Bajaj Pulsar NS 125 test drive: A sporty bike at an affordable cost

The 'NS' in Pulsar NS stands for 'naked sport'. NS is what made Pulsar NS a popular brand for its pure muscle and performance in the 200 cc and 160 cc segments. Primarily it was the look that attracted the youth. The NS created a new trend in terms of performance in the two-wheeler segment with its perimeter frame and monoshock suspension. Now Bajaj has come out with the a baby NS that shares the looks and features of the Pulsar NS 200 and 160 models.

What catches your attention is the orange coloured graphics that is the trademark colour of KTM bikes. The colour plays a key role in giving a sporty feel to the bike. In pure design terms, there is not much divergence from the bigger NS models. The NS 125 is 5 mm lesser in length than the 160 and 18 mm shorter, but wider by 6.5 mm.

The bike has higher ground clearance than its siblings at 179 mm. The kerb weight is 144 kg (NS 160 weighs 151 kg and NS 200 156 kg). The muscular tank with padding, sporty tank scoop, belly pan and naked headlights all belong to the NS family. Even the alloy wheel design, perimeter frame, grab rail and tail lamp are similar to the other NS models. However, the tyre size is a bit small, with a 100-section rubber in the rear. It looks a shade smaller.

Usually bikes in this segment get a design like commuter motorcycles. After the KTM RC125, the NS 125 too has brought about a change in this regard. The NS 125 has got the tag of an affordable bike with a sporty look.

Compared with the Pulsar 125, the NS 125 is heavier by 4 kg. Moreover, the seat is also a tad higher at 15 mm (805 mm). Both wheelbase and ground clearance are higher than the Pulsar 125. The meter console is semi-digital, which consists of a large analog tachometer and a small digital meter.

The NS 125 is powered by a 125.45 cc, single cylinder, four-valve, air-cooled engine which is based on the Pulsar 160 engine. Though there is only a small difference in power and torque when compared to the Pulsar 125, the performance is marked. The engine churns out 11 ps of peak power at 8500 rpm and 11 Nm of torque.

The NS 125 employs an electronic carburettor. The engine delivers good response in both low end and mid range, while the top end is not that great. The bike is ideal for city rides. It also gets a five-speed gearbox and toe shift gear lever. The throw is short and precise.

In the handling department, the NS scores over its rivals. Sudden direction changes are easy. In a straight line and corners, the perimeter frame proves its mettle. Besides, the performance of the monoshock rear suspension that can be pre-loaded stands out. The front gets a disc brake and the rear drum. There is no ABS but a combi-brake system.

Final lap
The Pulsar NS 125 is a muscle bike at an affordable price. Given the sporty look, fuel efficiency and good performance, it could easily become the segment leader.

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