Test drive: Most peers fallen, Pulsar still rearing to go with the 250cc twins

Bajaj had introduced the Pulsar 220 model with the tagline of ‘the fastest Indian’. But people chose to accept it as the common man's sports bike. Amid the rush of new generation motorcycles, what gives the Pulsar 220 to steam ahead is this support.

The Pulsar brand has been in the market for the past two decades. The Pulsar 150 was the first model to hit the roads. Though it had several worthy rivals then, there is none in the scene now other than itself, with models ranging from 135 cc to 220 cc. Now, with a strong 250 cc engine, the Pulsar is entering a segment above. It comes with two variants - F250 and N250. We take a closer look at the semi-faired version F250.

The last Pulsar to undergo a major facelift was the NS200 around nine years ago. Years later, while entering the 250cc segment, Bajaj has ensured that the bike does not lose its Pulsar DNA. It has some similarities to the 220 and the NS200 but is essentially all-new.

Among features, the bi-projector LED headlamp with boomerang-shaped DRLs and crystalline tail light look really beautiful. In fact, all lights are LED. The design is muscular with a big fuel tank, sporty semi-fairing and tail panel. The body panels have better quality than previous models. The bike gets a new glass filled nylon structure for the body panels which in turn holds them together without producing anybody vibration. The split seats are very accessible and comfortable.

The satin silver finish and the engine cover with copper finish give the F250 a premium feel. The exhaust pipe is on the shorter side. Overall design and quality are good. Had the rear tyre been a little beefier, it would have added to the butch feel.

The F250 shares its analogue digital meter with the NS200 and the 200, which Bajaj likes to call the infinity display. The tachometer is analogue while other details are provided on the digital console, including gear position indicator, fuel status etc. There are no connectivity features like Bluetooth. A USB charging port has been provided on the fuel tank's filler cap.

The F250 is powered by a brand new 249.07 cc, single overhead camshaft, air-oil cooled engine. This is the most powerful engine in the Pulsar range. It puts out 24.5 ps of power and 21.5 Nm of torque. The torque is higher than other models like the NS200, the RS200 and the 220. The exhaust note that is slightly bassy has similarities with other bikes from the Pulsar family; gear down and twist the throttle, you can hear it clearly. The bike also retains the overeager nature of all members in the Pulsar family. It pulls cleanly and has a strong mid-range.

Expect no engine knocking at speeds even below 40 kmph in fourth gear, and the bike picks up speed quite fast. Even at high RPMs engine vibrations are under control. The F250 comes with a 5-speed gearbox and a new assist and slipper clutch. Though the bike could have done with one more gear with a 250cc engine, the performance is good. The slip assist clutch helps in preventing wheel lock during sudden downshifts along with smooth gear changes.

The ride
The seat height of 795 mm is similar to the 220. The tall clip-on handlebar and rear-set footpegs help provide a sporty riding position. That does not mean long rides will be tiring. The bike also gets a new tubular steel frame. Straight-line stability is good and corners can be tackled confidently.

The bike provides good controls even during sudden twists and turns, which could be a boon during city rides. In terms of travel comfort, the Pulsar 250 scores above average. The bike can gobble up potholes and rutted roads confidently. Together with a well-padded seat, the bike can be a good companion for long rides too. Both the wheels get disc brakes with single-channel ABS.

Final Lap
The USP of the Pulsar F250 is that it is cheaper than other 250 cc bikes available in the market now. Add a sporty design, good performance and ride quality, you have a winner in the Pulsar 250. The ARAI-certified mileage is 39 km.

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