This baby Pulsar takes on the sporty DNA of its elder sibling.

In the past fifteen years, the ‘Pulsar’ nameplate has become one of the most versatile brands in the field of motorcycles. The name has spawned a variety of bikes, ranging from 135cc to 200cc naked streetfighters, a 220cc semi-faired sports tourer and recently, a 200cc fully faired supersport motorcycle. Talking about the current range, it was the Pulsar NS 200 which turned out to be the model which opened up doors for an all new generation platform, engineering and design philosophy. It was this bike that came with new underpinnings rather than being based on the first generation Pulsar 150, upon which all the other Pulsar models were built before its arrival.

In 2017, that bike made a grand comeback and put Bajaj on the streetfighter map again. Calling it as the ’Pulsar 200 NS 2017 Laser Edged edition’, Bajaj is set to take the performance biking to a whole new level. Now, there is another sibling for the NS200 and it is heading our way very soon. The Pulsar NS 160 rumbles on. The model has already gone on sale in some of the international markets, with an Indian launch scheduled next month. Here’s our comprehensive review of the all new Pulsar NS 160:-

STYLING

Bajaj Pulsar NS 160 Exterior
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With the Pulsar NS 160, Bajaj has added one more feature to the very much acclaimed NS nameplate, which stands for ‘Naked Sport’ and was introduced in India with the Pulsar NS 200. The motorcycle is based on its bigger sibling, the Pulsar NS 200, and shares many components with it.

The Pulsar NS 160 gets the same busy but attractive headlamp with sharply styled bikini fairing at the front, which has been lifted off from the Pulsar NS 200. The headlamp unit also engulfs pilot lamps at its bottom and at the top of the headlamp sits a petite plastic visor, which although is useless in deflecting wind speeds, adds some character to the front face of the motorcycle.

On viewing from the side, the Pulsar NS 160 comes fitted with the same large fuel tank which is there on the Pulsar 200 NS. Not only the fuel tank but other parts such as front fender, side body cowls, rear side body panels, rear view mirrors, underbelly exhaust, clip-on handlebars, split pillion grab rails, split seats and LED tail lamps too have been borrowed from the Pulsar NS 200. Also lifted off is the short aluminium number plate holder below the tail section at the rear, which makes the bike look sporty and minimalist from the rear and the rear tyre hugger carries on.

Bajaj Pulsar NS 160 Exterior
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Also in the list of shared components, this bike gets the now defunct Pulsar AS 150’s part-digital instrument console, which has an analogue tachometer at the centre and a small LCD panel to its right, displaying a digital speedometer, odometer, trip meters, clock and fuel gauge. The basic telltale lamps, which also include service reminder and side stand indicator, are placed on the left side of the tachometer.

Build quality and fit and finish is top notch and the best in any Pulsar made till date. All in all, just like the Pulsar NS 200, the design of the Pulsar NS 160 is proportional and attractive from every angle, with an air of Italian flair to it. However, it misses out on rear disc brakes and wide radials unlike the competition.

Overall Dimension

Make Model 2017 Bajaj Pulsar NS 160 Honda CB Hornet 160 R Suzuki Gixxer
Length 2012mm 2041mm 2050mm
Width 804mm 783mm 785mm
Height 1060mm 1067mm 1030mm
Wheelbase 1363mm 1345mm 1330mm
Seat height 800mm 790mm 780mm
Wet weight 142kg 142kg 135kg

POWERTRAIN

Bajaj Pulsar NS 160 Exterior
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The engine is a completely new redesigned form of the brand’s 150 cc motor. It is a 160.3cc, four-stroke, single cylinder, triple spark tech engine that is oil-cooled. being higher than the Pulsar 150’s cubic capacity, the 160NS produces 16 bhp of power and 15 Nm of torque compared to the 15 bhp and 13 Nm of the Pulsar 150. The engine is mated to a five-speed gearbox.

The 4-valve, triple spark technology of Bajaj is an unprecedented innovation that gives the bike increased power, throttle response and pick-up. The Pulsar NS200’s liquid cooling system turns every journey into a seamless road experience without overheating and slimming.

All the power made is made to transfer through a 6-speed gearbox to the rear via chain-link. The brute force and outright performance in the segment are enough to make you twist the throttle happily to your heart’s content. Crisp throttle response gives a smooth linear acceleration.

Engine Specification

Make Model 2017 Bajaj Pulsar NS 160 Honda CB Hornet 160 R Suzuki Gixxer
Capacity cc 149.5 162.7 154.9
Bore/ Stroke mm 57/63 57.3/63.09 56/62.9
Output 15 bhp @ 8500 rpm 16 bhp @ 8500 rpm 15 bhp @ 8000 rpm
Torque 14.6 Nm @ 6500 rpm 15 Nm @ 6500 rpm 14 Nm @ 6000 rpm
Type Single cylinder, 4 stroke, SOHC 4valve, Oil cooled, DTSi Air Cooled, 4 Stroke, SI Engine 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, Air-cooled, SOHC, 2 Valve
Clutch type Wet- Multiplate Wet- Multiplate Wet- Multiplate
Transmission 5-speed 5-speed 5-speed

RIDE AND HANDLING

Bajaj Pulsar NS 160 Exterior
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The bike continues to give a split seat treatment like before and is as comfortable as it was for both rider and the pillion. If I’m not wrong, there is a thicker layer of cushioning than it was previously. Clip-on handlebar and slightly raised footpegs give a nice upright riding position with contours in the tank to tuck in your leg and go hooning all around the street.

The engine is super refined and Bajaj keeps its promise to give us a robust and reliable motor under the hood. The clutch felt lighter and gearshifts were much smoother than the previous model. With a 50:50 weight distribution and low centre of gravity, the NS160 enhances high speed and straight line stability significantly, providing convenience in curved roads.

Bajaj Pulsar NS 160 Exterior
- image 529902

The Pulsar NS 160 comes with the same perimeter frame under its skin as the Pulsar NS 200, which makes it the cheapest motorcycle to have a perimeter frame. This translates into an excellent proficiency in the aspect of dynamics, making it quite a good motorcycle on that front. The NS 160 gets a smaller 33mm front forks compared to the 41 mm in the 200 NS. At the rear, a regular monoshock with coil-over springs take care of the suspension, and is tuned on a slightly stiffer side to make the motorcycle a more involving machine around taut corners.

The 10-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels at both the ends have tubeless tyres wrapped around them. Though the tyres look a bit skinny going by the overall dimensions of the motorcycle, especially when viewed from the rear. The bike does get a 240mm disc brake at the front, but at the rear, it has been provided with a 130mm drum brake, with no option of rear disc brake.

Chassis Specifications

Make Model 2017 Bajaj Pulsar NS 160 Honda CB Hornet 160 R Suzuki Gixxer
Suspension / Front Telescopic with anti-friction bush Telescopic fork Telescopic fork
Suspension / Rear Nitrox mono shock absorber with Canister Spring loaded Monoshock Nitrox mono shock
Brakes / Front 240mm Petal Disc with Floating Caliper 276mm petal-type disc with 2-piston hydraulic calliper 240mm with 2-piston hydraulic calliper
Brakes / Rear 130 mm Drum 220mm hydraulic disc with C-ABS 220mm disc with 1-piston hydraulic calliper
Tyres / Front 80/100 R17 46P 100/80 R17 100/80 R17
Tyres / Rear 110/80 R17 57P 140/70 R17 140/60 R17

PRICE

Bajaj Pulsar NS 160
- image 529897

Bajaj is always known for the tradition of providing stupendous price to package ratio for its motorcycles, and the Pulsar NS 160 too is expected to follow the lineage. Bajaj has surprisingly launched the motorcycle first in international markets before launching it here in India. Though, the motorcycle will soon be arriving in the Indian market and will be positioned below the Pulsar NS 200, with an expected price point of ₹ 79,000 to ₹ 82,000.

As on the international version, the Pulsar NS 160 will be launched in India with three colour options on offer – Black with Red, Black with Blue and Black with White.

COMPETITON

As said before, the Pulsar NS 160 is positioned in the upper segment of premium 150cc commuter motorcycles but undercuts its competitors in terms of pricing. The closest competitor which truly gives it a very tough fight is the Honda CB Hornet 160 R and the Suzuki’s flagship commuter motorcycle in the mass market segment, the Gixxer.

Honda CB Hornet 160 R

2016 Honda CB Hornet 160R Special Edition Exterior
- image 523187

The CB-Hornet 160 R definitely looks muscular and the massive and brawny rear wheels and the muscular tank speaks for itself. The CB Hornet 160 R gets a striking new edgy design, which is far more appealing than all the 150cc Hondas which we have seen to date. The CX-01 concept inspired front face, chiselled fuel tank, lean side body panels, multi-spoke alloy wheels, petal disc brakes and an X-shaped rear LED tail lamp to lend quite an indigenous design to the CB Hornet 160R, which matches up to the level of the competition.

The CB Hornet 160R shares its four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, carbureted, 162.7cc engine with the CB Unicorn 160, which pumps out 15.9 PS of power and 14.76 Nm of torque. These figures do make it the best performer both on paper as well as real world conditions. Apart from having the biggest engine in the segment, the CB Hornet 160R also benefits from having a taller gearing, which makes the best use of the thrust available, thus resulting in a healthy mid-range as well as top end grunt.

Suzuki Gixxer

2016 Suzuki Gixxer SP Exterior
- image 523428

In terms of styling, the Gixxer, with its muscular stance, big bike inspired looks, fully digital instrument console, fatter tyres and twin exhausts leads the race against the Pulsar NS 160, which is basically and completely based on the 5-year old design of the Pulsar NS 200, which though still manages to look fresh. Both the motorcycles are kitted appropriately as per the price on which they are being offered, though the Gixxer edges ahead in terms of features with a slight margin.

The Suzuki Gixxer is powered by a four-stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 155cc engine, which pumps 14.8 bhp of power and 14 Nm of torque. Though the Pulsar NS 160 feels more powerful than the Gixxer in the higher rev range, the Suzuki is a more refined and more torque-rich motorcycle, especially in the mid-range as well as lower revs. With fatter front forks and meatier tyres on offer, the ride quality, as well as riding dynamics of the Gixxer, is also better in comparison.

VERDICT

Bajaj Pulsar NS 160
- image 529898

Bajaj clearly understands that no matter how hard it tries to keep the previous generation Pulsar 150 alive with minor cosmetic upgrades, it still lags behind in the race amid the much fresher competition from the Japanese rivals. The Pulsar NS 160, in that case, tends to be perfect reply to the Japanese trio of Yamaha FZ, Suzuki Gixxer and Honda CB Hornet 160R. With some European flair in its design, adequate levels of features, the most powerful engine in its class and improved riding dynamics over the Pulsar 150, this Naked Sport has the right formula to gun for the top trumps.

Adding to it, the killer pricing strategy of Bajaj Auto is expected to shower its blessings on the Pulsar NS 160 as well, with a hope of undercutting its rivals in terms of pricing, making it a terrific value for money option to go for. So, if true blue budget performance is what all you ask for, the Pulsar NS 160 is all set to change up the benchmarks.

  • Leave it
    • * No change in design over Pulsar NS 200
    • * Skinny rear tyre
    • * Slightly stiff ride quality
Sagar Patil
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