From ‘It’s a Boy’ to ‘Definitely Male’ to ‘The Fastest Indian’ and beyond, the Bajaj Pulsar has ruled hearts for a good 20 years in India. The journey of this iconic motorcycle is nothing less than a blockbuster and right on the occasion of it completing 2 glorious decades in the country, Bajaj Auto has launched its biggest Pulsars yet. We recently got a chance to ride the all-new Pulsar F250 and the Pulsar N250 in Pune and here in this review, we try to answer each and every question of yours that you can think of before buying a Pulsar. So, are the biggest Pulsars yet the most sensible too? Read along to find out!
Let’s get the design out of the way first. If you look at both these bikes, you will instantly feel that this is a fresh design. Yes, there are obvious NS200 and RS200 resemblances at some places but otherwise, the styling is quite new and likeable as well. The biggest visual difference between these two models is that the N250 is a naked streetfighter while the F250 is a semi-faired motorcycle. Upfront, you get a bi-functional LED projector headlight and on the F250, you get reverse boomerang led DRLs (as bajaj likes to call it) as well. Both, the Pulsar F250 and the Pulsar N250 get a well chiselled and muscular-looking fuel tank, and the sharp tank extensions further add to the sporty appeal. Moreover, the split step-up seats look pleasing and feel upmarket and are very much in sync with the overall styling of the two motorcycles.
The alloy wheels may look the same as the ones on the NS200 in terms of design but these are now actually 1 kg lighter. The rear end completes with split-styled LED tail lamps to remind you that these bikes belong to the Pulsar family at the end of the day. The Pulsar N250 and the Pulsar F250 use a new tubular frame, which is 3 kg lighter than the perimeter frame on the NS200 and 1 kg lighter than the diamond frame on the Pulsar 220. The instrument cluster still remains a semi-digital unit but with a fresh layout and it now gets distance to empty readout along with a gear position indicator.
However, the competition offers smartphone connectivity in this segment and hence, many people may get disappointed due to the absence of this feature on the Pulsar 250s. On the Pulsar 250 range, you get a USB charging port as well for better convenience. Overall, the attention to detail, fit and finish, build quality, and how these Pulsars are packaged have improved significantly and these certainly feel like the new age Pulsars.
Both, the Pulsar N250 and the Pulsar F250 are powered by the same 249cc, oil-cooled, 2-valve engine, and this one’s good for producing 24 hp of power and 21.5 nm of torque. That said, the engine develops the same power output as the RS/NS200, however, the torque is 3 Nm more. The transmission is a 5-speed unit but for the very first time, the Pulsar gets a slip and assist clutch with the launch of these two models. The engine has a decent grunt low down in the rev range and once you proceed towards the mid-range, probably the first thing you will notice about this engine is its high level of refinement that stays intact even towards the top end.
Compared to the Pulsar 220F, this engine feels a bit peppier, and close to 5,000-5,500 rpm is its sweet spot. The power delivery is quite linear and this engine offers good tractability, thereby minimizing the need for frequent gearshifts in the city. Moreover, the added torque makes sure that the bike feels quick off the line and you can do swift overtakes in the city. One thing that we liked about this engine is the fact that it feels quite lively throughout the rev band and the power doesn’t taper off even towards the top end when you are close to hitting the close to 9,500 rpm redline. During our tests, we managed to hit a speedo indicated top speed of 144 kmph at the Bajaj test track in Chakan. The gearshifts are smooth and the slip and assist clutch worked really fine as well during our tests. The company claims an ARAI-rated fuel efficiency of 39 kmpl for the Pulsar 250s.
Both, the Bajaj Pulsar N250 and the Pulsar F250 get a very accessible seat height of 795mm and hence even shorter riders can manage these bikes without any hassle. The seats get decent padding and offer optimum comfort as well and one should easily be able to spend a couple of hours on these without having the need to take any break. Bajaj Auto says that a rider sits ‘in’ the bike rather than ‘on’ the bike, which means that when you sit on these motorcycles, you feel like you are actually a part of the motorcycle and we found out that this seems very very true especially for the Pulsar F250. Needless to say, this in our opinion is a very good thing! The footpegs are a bit rear set and the riding position is slightly sporty to give you that quintessential Pulsar feeling.
The Pulsar F250 gets clip-on handlebars against the regular handlebar on the N250. With that difference, the Pulsar F250 felt considerably more effortless compared to the N250 when it comes to filtering through traffic. Both these bikes get a new tubular frame that not only ensures quick directional changes but also, solid straight-line stability. The Pulsar F250 and the N250 both feel confident around high-speed corners, which is also thanks to the grippy 100 section front and 130 section rear tyres. The ride quality is decent and the suspension set up isn’t too stiff either to let you get over those broken patches quite easily. Both bikes get a 300mm disc brake upfront along with a 230mm disc at the rear. These don’t offer razor-sharp feedback and bite but deliver reasonably good performance that seems to be enough for daily commutes. The only downer here is that the 250cc Pulsars have only a single-channel ABS and a dual-channel unit should have been there in the interest of better safety.
Prices of the new Bajaj Pulsar 250 range start at Rs 1.38 lakh. The said price is for the Pulsar N250 while the Pulsar F250 will set you back by an additional Rs 2,000, taking the price up to Rs 1.40 lakh (both prices mentioned are ex-showroom, Delhi). Now, I know what you must be thinking. Many of you might be disappointed by things like why no better power than the RS/NS 200 or why no liquid-cooling and just oil-cooling or only a single-channel ABS and not a dual-channel unit or why a 5-speed gearbox and not 6-speed. And more importantly, why the biggest Pulsars yet are not the fastest and the true Pulsar flagships in the real sense. Well, as enthusiasts, your concerns are genuine and real but here is a thing that we need to understand.
Apart from being an aspirational product, the Pulsar brand has also been about accessibility over the years and that’s the spot that bajaj has tried to hit with the Pulsar 250s. So rather than going all out with features and performance, the company has tried to deliver motorcycles that stand high on everyday practicality while not compromising on that quintessential Pulsar flavour, that too on a budget.
The price of the Pulsar 250 is almost at par with the Yamaha FZ25 while it undercuts the price of the Suzuki Gixxer 250 by a staggering Rs 34,000. Moreover, for the Pulsar 250, you end up paying just about Rs 5,000 over the price of Pulsar NS200 and the Pulsar 220F. Now, is the pulsar 250 making sense to you? Well, the first impressions are really positive and for anyone longing for a bigger and better Pulsar, the 250s are really nice and well-rounded options and these have certainly got all the ingredients to keep that Pulsar fanboy inside you happy for long.
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