Bajaj Pulsar P150 first ride review | The 150 to beat all 150s?
The Pulsar 150 has always ranked amongst Bajaj’s most important motorcycle. For two decades ago in 2001, it was with this that Bajaj made the big shift, shedding their age old image as a mass producer of commuter scooters, to create a far more exciting brand. The mantra remains to offer consumers a shot of sporty adrenaline pumping yet practical bikes. ‘Definitely Male’ was Bajaj’s marketing slogan for the Pulsars. 20 years down the line, there’s an all-new Pulsar on the block, the P150. Does this have the same Pulsar DNA and should you consider one? Read on.
Bajaj Pulsar P150 design
The Pulsar P150 uses design language that puts it in line with the new gen Pulsars, including elder siblings the N160 and N250. But unlike the N160 and the N250, Bajaj has done a neat job, ensuring the changes make themselves more apparent. So, while the Pulsar P150 replicates the overall design scheme of the Ns, changes are in place, with fresh elements such as the headlamp, a small smoked visor and more, all aimed at lending the Pulsar P150 an identity that’s all its own. Bajaj has deployed the body panels of the N160 on the P150, and this helps to give the 150 a nice premium feel. Bajaj will sell you the P150 in five different colours, two solids, being red and blue and three dual-tone options called Ebony Black Red, Blue and White. The P150 is being sold in two variants, with single or dual disc brakes. However, the differences extend beyond just a rear disc brake. The single disc variant has one-piece seat and grab rail, footpegs that are a touch more forward set, a flat, one-piece handlebar and skinnier 80/100-17 front and 100/90-17 rear tyres. The twin disc variant in contrast has split seats and grab rail, as well as rear-set rider footpegs that compliment its clip-on style handlebars and chunkier 90/90-17 and 110/80-17 tyres. Both Pulsar variants get ‘Infinity’ feature rich instruments, that include a gear position indicator and distance to empty readouts.
Bajaj Pulsar P150 engine and performance
Powering the Pulsar P150 is an engine that is derived from the N160. However, this is downsized to now displace 150cc. Other notable changes are screw type tappets instead of shim adjusted, that work on the N160. Those aware of Pulsar lineage, will know how well known these bikes were for their DTSi (Bajaj dual spark plug technology) and lean burn technology. But with emission norms getting tighter, Bajaj didn’t find it feasible to continue with the technology.
I was a bit concerned before my ride, thinking the Pulsar P150 would feel similar to the N160. Bajaj has however done a stellar job to ensure both bikes have a character of their own. The re-tuned P150 is good for 14.3bhp at 8500rpm and 13.5Nm at 6000rpm. Bajaj engineers tell us that, 95 percent torque is available as low as 3500rpm. And you actually feel this, in how the Pulsar P150 feels mighty tractable at really low speeds. Gear ratios are well spread out. This, plus the Pulsar P150’s ability to chug along in a higher gear, translates into your not having to work the gearbox that much. Although, you wouldn’t mind this too much because the new Bajaj enjoys a light clutch action, and gearshifts are likewise, tactile and precise. Another P150 highlight is engine refinement. Gone are any vibes when riding the Pulsar P150 and it’s only when you’re really cranking up the revs, chasing redlines, that you may feel a few, not overly intrusive vibes kick in at the ’pegs and ’bars. Apart from that, refinement levels are simply top-notch.
The N160 is clearly an enthusiast-biased bike. Bajaj’s goal is to offer a sensible balance between performance, practicality and frugality. On this front, Bajaj claims the P150 delivers between 44-49kmpl in real world riding conditions. That would give the new Bajaj a riding range of over 600km.
Bajaj Pulsar P150 chassis, ride and handling
The Bajaj Pulsar P150 is underpinned by a steel, cradle frame that uses its engine as a stressed member of the whole unit. The overall chassis design is similar to the N160, but the P150 benefits a bespoke chassis with different mounting points and riding geometry. The frame is supported by 31mm telescopic forks in front and a monoshock at the rear. The P150 has good ride quality, and nicely balanced character in the way it rides.
The suspension feels neither too soft nor too stiff. The Pulsar P150 rides over road imperfections with a nice pliancy, ironing out almost any rough stuff without ever unsettling the bike. The riding position is neutral, and comfortable for daily commuting. The clip-on ‘bars on the dual disc equipped bike offer good leverage, while the ever-so-slightly rearset footpegs sits you into a slightly forward biased stance. The P150 is not the sharpest handling bike out there but it’s close to that, and definitely gets the job done well. The front end is agile enough and responsive to steering input. The Pulsar P150 is easy to flick from side to side in traffic. Come to the twisties and the same agility translates into quick turn-in. After that, the Pulsar P150 is stable and predictable. Braking from the twin disc variant is via a 280mm disc upfront, while there is a 230mm disc at the rear. Braking performance is sharp and consistent. The single-channel ABS braking system is not overly intrusive.
In terms of weight, the twin disc Pulsar P150 tips the scales at 141kg, making this almost 9kg lighter than the earlier gen twin disc Pulsar P150. This definitely reflects in the way the new bike handles, and also helps to make this a more efficient bike.
Bajaj Pulsar P150 verdict
The Bajaj Pulsar P150 is a proper generational update over the outgoing model. It speaks new design language, there’s also a new engine, improved chassis and crucially, the new bike has shed a significant amount of weight. The Pulsar P150 definitely ticks all the right boxes in terms of what the Pulsar brand has achieved — it is sporty, youthful and practical. As touched upon earlier, we were a little worried the Pulsar P150 wouldn’t feel all that different from the N160. But it does. The Pulsar P150 has a character all its own, and a lot of soul.
Prices for the single disc variant start at Rs 1.17 lakh, while the twin disc variant with an extra disc, clip-ons and all the extra bells and whistles sells for Rs 1.2 lakh ex-showroom. So, a top-end P150 is priced at just Rs 3,000 under a single-channel ABS variant N160. So which should you buy? The answer is simple; if you’re looking for more performance, go for the N160. If you want a balance of performance and frugality, with that quintessential Pulsar DNA, then the Bajaj Pulsar P150 is the bike for you.