets a 199.5cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine that churns out 24.1 bhp and 18.74 Nm of peak torque. It comes mated to a 6-speed gearbox.

Mechanically, these motorcycles remain unchanged. However, they are now equipped with an onboard diagnostics system to comply with the BS6 phase-2 real-drive emission (RDE) norms that will come into effect from April this year. The good thing is that in real-world riding conditions this hardly makes any difference and these streetfighters continue to offer a thrilling performance. 

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The Pulsar NS200 is one of the most powerful motorcycles in its class and whether you’re riding it on a track or on the roads, it offers a punchy performance and feels enjoyable to ride. While it has a sluggish low-end, the NS200’s motor comes into action post 5,000 RPM and put forwards brisk acceleration with a healthy top-end. 

Bajaj has managed to reduce its weight by 3 kg and it now weighs 158 kg, thanks to the use of more aluminium than steel in the USD forks and new alloy wheels. While the Pulsar NS200 has shed its weight, the NS160 is now heavier by 1 kg and weighs 152 kg. This is primarily because it now shares all its hardware components with its elder sibling. 

In terms of engine performance, the Bajaj Pulsar NS160 is one of the best in its segment. Its motor is very tractable and can hold even the fifth gear at speeds as low as 25 kmph. The NS160 always has enough oomph to satisfy the rider’s needs and even overtaking other vehicles without downshifting the gear is a breeze. Moreover, this engine feels very refined and it loves to be revved hard. 

2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS160, NS200: Ride and handling

Bajaj’s Pulsar NS160 and the Pulsar NS200 are based on a perimeter frame and get USD forks at the front along with a mono-shock absorber at the rear. They are the first Pulsar series motorcycles to feature upside-down front forks. Bajaj claims that they have stiffened the suspension for better high-speed manners and while we couldn’t notice any difference as such, there is no denying the fact that both these motorcycles excel in the handling department.  

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The Pulsar NS160 and the NS200 cut corners and change lanes with ease. Tyres play a very important role in a vehicle’s handling, acceleration & braking abilities and both these Pulsars sport chunky 100/80-17 (front) and 130/70-17 (rear) wheels. Braking duties are performed by a 300mm disc at the front and a 230mm disc at the rear with dual-channel ABS as standard which is a welcome addition and gives the confidence to brake hard in tricky situations.  

2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS160, NS200: Features 

Talking about features, the Pulsar NS twins have received a minor update. Both motorcycles sport a semi-digital instrument cluster with an analogue tachometer. Their digital console now finally gets a gear position indicator along with other read-outs, including distance to empty meter, digital speedometer, trip meters, odometer, etc. However, these Pulsars neither get Bluetooth connectivity nor an LED headlamp which Bajaj’s competitors do provide with their similarly-priced offerings.  

2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS160, NS200: Price and verdict 

Finally, let’s talk about the price and our verdict. The 2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS160 has been priced at Rs 1.35 lakh while the Pulsar NS200 will retail for Rs 1.47 lakh, ex-showroom. They demand a premium of Rs 10,000 and Rs 7,000, respectively, over their outgoing models. For the added price, these Pulsar NS series twins get updated hardware with enhanced safety features and new colour schemes. 

The 2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS160 and the Pulsar NS200 might not be the best offerings in their segments but they’re now a better value-for-money package. There is no denying the fact that consumers still love these ferocious Pulsars and there’s a huge demand for them. So, if you’re out in the market looking for a streetfighter with punchy performance and sharp handling characteristics, you can definitely consider buying these updated Pulsar motorcycles.

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First published on: 25-03-2023 at 18:25 IST
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