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Bajaj V12 First Ride Review

18 January 2017, 01:08 PM Ranjan R. Bhat

What is it?

While the Bajaj V15 has had a good run, the mental block among customers that a 150cc motorcycle is more performance-oriented and less fuel efficient than a 125cc bike has given Bajaj’s rivals an edge. To counter this, Bajaj introduced the V12 to slot in between the Discover 125 and the V15. While the Discover 125 is a conservative and no-frills motorcycle, the V12 is targeted at customers looking for something which stands out.

How does it ride?

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.

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Bajaj V12

Bajaj V12

  • Displacement124.5 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported55 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)10.6 bhp
  • Kerb Weight133 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 58,954

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.

Anything else I should know?

At first glance, the Bajaj V12 looks identical to the V15. The muscular fuel tank, trendy removable rear cowl and the chrome-rimmed headlamp lend the V12 a neo-retro look which has made the V15 so popular.

However take a step closer and you will find evidence of cost cutting. The V12 gets a different set of alloy wheels and skinnier tubed tyres in place of the tubeless rubber on the V15. The instrument cluster gets an analogue fuel gauge in place of the digital unit.

Also, a few components like the rear footpeg hangers which got an aluminium finish in V15 are now coated in a glossy black. The switchgear, components and paint quality is on par with the competition, nothing to complain about.

The fuel filler cap of the Bajaj V12 gets the insignia indicating the motorcycle's connection to the INS Vikrant. The INS Vikrant was Indian Navy's first aircraft carrier which played a pivotal role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. After it was decommissioned and eventually dismantled, Bajaj purchased the metal of the INS Vikrant, processing it to be a part of the new V range. This, Bajaj claims, is an attempt to preserve the legacy of the iconic aircraft carrier.

Should I buy one?

The unconventional styling and the patriotic connection to the INS Vikrant are sure to work in favour of the Bajaj V12. It might not be the lightest in class, but it feels very nimble and easy to ride. Also, apart from its conspicuous styling, the five-speed gearbox is the biggest asset of the Bajaj V12.

So if you want to infuse some fun into your commutes but are restricted by the need for good fuel economy, the V12 fits the bill perfectly. However given the option, I would wait for Bajaj to launch the disc brake variant of the V12, it is sure to be worth the extra money.

Where does it fit in?

Capitalising on the success of the Bajaj V15, the company is looking at doubling the sales of the V brand with the introduction of the V12. However, with the market space having well-established rivals like the Hero Glamour and the Honda CB Shine, the V12 has its task cut out. At Rs 69,989 (on-road, Mumbai), the V12 will also face competition from the likes of the Yamaha Saluto, TVS Phoenix and the Suzuki Slingshot+

Gear Check

1. Icon Airmada helmet – 

Comfortable, aerodynamic, lightweight and a well-ventilated helmet with a wide peripheral vision. Oval headform fit might not suit everyone though. Price -Rs 15,000.

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

Photography by Kapil Angane

Click here to read 2017 Hero Glamour 125 Launch Ride Review

Click here to read Bajaj V15 vs Honda CB Shine SP Comparison Test

Click here to read Bajaj V15 Aprilia SR150 Comparison Test

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