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Bajaj Pulsar NS125 review: A surprise ride, ideal for college students

Bajaj Pulsar NS125 has sharp looks, some premium cycle parts and handling and performance levels that are far beyond the standard in this category, making it well worthy of Ba

September 03, 2021 / 06:26 PM IST

Commuter motorcycles are the lifeblood of the Indian motorcycle industry, and at a time when less people are commuting (and no college students are heading to college either), you may wonder what their relevance is. Be that as it may, these motorcycles are still very much around, and some of them are much more than just point A to point B machines.

A case in point is the Bajaj Pulsar NS125 (NS for ‘Naked Sport’), a bike that is a commuter on paper but a fun, sporty little machine at heart. The NS125 is the newest addition to Bajaj’s NS family of motorcycles, and is in fact almost identical in terms of design to the more powerful NS160 and NS200. These NS bikes have been around for quite a few years now, and haven’t really aged at all, so Bajaj likely didn’t see the need to mess around too much (or at all) with the basic design.

The looks

The NS125 is available in Burnt Red, Pewter Grey, Breach Blue and Fiery Orange paint schemes, and the dual-tone effect is very fetching, going well with the bike’s sharp lines. There’s a bikini fairing up front with flared tank extensions, and the sleek headlight goes well with both of these. The seat is a two-piece unit, and the rear-set pegs and clip-on bars give you a very sporty and upright riding stance; most riders will find their ideal seating position easily on this bike. The tail is spare and unfussy, and the stacked LED lights and split-grab rail round off a neat design, one which looks good from any angle.

Remember what I said about the NS125 being a sporty commuter? Part of the reason for that is its 125cc engine, which is the most powerful in its segment. It puts out 11.6 bhp at 8500 rpm and 1.12 kgm of torque at 7000 rpm, and up to around 6000 rpm, the engine feels extremely relaxed and refined.

Post that mark, it takes on a different character, and there’s a distinct surge as the engine starts to gallop towards its redline. It does sound a little raucous at this point, but that adds to the aforementioned sporty character. The engine is paired to a slick 5-speed gearbox, which is set up to facilitate quick shifting through the gears as well as to keep the revs and vibrations low when at cruising speeds.

Close

For a 125cc machine, the NS125 does a very good job of making you feel like you’re on a faster, more powerful machine. Acceleration isn’t at the levels of its stablemates, but at no point does this bike feel sluggish. Wring open the throttle and the tachometer rises quickly; keep the throttle open, shift through the gears smoothly and when you hit the engine’s rev limit, you’ll see a top speed of around 110 kph, which is more than sufficient for any commuter. The mid-range is where the NS125 excels, feeling like it has the grunt for much more entertainment.

Again, for a commuter, the NS125 handles exceptionally well. This is down to the fact that it uses the same chassis and cycle parts as its more powerful siblings, with components such as a steel-perimeter frame and gas-charged monoshock letting you really push it to its limit. Whether it’s slicing-and-dicing in traffic (at which it’s very good), or hurling it through a series of tight corners, or taking sweeping corners at a high rate of knots, the NS125 is equal to all these tasks and is very agile. The telescopic front forks work well, and even though I would have liked to see disc brakes at both ends, the disc-drum brake setup is sufficient to haul this bike in.

The Pulsar NS125 will both surprise and entertain you with its capabilities. It has sharp looks, some premium cycle parts and handling and performance levels that are far beyond the standard in this category, making it well worthy of Bajaj’s NS badging.

Coming in at under Rs 1 lakh, ex-showroom, it is also excellent value for money, being affordable to acquire as well as maintain – I’m willing to bet that it’ll return north of 50 kpl in real world conditions, which is an important consideration in these times of usurious petrol prices. It’ll make an ideal companion for both college students and those who want to avoid public transport and get a reliable, good looking and entertaining motorcycle.
Rana Chaudhury is a writer passionate about automobiles.
first published: Sep 3, 2021 06:26 pm
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