The Bajaj V12's 124cc single-cylinder engine is based on the V15 engine’s architecture, and delivers 10.5bhp and 11nm of torque. It even retains the five-speed all-up pattern gearbox from the V15, though the ratios have been revised to suit the V12's torque delivery. Having burnt its fingers with the top-end biased torque flow of the new-generation (and now discontinued) Discover range, Bajaj decided to tune the V12 engine according to what the consumer wants. As a result, it has the highest peak torque figure among the competition and 1Nm more than the Discover.
The Bajaj V12 pulls cleanly from a standstill without any drama or jerk that has become a trademark among commuter motorcycles. The first three ratios have been configured to get you to the fourth and fifth gear as soon as possible. The strong low-end and mid-range grunt of the V12 make it a breeze to ride through the city, minimising gear changes. The abundance of torque makes it possible to trundle along at as low as 25kmph in the fourth gear, while the light clutch makes sure you don't tire yourself out in stop-and-go traffic. The fifth speed feels handy while cruising on highways. The engine feels refined and smooth for the most part, though vibrations do start to creep in past 70kmph. Keep the throttle open and the V12 will keep going till an indicated 85kmph (with my weight) before it starts to run out of breath.
The handlebar is wide and slightly angled in towards the rider. This along with the neutral-set footpegs and low seat make for a comfortable riding stance for commuting. However, even tall riders might find the reach to the ‘bars bothersome over longer durations.
The wide handlebar and the narrow profile front tyre make the V12 tip into corners very easily. The suspension isn't as softly sprung as we have seen on commuter motorcycles. While this makes for a bumpy ride through pothole-ridden city streets, the V12 feels very stable through corners. Also, the cushy seat does iron out some of the bumps, compensating for the stiff suspension to some extent.
As for the braking, the absence of a front disc unit does play spoilsport. While the rear 130mm drum brake does compensate for the lack of bite at the front end, a front disc brake has become a necessity today. Bajaj says that a front disc brake will be offered as an optional extra in the near future, if the sales figures are high enough.