Bajaj Pulsar 125 Neon: First Ride Review

06 September 2019, 06:01 AM Vikrant Singh

Introduction

The Pulsar 125. It looks exactly like the Pulsar 150 Neon because, well, Bajaj hasn’t bothered changing anything in terms of design or even a single body panel. But it has a smaller engine, a 125cc single cylinder air-cooled unit. 

Now, I know what you might be thinking - this is just the Discover 125 in Pulsar clothing, right? Wrong. This is, in fact, the Pulsar 150 for all means and purposes down to the engine, but with a shorter stroke.

So, it weighs almost the same as the 150. And it uses the same chassis, the same wheelbase, the same brakes and the same tyres as the 150 as well. In that sense then, the 125 is a proper Pulsar.

But, does it have the same boisterousness, the same enthusiasm, and the same raw charm that Pulsars have been known for? 

Well, it’s time to find out...

The Visuals

There’s no doubting the fact that for a 125, the Pulsar has good road presence. The bulbous tank, the large bikini fairing, and its overall length help give it that. Now, the design is more than just old in the tooth. But then, there’s nothing else that’s cutting edge in terms of design in the 125cc class, in any case. And for what it’s worth, the Pulsar 125 does have good proportions. 

Bajaj Pulsar 125

Bajaj Pulsar 125

  • Displacement124.4 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)11.8 bhp
  • Kerb Weight140 kg
  • ;

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 64,000

The Package

Let’s get the engine details out of the way first. Like we said earlier, this new 125cc engine uses a shorter stroke than the Pulsar 150 but has a similar bore. Which should make it more rev happy. And it comes with the typical Bajaj engine jargon including DTS-i and ExhausTEC.

The power and torque figures are naturally down compared to the 150, but excluding the expensive and tech packed 125 Duke, the Pulsar 125 is, in fact, the most powerful, the most torquey motorcycle in its class. It makes almost 12bhp and an exact 11Nm of peak torque. But, the good thing is these figures aren’t delivered at an extraordinarily high rpm. And that should make the bike usable. 

In terms of cycle parts, the chassis is a double cradle unit suspended in telescopic front forks and twin gas charges dampers at the rear. 

Features wise, there’s nothing really new here. Like the Pulsars of yore, there’s backlit switchgear, a part-analog-part-digital display, an engine kill switch, and some neon highlights. And as mandated, there’s CBS or combined braking system as well.

The Ride

The first thing that strikes you as good on the 125 is the seating triangle. Neutral set footpegs, high clip-on for a handlebar, and a seat height that’s under 800mm, which makes it easily accessible.

As far as engine goes, this two-valve unit might sound gruff - like most Pulsar engines do - but it doesn’t transmit any of that gruffness in terms of vibes on the bike. Even on the redline, the tank is almost vibe free. And though you can feel some vibes via the seat, handle bar, and the footpegs, these aren’t high enough to call the bike vibey. The five-speed gearbox though, is a little clunky for our liking. 

Performance wise, the Pulsar 125 has decent low and mid range performance. For a 125, it doesn’t struggle anywhere in the rpm band. It pulls cleanly, it takes on inclines without a bother, and if you take it out on the highway, it will comfortably do 80-90kmph without a fuss.

Now, the Pulsar 125 won’t win any awards for its ride and handling prowess, but it is an easy bike to manoeuvre in the city. It feels light and agile, and easy to park. 

The setup works adequately over almost any surface. We won’t term the ride plush, but it isnt jarring either. And the seat cushioning helps take the edge off when one hits severe potholes. 

Handling again, is par for the course. It’s not exactly very involving or exciting, but it is safe. So, the 125 doesn’t set any new benchmarks, but it is also hard to fault with. 

If anything, we would have liked more bite and feel from the 240mm single disc upfront.

Conclusion

The Pulsar 125 is priced at a little over Rs 66,000 ex-showroom. Now compared to the highest selling 125cc motorcycle in the segment, the Honda CB Shine, that’s a premium of Rs 3,000. 

For this extra money, you get 150cc styling, more power and more torque. Now feature wise neither bike really makes a mark, but for those looking at better highway manners, a bigger bike feel, and aren’t completely consumed by fuel efficiency, the Pulsar 125 is certainly worth a look in. 

In case you are interested, the ARAI figure for the Pulsar 125 is 57kmpl, and the same for the Shine is 64kmpl. 

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

Gallery

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