Bajaj Auto is finally updating its largest-selling class of Pulsars. No, we don't mean the Pulsar 150. That motorcycle is a classic and has a steady following that Bajaj Auto very clearly decided to leave well alone when it revealed small changes to the proposition when the BS-IV model came out. The smoother, new engine, based on the Bajaj Pulsar 180, was almost a sidelight in the overall scheme of the story. But now Bajaj is taking the next step in that part of the market with the Bajaj Pulsar 160NS which is now on sale at Rs 93,000 (on-road, Mumbai). While there is some time to go before we can ride the Bajaj Pulsar 160NS and then compare it to the other 160s - the Yamaha FZ16, Suzuki Gixxer and the Honda Hornet, we decided to take a look at what their spec sheets promise.
The smallest motorcycle in displacement is, of course, the Yamaha. In the version 2 update, Yamaha decided to scale back the displacement. Unfortunately, this comes at a time when all of the other 'modern' 150s decided to head towards the 160cc mark. This shows up as the smallest power and torque outputs in this set now. Fortunately, one of the disadvantages of Blue Core is John Abraham. But the flip side of that coin is light weight. The Yamaha, at 132kg, is the lightest motorcycle of this set. And by 8 to 10kg. It may not match the others on performance but just look at the economy! It does also have the reputation - well deserved - for rock solid reliability, excellent product quality and the near-complete refusal to age.
The Honda CB Hornet looks great and has the largest engine here at nearly 163cc. And Honda, in fact, uses its cubes well. Peak power is nearly the highest here at 15.25PS while torque is the highest in the class at 14.76Nm. It also happens to be lighter than the new Pulsar 160NS.
The Hornet-160NS battle will be close. The slightly higher power rating - 15.5PS - and just 2kg more weight give the Pulsar a higher power-to weight-ratio than the Honda. But the difference is so small that on the road, anything can happen. And remember, the Bajaj has a Rs 10,000 price advantage over the Honda and a whopping Rs 22,000 over the Suzuki - all three have carburettors. The price advantage over the fuel-injected Yamaha is Rs 16,000 - not insubstantial. On the flip side, the Bajaj does have narrower tyres, while the expensive Gixxer gets front and rear disc brakes as standard.
Not included in the table is the TVS Apache RTR 160 which still sells well though the RTR 200 takes more mind space nowadays. It has power figures that in the ballpark, a little less torque and very sharp reactions too.
See the table below and tell us what you think will happen among the 160s once the Bajaj Pulsar 160NS gets going.