Remember the time when 150 – 160cc motorcycles were considered premium and sporty? Well, it’s not the same anymore. With bigger-capacity bikes flooding our market, anything less than 200cc is now considered a commuter motorcycle at best. But, then, small bikes don’t necessarily have to be boring or unimaginative. Commuter bikes can be fun too! Just swing your leg over the all-new Bajaj Pulsar N160, and you will immediately know what I mean.
Although small at heart, the N160 shares its chassis, suspension, wheels, fuel tank, and even most of its design and bodywork with its bigger sibling – the Pulsar N250. Thanks to this, the N160 doesn’t look staid or cheap. In fact, it has a rather aggressive design, like a true roadster. It’s got the signature ‘naked wolf’ LED DRLs and a bi-functional projector headlamp, as well as a cool and functional digital-analogue instrument cluster. Suffice it to say, there’s nothing boring about the N160.
So, what’s not good? Well, the quality isn’t the best, and the base version of the motorcycle misses a lot of features – no dual-channel ABS and slimmer front forks. But, what’s not so bad is the engine. It may only be a puny 165cc single-cylinder unit, but it offers good performance for a sporty commuter. With 15.7bhp and 14.7Nm of torque, the engine doesn’t offer earth-shattering acceleration or the top speed, but it’s peppy enough nonetheless. It’s got great tractability – something you’ll love during your daily commutes. The most remarkable thing about the powertrain, though, is the refinement. ‘It feels like an electric motorcycle. It’s that smooth!’ – that’s what Simran had to say after he rode it.
The handling is pretty tidy too. The N160 has a wieldy front end and since it has the same hardware as the N250, its stability and high-speed manners are more like a big motorcycle. But this soon becomes a problem because you can always tell that the chassis can handle a lot more power, which is what it does in the N250. At the same time, the ride isn’t exactly plush – it definitely errs on the firm side of things.
Starting at ₹1.23 lakh for the base and ₹1.28 lakh for the dual-channel variant (both prices are ex-showroom), the Pulsar N160 isn’t cheap by any standard. And even though it’s a great motorcycle, it doesn’t have an identity of its own. Look at it this way, the N160 is a compromised N250, tailored to fit your budget. And while it’s not a recipe for disaster, it does leave you wanting more.
- Bajaj Pulsar N160 (Lap Time – 01:23.5)
|COMFORT & PRACTICALITY||10||8|
|RIDE & HANDLING||10||8|
|VALUE FOR MONEY||20||14|