Bajaj V12 Review
The Bajaj V12 has an interesting recipe - the eye-catchy and successful styling of the V15 combined with a smaller and efficient 125cc mill at its heart.
What is it?
Why would I buy the Bajaj V12 Disc?
The Bajaj V12 Disc stands out in a crowd full of conservatively designed and stereotypical commuter motorcycles. Plus, the disc brake is an added bonus.
Why would I avoid the Bajaj V12 Disc?
Unconventional riding triangle and a stiff suspension setup. The Bajaj V12 Disc doesn’t have many features or technologies that it can boast of.
The Bajaj V12 has an interesting recipe - the eye-catchy and successful styling of the V15 combined with a smaller and efficient 125cc mill at its heart. While the Discover 125 is targeted at an audience looking for a conservative motorcycle, the V12 is aimed at someone looking for exclusivity and style. However, since it was launched in January, the Bajaj V12 has failed to match the numbers generated by its rival, or its elder sibling for that matter. With the aim of catering to a wider range of audience, Bajaj launched a new disc brake variant of the V12 a couple of months ago.
I wouldn’t go as far as calling it attractive, but the fact that the V12 is a conspicuous motorcycle is undeniable. Be it the well-publicised connection with INS Vikrant or the unconventional styling, the V12 grabs eyeballs everywhere it goes. This is a feat that a Discover, Honda CB Shine or the Hero Glamour can hardly pull off.
How is it to ride?
The first thing that caught my attention while riding the Bajaj V12 Disc is the refinement. Bajaj engines are generally associated with vibrations, but the V12 is quite the opposite. It is only when you touch 70kmph in the fifth gear that a slight buzz creeps through the handlebar, footpegs and the tank. But this would be normal in any small capacity commuter bike.
At the heart of the Bajaj V12 Disc is a 124cc single-cylinder engine, which delivers 10.5bhp and 11nm of torque, most of which is concentrated in the low and mid-range. The flat torque spread is something you instantly notice when you are riding it - just the thing for the city. While we have to come to expect a burst of torque from small-capacity commuter bikes as you get off from a standstill (which makes them fun wheelie machines), the V12 Disc is relatively undramatic. The first three gear ratios are closely packed while the fourth and fifth are tall. The V12 effortlessly chugs through city traffic in any gear; it is even possible to do as little as 25kmph in the fifth gear. Mind you, the V12 is no fire-breather, but rev the engine generously and you can extract decent city speeds out of it.
The suspension on the Bajaj V12 has been set up for a stiff ride, which is quite unexpected in a commuter motorcycle. While it does iron out the bumps and potholes at higher speeds, the low speed ride quality feels compromised. Nevertheless, this helps make the V12 feel planted through corners. The beefy tyres might give the V12 a hefty appearance, but they also affect the agility. The V12 feels nowhere as nimble in the traffic as a CB Shine or Glamour, and a part of the blame goes to these tyres and the long wheelbase.
The front disc brake is the biggest talking point of this motorcycle. The callipers bite well and there is enough stopping power. However, the setup lacks the progression that you would usually expect in a Bajaj bike. Nevertheless, the setup is good enough for the kind of speeds that the V12 is capable of. And besides, this is trend observed in all motorcycles across this segment.
Anything else I should know?
At first glance, the V12 might look identical to the V15, but there are a few points of distinction. The front fender is black instead of being body-coloured, the tail lamp misses out on the chrome surround; it gets a different set of alloy wheels and skinnier tubed tyres. The instrument cluster gets an analogue fuel gauge and the components like the rear foot peg hangers are finished in glossy black instead of the aluminium finish in V15. It does, however, retain the trendy cowl for the rear seat which transforms the bike into a single-seater. This cowl, along with the sculpted fuel tank and chrome-rimmed headlamp, give the V12 a neo-retro look.
As with the Bajaj V15, the V12 Disc gets a low seat, neutral-set footpegs and a raised handlebar which make for an unusual seating position. This along with the cushy seat make it comfortable for small runs. However, spend an appreciable period of time and you might end up with a sore back, which is down to the unnaturally long reach to the handlebar.
The V12 Disc is a barebones motorcycle. While the competition has upped the game and started offering technology like digital displays, i3S and combi brakes, there isn’t any equipment that the V12 Disc can boast of.
Should I buy one?
On paper, the Bajaj V12 Disc offers the best of both worlds – looks of the V15 and a smaller and efficient 124cc powertrain. However, there are a few chinks in the armour. The seating, for one, isn’t very comfortable on long rides and the suspension could do with better damping. It also needs a few creature comforts like a digital display, trip meter(s) and tubeless tyres which are now a norm in this segment.
Nevertheless, there are some things it does well – the front brake is markedly better than a drum setup, the styling is conspicuous and the engine is surprisingly refined. So if you need a flamboyant, hassle-free and efficient motorcycle for short runs, the V12 Disc fits the bill.
Where does it fit in?
The Bajaj V12 is priced at Rs 59,552. It shares the lower rung of the motorcycle food chain with well-established 125cc commuter bikes like the Hero Glamour i3S Disc, Honda CB Shine CBS and the CB Shine SP Disc, which are priced at Rs 60,860, Rs 61,726 and Rs 63,181 respectively. For a similar budget, you also have the Bajaj Pulsar 135LS, a bigger and sportier offering, priced at Rs 60,704. All the prices are ex-showroom.
Photography by Kapil Angane
1. Zeus ZS-811 Speedster helmet –
Lightweight and comfortable budget helmet with good noise isolation. It gets ECE 22.05 safety rating and Double D-ring mechanism, which means you can use it on race tracks too. Price - Rs 4,600.
2. Joe Rocket Alter Ego 3.0 jacket –
An extremely versatile all-weather jacket. In this guise, it is being used as a ventilated mesh jacket, though it ships with two more liners - waterproof and thermal. Price – Rs 20,000.
3. Ixon Moto HP gloves –
High quality full gauntlet leather gloves suited for city riding, touring and track use. Offers good ventilation and a high level of protection. Expensive though. Price - Rs 9,500.
4. AGV Sport Airtex pants –
Riding pants with mesh in the crotch, calf, back of legs and thigh areas which is a real boon in our hot weather. Price -Rs 6,500.
5. Sidi B2 boots –
All-round street and sportbike riding shoes also suitable for track days. Not ventilated, which can make it uncomfortable for everyday use. Price - Rs 17,000.
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