The Pulsar N160, to date, is the smallest offering spawned by Bajaj's new-age Pulsar platform. And it brings in a host of new traits and freshness to the table over the older Pulsar models. We have tested it comprehensively in the past and you can read our detailed take here. However, if you want a more concise review of the bike, here are the pros and cons of the Pulsar N160 to help you decide whether you should buy it or not.
During my stint with the motorcycle, the Pulsar N160 grabbed quite some eyeballs on the road, mainly due to its distinctive front end, muscular fuel tank section, and sharp and upswept tail portion. Hence, it surely scores high on the visual desirability front.
Now, some might argue that the motorcycle lacks originality in terms of design, and yes its front fascia resembles the Yamaha MT 15. Nevertheless, it does look sporty and combative.
Refinement and tractability
The 160cc, air-cooled engine of the Pulsar is commendably refined. Even at speeds of 100kmph, you can barely sense any vibration creeping in, which is impressive for a motorcycle of this displacement. Also, thanks to the majorly flat torque curve, the engine is pretty tractable and it doesn't throw tantrums even if you ride lazily at low speeds in higher gears. The acceleration, meanwhile, isn't segment-leading but you do feel enough punch to enjoy it in the city.
Another quality which leaves you in awe is the agility with which the Pulsar N160 changes directions. Thanks to the well-engineered chassis and adequately firm suspension setup, the bike feels extremely responsive to your inputs which makes it a hoot to flick through city traffic and around tight corners.
The N160 delivers a profoundly engaging and fun ride experience, especially in the city where I was having a ball all the time. The main factors responsible for this are the low kerb weight, slightly committed riding position, light clutch, slick gearbox, and a bassy exhaust sound.
Dearth of modern features
The Pulsar N160 gets some useful features like dual-channel ABS, a USB charger, an LED lighting setup, and a semi-digital console that shows a reasonable amount of data. However, in this day and age where even a 155cc bike boasts a quick shifter, the Pulsar N160 could have done better in this area. Things like Bluetooth connectivity, hazard lamps, and a silent starter wouldhave surely added more value to it.
Lack of X factor
While the Pulsar N160 is a good sporty commuter with great versatility, it doesn't set a benchmark on any front, be it design, features, performance, or comfort. And that could be a bit worrisome for Bajaj with highly capable rivals like the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V and Hero Xtreme 160R in the market.
To conclude, the Pulsar N160 does everything that you would expect from a sporty commuter and it does it all really well. Your daily commutes on the motorcycle would not only be seamless but also involving. You can also go around your favourite mountain twisties over weekends and have ample fun. The occasional long rides, meanwhile, are doable too. Not to forget, buying the N160 would mean access to Bajaj’s wide service network as well as affordable service and spares.
Photography by Kapil Angane