Bajaj celebrates two decades of the Pulsar with two all-new models that bring more power, more features and lots of visual oomph 

The Pulsar has been a game-changer for Bajaj since the first model rolled out in 2001. In 20 years, Bajaj has sold 12 million units across 70 countries. In 20 countries, Pulsars are among the highest-selling motorcycles. Terrific achievements, backed by strong numbers. To celebrate two decades of the Pulsar, Bajaj has now expanded the Pulsar range by launching two all-new models, the Pulsar N250 and the Pulsar F250 which are priced at Rs 1.38 lakh and Rs 1.4 lakh (ex-showroom), respectively. These bikes also mark Bajaj’s entry into the quarter-litre space, and these aren’t just mere cosmetic upgrades to the existing Pulsar 220F. These are all-new motorcycles, inside and out, which level up on all fronts to spice up competition in the segment.

The new Pulsars look striking at first glance. The naked N250 boasts tight proportions while its semi-faired sibling looks muscular. They’re both sporty, but not as aggressive as their KTM cousins. The reverse boomerang-shaped LED DRLs on the F250 are reminiscent of the Ducati Multistrada and make the motorcycle appear stylish. The belly pan, front fenders and the panels around the fuel tank are sharply contoured on both bikes while the seat features a two-part design. The F250 also gets a wind deflector to contain wind blasts while touring. 

The bikes are based on a new tubular frame and sport telescopic front suspension with a monoshock at the rear. In this segment, only the KTM 200 Duke gets upside-down (USD) forks. Stopping power comes from a 300mm disc up front and a 230mm unit at the rear. There’s single-channel ABS on offer and a dual-channel unit isn’t available even as an option. The N250 tips scales at just 162kg while the F250 weighs 2kg more owing to the added mass of the fairing. Compared to the rivals, the new Pulsars are heavy. The Yamaha FZ-25 (153kg), KTM 200 Duke (140kg) and the Gixxer 250 twins (156kg-161kg) are lighter motorcycles. That said, ground clearance is adequate at 165mm, and seat height is 795mm, which should be comfortable for average-sized Indians. 

Powering the Pulsar duo is a 249cc, single-cylinder, oil-cooled engine that’s also shared with the Dominar 250, however in a lower state of tune. The fuel-injected unit pumps 24.5hp at 8750rpm and a healthy 21.5Nm of torque at 6500rpm. For perspective, the KTM 200 Duke makes 25hp, while the Gixxer twins make 26.5hp. The Yamaha is the least powerful of the lot at 20.8hp. Drive is channelled through a 5-speed manual transmission — those who love long-distance touring might prefer the 6-speed ‘boxes on the KTM and the Suzuki. 

There’s a fairly impressive list of features on offer. As aforementioned, both models sport projector LED headlamps. There’s also an assist and slipper clutch that prevents the rear wheel from hopping while downshifting aggressively. Most of us expected an all-digital instrument cluster, but Bajaj says the analog tachometer is integral to the identity of the Pulsar, so the engineers have gone ahead with a semi-digital unit. Adjacent to the tachometer is a digital display with gear position indicator, distance to empty readout along with the speedometer, odometer and fuel gauge. There’s also a USB charging port conveniently positioned near the tank flap.

Give or take a few features, the new Pulsars are competitive overall, but factor in the pricing and they seem to offer great bang for your buck. While the Yamaha FZ-25 is priced similar to the N250 at Rs 1.37 lakh, the KTM 200 Duke and the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 cost Rs 50,000 more. Expectations are high given the legacy of the Pulsar, but Bajaj has certainly blended the right ingredients for a compelling buy, at least on paper. 

Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto rightfully credits the Pulsar for shaping the brand, “Whatever engineering I understand, it’s because of the Pulsar. How to build brands and how not to build brands, I understood because of the Pulsar. It’s the university of life we went to as it made this company world-class.” 

Next on the cards are the bikes from the Bajaj-Triumph alliance, which have progressed beyond the halfway point in their development. That said, the technology and sophistication of the new Pulsar 250s will trickle down to the 150cc and 200cc range in the future, but not immediately as strong sales of the current line-up continue to fuel growth for the brand. The brand is adhering to the classic ‘don’t change it if it ain’t broke’ mantra. For now, enthusiasts not only have two exciting new motorcycles to choose from, but also the most powerful ones Bajaj has produced within the Pulsar family.