I still remember Hero Honda being a college kid hit by CBZ. Its sporty silhouette, excited exits and the perceived performance of its 156cc engine was a dream come true for kids like me. But in 2001 came the Bajaj Pulsar. It had a simple round headlight, yes, but that (now iconic) muscular tank, the fine tail and the number on it – 180 – still gave me the goose bump.
Bajaj Pulsar F250 & N250 Design Details
Even this time there are two new Pulsars, but unlike 2001, these share a common engine and differ instead on the body styles. And the Pulsar’s tried and tested body styles at that – a street naked in the N250 and a quarter-faired F250. They won’t replace any of the existing Pulsars right away, but this design theme is likely to spawn smaller Pulsar models in the coming years.
You don’t have to see these motorcycles in the flesh to realize that the new Pulsars appear a lot leaner than their predecessors. They are still in the same weight class though, weighing 162kg and 164kg respectively. If you have been looking for a Bajaj motorcycle that is lighter than the Dominar 250, either of the Pulsars would be a good choice.
Like the Dominar, the new Pulsars create an interplay of matte black and gloss-finished color panels for a sporty two-tone effect. Going a step further, the Pulsars also create a floating effect for some of the body panels like the mud flap, belly pan and tail section, and that looks give smart. The taillight has been adorned with three different texture styles which create a stardust pattern similar to the taillights of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, for example, and that adds a premium touch.
The facia of the N250 is very much like the much-appreciated design of the Yamaha FZ 25 / MT15, but I believe that Bajaj should have stuck to a two-pot vertical arrangement for the F250’s headlight to go with the theme set by the 220F . A single projector bi-beam LED was chosen as a common element on both bikes to keep costs low. The throw and spread of these headlights are pretty average and a slightly yellower color temperature would have been better for our roads.
The graphics look a bit overdone to me, more so on the red option, and a minimalist design theme like the yesteryear Pulsars would have been more relevant in today’s times, methinks. Save for that, the new Pulsars look smart and up with the times and much-improved finishing levels make them appear and feel more premium than what their price would suggest.
Bajaj Pulsar F250 and N250 Engine, Specification, Performance and Fuel Economy
The new 249cc engine is 10-degrees steeper than the 220F outgoing 220cc mill. The revised form left very little room for Bajaj in a third spark plug. Furthermore, Bajaj has been able to achieve the ideal wind-fuel mix and emissions required to stay within the strict BSVI rules with the twin-spark setup and therefore did not require a third spark. The air filter is repositioned to sit under and parallel to the rider’s seat. Now there is no more Airbox and so, getting a conical performance filter (a common mode in many pulsars) will not be easy. The battery, instead, has been re-positioned to go under the pelion seat and the terminals are easily accessible if you need to use the battery tender.
The new engine does not set any new benchmarks in terms of power or torque output, but it is by far the most refined engine used in the Pulsar. To that effect, it has an offset crank and a spring-loaded final drive for the balancer shaft. Even the fuel injection system makes very little noise at boot-up. Although the engine is not as fast as its competitors in direct acceleration, it is tuned for a flat torque curve that ensures that you can power out from an angle or overtake in a fast, predictable manner at city and highway speeds.
On the highway, the engine is ready to cruise comfortably at 110kmph at 8,000rpm and the pull from 100-120kmph is also excellent. Like its rivals, it takes a bit of effort to ride at 130kmph because the engine loses more than 125kmph of steam, but you can see 140kmph on the clock if you have air. In terms of true speed – the N250 achieves a maximum speed of 130kmph, while the F250’s whitening operates at 133kmph, which is about 12kmph higher than the actual speed of 220F. Fairings and windscreens are slightly better at wind deviations though and if you go on a trip, you will need a screen that will cut the wind blast after 110 km per hour which is more steep. The long distance on the saddles of these pulsars does not seem difficult and the suspension complements that comfort.
So whether playing sports around the winding road, taking occasional trekking days, or just enjoying these machines on the road – the new Pulsars have all the base covers that have hit their predecessors so hard.
Bajaj Pulsar F250 and N250 suspension, brakes, ride and handling
The ground clearance and wheelbase are comparable to the 220F and the Bajaj Pulsar is stuck in a thinner tire profile compared to the competition to protect the easily shaken nature. This could give the 200NS a run for its money, especially in the N250 turn-ins, despite the use of a tubular cradle frame instead of a circumference frame that is very sharp and even duty on the NS or RS. Its slightly rear biased weight distribution allows you to put more weight on the front and still enter the corner with great confidence. The F250, on the other hand, achieves a weight of about 50:50, including its quarter fairing, which makes quick corner entries feel more stable than its naked siblings.
The suspension has a standard 37mm fork on the front and a pre-load adjustable mono-shock on the back and outside of the box. Outside the track, the extreme inclination shows the limitations of the setup as the tires start to shake and the suspension feels squeaky towards the front. But around hilly roads, the Pulsars handle excellent maneuverability and corner speed and will be a great teacher for beginners who want to do sports / track riding. The suspension also affects the poor condition of the road and feels smooth on most types of surfaces that Indian roads will throw towards it.
To further optimize the cost, Bajaj has come up with a braking system – Grimeca – which replaces the Bybre system from Brembo. (Grimeca is an Italian brand now owned by Endurance Systems, a longtime supplier of Bajaj’s wheel and suspension components). The new brakes leave no room for complaint. Since there is only one single-channel ABS, the rear brake has a soft bite, while the front is predictable and sharp enough to do the duty on a sportier machine.
Easy two-finger braking is usually enough to get a good tip for quick corner entry and a smooth fuel and well-tuned gearing ensures that maintaining steady throttle through the corner and getting power out quickly is easily achievable.
Bajaj Pulsar F250 and N250 ergonomics, switchgear and seating
The iconic shape of the Pulsar tank has paved the way for a sleek design similar to the NS / RS200, with well-defined knee races that help the rider grip better when cornering or braking. The capacity of the tank is 14l, which is equivalent to the competition, and our tests show that a range of 500km from any one of the Pulsar 250s seems achievable.
The tank interface with the new split seat layout is much better than the previous Pulsar. The downside is that the new Pulsar, especially the F250, doesn’t feel like a big bike in the foot, but the ergonomic benefits are much more welcome. The slender seat and low placement of 795mm will also make it easy for most male and female riders. The comparatively less set pillion footpaths also make the fault seat easier and the geometry is also quite comfortable.
For the F250 you need to reach for the handlebars a little more than the N250, which creates a slightly more aggressive riding style. All the controls fall easily at hand, but the switchgear on the right seemed to be a loose fit in the motorcycle we rode.
The cornering clearance of the two pulsars is better than before thanks to the modified footpage and exhaust geometry. The tight but quick corners of Chakan’s Bajaj Test track often scrape the poles, giving them plenty of cornering clearance when playing on mountain roads.