Bajaj Pulsar N160 2022: Observations after a day of riding

The ride of the Pulsar N160 is adequately comfortable. The bike took most of the potholes and speed breakers easily.

Riding the Pulsar N160

The entire test-ride happened in heavy rains on a mix of the Mumbai-Pune Highway and some side roads.

Bikes are scary. A bike that you have never ridden before is literally the worst thing to ride in heavy rain, especially on unknown roads. But the Pulsar has that familiarity to it since it’s been around for over two decades. Right from the word go, the bike felt comfortable. The seat is wide but could have been a little wider. The foot pegs are comfortably placed. While riding, I did need to stand up once while easing off over a particularly nasty pothole.

The Pulsar N160 is powered by a 164.82cc single-cylinder engine that puts out 15.78 BHP and 14.65 Nm. It’s a bike that weighs over 150 kilos and is not exactly a power monster. The first thing you notice is that the low-end torque is poor. From standstill, for my 95 kilo body, it was almost mandatory to come down to the first gear. Off the red light, the N160 will not win any prizes, but it won’t be too far behind more aggressive bikes in the segment. Once on the move you can easily putter around in the 40’s and 50’s in top gear. But anytime you need to overtake, it’s necessary to drop a gear or two and get the engine in the mid-range, where there is some power available. Shift down a gear and there is adequate acceleration available.

Since it was raining heavily and I was on unfamiliar roads, it was not possible for me to go faster without endangering my life or that of others. I wish the roads were dry and I was not blinded by the heavy downpour as this seriously restricted my ability to test the bike at a slightly faster pace.

The clutch is super-light, which makes the process of shifting gears easier.  The transmission, however, is prone to false shifts, especially between neutral and second gear.

Coming to NVH, there are no irritating vibrations felt on switching on the engine. Engine noise is muted while riding at low rpms. It’s only on hard acceleration that the engine gets noisy. Overall, the bike sounds very similar to other bikes in the segment.

The ride of the Pulsar N160 is adequately comfortable. The bike took most of the potholes and speed breakers easily. But this segment hardly has any bike, which does not do the same.

Again, as it was raining heavily and my speeds were restricted, it is not possible to comment on the straight line stability at higher speeds. While, the handling is predictable at city speeds, how the bike handles at high speeds remains to be seen.

The N160 has very good brakes. After a couple of stops, I had enough confidence in the brakes. I was able to slam them without the fear of a skid. Despite the flooded roads, the bike did not display any nervousness while braking. It held its line really well. I have not ridden the single channel variant, but as there is a better option available, I request everyone to buy this dual channel ABS version over the cheaper alternative.

Some images from the test-ride:

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