A few months back, we saw the launch of the N250 and F250’s, the first models to inculcate the new design language Bajaj Auto decided to take the lineage of Pulsars ahead. We already knew that sooner or later, we will have an all new range of Pulsar’s in different CC segments up for grabs. And now it’s a reality, Bajaj Auto has launched the All New N160, a 160cc naked commuter, based on the N250 platform, priced at Rs.1,27,000/- for the dual channel ABS variant and 1,22,000/-for the single channel ABS variant. Enough of intros yeah, let’s dive into the N160 shall we..!
So, as I said, the N160 is based on the N250 platform, so the N160 resembles the N250 to a great extent, an extent where one might easily confuse the N160 for N250, since they share the same underpinnings and cycle parts, at least the dual channel ABS version of N160 does. Only the N160 branding on the rear cowl is what gives the N160 a distinguished look. The front end gets the same projector headlight setup from the N250; it gets 37mm telescopic forks onto which the NS200 rims are mounted. The single channel ABS version gets 31mm forks instead of the 37mm ones, which will definitely have a downgraded performance as compared to the 37mm ones.
In terms of colors, the single channel N160 gets Silver, Red and Blue as options, while the Dual channel version shall be available strictly in Black & grey dual tone paint scheme. The fuel tank capacity is 14 liters, which means you have a long range of kilometers to cover before you scout for a fuel station. Overall, the N160 resembles the N250 in every aspect of Size; style, just that it gets a smaller 160cc engine and an underbelly exhaust just like the Ns160, but the exhaust note is completely different. Overall, I personally have developed a liking for the overall design language that Bajaj is now using, since the ride quality and experience is something, never experienced.
Coming to the ride quality part, since the N160 shares the tubular chassis from the N250, the ride delivered is agile, precise and comfortable. On the front end, the N160 gets a 100 section tyre, while on the rear, it runs on a 130 section tyre, these are beefier than the Ns160, and the ride quality difference is felt instantly. The 37mm front forks are progressively tuned, and take potholes and undulations really well; even at high speeds the bike behaves really nice and gives good feedback and confidence to the rider.
The rear mono-suspension comes with pre-load adjustability once, and the damping on the rear too, is tuned progressively, a bit to the stiffer side. Comfort vs High speed stability is inversely proportional, and the Pulsars since inception have always been high performance machines, taking the legacy ahead, the N160 too, has been developed and manufactured to deliver a Naked sporty riding experience mated to a commuter centric engine which delivers good power output along with mileage and a comfortable ride. In terms of braking, the bite is nice and the feedback too is precise, the MRF tyres provide good traction and feedback.
The 300mm disk on the front, and the 230mm on the rear together deliver a confidence inspiring braking performance, allowing you to push the N160 to its limits. But the best part about the N160 isn’t yet discussed, and that is the engine.
The N160 runs on a newly developed 2 valve Oil cooled engine that develops 16ps of power, and 14.7Nm of Torque. This engine is mated to a 5 speed gearbox, just like its elder sibling, and its slick as butter. Actually, this engine is butter smooth. You can push the engine up to 10k rpm mark easily, and you will be surprised with the refinement this engine can deliver. For a moment, I felt as if I am riding an Honda, that amazing is the refinement. Makes me feel proud, about the fact that, an Indian OEM manufactured engine can deliver the refinement levels that only you expect from a Japanese manufacturer. In terms of mileage, Bajaj has got a ARIA certification of 48.5kmpl, which is at par with its current competition.
As the name suggests, N160 was designed for the modern commuter, who wants to daily go to office and on weekends explore his surroundings. Well, the performance of this engine is in line to what they thought, the bike delivers a strong mid range performance, power and torque graph peaks out under 7k rpm mark, so riding the bike in tight traffic and small lanes won’t ever we a issue. There is ample power of demand in the lower end rpms too, allowing you to ride the N160 without many gear changes, allowing you to experience a laid-back ride. That’s for the city, on Highways; the bike can easily touch 120kmph mark, which is enough to travel on Indian highways. The beefier tyres allow the N160 to be stable and controlled at all times, delivering a confidence inspiring ride, which isn’t the case with Ns160, which after about 75-80kmph mark swayed around due to wind turbulence and its light weightiness. Also, the seat height is at 795mm, making the N160 accessible to a huge population out there. Also, the seats are bucket type, allowing the rider to sit comfortably and in control at all times.
In terms of features, Bajaj auto has always stuck to delivering the actual thrill of riding, than try to woo their customers with features. But the N160 has ample features attached to it, It gets the same digital analogue cluster from the N250, also gets a Dual channel ABS option, LED projector headlamp and LED tail light, other than that, it also gets the USB charger on tank as the elder sibling did. The N160 also gets a main stand, which is a important feature considering the commuter nature of the N160.
Overall, the N160 delivers a ride, no other Pulsar ever delivered. The experience is very matured and controlled, the engine is refined; smooth as a Japanese engine, the ride quality is agile and controlled, braking feedback and bite is on point, and you never feel as if you are riding a smaller CC bike, which is not the case when you ride any of the N160s competition. All other 150-160cc segment bikes seem to have a toyish feel to them, due to their smaller engines and appropriately smaller underpinnings, but this N160 delivers the feel of a big bike, has the road presence of a quarter litre and delivers a ride, at par to its competition in a subtle manner. The thrill that this 160cc Pulsar can deliver is something the NS160 or the Pulsar150 could never ever come close to.
The 160cc segment currently is dominated by the likes of Suzuki Gixxers and TVS’s Apache160 4v’s, but they are soon to face tough competition, since the N160 somewhat gives me the feel that, Bajaj Auto here have got a segment killer on their hands. How far in the market share the N160 gets, is something for time to tell, but I can definitely say 1 thing, that the N160 is the most refined Pulsar I have ever experienced.
Words – Suraj Sawant
Photography & Video – Subodh & Namrata