Bajaj raised quite a lot of eyebrows when it called the new Pulsar N160 as an entry into the premium sports segment. Their confidence comes from their new engine, improved looks and better ride quality. But still, at its best, it’s still a premium commuter in the 160cc segment. No, don’t sideline it just yet because the new Pulsar N160 has a lot more going than it gets credit for.
Bajaj Pulsar N160: Engine & Performance
To be precise, the Bajaj Pulsar N160 is essentially the N250 but with a smaller displacement engine. It gets a 164.82cc, air- and oil-cooled single cylinder engine and the one we are riding is the top-of-the-line, dual-channel ABS-equipped Pulsar N160. The other, lower, single-channel ABS equipped variant has a smaller 280mm front disc and much thinner, 31mm diameter fork.
The Pulsar N160 has a bassy note in the background when its engine cranks up 15.8 bhp at 8,750 rpm and 14.7 Nm of peak torque at 6,500 rpm. I will go at lengths to say that the new N160 is smooth and the most refined entry-level Pulsar ever. Mated to a 5-speed transmission, the gear shifts are precise and quick. Things remain interesting in the mid-range because that’s till where the torque spreads nice and wide. Acceleration in the city is quick and the slight grunt makes you wonder if it all is a mere daily commuter. The Pulsar N160 reaches a speed of 70-75 kmph quite effortlessly. Post that, there isn’t much you’ll get from it. Sure, it will clock 100 kmph on the speedometer, but the climb there will be a little strained with not many takers since the 160cc segment isn’t where you’ll find a performance-seekers.
Bajaj Pulsar N160: Ride & Handling
The riding position is fairly comfortable, specially for short riders and at a relatively light kerb weight of 154 kgs, the bike is very agile. Filtering through traffic is easy and the low-mid range grunt is adequate for quick overtakes and turns. The Pulsar N160 shares its platform with the bigger N250 and it shows. Both of them have the same frame, suspension, wheels and brakes making the N160 sure-footed around corners. It might not be as plush as the N250 but the ride quality on the N160 is quite good.
We drove it over the unforgiving, rainy and slippery tarmac of Pune and the N160 took care of everything in its stride. Going over rainwater-filled potholes, broken roads, speedbrakers was an easy task for the newbie.
The Pulsar N160 gets new Grimeca brakes it is the only motorcycle in the 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 brakes offer strong bite and progression, even in wet conditions. My only problem is its wide turning radius.
Bajaj Pulsar N160: Design
The two siblings, Pulsar N160 and the N250 get almost identical bodywork that works in favour of the former. It gets a futuristic face, maybe a little like Bumblebee from Transformers, a sculpted fuel tank, LED DRLs and projector headlamps. The split seat is nice and wide and well padded for comfort. The part analogue, part digital speedometer console 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. It’s offered in four choice of colours, Brooklyn Black, Racing Red, Caribbean Blue and Techno Grey.
The overall quality and finish levels are decent but can be improved, especially the switchgear and parts of the handlebar.
Bajaj Pulsar N160: 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. It 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.
Bajaj Pulsar N160: Verdict
While we look forward to an elaborate comparison, the 160cc motorcycle segment will not dare miss the new Pulsar N160 in the segment. It is an impressive product with a well-refined engine that offers the only dual-channel ABS in the market and at an additional price of Rs. 5,000, it is totally worth it.