Pulsar NS 160

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Review: Bajaj NS 160

Driven July 2017

Review: Bajaj NS 160

When Bajaj's rolled out the original NS200, back in 2012, its heavily sculpted styling easily made it one of the best-looking bikes in its time. It turned the page to a more exciting chapter in Bajaj's Pulsar designs. Even today, the styling doesn't a fail to make a positive impression. Aside a couple of stickers, Bajaj has kept the styling of this new NS160 identical to that of the 200’s. And we really have no complaints with this move. The headlight, bikini fairing, clip on bars, instrument cluster, seats, the beefy fuel tank with extensions and the sharp tapering tail, all retained from the NS200. The NS160 is even based on the same perimeter frame as it's elder sibling.

However, closer inspection will reveal certain differences. The front forks, tyres and swingarm are a lot thinner on the new bike. In comparison to the NS200, these features of do look a bit odd from some angles. But it's not effected the overall styling too much. Unlike the bigger 200, the NS160 also gets a kick-start.

Big news here is the new engine, which is based on the now defunct AS150 motor. The new 160.3cc, air-cooled, twin-spark motor produces a healthy 15.2bhp of peak power at 8,500rpm and 14.6Nm of torque coming in 6,500rpm. In true Bajaj fashion, the motor isn't the most refined as the competition, but it does make the most power in its class. The motor doesn't mind being revved hard and once you give it the stick, it accelerates with a lively spring in its step. There's plenty of grunt spread across the range, but it's the low and mid-range that is most impressive. Tall gearing on the new bike means fewer gear changes, which makes low speed riding in the city easier to deal with. The bike pulls away cleanly from an indicated 22kph in fifth without a fuss. The super-slick gearbox deserves a special mention too. The bike felt very comfortable cruising at 70-75kph but got a increasingly buzzy north of that. The NS160 clocked an indicated 100kph which came up at 8,200rpm.

At first we had our doubts about the skinny 80/100-17 front and 110/80-17 rear MRF tyres, but after a couple of corners, our doubts were put to rest. Whatever speed you're at, the bike feels very sure footed. The telescopic forks and rear monoshock suspension setup has a good part to play in that as well. Like the NS200, the 160 is on the stiffer side. But it's not overly uncomfortable once used to it and paired with the chassis, certainly gives the Pulsar the edge over the competition in the handling department.

When you have a bike that boasts producing the most power in its class, you'd expect it to have the stopping power to match. And the NS160 doesn't fail to deliver in that respect either. The NS160 comes equipped with a 240mm petal disc at the front and a 130mm drum at the back. No there's no rear disc option at this time and yes, these aren’t the largest brakes in the segment, but there’s plenty of bite in them.

Priced at Rs 78,000 (ex-delhi), the NS160 is perfectly poised to take on competition in the form of the Honda CB Hornet 160R, Suzuki Gixxer and Yamaha FZ V2.0. Though it misses out on ABS, its blend of peppy performance and dynamic handling makes the NS160 a worthy proposition.

Specs:
1-cyl, 160.3cc, air-cooled, 15.2bhp, 14.6Nm, 5M, 142kg, fuel tank: 12l




Christopher Chaves

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