2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z First Ride Review: Delectable performance at a steal

Bajaj promises to be back with a bang with the Pulsar NS400Z, especially at that price of ₹1.85 lakh (ex-showroom). So is it a bargain or a steal at
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2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
The Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z feels like a steal for its price-to-performance ratio and despite a few hiccups, this arrives a highly likeable motorcycle (HT Auto/Aatman Singh)
2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
The Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z feels like a steal for its price-to-performance ratio and despite a few hiccups, this arrives a highly likeable motorcycle

The Bajaj Pulsar brand holds a lot of weightage in the entry-performance motorcycle segment. Over a decade ago, the Pulsar and by extension, the Hero Karizma, were the right of passage for many youths, discovering their passion for motorcycles. No-holds-barred performance at an accessible price point has always been the mantra for the Pulsar. However, the last few years saw Bajaj shift focus to other offerings and the Pulsar brand suffered the most during this transition. Nevertheless, Bajaj promises to be back with a bang with the Pulsar NS400Z, its newest flagship, which promises to make many uncomfortable in the 400 cc segment, especially at that price of 1.85 lakh (ex-showroom). Is the Pulsar NS400Z a bargain or a steal at that price? We spent a day with it and here’s what we found out.

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z: How is it priced so aggressively?

The new Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z is the most expensive Pulsar to go on sale. It still undercuts nearly everything in the 400 cc segment by a hefty margin. Bajaj says that despite the 1.85 lakh (ex-showroom) sticker price, the bike remains profitable for the company. But exactly how is that? Well, the bike maker has been clever about using its resources at hand to put together a performance offering.

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Diving into its expansive parts bin, the new Pulsar NS400Z uses several components borrowed from the Bajaj Dominar 400. The perimeter frame remains the same and so does the 373 cc engine, which means the frame has already been reinforced in the right places to handle the extra power. The rearview mirrors and radiator are also shared with the Dominar. The other parts are shared with the Pulsar range including the fuel tank, adjustable levers, tail tidy, tyre hugger, LED indicators and more. The 17-inch alloys have also been borrowed from the Pulsar NS200 with a wide 140-section rear tyre. Fewer new components lead to less R&D time, lowering the overall costs.

Also Read : 2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z launched in India, priced at 1.85 lakh

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
The Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z looks identical to the Pulsar NS200 but it gets evolutionary changes like the headlamp cluster, curled panels on the side and a new tail section (HT Auto/Sameer Contractor)
2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
The Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z looks identical to the Pulsar NS200 but it gets evolutionary changes like the headlamp cluster, curled panels on the side and a new tail section (HT Auto/Sameer Contractor)

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z: Styling

The Pulsar NS400Z makes do with a lesser radical design than we would’ve liked. Bajaj could’ve opted for a clean slate for its biggest Pulsar yet but a tight control on costs meant the motorcycle had to make do with little changes. The design is an evolution of the Pulsar NS200. The fuel tank is the same but you get the new floating panel design on the extensions, while the tail section has been revised to follow the curl on the fuel tank extension more seamlessly. The split taillights remain, giving it a distinct Pulsar identity. The most radical change is the front with the new headlamp cluster. The thunderbolt LED DRLs with the cloudy effect look over the top but will appeal to the masses. The projector lens adds a premium touch and so do the thick 43 mm champagne gold-finished USD front forks.

The fit and finish across the bike comes off decent and there’s little to complain about in this regard. There are uneven bits between the fuel tank and the front suspension as well as the exhaust, which gives away its budget build. Paint quality and graphics are finished rather well and the bike is available in four colours - Brooklyn Black, Pearl Metallic White, Glossy Red and Pewter Grey.

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z
The new LCD console is simple, easy to read and packed with information. It also get Bluetooth connectivity, turn-by-turn navigation and a lap timer
2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z
The new LCD console is simple, easy to read and packed with information. It also get Bluetooth connectivity, turn-by-turn navigation and a lap timer

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z: Features

The new Pulsar 400 gets an LCD console, which is a result of the budget constraints against a fancier TFT screen. It is, however, much better than the one we saw on the Pulsar N250 recently. The screen angle coupled with the bonded glass makes it easy to read no matter the time of the day. It is well laid out with most of the information available at a quick glance. The blue screen on the right gives away important details including the trip meters, average speed, and more, but could’ve had better adjustability. Information like distance to empty and average fuel efficiency remains hidden. On the bright side, you get a lap timer with the unit.

The switchgear quality feels nice and the switches on the left stalk provide access to the four riding modes but more on that later. There’s also Bluetooth connectivity with turn-by-turn navigation.

Also Read : New Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z to be christened Dominar NS400Z in Brazil

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
The riding posture is slightly aggressive but comfortable with firm cushioning for the seat. The Pulsar NS400Z will keep you comfortable over long distances (HT Auto/Aatman Singh)
2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
The riding posture is slightly aggressive but comfortable with firm cushioning for the seat. The Pulsar NS400Z will keep you comfortable over long distances (HT Auto/Aatman Singh)

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z: Ergonomics

The riding posture is on point on the biggest Pulsar. It is substantially larger than the NS200 but you do find it accommodating for most riders. The seat height at 805 mm is accessible to most rider heights while the fuel tank has been contoured well for a comfortable seating posture. The thighs grip the fuel tank well and the rear-set foot pegs add a sporty touch without getting tiring. The upper body remains comfortable with the nice and upright stance, especially with that wide handlebar. The seat cushioning is slightly firm with plenty of space to move around and will keep you comfortable over long rides.

The Pulsar NS400Z feels like a big motorcycle from the rider’s point of view. The fuel tank adds visual heft while the wide handlebar sits closer to the rider and makes for a comfortable stance. It’s reminiscent of the first-generation KTM 390 Duke, which I mean as a compliment. Incidentally, that’s not the only similarity between this Pulsar and the 390 Duke.

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
The 373 cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor is a hoot and loves to be revved. There are very few dull moments on the Pulsar NS400Z
2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
The 373 cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor is a hoot and loves to be revved. There are very few dull moments on the Pulsar NS400Z

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z: Performance

Power comes from the 373 cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor that produces 39.4 bhp at 8,500 rpm and 35 Nm of peak torque at 7,000 rpm, paired with a 6-speed gearbox. This is an engine that served a purpose on two generations of the KTM 390 Duke, the Husqvarna Svarpilen and Vitpilen 401 (available internationally) and the Dominar 400. It’s an absolutely delectable motor that continues to run so well no matter where you plonk it.

Dare I say, this engine feels right at home on the NS400Z more than it does on the Dominar. It revs right up to 10,000 rpm and there’s never a dearth of power throughout the rev range. Compared to the Dominar, Bajaj has added an extra tooth to the rear sprocket for a higher top speed, which makes way for shorter gearing. Compared to the Dominar the Pulsar NS400Z is about 18 kg lighter and that makes for a world of a difference in performance.

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
Vibrations are well contained on the Pulsar NS400Z but slight buzz creeps in after 7,000 rpm. Nothing that makes you uncomfortable though
2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
Vibrations are well contained on the Pulsar NS400Z but slight buzz creeps in after 7,000 rpm. Nothing that makes you uncomfortable though

The Pulsar feels peppier and more eager to push. Power delivery is quick but linear with little to complain on that front. This motor likes to be revved and show it an open stretch and the bike won’t disappoint you. We managed to hit close to 150 kmph on Bajaj’s test track and while the company claims a top speed of 154 kmph, they are just being conservative. Most of the power is concentrated in the mid and top-end, which is where you would like to be for the most part. The tractability is nearly the same as the Dominar. However, drop under 20 kmph and you will need to shift to the first gear to avoid stalling the bike. Vibrations are well contained with slightly buzzing around 4,000 and 7,000 but nothing that feels uncomfortable.

The Pulsar NS400Z is also the first Bajaj bike to get ride-by-wire which makes for the four riding modes. Sport and Road is where you want to spend most of your time. The throttle response is quick and there’s a strong surge. It dulls down quite a bit in the Rain mode with the intervention of the ABS module at its highest. There’s also the new Off-Road that brings in power more cautiously over the Road mode, while also limiting ABS intervention. You also get the option to switch off traction control here, which should help in a tricky situation when dealing with broken patches.

Also Read : More bikes planned under the ‘Z’ brand starting with the Pulsar NS400Z: Bajaj

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
The 2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z is a taut handler with a shorter wheelbase and a shorter rake angle over the Dominar 400, which gives it a significant performance edge (HT Auto/Aatman Singh)
2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
The 2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z is a taut handler with a shorter wheelbase and a shorter rake angle over the Dominar 400, which gives it a significant performance edge (HT Auto/Aatman Singh)

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z: Ride & Handling

The Pulsar NS400Z gets a 110 mm shorter wheelbase than the Dominar 400, while the rake angle is shorter by one degree. The result is a much sharper motorcycle and that’s a lot more agile. The NS400Z likes to go around a corner and shift from one side to the other seamlessly. The compact proportions help maximise the bike’s potential making it extremely fun, only limited by the cornering clearance. The ground clearance is decent but you will have to be careful on the larger speed breakers given the underbelly exhaust.

The suspension setup is all-new and works well to ensure a comfortable ride. The front is nice and pliant and keeps the bike stable at high speeds. The monoshock at the rear comes with 6-step preload adjustability and can come across as slightly stiff in the stock setting. Increasing the preload should resolve the issue. For the most part, the big Pulsar will keep you happy in the city and the highway.

Braking performance comes from the new Grimeca setup. There's a 320 mm front and 230 mm rear disc in place with dual-channel ABS. While the brakes do their job effectively, the bite at the lever could be better.

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
The Pulsar NS400Z makes for a decent package that does everything and more for a steal
2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z Review
The Pulsar NS400Z makes for a decent package that does everything and more for a steal

2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS400Z: Verdict

The new Pulsar NS400Z is a hoot to ride and what makes this a steal deal is its price tag. The price-to-performance ratio remains unmatched, which we reckon will get many to check out the NS400Z in the flesh. The Pulsar NS400Z could take away some customers from NS200 given the fact that you get nearly double the displacement for a premium of just 35,000. What works the most in favour of the Pulsar NS400Z though is its ability to stay raw, which was missing from the Pulsar 250 series. This feels truer to the Pulsar range and rightfully the flagship.

First Published Date: 11 May 2024, 13:57 PM IST
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