2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS200 and Pulsar NS160 first ride: Are they still relevant?
Bajaj Auto launched the Pulsar 200NS back in 2012 as its flagship motorcycle. It shared its engine with the KTM Duke 200. However, Bajaj reworked the engine heavily to give the Pulsar 200NS its own identity and several other changes were made to price the motorcycle effectively in the Indian market. Then in 2014, Bajaj renamed the motorcycle Pulsar NS200. They said that it was done simply because it sounded better.
The Pulsar NS160 was then launched in 2017 and Bajaj revealed that it has been a huge success in the overseas market. However, since the motorcycles were introduced in India they haven't received any significant upgrades. Now, Bajaj has decided to update the Pulsar NS200 and the Pulsar NS160. This means that despite launching the new-gen Pulsars, the NS range will continue to stay on sale. For 2023, Bajaj has made some huge upgrades to the Pulsar NS200 and the Pulsar NS160. Here are all the changes that both motorcycles get.
2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS200 and Pulsar NS160: USD Forks
The biggest upgrade that both motorcycles get is the new up-side down forks in the front. They measure 33 mm in size so they are not the ones found on Dominar. They are built out of aluminium which has helped in saving weight.
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2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS200 and Pulsar NS160: New alloys and brakes
The alloy wheels and the braking hardware are now shared with the Pulsar 250s. The alloy wheels are lighter than before. The disc brakes now measure 300 mm in the front and 230 mm at the rear. The calipers are now sourced from Grimeca instead of Bybre and there is also dual-channel ABS on offer as standard.
2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS200 and Pulsar NS160: Updates to the instrument cluster
The instrument cluster is the same semi-digital instrument cluster with an analogue tachometer. However, now it can show a gear position indicator, instantaneous fuel efficiency, average fuel efficiency and distance to empty. It would have been nice to see a fully digital instrument cluster but maybe next time. Apart from this, there is no change in terms of features so it still misses out on a USB charger.
2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS200 and Pulsar NS160: Engine
There are no changes to the engines of both motorcycles apart from now being OBD2 compliant. So, the Pulsar NS200 produces 24.16 bhp at 9,750 rpm and a peak torque output of 18.74 Nm at 8,000 rpm. On the other hand, the Pulsar NS160 produces 16.96 bhp at 9,000 rpm and a peak torque output of 14.6 Nm at 7,250 rpm. Despite pushing the engine for quite a bit of time, I did not feel any significant heat.
The motorcycles start going only after you cross 5,000 rpm so you have to wait for a bit for the power to kick in. However, the good thing is that once you cross that mark, the engines chase to their red line. Yes, the additional power on the NS200 can be felt but it is the NS160 which has fewer vibrations. The clutch action on both motorcycles is also light and the gearbox is also slick for the most part. Speaking of the gearbox, the NS200 gets a 6-speed unit while the NS160 uses a 5-speed transmission.
2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS200 and Pulsar NS160: Ride and handling
In terms of ride quality, the new suspension setup has been very well-tuned. It feels planted, inspires confidence while cornering and also absorbs the uneven undulations quite well. So, it does seem like the price bump is justified. The handling, on the other hand, is also a strong point for both motorcycles. They hold their line pretty well and flick into corners quite easily while feeling nimble. Having said that the front end still feels a bit heavy.
Watch: Bajaj Pulsar NS160 and NS200: What has changed?
2023 Bajaj Pulsar NS200 and Pulsar NS160: Price and verdict
The Pulsar NS200 is now priced at ₹1.47 lakh ex-showroom whereas the Pulsar NS160 costs ₹1.35 lakh ex-showroom. People who are buying both these motorcycles know why they are buying them. Yes, the motorcycles might have started to show their age but are still one of the best-performing among the competitors and the improvements have made them even better. We just hope that Bajaj makes some significant improvements to both motorcycles soon so that they can stay competitive in the segment.