Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z First Ride Review: Is A Good Price Enough?

Dropping the ‘biggest Pulsar’ bomb on an unsuspecting 300-400c market segment, Bajaj Auto has given the new NS400Z. It’s powerful, good looking and has enough features to put others to shame. So, is it too good to be true?

By Karan Mathur | Photography Sunil Chauhan | on May 11, 2024 Follow us on Autox Google News

Is the new Pulsar NS400Z a clear testament to the dynamic demands of the market? After all, only a few years ago, manufacturers were fighting tooth and nail to be the top dog in the sub-300cc segment. Now, a new 400cc bike appears on the scene almost every month. So, what does a bike need to offer to do to stand out in the segment? Striking design and impressive power? Sure! Features like USB charging and turn-by-turn navigation? Why not! A sub-2 lakh price tag? But, of course! It seems that Bajaj has aimed directly, and with great precision, at the enthusiast's heart. The question, however, remains – is the NS400Z the best 400cc bike to date, or is its price the only good thing about it? That’s exactly what I intended to find out.

Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z First Ride Review: Design and Features

In terms of styling, there is doubt that the NS400Z bears an uncanny resemblance to the NS200 and N250. In fact, elements like the fuel tank, seat, LED taillights, and a few others have been borrowed seem to have been borrowed directly from them. However, Bajaj has tried to incorporate some unique touches, like the headlight cluster, newly-designed tank shrouds, and instrument cluster. Overall, while I do think that the NS400Z looks quite similar to the NS200, I still think it has a striking design for the simple reason that I already liked the NS200's design, and the NS400Z only takes it up a notch. It looks contemporary and sharp, especially in its dark grey colour shade, complemented by neon green accents.


A noticeable aspect of the design is the mudguard – it’s a one-piece unit, integrated with a saree guard in such a way that they form a cohesive whole. So, if you want to remove the saree guard for a cleaner look, you'll have to remove the mudguard as well.BAJAJ PULSAR NS400Z REVIEW

Now, Bajaj has equipped the bike with quite a few features, including a fully digital LCD instrument cluster, turn-by-turn navigation, a USB charging port, and even four ride modes (I will come to those later). While some may not like the absence of a full-colour TFT display, it’s quite understandable, given its very aggressive pricing. Bajaj has tried to compensate by including features, like call/message alerts, music control, and lap timer. Overall, it's a stylish motorcycle that offers great value for money, without compromising on technological features. Pretty good so far, isn’t it? But what about performance? Well, let’s dive in.

Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z First Ride Review: Performance

As many of you may already know, the NS400Z is powered by the same 400cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine that does duty in the Dominar. However, it's been differently tuned to suit this bike's sporty demeanour, diverging from the Dominar's touring-oriented setup. The engine produces 40bhp and 35Nm of peak torque. What's particularly impressive is its capability to deliver a substantial 85 per cent of its total torque, approximately 30Nm, from as low as 3,500rpm, remaining flat all the way to the red line. While a spec sheet might merely illustrate this torque curve as a graph, on the road, it's an experience that you truly feel. The engine provides a robust surge that seems to endure, propelling the bike forward with a progressive and predictable acceleration. Admittedly, there's a slight hesitation off the line, but once in motion, it quickly comes alive. With the inclusion of fly-by-wire technology, riders are granted the freedom to choose from four distinct ride modes – Road, Sport, Rain, and Off-Road – enhancing the bike's adaptability to various riding conditions.


During our test event at Bajaj’s test track in Chakan, I opted for Sport mode. The first thing I noticed was that even while revving at a standstill, the distinct power delivery was quite evident. As we did laps around the track, the bike exhibited a lively demeanour, especially while exiting corners, along with a consistent surge of torque that made overtaking a breeze. It was an exhilarating experience! While riding it on city streets and national highways en route to our destination in Lonavala, the bike maintained its tractability in all scenarios.


Of course, not as aggressive as the Duke 390, the NS400Z can nonetheless outperform other 400cc bikes off the line. And if you are a calm and constrained rider, you won’t have any problems with this Pulsar either. Yes, there are vibrations which you'll have to contend with, but they aren’t too jarring to be a huge problem. Now, while the engine is great for everyday conditions, I felt during the test ride that it lacked a bit of character, given its predictable performance.

Overall, the NS400Z offers a great package for the money, and I’d be lying if I said I didn't enjoy pushing it to the limits on the track. As for its long-term performance and other ride modes, I’ll have to wait until I conduct a comprehensive road test review, which will be very soon.

Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z First Ride Review: Handling and Braking

The biggest difference between the NS400Z and the Dominar in terms of performance is in the handling department. The NS400Z is shorter in length and has a sharper rake angle – it’s shorter in comparison to the NS200 as well. As a result, what you get is a nimble and relatively light motorcycle that can adapt to different riding situations quite easily. Of course, it's not an absolute track machine, but it will be able to just about keep up with the Duke 390 in the hands of a skilled rider. However, the biggest hindrance to its sporting credentials is the soft suspension setup. I think, it’s too soft for the track, but it does make sense on the road.

Where the NS400Z really impressed us during the test was on the ghat roads, with broken and undulated sections. It effortlessly navigated speed bumps and potholes like they were nothing, offering a supple ride throughout the journey from Chakan to Lonavala. While it may lose composure when pushed hard into corners and may not inspire confidence like some of its rivals, it never feels lacking or inadequate in terms of handling.


For braking, the bike uses a 320mm disc brake up front and 230mm disc brakes at the back, complemented by dual-channel ABS. During our test, the front brakes proved strong, offering enough bite and feedback to instil enough confidence for you to push the bike to the limits, or even challenge yourself as a rider. However, the rear brakes seemed to unsettle the bike, particularly during hard braking on the track and sudden emergency braking on the road.


Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z First Ride Review: Verdict

So, is the NS400Z the best 400cc motorcycle in the segment, or is its price its primary allure? Well, it’s clear that Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z doesn’t excel or is not the best in its class in any single aspect. That said, its strength lies in offering a comprehensive package in terms of performance and features at an attractive sub-2 lakh price tag. In short, no bike can do all that it can at the same price point. It offers commendable performance, a plethora of features, and an enticing price tag, making it a compelling option in the segment.

So, if you are a fan of sporty street naked motorcycles, with a budget of Rs 1.5 – 2 lakh, and in search of a 400cc motorcycle to hone your skills, the NS400Z is tailor-made for you.

  • Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z

Engine: 373cc / Single-Cylinder / Liquid-Cooled

Transmission: 6-Speed

Power: 40bhp @ 8,500rpm

Torque: 35Nm @ 7,000rpm

Price: ₹1.85 Lakh (Ex-showroom, Introductory)

X-Factor: If you’re in the market to buy a premium 250cc motorcycle, the NS400Z is a legitimate alternative, given its competitive price tag

•  Brand Value

•  Features

• Engine lacks character

•  Familiar Design

Tags: Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z

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