First Ride: Bajaj Pulsar 250F & 250N
Pulsar turns 20. Yes, Bajaj launched its first-generation Pulsar in the year 2001. Can you believe it? Even after 20 years, we still love the Pulsar. At the end of November 2001, the first pulsar bike was launched in India. During these 20 years, Bajaj updated the Pulsar regularly and we are seeing its off-springs nowadays. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Pulsar, Bajaj launched two new models, the Pulsar 250F and Pulsar 250N. We flew to Pune to ride the bikes. We rode the bike on traffic-jammed city roads and free-formed highways. Here’s our first ride report of the big boys.
Sporty or Naked?
F… Faired and N… Naked, this is what Bajaj says for the suffixes of the bike names. If you are a traveller or a rider who mostly rides on the highway, then faired will be a good option. Because Bajaj designed the F version with all the aerodynamics aspects. For city riders, there is the Naked version. There are a few changes only in terms of design, but the engine is the same in both versions.
Lights are LED in faired version. Projector headlight with a sharp look gave its front design a boost. Side view mirrors are placed in the front cowl. A tall clip-on handlebar makes the bike look stylish. Apart from those small design changes, the fuel tank, side panels, and tail section are all same in both F & N versions. Tyres have sufficient grip, but wider tyres would be great. The copper casing for the engine is awesome. Both bikes have ‘toe shift’ only for gear shifting, so shoes would be preferable. The seat height in both bikes is 795mm only. But there is a difference in the riding positions. As the footpegs are set a little backward. That adds a touch of sportiness to the riding posture.
The semi-digital meter looks different. Analogue for the tacho, other options share space in the digital meter. Gear indicator, clock, two trip meters, fuel meter, odometer share space. It does have a side stand alarm and ABS warning too. But it doesn’t have the Bluetooth connectivity option like its competitors. The fit and finish of these Pulsars are good compared to the previous bikes.
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Engine - Performance & Mileage:
The 249.07cc, SOHC, oil-cooled engines make these Pulsars the ‘Big Boys’. The engine got a single cylinder and two valves. Once we start the bike, the exhaust note is sporty but smooth. We can’t compare these F & N versions with N, NS, AS, or RS. Its engine produces 24.5 bhp power, which is higher than NS200 and 200F and 2.15k kgm torque. The engine refinement of these bikes is better than the 220cc model. Still, we experienced some vibration in the seat and footpegs. Which is minuscule. The bikes are good while revving through the 4000-7000 rpm limit. Before riding, I was disappointed about the 5-speed gearbox. For a 250cc bike, a 6-speed gearbox would be preferable. But after riding, I’m satisfied with the gear ratios of the bikes.
After lunch, we went for a speed test on the Bajaj track. 140 Kmph! Yes, I reached around 140 km, but the best part is I didn’t feel any disappointment at that speed. Are you satisfied with the new Pulsar’s speed? Bajaj claims the mileage is 39 kmpl. According to my estimation, it gives around 35. Which is a good number for a 250cc machine.
Ride and Handling:
I love Pulsars. But I don’t do attempt hard cornering using the Pulsar, because of the front-end weight. On this bike, I felt confident while cornering. The ride and handling of these bikes are great. F Version weighs 164 Kg and N version Weighs 162 Kg. The grip and handling are awesome when compared with old Pulsars. These bikes handle the bumps and dumps of the road very well. The suspension set-up is a bit stiff. For the city, 250N is my choice. The Front fairing in the F version makes the Pulsar weight unbalanced and is not best for city rides.
I must mention the slip and assist clutch here. We can ride in the 30s even in 4th gear. And ride in 35 in 2nd gear. I was riding at 70 kmph before I lowered the speed to 20 kmph for a speed breaker. Even then, I didn’t downshift and continued to ride in the 4th gear itself. The bike handled it without any engine lugging. An Italian firm, Grimeca, supplied the brakes for these Pulsars, which are made in India. These are decent, but nothing to brag about. Dual-channel ABS is missing. Apart from that, these bikes are great touring machines.
Can I have one?
125, 150, 180, 200, 220 and now 250. Bajaj has Pulsars in every sub-250 segment now. There are no major disappointments in these Pulsars. The slipper clutch is great. Even though the price of these big boys is equal to the FZ25 and RTR 200 4V, which have more advantages. These Pulsars overtake them in terms of power. If they gave dual-channel ABS with this price tag, then they can grab their share in the 250cc segment far more easily.