The Bajaj Pulsar AS150 is the latest entrant in the crowded 150cc market but it plans to set aside itself by kick starting a new adventure segment
Ever since its launch, the Bajaj Pulsar 150 has been warmly welcomed by the vast community of Indian two-wheeler enthusiasts. The striking styling, good performance, a basket full of features and affordable pricing made it a wholesome package. Bajaj Auto raised many an eyebrows when it launched the new generation Pulsar 150 recently. Instead of launching a naked bike, Bajaj Auto rode in the Pulsar AS150 (Adventure Sport). With the Pulsar AS150, the Chakan based two-wheeler giant wants to kick-start a new segment of adventure motorcycles in the 150cc segment. We rode it on the beautiful twisting roads of Lavasa to find out whether the new Bajaj Pulsar AS150 can make a mark in the highly competitive 150cc segment.
Design & Features
One of the biggest talking points about the new Bajaj Pulsar AS150 is its design. It is the first Bajaj Pulsar 150cc offering to sport a quarter fairing. The basic design of the Bajaj Pulsar AS150 is based on the Pulsar 200NS streetbike with added bodywork. But the manner in which the new quarter fairing has been integrated to the existing design needs to be commended. The profile of the headlamp is similar to the one found on the Pulsar 200NS but it now features a projector lamp above which the mildly smoked wind screen sits. The multi-unit quarter fairing has various cuts and creases adding more appeal to the overall design. The muscular tank hark its streetbike design DNA while the rubber tank pad is a noble addition. Another interesting detail of the Pulsar AS150 is the mesh grille on the centre panel.
Other interesting features on the bike includes an under belly exhaust, split seats, star shaped alloy wheels and LED tail lamps. Despite the lack of graphics its looks impressive as the Pulsar AS150 captured many eyeballs during the shoot and the bright red shade on our test bike accentuated its appeal further. Switch gear quality is very impressive and the hand grips are of high quality, the only qualm being the turn indicator cancel switch which wasn’t up to the mark. Fit and finish of the bike is good as none of the panels rattled while we rode the bike over broken roads and the overall build quality is satisfactory. The Bajaj Pulsar AS150 employs a part-analogue-part-digital instrument cluster with the analogue tachometer taking centre stage. The instrument console is easy to read on the go and has a plethora of information display while the gear shift light is a neat addition. Also, the way in which the instrument cluster has been integrated into the new fairing is noteworthy.
Engine & Performance
Powering the Bajaj Pulsar AS150 is an all new 150cc motor that took almost two years of development time. The single-cylinder, air-cooled DTS-i motor engine gets equipped with 4-valves. The Pulsar AS150’s mill pushes out 17PS at 9,500rpm and 13Nm of peak torque at 7,000rpm making it the most powerful air-cooled 150cc motorcycle on sale in our country. Power delivery is linear and the motorcycle picks momentum without much effort. The motor is free revving and has a very strong mid-range which is beneficial while riding the bike in city traffic. The 5-speed gearbox is hugely improved over its predecessor and offered clean gear shifts but it didn’t feel as crisp and positive as its Japanese rivals.
The gear ratios are well distributed while the clutch is properly weighed and is easy to operate. Bajaj engineers have paid extra attention in improving NVH levels on the Pulsar AS150 and this has resulted in the refinement level improving positively on the new bike. Having said that, it isn’t the most refined motorcycle in the market. Vibrations do seep in via the handle bars, foot pegs and fuel tank, so Bajaj boffins do have scope to improve. Since we were riding the bike on the twisities of Lavasa we couldn’t gauge its straight line performance. But given the punch the motor has on offer, along with the added benefit of the windscreen, sustaining speeds above 90kmph on the highway shouldn’t be difficult.